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same time, the desirableness of a Hebrew lexicon as a companion volume.* The prospectus of such a work he submitted to me in a written communication, dated Nov. 22, 1822. This led to interviews which confirmed my confidence in his talents and acquirements; and on learning that he stood a member of the Scotch church in Swallow-street, I expressed the high esteem which I felt for Dr. Waugh, and the reliance which I should place on his recommendation. This hint led Mr. Greenfield to bring me a letter from his venerable pastor, (dated Dec. 14, 1822,) in which honourable testimony is borne to his inextinguishable ardour for knowledge, unblemished character, probity, and diligence.
The plan upon which Mr. Greenfield had proposed to construct his Lexicon originated, so far as regarded the alphabetic arrangement, with his own judgment; nor was he at all aware, till he had been for some months engaged upon it, that in what he supposed to be an original plan, he had been anticipated by a learned German lexicographer. No sooner did he make this discovery than, with that condour and honourable feeling which habitually marked his conduct, he wrote me the following note :
DEAR SIR, I was extremely surprised, when I procured Gesenius's Hebrew Lexicon, to find he had adopted the same plan as myself in the arrangement of the words. It is true, he has not placed the roots in an opposite column, nor arranged the common and proper nouns under one alphabet, and his work is confined to the Hebrew; but the plan is essentially the same. As Messrs. Treuttel and Würtz are about publishing a translation by Professor Leo, I felt myself the more called upon to give you the earliest information. I should be much obliged by an early communication of your sentiments on the subject. Your obliged servant,
W. GREENFIELD. The project of the Lexicon was consequently laid aside, as it was deemed unadvisable to proceed with a work which would clash with another, already announced, of so closely similar a description. Previously, however, to his setting about this Hebrew Lexicon, Mr. Greenfield had submitted to me the plan of a still more arduous undertaking, which had been only postponed till he should have accomplished what appeared the more feasible experiment. This was no other than a Polyglott Lexicon, comprising the Hebrew, Syriac, Greek, Latin, and English languages, in four volumes, of cabinet size. A brief outline of this undertaking Mr. Greenfield first transmitted to me in a note dated Dec. 5, 1822.7 In the mean time, I had engaged his services as a reader of proofs of the publications in which I was engaged, in various learned and foreign languages; in which capacity he eminently distinguished himself by his literal accuracy, as well as by his higher qualifications as a linguist.
In the summer of 1824, I had frequent conversations with Mr. Greenfield, on the subject of a work which, had he lived to realize the magnificent idea, would have placed him in the highest rank as a philologist.This was a Polyglott Grammar, comprehending between twenty and thirty
* For an outline of the plan of this Lexicon, see Appendix A.: The title ran thus : “A Compendious Hebrew and Syriac Lexicon with Points, in which all the Hebrew and Chaldee words of the Old Testament, and the Syriac of the New Testament, are arranged alphabetically, their respective primitives immediately following them; and in which the words are explained in their various senses in English, and authorized by references to the Holy Scriptures.”
† See Appendix B.
languages; namely, Hebrew, Chaldee, Syriac, Ethiopic, Arabic, Persic, Sanscrit, Greek, Romaic, Latin, Italian, French, Spanish, Portuguese, German, Danish, Swedish, Russian, Dutch, Irish, Anglo-Saxon, Welsh, and English. For this bold and most laborious achievement, Mr. Greenfield was singularly qualified by a rare faculty of philosophical analysis, that seemed in him almost a peculiar instinct, by which he was enabled, not only to master, with extraordinary facility, the forms, but to discern the genius of a new language. As he extended his acquisitions, while his retentive memory enabled him to preserve the utmost distinctness and accuracy in his acquaintance with the various tongues, it was with peculiar readiness that he perceived the relations which every fresh acquisition bore to his previous knowledge. By this means, the intricacies of grammar became simplified to his own mind. His practice was, in entering upon the study of a new language, to ascertain and distinguish what in its grammatical structure was peculiar, and what it had in common with the languages with which he was already familiar.
The plan of his grammar would have exhibited in some degree this admirable arrangement, by which the affinities as well as the characteristic differences of the various languages would have been brought under the notice of the student. Deeply is it to be regretted that he has left behind him no distinct development of a plan which occupied the meditation of many years.
