Clement Moody New Testament Notes

Clement Moody's New Testament Notes, 1852

Clement Moody was an Anglican clergyman from Cumbria, England. His New Testament, published in America in 1852, included extensive marginal Scriptural references and a harmony of the Gospels.


Holy Scripture is the only form in which the Church of England professes to interpret her doctrine; she naturally goes back to the same source from which the doctrine was derived, for the truth and confirmation of it. In the interpretation of Scripture itself, holding God's word written to contain all things necessary to salvation, she presumes not to ordain anything that is contrary to same, nor so to expound one place of Scripture that it be repugnant to another; for as the mind and intention of every branch of the catholic church should be sought in its declared official acts, so the mind of our common spiritual Head can only be ascertained from the revelation of God's will. Hence the Church of England, in a consistent course of faithfulness, has borne her testimony to the truth and all-sufficiency of the sacred canon by repeated efforts to make the Divine Author his own interpreter.

In the authorized Version of 1611, the references of one scripture to another are not so numerous as might be expected: but it should be recollected, that at the epoch of the church's history the one great boon to be secured was a translation of the Bible into the vulgar tongue. This was the all-absorbing thought of the day; for this, the national pulse was beating anxiously. Indeed, without a pure and accurate translation, the comparison of its several parts would have proved an uncertain, not to say, a dangerous, experiment. Yet this want was in some degree supplied by the practice of the divines of the seventeenth century, who, in assimilating their teaching to the word of God, as the groundwork of proof and argument, were gradually paving the way for further contributions to this department of Biblical knowledge. Accordingly we find, that in 1638 a Bible[*] with many references to the parallel passages added, was published by the University printers of Cambridge; in 1683, another by Dr. Scattergood, of Oxford: and again in 1701, the good work was continued with renewed vigour and research, under the direction of Bishop Lloyd. For seventy years were the services of this eminent divine made available to advance the understanding of Holy Scripture, until the year 1769, when a new and decisive step was taken, partly to correct the numerous typographical errors of former editions, and partly to render this important branch of sacred learning more full and complete. For this, the Christian church at large, wherever the English language is spoken is indebted to the extensive research, and the unremitting labour of Dr. Blayney, sometime Regius Professor of Hebrew in the University of Oxford. But let the learned professor speak for himself; and perhaps the interesting matter contained in his letter[†] may require no apology for inserting it at length:--

"To the Rev. the Vice-Chancellor, and the other delegates of the Clarendon Press.—

The Editor of the two editions of the Bible lately printed at the Clarendon Press thinks it his duty, now that he has completed the whole in the course of between three and four years' close application, to make his report to the Delegates of the manner in which that work has been executed; and hopes for their approbation.

"In the first place, according to the instructions he received, the folio edition of the 1611, that of 1701, published under the direction of Bishop Lloyd, and two Cambridge editions of a late date, one in quarto, the other in octavo, have been carefully collated, whereby many errors that were found in the former editions have been corrected, and the text reformed to such a standard of purity as, it is presumed, is not to be met with in any other edition hitherto extant.

"The punctuation has been carefully attended to, not only with a view to preserve the true sense, but also to the uniformity as far as was possible.

"Frequent recourse has been had to the Hebrew and Greek originals: and, as on the other occasions, so with a special regard to the words not expressed in the original language, but which our Translators have thought fit to insert in italics, in order to make out the sense after the English idiom, or to preserve the connexion; and though Dr. Paris made large corrections in this particular in an edition published at Cambridge, there still remain many necessary alterations, which escaped the Doctor's notice; in making which the Editor chose not to rely on his own judgment singly, but submitted them all to the previous examination of the Select Committee, and particularly of the Principal of Hertford College (now Magdalen Hall) and Mr. Professor Wheeler. A list of the above alterations was to have been given in to the vice-chancellor at this time, but the editor has not yet found time to make it completely out.

