father, Gevatter ; in French, compère. How comes it that the translators know nothing of the word Pathe, and of the justmentioned exclusive meaning of the word Gevatter? How comes it, that in German the child is exhorted to ratify what its compère (the spiritual father of its offspring) had promised ? Is this not calculated to excite the laughter of a whole congregation? We may remark in passing, that in the Catechism of the American translation the word sponsor is rendered by Taufzeuge, (witness,) a very improper word, although at present extensively used in Gerinany.

But all these are matters of minor importance in comparison with what we are now about to say. In all our dealings, particularly with foreigners, it is not only fair, but a matter of great prudence to show our stand-point' as clearly as we can, and to show it at the very first moment we come into contact with them. Among the uneducated it is commonly the first impression which decides. The second thoughts of the few are of little avail. To fail at the outset is nearly equivalent to failing entirely. Recovery will be difficult, and it will proceed only by imperceptible degrees. - Suppose you are to start a Mission among the Germans. Suppose you have overcome those numberless difficulties which beset your path, and the enumeration of which would almost fill a volume. You appear before a moderate congregation of ignorant, mostly indifferent persons, attracted by curiosity, or drawn together by the invitation of your friends or assistants. What have you to lay before them? Of course nothing except a translation of the Book of Common Prayer, and perhaps a Hymn Book. What will their first thought be? Nothing else but to find out who you are, and what your Church is. And for this reason they will turn over diligently the leaves of your Prayer-Book, and listen to what you are reading out of it. You proceed and say you believe in the Holy Christian or Catholic Church, according to the first or second edition of the American translation, and from that moment your fate may be sealed. Idlers will go round and confirm what your neighbor, the German pastor, once a tailor or shoemaker, had already said, that you are nothing but a Romanist in disguise; that you and your brother clergymen have been allowed to marry; at least that you are a pseudoProtestant, because there is no real Protestantism except in Germany, and so forth in inf.

Will you hope to gain the Romanists? The believing portion of them will shun you, because their Bishop knows nothing of you, and because you are condemned and anathematized by the Council of Trent. According as you have said, or your book contains the words Christian or Catholic Church, you may expect a larger or smaller andience, or even to be left by yourself at your next service, in spite of all your private or public explanations. So much depends on a single word.

But let us see what this word is, and what it imports in building up a German congregation. This word is katholisch, in the Apostles' Creed, which in Germany is never used by Protestants, and which there, with the exception of the learned theologians, always means Romish. Christians, in the view of the German people, are either katholisch, that is to say, Romanists; or they are Protestants; tertium non datur. The conception of the Church Catholic, which is so familiar to us, has been so entirely lost sight of in Germany, that it were almost a miracle if it were revived by merely adopting a word in the Creeds which had been expunged from them more than three hundred years ago. While not only the Church of England, but the Dissenters also acquiesce in the word Catholic, this word has been expelled, on the continent of Europe, from every one of the creeds, at the very outset of the Reformation. But of this more afterwards.

Suppose now a member of your congregation opens the first American edition of the Prayer-book, what will he say? He will say you lean towards Lutheranism, because you say you believe in the Holy Christian Church; and in this he will be confirmed by finding the Lord's Prayer worded Vater unser ; unless his birth-place was so far from Saxony as to know of no other form among Protestants except Unser Vater. If he be a man of some education, he will find several analogies between your forms and those of old Lutheranism ; but he

translation the Office for the ds is always rende

will hesitate to charge you with either secret or open Romanism. Quite different will be the case if you place the second American, or the London translation before him. He will at least distrust you, and be on his guard lest he be caught in the nets of Romanism.

The case stands thus: 1. In the first American edition the word Catholic of the Creeds is always rendered by christlich, except in the Office for the Visitation of the Sick, where it is translated allgemein christlich.

2. The second or revised American edition differs from the first in this, that in the Apostles' Creed in the Morning and Evening Prayer the word christlich is replaced by katholisch —ALL OTHER PLACES BEING LEFT INTACT.

The first edition, prepared by Rev. Dr. Crusé and Professor Tellkampf, is so far consistent as it translates five times by christlich and once by allgemein christlich: the second Ameri. can edition has twice katholisch, (in the Apostles' Creed at Morning and Evening Prayer,) three times christlich, (twice in the Nicene Creed immediately after the aforesaid places, and once in the Catechism ;) lastly, once allgemein christlich in the Office for the Visitation of the Sick. All of which will be made clear by the following tabular view : Places.