Of the ardour with which he embarked in the enterprise, and the solicitude he evinced to ensure originality of examples in the syntax, instead of servilely copying from former grammarians; two notes written to me in 1824, will afford sufficient evidence. The first shews the first list of books which I supplied at his request; and the second contains an application for the loan of a Syriac Old Testament, and the Targums of Onkelos and Jonathan, to enable him to make the examples in the syntax of the Hebrew, Chaldee, and Syriac grammar, correspond.*
The prospectus of this series of grammars was laid before the public. But, in addition to the work which I ventured to announce, an ornamental and valuable accompaniment was projected, which I must confess I contemplated with a bookseller's pride ; indulging the fond hope, that if the plan, the mechanical execution of which would have devolved upon me, could be realised to my satisfaction,t it would raise my friend a monument of deathless fame. The plan was, to print the Lord's Prayer in all the languages and dialects that could be collected, in the proper character of each, subjoining the alphabet, in which should be given the power of each letter, and specifying the family of language to which each specific dialect belonged: and thus, in addition to a Polyglott Grammar, the reader would have been furnished with an exercise of syntax in the various languages, so far as the Lord's Prayer would afford a specimen. When Mr. Greenfield was, subsequently appointed superintendent of the editorial department of the British and Foreign Bible Society, it was a very principal source of his satisfaction, that he would enjoy multiplied facilities for augmenting his collection of specimens of different dialects, by intercourse with learned men; and it was with great delight that he learned that the late honorary librarian to that institution, T. Pell Platt, Esq., possessed an extensive and valuable collection, of which he knew that that gentleman's liberality would allow him to avail himself. But the painful circumstances alluded to at the commencement of this letter, too soon disturbed his mind while in the ardent prosecution of his editorial duties and philosophical vur
* See Appendix C.
† Non generant aquila columnbas.
In the years
suits; and not only this fond project of the bookseller has been frustrated, but the Bible Society, and the world of letters, have to mourn the early loss of the unwearied and gifted man, who, had his life been spared, bade fair to excel all his contemporaries in philological literature. Of the projected grammars, one only, the Arabic, is in my hands.
To resume the narrative of Mr. Greenfield's labours. 1828-9, he was employed by me in conducting through the press an edition of the Syriac New Testament, for the Polyglott series; and the preface to this publication was furnished by himself, in Syriac.* This was not the only occasion on which he followed up his editorial labours, by spontaneously exercising his pen in the language upon which he had been employed. After his death, it was discovered that he had in like manner written his remarks upon the Catalonian Version of the New Testament, in that dialect of the Spanish.
In the year 1830, he undertook to prepare, at my request, a new edition, or, rather a new version of the New Testament, in Hebrew; one of the most valuable of his labours. I have already stated the circumstances under which he acquired a critical familiarity with this language, for which he always retained a strong predilection. In preparing this Version, he was indebted to the Rev. Dr. Henderson, Theological Tutor of Highbury College, for the loan of a valuable MS., and he also was allowed to avail himself not only of the translation issued by the London Society for Promoting Christianity among the Jews, but of all the criticisms thereon, which had been received by the committee of that society. Of the comparative merits of Mr. Greenfield's edition, I do not feel competent to speak.t It may be remarked, however, that it has undergone a searching ordeal of criticism, and that from parties not indisposed to detect any faults or deficiencies; and that it stands at present unrivalled as a faithful exhibition of the Christian Scriptures in the sacred language of the Jews.
Besides these important works, and otner editorial labours of inferior consequence, Mr. Greenfield edited for me the Greek Testament of my “ Polymierian" edition. He also compiled, as a companion volume, the Polymicrian Greek Lexicon of the New Testament, which is spoken of in the Eclectic Review in the following terms: “Of the Polymicrian Lexicon, we cannot but speak with admiration. Elegance and accuracy of typographical execution, and the extreme smallness of the volume, which renders it a curiosity, are but the least of its recommendations. The work has, as a Lexicon, very great merit, and does the highest honour to the editor's fidelity, competent learning, and sound judgment.
It is no meagre abridgment. The best Greek lexicons have been laid under contribution. As far as we have examined the definitions, and compared them with those of the larger lexicons, we have been struck with the happy manner in which every real variation of import is succinctly expressed."
This Lexicon, published in 1829, was followed by a corresponding edition of Schmidt's Greek Concordance, likewise edited by Mr. Greenfield, who prefixed to it a Latin preface, explaining the ingenious arrangement by which the ponderous original was compressed into the compass of a miniature volume.
For a Translation of this Preface, see Appendix D. † For an able Critique upon the Hebrew New Testament, see the Eclectic Review, October, 1831.
Ibid. February, 1832, p. 160.
It remains for me to speak of that publication, which may be regarded as, in some respects, the most meritorious and valuable of all Mr. Greenfield's labours; which formed, in the first instance, a principal recommendation of its author, as a suitable person to fill the post of “ Superintendent of the translating and editing department of the Bible Society.
The Comprehensive Bible was first published in the year 1826. The title was adopted, as explained in the prospectus, on account of the extensive and multifarious nature of the contents; comprising four thousand illustrative and critical notes, and five hundred thousand marginal references, a general introduction to the study of the Scriptures, introductory and concluding remarks to each of the sacred books, and several different tables of contents and indexes. So valuable a mass of biblical information, so admirably condensed and arranged, was never, I may fearlessly assert, brought within the compass of a single volume.