"Considerable alterations have been made in the heads or contents prefixed to the chapters, as will appear on inspection; and though the Editor is unwilling to enlarge upon the labour bestowed by himself in this particular, he cannot avoid taking notice of the peculiar obligations which both himself and the public lie under to the Principal of Hertford College, Mr. Griffith, of Pembroke College, Mr. Wheeler, Poetry Professor, and the late Warden of New College, so long as he lived to bear a part in it; who, with a prodigious expense of time, and inexpressible fatigue to themselves, judiciously corrected and improved the rude and imperfect draughts of the Editor.

"The running titles at the top of the columns in each page, how trifling a circumstance soever it may appear, required no small degree of thought and attention.

"Many of the proper names being left untranslated, whose etymology was necessary to be known, in order to a more perfect comprehension of the allusions in the text, the translation of them, under the inspection of the above named Committee, has been, for the benefit of the unlearned, supplied in the margin.

"Some obvious and material errors in the chronology have been considered and rectified.

"The marginal references, even in Bishop Lloyd's Bible, had in many places suffered by the inaccuracy of the press; subsequent editions had copied those errata, and added many others of their own; so that it became absolutely necessary to turn to and compare the several passages; which has been done in every single instance, and by this precaution several false references brought to light, which would otherwise have passed unsuspected. It has been the care of the editor to rectify these, as far as he could, by critical conjecture where the copies universally failed him, as they did in most of the errors discovered in the Bishop Lloyd's edition. In some few instances he confesses himself to have been at a loss in finding out the true reference, though the corruption was manifest in the want of any the most distant resemblance between the passages compared together. Cases of this sort indeed did not often occur; so that a very small number only of the old references are, with the sanction of the committee, omitted, and their places more usefully supplied.

"It had been suggested by the late Archbishop of Canterbury, that an improvement might be made in the present editions of the Bible, by taking a number of additional references, of which many useful ones, as he supposed, might be furnished from other editions referred to by him, and particularly from a Scotch edition, of which the present vice-chancellor was kind enough to lend a copy. The references found in it, which were indeed very numerous, having been severally turned to and examined, such of them were selected as the editor judged most pertinent, together with others that occurred from his own reading and observation. In doing this, he has endeavoured to keep clear of mere fanciful allusions, of which too many presented themselves in the before-named Scotch edition, and to adhere as near as possible to the plan marked out in the former collection made by Bishop Lloyd; pointing out such passages chiefly where the same history or the same name was introduced, the same matter treated of, or sentiment expressed, or at least where parallels might fairly be drawn;[‡] and sometimes where a similar use of a particular word or expression tended to illustrate the application of it on another occasion. The number of references being thus augmented considerable, the collection, upon the whole, will, it is hoped, be regarded as useful in the light of a Concordance, material as well as verbal, always at hand.

"In this state, the quarto copy was sent to press: and the first proofs carefully collated with the copy, both text and margin; after which the second proofs were again read, and, generally speaking, the third likewise; not to mention the frequent revision of proofs besides, which are common in correcting the press. This proved indeed a very tiresome and tedious task; but was not more than was absolutely necessary in order to attain the degree of accuracy that was wished. A particular attention was required with respect to the figures belonging to the Marginal References, where errors were continually creeping in after a manner that would appear highly astonishing to those who have never been concerned in correcting multitudes of figures as they come from the press.

"When the quarto sheets were printed off, the forms were lengthened out in order to make up the folio edition; in doing which the parts were often so jumbled together, and such confusion introduced by misplacing the references and mistaking the etymology, that nothing else would suffice than a fresh collation of the whole with the quarto copy, and a repetition of almost the same trouble and care in the revisal and in making up the running titles anew, as had been used before. But the editor thinks he has just reason to congratulate himself on the opportunity hereby given him of discovering and correcting some few trivial inaccuracies which, in spite of all his vigilance, had escaped his notice in the quarto edition. So that the folio edition is rendered by this somewhat the more perfect of the two, and therefore more fit to be recommended for a standard copy.

