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sat as Moderator. Walter Scott's picture of his character will never be forgotten. "He was deeply learned, without possessing useful knowledge; sagacious in many individual cases, without having real wisdom; fond of his power, and desirous to maintain and augment it, yet willing to resign the direction of that, and of himself, to the most unworthy favorites ; a big and bold asserter of his rights in words, yet one who saw them tamely trampled on in deeds; a lover of negotiations, in which he was always outwitted ; and a fearer of war where conquest might have been easy. He was fond of his dignity, while he was perpetually degrading it by undue familiarity; capable of much labor, yet often neglecting it for the meanest amusement; a wit, though a pedant; and a scholar, though fond of the conversation of the ignorant and uneducated. He was laborious in trifles, and a trifler where serious labor was required; devout in his sentiments, and yet too often profane in his language; he was penurious respecting money which he had to give from his own hand, yet inconsiderately and unboundedly profuse of that which he did not see. All these qualities entitled James to the character bestowed on him by Sully, that he was the wisest fool in Christendom.”
We may imagine what a moderator he made! “His notion of moderation," says another writer, " was not altogether uncommon; to have all the talk to himself, and to abuse every one who ventured to hint a difference of opinion. Little did he allow the Doctors to say; and when he was exhausted with his own harangues, he exclaimed, that if they had disputed so lainely in a College, he would have had them up and flogged them for dunces; and that, if that was all they could say, he would have them all conform or do worse for them." After such a description, we are not surprised at what passed in the Conference. To a Non-conformist, who objected to the surplice as a kind of garment used by the priests of Isis, he answered: “I did not think, till of late, it had been borrowed from the heathen, because commonly called “a rag of Popery."" To Dr. Reynolds, who proposed an Episcopal synod : "If you aim at a Scottish presbytery, it agreeth as well with monarchy as God and the devil. Then Jack and Tom, and Will and Dick, shall meet and censure me and my Council.” To a Nonconformist, who pleaded that the cross in baptism offended weak brethren: "How long will such brethren be weak? Are not forty-five years sufficient for them to grow strong in? Besides, who pretends this weakness, but ministers? Some of them are strong enough, if not headstrong.”
On the second day Dr. Reynolds said: “May your Majesty be pleased that the Bible be new translated ; such as are extant not answering the original ? And he instanced in three particulars: Gal. 4: 25 is ill translated bordereth ;' Psalm 105 : 28, in the original, .They were not disobedient,' is ill translated, “They were not obedient;' Psalm 106 : 30, in the original, 'Phinehas executed judgment,' is ill translated, Phinehas
"His Majesty : I profess I could never yet see a Bible well. translated in English ; but I think that of all, that of Geneva is the worst. I wish some special pains were taken for an uniform translation, which should be done by the best learned in both universities, then reviewed by the Bishops, presented to the Privy Council, lastly ratified by royal authority, to be read in the whole Church, and no other.
"Bishop of London: "But it is fit that no marginal notes should be added thereunto.
"His Majesty : That caveat is well put in, for in the Geneva translation some notes are partial, untrue, seditious, and savoring of traitorous conceits; as when from Exodus 1 : 19, disobedience to kings is allowed in a marginal note; where the non-compliance of the Hebrew midwives with the orders of Pharaoh is spoken of, they say: 'Their disobedience herein was lawful, but their dissembling evil;' and 2 Chron. 15 : 16, where King Asa is taxed in the note for only deposing his mother for idolatry, and not killing her, they say: 'Herein he showed that he lacked zeal, for she ought to have died, both by the covenant, as verse 13, and by the law of God; but he gave place to foolish pity, and would also seem after a sort to satisfy the law.'”
The King's plan of selecting translators was a judicious one. Fifty-four translators, thus nominated, were appointed. Fortyseven names are found in the list of those actually engaged in translation. The other seven were the Bishops who revised
the work. We doubt whether such a body could be found now in all England; for Biblical learning has fallen off, and men are not now as mighty in the Scriptures as they were then; their strength has been wasted in unprofitable controversies.
The Instructions, with which all are familiar, were also ju. dicions. They were to meet in Oxford, Cambridge, and Westminster, in six companies, the Bishops' Bible to be the basis of the new version; proper names to be unchanged ; ecclesi. astical words to be retained, as baptism, Church; no marginal notes ; references of one Scripture to another to be set down ; all the companies to revise each part, so that every part should be examined fourteen times at least; early English versions to be used, when they agree better with the original than the Bishops' Bible.