When Mr. Greenfield was selected by the sub-committee of the British and Foreign Bible Society, as an editor of their versions, it was thought that, in the eyes of the religious public, it would form one of the strongest recommendations of the appointment, that he was the author of the Prefaces and Notes to that work. The minute of Mr. Greenfield's appointment is dated March 15, 1830, and published in the twenty-sixth Report of the Bible Society.
At a meeting of the general committee, March 22, this recommendation of the sub-committee was read, and the appointment ratified. But, how little could it be foreseen, that this kindly meant, but (to me) most unfortunate specification of Mr. Greenfield's literary performance, would prove the signal for a sudden, unmeasured, and most disingenuous attack upon a publication so long and so highly esteemed, or that an appointment so honourable in itself, and which seemed likely to prove of such important advantage to the interests of the Christian world, would prove fatal to the peace
my gifted and amiable friend, by exposing him to the shafts of calumny, and be the remote cause of shortening his days in the very prime of his intellectual vigour, and the morning of his fame ! Mysterious are the dispensations of Him, in whose hands are the keys of life and of death.
The attack so unexpectedly opened induced more than one spontaneous polemical defence: to those kind friends he deeply felt his great obligagation ; but Mr. Greenfield confidently left the work to its own merits, and only confronted calumny with the simple matter of fact by publishing the detached and scattered Notes and Prefaces in a consecutive form, under the following title :
“ The Pillar of Divine Truth, immoveably fixed on the Apostles and Prophets, Jesus Christ HIMSELF being the chief Corner Stone ; shewn by the Genuineness, Preservation, Authenticity, Inspiration, Facts, Doctrines, Miracles, Prophecies, and Precepts of the WORD OF GOD. The whole of the Arguments and Illustrations drawn from the pages of the Comprehensive Bible, by the Editor of that Work." One volume, 8vo. 6s.
In this work the author has not used one expression that alludes to the reason of its publication ; under the hope and expectation that the work would be of the highest utility long after the occasion that called it forth had been forgotten. In the Preface he thus writes :
“ This volume being derived from the pages of the Comprehensive Bible,' it may be necessary to state briefly of what that work consists. Besides the Sacred text, the chronology, the various readings, the contents, in
dexes, and a vast body of parallel passages, it contains (what more particularly demands a distinct specification,) upwards of 4000 Notes, and an ample Introduction.
“The Notes are chiefly selected from the most eminent biblical critics and commentators, both british and foreign ; and are designed to improve the Authorized Version, where it has been conceived to be faulty ; to explain words which, since the days of our venerable translators, have either become obsolete, changed their signification, or become less comprehensive in their import ; to elucidate really difficult passages : to reconcile or account for apparent discrepancies, whether in the history, chronology, or any other department;
to illustrate the ideas, images, and allusions of the Sacred Writers; by a reference to objects, idioms, customs, manners, and laws, which were peculiar to their age or country, or to Oriental nations ; to explain, by short notices, the geography, natural history, and antiquities of Judea, and other Eastern countries; and to furnish brief but comprehensive Introductions, embracing a short analysis, to each book.
“İn the General Introduction, the object of the Editor was to supply such information as might be necessary to a correct acquaintance with the Sacred Volume ; and it consists of disquisitions on the genuineness, uncorrupted preservation, authenticity, and inspiration of the Sacred Writings ; on the divisions and marks of distinction which occur in the Scriptures ; on the manuscripts and printed editions ; on the Samaritan Pentateuch, ancient versions, and the authorized English version; on the Jewish writings, apostolic and primitive Fathers, and Doctors of the Church; on the Jewish sects, factions, and orders of men : on the Jewish and other coins, weights, and measures ; on the Jewish and Roman modes of computing time; and on the geography and history of the nations mentioned in the Sacred Scriptures.
“ From this mass of materials, such portions have been selected as comported with the design of this work, merely adding occasionally a few connecting words, or such passages of Scripture as were necessary for the correct apprehension of the subject. A great body of notes, (at least as much as would form a volume of equal dimensions with the present) on the geography, natural history, antiquities, manners, customs, &c., of Judea and other Eastern countries, has necessarily been left untouched, as they were foreign to the object of this work. This object was, generally, to establish the genuineness, uncorrupted preservation, authenticity, and inspiration of the Sacred Volume, and specially, in the illustration of the arguments on these all-important topics, to prove the principal facts, to illustrate the miracles, to shew the fulfilment of the prophecies, to exhibit the harmony, and to display the doctrines and precepts of the WORD OF God. In the prosecution of this design, the author has sedulously laboured, he trusts not altogether in vain; and he would earnestly implore the Divine blessing to render the work efficient for the purpose of convincing the unbeliever, of confirming the wavering, of strengthening the weak, of instructing the ignorant, and of building up the believer in his most holy faith, that, being built “ on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone,” and led by the Holy Spirit, both the writer and reader, through the merits of the atonement of the Son of God, may finally find that, “ when heart and flesh fail.” God is, “ the strength of their heart, and their portion for ever.”
(To be continued and concluded in our nexl Number.)