"The editor humbly hopes this account of his proceedings will not be unacceptable to the board; and will think his time and pains not ill bestowed, if he shall have succeeded in his desire of giving satisfaction to those who honoured him with the employment, and of contributing in any wise to God's honour and the public utility.

B. Blayney."

"Hertford College, Oct. 25, 1769."

This document bespeaks not only the care and judgment exercised in the appointment of proper persons to superintend the very important work of collation and revision, but also the indefatigable zeal, the scholarship, and the research which were brought to bear up on the execution of the plan. It affords a guaranty for honesty of purpose, free alike from party spirit and from controversy; and involves a high claim to a public reception of the References, a claim which is considerably strengthened by the fact, that they are virtually recognized in their increasing use and adoption by the laity as well as the clergy, and that large editions of the Marginal Reference Bible are annually issuing from the University presses of Oxford and Cambridge, and from that of the Queen's printer in London.

Great, however, as have been the additions to the original references, little has been published respecting the principles by which the compilers were severally guided in the selection. The information furnished above is so far valuable as to show, that in the separate labours of Bishop Lloyd and Dr. Blayney, there was a unity of design. From the account given by the latter divine, it would appear that the references may be comprehended under the general term parallel, understanding thereby those passages in which there is an identity, or a coincidence, in the language or the sentiment of the writers: so that the elements, of which the parallelism is made up, are the words and the sense of scripture. But in estimating the general bearing of the References, I am much mistaken if they do not possess a quality, not specially named in the learned professor's brief exposition of his plan, and yet not excluded: I allude to the suggestive character of many of them; suggestive, that is of a probable construction, and so guarding against one which the words do not warrant; or a least of a construction that may be considered apposite, as a comment or illustration. Whether this were a third element in the system of Bishop Lloyd and Dr. Blayney, or whether it arise out of the nature of the subject, I will not pretend to determine. But I feel bound to lay some stress upon this feature, as intrinsically valuable to the Biblical student; and the more so, as it enables me to subjoin a caution, from the neglect of which the Marginal Reference Bible itself has been misunderstood and depreciated: the caution is, that he ascertain first, the character of the parallelism, whether it be verbal or material; and secondly, the extent of it, that is, whether it affect the whole reference, or only a part: thus he will avoid confounding two things in themselves distinct, and, what is of still more consequence, he will not be betrayed in the fallacy of supposing, that a reference must always conduct to the literal sense of the passage: it is in many cases simply intended to afford a clue to a probable interpretation. Let me exemplify these statements. St. Paul says (Rom. i. 13,) "I would not have you ignorant, brethren, that oftentimes I purposed to come unto you, (but b was let hitherto,) that I might have some fruit among you." &c. The references are bActs xvi.7, "After they [Paul and Timotheus] were come to Mysia, they assayed to go into Bithynia: but the Spirit suffered them not:" and 1 Thess. ii.18, "We would have come unto you, even I Paul, once and again; but Satan hindered us." They are not verbal, for the words, being different, are no guide to the usus loquendi: they are therefore material, and the common idea running through the parallelism "let," "suffered...not," "hindered," is that of obstruction: but here, in strictness, the analogy ceases. Beyond this, then, is the point which, in the example before us, seems to be so important as an hermeneutic aid, although diversity, and not resemblance, is the issue. St. Paul assigns no reason why he was hindered from going to Rome, nor have we any right for certain to assume one: but the references modestly suggest two opposite causes, which on other occasions operated as obstructions, either of which may be the probable one here, "the Spirit," or "Satan." Again, in Simeon's prophecy respecting the Virgin Mary, (Luke ii. 35,) he thus apostrophises her: "Yea, f a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also." The reference is to a mere historical fact; John xix. 25, "There stood by the cross of Jesus His mother." Few readers, perhaps, will at first sight be struck with the point of the parallelism: yet it is close and evident, full of pathos, and inexpressibly beautiful. It is not meant, I apprehend, that there was any intended necessary connexion in the minds of Simeon and St. John: or, at least, the framers of the References do not vouch for so much: but only that the fact is an apt representation of the prophecy, as suggesting that the agonizing sufferings of the Son upon the cross may have occasioned the deepest pang, that afflicted the soul of the blessed mother. Well has it been remarked with respect to the juxtaposition of parallel passages, that it is often the best comment. A systematic adherence to Scripture, such as we find in the work we are considering, with the caution before given, will generally secure the student against wild theory and useless conjecture; and teach him the simple lesson, where scripture is silent, not to be wise above that which is written.

