Oldalképek
PDF
ePub

more and more evident. The improvements of which our version is capable in respect of the sense are great and numberless." Dr. White (1779) published a sermon under the title: “A revisal of the English translation of the Old Testament recommended.” In 1784 Dr. Blayney, in his new version of Jeremiah, proposed “that a select assembly of the most learned and judicious divines, commissioned by public authority, should restore the Hebrew text as nearly as possible to its primitive purity, and prepare from it a new translation.” Dr. Kennicot also pleaded the necessity of a new translation. Archbishop Newcome and Bishop Horsley may be added to the list of these writers, who argued the propriety of a new translation. About the year 1800 Mr. Bellamy, a Unitarian, undertook to give a new translation of the Old Testament, which only exposed his own utter ignorance. Not long after appeared the Unitarian "Improved version.” This was designed to sustain Unitarianism by altering the text, where it was necessary. Dr. George Campbell made a new Translation of the Gospels. In the Preliminary Dissertations, which are of great value, there is one “ On the regard due to the English version,” in which he says: “It is, on the whole, one of the best of those composed after the Reformation. We are now in a condition to correct many of its mistakes. To effect this is the first, and ought doubtless to be the principal motive for attempting another version.” Several words in the English version have altered their meaning; there has been a considerable change in our language since the time of the translators; among words which have thus changed their meaning, or are obsolete, he instances : conversation, thieves, lust, usury, worship, lewd and lewdness, pitiful, meat, cunning, honest, quick, faithless, to ensue, to entreat, to learn, instantly, hitherto, leasing, ravin, bruit, marvel, wot and wist, eschew, lack, folk, seethe, sod and sodden, score, twain, clean and sore, allto, albeit, howbeit, straita minish, an hungered, garner, trump, ensample, backslidings, shamefacedness, jeopardy, he repented himself, passion.

His own translation of the Gospels is too liberal. “The kingdom of God cometh not with observation," is translated “is ushered in with pomp."

Without speaking of other attempts, we will only mention

that of the Baptist denomination, who are now preparing a new version, to sustain their peculiar views. In order to justify themselves in this, they have represented the English version as full of faults, and made high-sounding claims to superior scholarship. One of the translators has been sent to Greece for six months to learn ancient Greek from modern. He should be sent for the same reason to the Jews to learn Hebrew from them. It is not a little singular that such an attempt should be made by a denomination not had in reputation for learning. They have rashly undertaken a task from which wiser and more learned men have shrunk. Some of the translations are not even good English. No doubt great harm has been done by their undermining the faith of the un. stable and ignorant, in our version already too little read and revered.

We freely admit that in the course of two hundred and fifty years some of the words and phrases of our version have become obsolete, and the meaning of many words has been changed. It is only surprising that there are not more cases of this kind. These could easily and gradually be changed. In addition to those remarked upon by Trench, we have observed that coasts is put for country; mischief for calamity; provoke is used in the sense of to excite to envy or emulation ; offend is used in the sense of to tempt to sin, or apostatize ; meat in the sense of food; by and by in the sense of immediately; prevent in the sense of anticipate ; let in the sense of hinder; bewray in the sense of make known; riotous in the sense of dissolute, and riot in the sense of dissipation; ward in the sense of guard ; trow in the sense of think ; covenant-breakers in the sense of faithless; whisperers for slanderers, and backbiters for railers; beasts for animals; gainsaying for rebellion. There are also several old English phrases, not now used, as “ Do you to wit, for inform ; bid God speed for salute; set at naught for insult; cast the same in his teeth for revile.

The time has not yet come, we think, for a new translation into English. The jealousy of the different churches would effectually prevent their uniting upon a common version. Nothing is more to be deprecated than that each church should have its own Bible. It would widen the breach already too

great between them. The possession of a common version among all churches is a stronger bond of union, than any one can easily imagine. Never should we know the value of it till it was rent asunder.

The ingenious anthor of the Eclipse of Faith has presented us in a dream, entitled the “Blank Bible,” with some of the consequences which would result from an attempt to organize a committee from various churches to make a new version, or revision of our present translation. He dreams that in one night every Bible became a total blank, and that it was to be restored from memory after partial recoveries of the text from individuals; "a great public movement, amongst the divines of all denominations, was projected to collate the results. It was found that the several parties, who had furnished from memory the same portions of the text, had fallen into a great variety of varions readings.