First edition. Second edition. a. Morning Prayer. 1. Apostles' Creed, christlich katholisch 2. Nicene Creed, christlich christlich 6. Evening Prayer. 1. Apostles' Creed, christlich

katholisch 2. Nicene Creed, christlich

christlich c. Catechism, christlich

christlich d. Visit. of Sick. S allgemein allgemein

| christlich christlichs


The London translator always writes katholisch, which shows clearly that he knows little about the great mass of German Protestants, and that his translation could not have been carefully revised by such a man as Chevalier Bunsen; for not even Bunsen, though the inventor of a new kind of catholicity, would employ that word without something modi. fying it.

Such being the case, it will be evident that a second revision becomes necessary, if for no other reason, at least for the sake of consistency, and in order to remove every idea of doubledealing or secret leaning which might enter the minds even of the most candid of our proselytes.

In order to prepare the way for such a new revision, we propose now to show that neither christlich nor katholisch, places us in the true light; but that allgemein christlich is the word that comes nearest to it.

Waiving the question whether the word catholio" should not be pronounced unessential to the Apostles' Creed, and especially if we retain the idea, or the thing itself, for the same reason as the words, He descended into hell may be omitted ; let us see first whether the word christlich be a fit substitute for it.

It is a curious circumstance that the word christlich was used by Luther from the outset, in his Shorter Catechism, and that Luther and his followers tenaciously clung to that word, making it equivalent to catholic, as may be seen in the later symbolic books of the Lutheran body, where we repeatedly meet the expression, Catholicus sive Christianus. Still more curious is the assertion of Lutheran theologians that already before Luther's times there was a German translation of the Apostles' Creed having heilige christliche Kirche. (See Chemnit. Loc. Theol. tom iii. p. 302.)

In what relation this old translation may stand to Luther's undertaking, we are now not prepared to say. One thing, however, seems to be certain, that Luther adopted that word christlich solely for the purpose of aiming one of his heaviest blows at Romanism. But while he did so, he predisposed the German mind to lose the idea of the true Catholic Church, of which some of his fellow-laborers, particularly Melanchthon, had a pretty good idea. The truth is, Luther, the Augustinian monk, did not hope to reform the higher orders of the clergy, and soon rose too high himself to find it desirable to reform the Church through her old catholic forms. Hence all his errors in regard to the constitution and government of the

Church; hence his depreciation of the ministry or his idea of universal priesthood, (which forms so glaring a contrast with his high ideas of the Sacrament,) and other errors, which, while eradicating Romanism, made his Church a helpless society, to be absorbed by the secular power.*

The word christlich in the Creeds, it is true, would be no stumbling-block to the mass of German Protestants whom our missionaries should undertake to evangelize. But then it does not represent what it should express; besides, it would be very apt to confirm the Germans in their loose and erroneous idea of the Church ; finally, it would be looked at with distrust by many English and American Churchmen. Hence it can not be suffered to remain, but must be exchanged for a more suitable one.

Neither is the word katholisch the most suitable. Although derived from the same source with the English word Catholic, its meaning, in Germany, is much narrower than that of the word Catholic in English, as has been remarked already. Sound, it is true, corresponds to sound, but not conception to conception.—And there is nothing strange in this. Words taken from the same source grow up to different meanings in different languages. This may be daily observed in regard to words of common use: but it will be remarked, although not so often, in relation to words of science, too. Philosophy and

* The idea of a royal priesthood, common to all, and imparted to every one at his baptism, dates as far back as 1520. After the ground was prepared by the Thesis, Luther issued an Address to Germany's Christian Mobility on the twenty-third of July, 1520, in which he sammoned that body to destroy the three bulwarks of Romanism, namely: first, the clerical order, endeavoring to show by 1 Pet. 2, that there is no difference between clergy and laity, except that of appointment by the congregation; secondly, the interpretation of the Bible by the Pope; and thirdly, the right of summoning a General Council by the same Roman Pontift. This Ade dress may be regarded as the first step towards something like a general Reformation. It is a mistake to suppose that the apostolic order was broken from necessity. There was no necessity for that, except in the erroneous views of the Reformer himself. Luther never desired to be a Bishop. Consecration was nothing to him who, from an humble friar, had suddenly become & mighty prophet; and who, in order to show his contempt of Episcopacy, did not scruple to order Amsdorf a Bishop, although in general he was satisfied to call the new overseers superintendents. What his view of ordination was, can be gathered from his letter ad Senatum Progensem, 1523. The Bohemians, having fallen into confusion, in consequence of their adherence to Episcopal ordination, he advised them to choose their pastors and bishops themselves. “ Prepare yourselves by prayer, and then assemble in God's name, and proceed to election. Let the most respected among you lay their hands on the chosen candidates, and when this has taken place in several parishes, let the pastors, in their turn, elect a head or Bishop to visit them as Peter visited the first Christian communities." How this democratic view was modified after. wards, does not belong here to relate. The people never knew much of the change. .

« ElőzőTovább »