Notwithstanding these manifest advantages, the circulation of the Marginal Reference Bible, though increasing, is by no means equal with what it deserves; for which several reasons may be assigned. Many persons, doubtless through ignorance of its intrinsic usefulness, have never consulted it at all; and of those in possession of the volume, some from the awkwardness of turning to several passages at once, to say nothing, even then, of the difficulty of remembering them all; others from being unable to seize the point of resemblance or illustration in scattered fragments, have felt such a repugnance to the attention it demands, as to have been discouraged in the attempt. But there is yet another reason, amounting almost to a popular error: I mean the notion, that the references are only verbal, that is, are confined to the mere words or phraseology of Holy Scripture, without any bearing upon the history, the doctrine, or the moral precept involved. But nothing can be more erroneous than to regard this even as their common character; for the great bulk, as it seems, are material, affecting in some measure the sense or matter of the text; and as such, they have the nature of a commentary, the more highly to be appreciated as being scripture itself expounding or illustrating scripture—a mode of interpretation practiced by our Lord and His apostles, who used to confirm, to prove, and elucidate truths of the gospel by direct appeals to the Old Testament. Hence it is concluded, that by so transcribing the words of Dr. Blayney's references as to spread them before the eye in the aggregate, their mutual connexion with one another and application to the text may be more readily traced; and to say the least, one general objection to them in their present form by obviated. It is hoped also, that this may be the means of exciting among the laity a greater personal interest in the study of God's word in its purity and simplicity, by the help, as it were, of an authorized interpretation. My labours are confined at present to the New Testament.

A few words are due as to the manner in which I have endeavoured to accomplish the task I have undertaken: and here I need hardly say, that I have not been satisfied with quoting merely the particular verses referred to, without increase or diminution, as if every reference must necessarily include a whole verse, neither more nor less. To go no further than the gospels, in cases innumerable a single reference rather serves for an index to the subject, than marks out its real limits: as in the account of the transfiguration, the leading reference, (Matt. xvii. 1,) includes seven verses; and so in most of the parables and other discourses of our Lord. It is the general spirit of a passage that must be the guide in ascertaining the value and extent of a reference. Again, the object of the references being to edify the student by throwing some light on the places to which they belong, they should first be made clear from their own context, and exhibit severally an independent sense, before they can be applied to the purposes of elucidation. I have therefore laid it down as a rule, in the execution of the work, to make the sense of each reference complete in itself, so as to save all further search on the part of the reader: and if he finds, as assuredly he will, that a quotation contains more than the parallelism seems to require, I would only observe, that it is often impossible, on account of the closeness of the grammatical connexion, to extricate with the pen just so much as is applicable, without degenerating into mere bald verbalism; and that this fault of redundancy, if fault it be, may readily be overcome by that quick and subtle agent the eye, which will abstract, as by an act of volition, all that is exegetically necessary. My difficulty, indeed, has been to avoid lengthy citations, especially from the prophetical works and St. Paul's epistles; where one is too apt to be hurried away by the magnificent language of the former, and by the long reasonings of the latter, interrupted as they are with sudden digressions.