“Two reverend men of the Synod had a tough dispute as to whether it was twelve baskets full of the fragments of the five loaves, which the five thousand left, and seven baskets full of the seven loaves, which the four thousand had left, or vice versa ; as also whether the words in John 6 : 19 were about twenty or five and twenty,' or about thirty or five and thirty furlongs.'

“Their memory was seldom so clear as to texts, which told against them, as in relation to those which told for them. A certain Quaker had an impression that the words instituting the Eucharist, were,'' And Jesus said to the twelve, Do this in remembrance of me,' while he could not exactly recollect whether or not the formula of baptism was expressed in the general terms, some maintained it was. An Episcopalian thought there was a passage in which Timothy and Titus were expressly called Bishops. Several Unitarians recollected that the Greek text was against the common reading, while Trinitarians maintained the reverse was the case."

We would finally suggest that, in the mean time, the attention of those competent for the task might be directed not to a new version for common use, to supplant our present version, but to one like De Wette's German translation, for the use chiefly of the clergy, which should embody all the emendations agreed on by scholars. Such a version would be of great service to those acquainted with the original, in reviving their knowledge of it, and it would put those unacquainted with the original on the same vantage-ground with these that were, and give them the same assistance in ascertaining the meaning. Every conscientious clergyman must be unwilling to preach on a text, till he knows whether it is correctly translated or not.

MISCELLANEOUS DEPARTMENT.

Art. I. - SLIGHT FOOT-PRINTS OF GOOD MEN.

DR. MILNOR.

One of the most singular laws of nature, is the law of WASTE. In some fruit trees, not one blossom out of hundreds forms a germ or yields fruit. If it did, neither branches nor trunk would bear the burden. The spawn of many fish, forms the food of others; and yet if most of the young that are produced, were not devoured by other tribes before attaining their full growth, it is estimated that whole oceans would become almost solid with them.

For all the useful purposes of life, a siinilar waste seems to exist in the family of man. How small a proportion of those who are born into the world, ever attain to man's estate ; and alas ! how few men accomplish the sublime ends of their earthly existence.

The laws of adjustment are hardly less strange. One man seems to be before his age, another quite as much behind it. Fitted for some sphere, perhaps, this gifted person is only a hindrance and a burden in the place he occupies. And the age and the spot are almost always waiting, in vain, for the coming man.

If, however, imperfect adjustment be the law, an almost perfect adjustment is sometimes the exception. It seems to have been so, in the case of the late Dr. Milnor, for many

years the honored and successful Rector of St. George's Church, New-York. Here, for once at least, we have the right man in the right place.

For ten years after the opening of the present century, nearly all the remaining energies of the Church in the city and Diocese of New-York were expended “in strengthening the things that remained and were ready to die."

The elevation of Dr. Hobart and the Rev. Mr. Griswold to the episcopate, on the same auspicious day, soon after the opening of the second decade of this century, was the commencement of a new era. At first, their influence for good was not so much felt in the great cities as in the rural districts, and the urgent demand for men and means for the vast missionary field of Western New-York, gave complexion to almost the entire episcopate of Bishop Hobart. It was not until towards the close of this decade, in the fall of 1819, that the condition of the Church in the City of New-York, and in Brooklyn, fell under the observation of the present writer. The three united churches of Trinity Parish, together with Grace Church and St. Mark's, represented the conservative strength of the Episcopal community. At that time Christ Church and St. Stephen's belonged to the progressive interest, but were by no means lcd by progressive men : so that St. George's, in the city and St. Ann's, Brooklyn, stood in the fore front of that great conflict, the fluctuations and various fortunes of which have since been observed for nearly forty years with intense and unabated interest. If, within twenty more years, the conservative interest, to a very great extent, became pro. gressive, may it not have been, in part, owing to an impulse lerived insensibly, or in a spirit of noble or necessary competition, from the party whose progress has been so very remarkable? Numerically, morally, socially, that Episcopal interest in New-York, Brooklyn, and vicinity, of which Old St. George's was the exponent, has grown from a little one to be a giant indeed; in view of so large an increase, from so small a begin. ning, under such difficulties and in so short a time, who can withhold the exclamation : “ hat hath God wrought!”

At that time, and for the work then allotted to it, St. George's was favorably enough situated; but its condition, at the time the Rev. Mr. Milnor accepted the rectorship, was far

« ElőzőTovább »