In 1611, the new version appeared in a black-letter folio, now before us, printed at London, by Robert Barker, with a Preface of the Translators, now very rarely re-printed. We give a brief synopsis of its contents. · After an apology for the circulation of the Bible in the vernacular tongue, and an argument for å new version, several objections are answered; they then speak of their own labors, and explain the marginal readings which they inserted in doubtful passages, where they were unwilling to dogmatize, and also the variety of translations of the same word in different places. They also state that they have intended to steer clear between Popery and Puritanism. They thus conclude, and the conclusion shows what men of God were concerned in this translation : “It remaineth, that we commend thee to God, and to the spirit of His grace, which is able to build further than we can ask or think. He removeth the scales from our eyes—the vail from our hearts-opening our wits that we may understand His word, enlarging our hearts, yea, correcting our affections, that we may love it above gold and silver; yea, that we may love it to the end. Ye are brought unto fountains of living water which ye digged not ; do not cast earth into them, with the Philistines, neither prefer broken pits before them, with the wicked Jews. Others have labored, and you may enter into their labors. Oh! receive not so great things in vain! Oh! despise not so great salvation !
Be not like swine to tread under foot so precious things, neither yet like dogs to tear and abuse holy things. Say not to our Saviour, with the Gergesenes : Depart out of our coasts; neither yet, with Esau, sell your birth-right for a mess of pottage. If light be come into the world, love not darkness more than light; if food, if clothing be offered, go not naked, starve not yourselves. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God; but a blessed thing it is, and will bring us to everlasting blessedness in the end, when God speaketh unto us, to hearken ; when He setteth His word before us, to read it; when He stretcheth out His hand and calleth, to answer: Here am I; Here are we to do Thy will, O God! The Lord work a care and conscience in us to know Him and serve Him, that we may be acknowledged of Him at the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, to whom, with the Holy Ghost, be all praise and thanksgiving! Amen."
King James' version gradually supplanted all others by its intrinsic superiority. It transferred the whole force of the original into our living tongue, and in a style which the uncul. tivated could comprehend, and the most cultivated admire. We may say that it has commanded the suffrages of those best qualified to judge of its merits—omne tulit punctum.
Selden : “ The English translation of the Bible is the best translation in the world, and renders the sense of the original best."
"Its style,” says Bishop Lowth, “is not only excellent in itself, but has taken possession of our ear, and of our taste.”
Coleridge: “Our version of the Bible is to be loved and prized for this, that it has preserved a purity of meaning to many terms of natural objects, which, without it, would have. been refined away."
An unhappy apostate to Rome thus speaks of it:* “Who will not say that the uncommon beauty and marvellous English of the Protestant Bible is not one of the great strongholds of heresy in this country? It lives on the ear like a music that can never be forgotten, like the sound of church bells, which the convert hardly knows how he can forego. Its felicities often seem to be almost things rather than mere words.
* Dublin Journal, 1888.
It is part of the national inind, and the anchor of national seriousness. The memory of the dead passes into it. The potent traditions of childhood are stereotyped in its verses. The power of all the griefs and trials of a man is hidden beneath its words. It is the representation of his best moments, and all that there has been about him of soft, and gentle, and pure, and penitent, and good, speaks to him forever out of his Eng. lish Bible. It is his sacred thing, which doubt has never dimmed, and controversy never soiled. In the length and breadth of the land there is not a Protestant, with one spark of religiousness about him, whose spiritual biography is not in his Saxon Bible.”
The English Bible has, during the two hundred and fifty years which have elapsed since its publication, become fastened by the strongest ties to the hearts of all who speak the English language. It has become hallowed by its having been the Bible of our ancestors for many generations, whose immortal hopes have been knit up in its words of eternal life, and who have bound up their own brief history of life and death in its very blank leaves. How many prayers have been offered over its pages ! how many tears dropped upon them !
We will now give some account of the principal attempts that have been made towards a new version.
In Cromwell's time a committee was appointed to consider of some mistakes in the English translation, which yet they allowed was the best extant.
In 1759 Matthew Pilkington published a tract “On the benefit and expediency of a more correct and intelligible translation of the Bible.” In 1758 Bishop Lowth, in a visitation sermon, recommended “an accurate revisal of our vulgar translation by public authority.” In 1761 Archbishop Secker, in a Latin speech, advocated a new version as desired by many. In 1772 Dr. Durelle, in the preface to Critical Remarks on Job, etc., spoke of our version as mistaking the sense in an infinite number of instances, and brought many other formidable charges against it, which on examination proved to be unfounded or trivial. Bishop Lowth again, in 1778, spoke of a new translation as “a necessary work, or a revision of the present translation. The expediency of this grows every day