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It was then that union with the Church of England was seriously agitated, that Bishops were consecrated and the first German translation of the English Prayer-Book ushered into the world. But as the movement had originated in outward pressure, so it subsided soon afterwards when that pressure was removed by the Peace of Utrecht.
Under the dissolving influence of modern indifferentism, the fusion, at last, was carried out in our own times; but the other thing needful, namely, the building up of a Church, out of the fragments of defunct sects, is little more than the pium desid. eratum of a few theologians and statesmen.
Some of the Prussian kings, it is true, being tired of their supreme Episcopate, sought relief in bestowing the title of Bishop upon some worthy general superintendent; they even concurred with the Church of England in founding the Episcopal See at Jerusalem ; but how far they might have gone if permitted, or how far their successors will go when times will seem to be more propitious, can only be known to such as are initiated into the secrets of the Prussian cabinet. In the mean time we may take it as a good omen, that the name of a Prussian diplomatist has been associated with a new German translation of the English Book of Common Prayer, which in all probability is the same with the first of the works standing at the head of this article.
While these things were going on in Germany, our own Church of America could not remain indifferent, in view of the great spiritual destitution of those hundreds of thousands who leaving their homes in Germany, were pouring into this country from year to year. Means had therefore to be provided to reach them in their country districts, and above all in the large cities, where they form a notable portion (in some of them almost one half) of the population. Among these means, a good translation of the Book of Common Prayer was. always thought to be not the least efficient.
How far any German translation of the Book of Common Prayer may be a good one, in the sense in which this term is applied to the English text, we are not willing now to discuss. We would merely observe that a very good one, in the common acceptation of this word, was wanted, when the matter
was first brought before the General Convention in 1841. A Committee was then appointed to examine a translation which was presented, but owing to some disagreement among themselves, the Committee was discharged in 1844, and a new committee (consisting of Bishop Onderdonk, of New York, the Rev. Ch. F. Crusé, D.D., and Professor Tellkampf, of Columbia College, New-York,) appointed to prepare a new translation, and in doing this, to use that version of the Book of Common Prayer of the Church of England which, according to Bishop Onderdonk's statement, was then about to be effected under the special supervision of the well-known Chevalier Bunsen.
It is under the hands of the two latter members of the Committee that the German translation of the American PrayerBook originated, and by them it was recommended to German congregations, in a notice on the reverse of the title-page, as perfectly in accordance with the English text. (See copy of 1847, at the head of this article.) Soon, however, it was found out that this translation was defective ; hence a new Committee, consisting of the Rt. Rev. the Bishop of Maryland, and the Rev. D. Rose, was appointed, by the General Convention of 1850, in order to effect a revision of it.
Thus originated the new or revised German Prayer-Book, as shown by a copy of 1852 at the head of this Article. It is however, to be observed that there is no mention made, either on the title-page or in the notice of the Publishing Committee, that this is a new, revised edition ; on the contrary, the same notice, already mentioned, signed by the same names, mamely, C. F. Crusé and Theo. A. Tellkampf, is reprinted here, without the slightest intimation of another Committee's coöperation in it.
Having thus taken a glance at the history of the translations before us, let us see now how far either of them, particularly the American, may be a fit means for missionary work among Germans, especially those whom it is the intention of our Church to reach. The idea of fitness first, and of necessity, excludes every thing that may work against our intentions ; and secondly, it includes every thing that may promote the end to be attained. In regard to the special object in view, a translation of the Book of Common Prayer will be a fit means for evangelizing our German brethren, first, if it be effected in such a way as really to render the sense without grammatical blunders, and secondly, by rendering the sense of it in such appropriate language as most easily reaches the heart.
In both these respects, we are sorry to say, neither of the translations comes up to what may be expected. Several of the mistakes of the London publication were left intact when transplanted upon American soil, and many others appeared in the American translation which were not found in the English one. We can never believe that the Chevalier Bunsen bestowed any great attention to the translation made in England, nor can we be induced to think that the American Committees closely and minutely examined those portions which they have admitted into their own work.
In order to convince the reader of this statement, let us open the books before us. On the very first page, after the Preface, the American translation has the following rubric: Zweckmaessige Psalmen an gewissen Tagen, that is to say : SUITABLE Psalms on certain days. The London translation renders this by the word besonder, which means special or particular. That neither of these words comes up to the meaning of the word proper in this place, and that the American rendering is the worse of the two, needs not to be dwelt un before readers familiar with these things. In fact, it is to be wondered that it did not occur to the translators that the word “proper” stands here for appropriated or appointed.*
But let us turn to the Order for the Daily Morning Prayer, and especially to the Exhortation. The sentences being taken out of Luther's translation of the Bible, the first portion of the Daily Morning Prayer subject to remark is the Exhortation.