When the language and sentiment of both text and reference are the same, it would have been useless to encumber the work by repeating the words of the latter. This remark applies especially to all those portions of the gospels which, being identical as to the order of time and events, constitute what is called the Harmony of the Gospels; and as no one can write fully on any of the subjects which they embrace, unless he have each as a whole before the mind, so have I endeavoured to supply this desideratum as far as practicable, by keeping distinct from the rest of the references those which indicate the Harmony, notifying them by Greek letters. But here a difficulty soon presented itself, namely, how to distinguish in the Harmony that which is peculiar, or related by one evangelist but omitted by the rest; for this purpose I have had recourse to two asterisks [* *]...Important additions, or omissions, are noticed in the margin, distinguished thus [§ .] In this part of the work, I have felt it necessary to follow the guidance of some one who has made the Harmony of the Gospels his especial study. I have therefore been content to accept the guidance of the Rev. Mr. Greswell: not because I am convinced that the views of this learned and laborious writer are always correct; but because the Hamonia Evangelica enjoys such general favour among theological students.

In this attempt to shorten and simplify the way to Scriptural learning, I may be met with the objection, that I am doing for others what they are bound to do for themselves: and I grant there is much force in the observation, if it be restricted to those who have leisure and opportunity to search out the references: a practice which, if it become a habit, will indeed bring its own rich reward. But I fear there are not many who are enabled to adopt it to any extent. The working clergyman, sent into the streets and lanes of the city, or into the highways and hedges, has but few snatches of time, amidst much fatigue of mind and body, to compose a sermon for the Sunday: the statesman, the professional man, and the merchant, are early summoned to the business of the day: and even the literary man, seated quietly in his library, will often gladly be relieved from the task to which he must otherwise submit. It will be great joy to me, if this endeavour to make the knowledge contained in the best of all books more available, should prove an incentive to search the Scriptures, and compare spiritual things with spiritual, to any who now through want of such a help are deterred from so holy an exercise. But after all, the Marginal Reference Bible is essentially a book of study, not to be taken up and laid aside capriciously, but to be daily read with patient and devout attention. May the difficulty prove not a discouragement, but rather become a motive to drink more deeply at the sacred fountain!

I now commit these labours to the care of Him, without whom nothing is strong, nothing is holy; with the earnest prayer, that, so far as is agreeable to His will, they may be blessed both to the reader and myself: "Blessed Lord, who has caused all Holy Scriptures to be written for our learning, grant that we may in such wise hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them, that by patience, and comfort of Thy Holy Word, we may embrace and ever hold fast, the blessed hope of everlasting life, which Thou hast given us in our Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen."

I cannot close these prefatory remarks, without expressing my grateful thanks to my right reverend diocesan, for the kind and gracious interest which he has invariably taken in the work, and for the free access afforded me to his lordship's library: in short, had it not been for his encouragement, I should hardly have ventured upon the present publication.

[*] Called Buck and Daniel's Bible

[†] Published in the Gentleman's Magazine for November 1769, vol. xxxix.

[‡] Language to the same effect is adopted by another Bishop Lloyd, of later date, in the preface to his Greek Testament printed at the Clarendon press, Oxford: it is here translated for the benefit of the English reader:--"The use of parallel passages is of the greatest consequence in the interpretation of Holy Scripture; they very often show to the reader, when all other helps fail, the way he should follow. So true is it, even in the interpretation of His Own Word, that the word of God is a lamp unto our feet, and a light unto our path....Those passages are to be pronounced strictly parallel, in which the writer either handles the same matter which he himself or another has before treated of, or employs the same words, or even the same phrase or idiom: or where the writer makes mention of matters, if not the same, yet at least so similar to each other, as to afford room and occasion for a legitimate comparison." And as an excellent rule for the junior student, the bishop adds, that "He should learn from the use of parallel passages, before he leans upon human supports, first to bring together the various parts of Holy Scripture, and compare spiritual things with spiritual."Ñpp. vi-vii. Some valuable hints will be found also in Bishop Horsley's "Nine Sermons on the Resurrection."