The London translator begins with, Innig geliebte; which we would dislike to say. The American translator renders the Dearly beloved, as far as possible, verbatim, by Theure Geliebte; in which he is decidedly more happy than his brother translator on the other side of the Atlantic. Still, it struck
* The Proposed Book has the word “appointed," instead of " proper."
the writer when he first saw the American translation, that it was by far the best way to say simply, Liebe Brueder, even if there should be no other reason for it except its general appropriateness, as felt by every educated German. And it must be remarked here, that there is hardly any other reason for this. To the Englishman or American, the words Beloved and Dearly Beloved are sacred, on account of their having repeatedly been used by the Apostles in addressing churches or single persons. His heart rejoices at being addressed with the very same words by men whom the Apostles ordained to be ministers in the Church of Christ; and his heart may expand at the idea of the real and close oneness of the Church of which he is a member with that founded by the Saviour Himself. No such ideas or feelings will be produced in the minds or hearts of the Gerinans; for, among other reasons, where you find these words in the Epistles of St. Paul or Peter, Luther does not always use the same espression ; but has sometimes Liebster, sometimes only Lieber , the first of which would be deemed too familiar, the latter being the same with that suggested above.*
Without entering into any thing like a minute examination of the Exhortation, we are satisfied to remark, that the American version is in general smooth and good enough, while the London translation must be styled rugged, because clinging too much to single words, or often mis-translating them.
We proceed to the Lord's prayer. The trans-atlantic work begin with Unser Vater, as it stands in Luther's Bible; the American éditors made it Vater unser, as usual among Romanists; as adopted also by Luther in his Catechism, and still retained by all who lean towards old Lutheranism. The form of the Lutheran Bible is undoubtedly, in a grammatical point of view, preferable to Vater unser, which is supported merely
* The Authorized Version has always Beloved, or Dearly beloved, for the eyannrós of the New Testament, with the exception of one place, if we are not mistaken, where it stands Dear, The same Greek word Luther often translates by Liebster, especially in the first Epistles; in the latter ones, however, and more frequently, be employs the term Lieber. The term, Dearly be loved, occurs but once in the Old Testament, at least according to Cruden: "I bare given the dearly beloved of my soul into the band of her enemies." (Jer, 12 : 7.) The Polyglott Bible makes 67777 signify love ; for which there is no need. Luther's Bible mis-translates this place: Ich habe meine liebe Seele in der Feinde Hand gegeben.
by its antiquity and local use. But as the decision of the question whether this or that form should be received involves considerations of a different kind, we dismiss it at present to resume it shortly afterwards. For the same reason we decline now to say a word about the Creeds, and hasten to conclude our observations on matters of minor importance.
The Daily Morning and Evening Prayer, the Litany, and Communion Service are decidedly more acceptable in the American translation than in the London publication. In other respects the two translations are in many places congruent, how rugged soever may be the trans-atlantic Version. Without entering into more details, we beg leave to call attention to the following
The American Book of Common Prayer has this rubric be. fore the Litany: to be used on such and such occasions ; not expressly stating, as the English Liturgy does, that it may be sung or said, but manifestly not excluding either mode. How comes it that the American translators say that the Litany, a prayer unpopular among Germans on account of its name and responses, shall be read or said only?
The second observation relates to the Collect on Christmasday. The parts of this Collect are so improperly placed, that it can not fail to produce a very painful sensation.
The third observation will show the ignorance of the London translator, and the utter carelessness of the American Committees. In the Office of Confirmation, the terms “Godfathers” and “Godmothers” occur in the Preface, and the word “Sponsors” immediately after in the address of the Bishop. In the Preface, the persons to be confirmed are required to ratify and confirm what their Godfathers and Godmothers had promised for them in Baptism; and the Bishop asks them to renew the solemn promise and vow of their “sponsors.” Now let us see what the German translators say; how they trans. late the words “ Godfather, Godmother, or sponsor.” There is an old word in Germany for sponsor, Pathe, probably derived from pater. And as the sponsor was regarded as the medium of a new, spiritual birth, he was called, but only in relation to the natural father, his (the father's, and not the child's) fellow
for them in Banheir Godfathers med are requi