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In his evidence before the Committee of the House of Commons, Dr. Lee states, that some of the most incorrect editions a( the Bible which have come under his notice, have been printed in Scotland; and afterwards he remarks, that there are several cases in which he thinks the Scottish editions preferable to the English ones. Of this supposed superiority, however, he produces only one example. 'In the tenth chapter of the Gospel
* according to John,' he observes, ' in all the English editions I 'have seen, " no man" occur repeatedly, where in the Scottish 'editions " none" is introduced: the word " man" is not in the 'original at all, and the word " none'" is preferable, inasmuch as 'it may be held to be a declaration that no created being, though 'higher than human, has the power.' We cannot in course estimate the comparative value of the Scottish Bibles from the 'several cases' to which Dr. L. refers as shewing their superiority, since he has not particularly described them; but if they are at all similar to the single specimen which he has above given, the character of them is at once decided, since in this example he is altogether in error. We shall shew the state of the question thus raised, by a collation of some of the editions before us in the passages of John's Gospel. The early English editions read, in chap, x., " No man taketh it from me." vs. 18. "—neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand." 28. "—no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand." 29. The modem editions, Camb. 1805, 1819, 1823; Oxford, 1793, 1830; London, 1825, 1829, have, " No man — any man—no man." But in the London edition of 1679, and in the Oxford Quarto, 1765, the readings are, " No man taketh it from me—neither shall any pluck them—none is able to pluck them."
Mr. Curtis has furnished (at p. 86) a list of ' typographical
* errors in and since Dr. Blayney's edition.' In this list, a reading appears as of an Oxford Testament of 1807, ' purge your 'conscience from good works,' instead of' dead works.' Heb. ix. 14. From Dr. Cardwell we learn (Oxford Bibles, p. 15), that 'a copy of this edition had been sought for in vain; that another
* edition of the same year, two of the following, and all editions 'that could be found of eleven years nearest to the time in ques'tion, had been examined, and the passage was printed correctly « in them all.' In this list, p. 90, Blayney's Bible, Oxford, 1769, is described as reading 1 John i. 4.—That our joy, for "your joy may be full." And this erroneous reading is said to be 'traced in twenty editions of various sizes, and by all the
* authorized Printers, to Cambridge 12mo. 1824, i. e. fifty-five 4 years.'' The error is in Blayney, but in Cambridge Testaments before us of 1805 and 1819, the true reading, • your joy,' is certainly to be found.
In Mr. Curtis's ' Advertisement' to the pamphlet before us, the reader will find the startling proposition affirmed, that the ' Di'vine command' to search the Scriptures, cannot, in the present state of our Bibles, be complied with so advantageously, by the British public, as it might have been two hundred years ago. On the reverse of his title-page he has printed a list of ' Inten* tional departures from King James's Bible,' amounting in number to upwards of two thousand nine hundred, suggesting, he refnarks, the presumption that there are upwards of eleven thousand in the entire version. In this calculation the general alterations of the orthography and minute punctuation are not included. In a modern octavo or nonpareil Bible, there are about eight hundred and fifty pages, so that every page of our modern Bibles will be supposed to contain on an average thirteen errors. Such statements as these cannot be read without alarm, as they must necessarily induce suspicion of the integrity of the text to an extent subversive of the confidence with which unlearned persons, accustomed to read the Scriptures only in the public version, should receive the volume purporting to be a faithful representation of the Hebrew and Greek originals. It is not to be supposed that common readers will be able to determine the character of these alleged alterations; because, as on the one hand they are not produced, so, on the other, it is not to be imagined that the collation of copies is within the means or the competency of readers in general. The Authorized Version has of late years been most widely circulated. Not only have many thousands of copies been distributed in all directions, but some millions of Bibles and Testaments have been sent forth for the use of persons who have no other access to the sources of sacred knowledge, than that which is afforded to them by these substitutes for the original Scriptures. A most serious injury must therefore be received by those who use these Bibles, if, from any impressions forced upon them by statements which they can neither examine nor appreciate, they continue to peruse them with distrust, and are in constant doubt what to accredit as genuine, and what to reject as unfaithful or spurious. Every one who knows the value of the Scriptures, must feel the weight of Dr. Cardwell's remarks in the introductory paragraphs of his 'Letter.'
'In my estimation, there is nothing more-deserving of respect and protection, than the honest confidence with which an unlettered peasant looks upon his English Bible as expressing to him the genuine word of God. Take merely the blessings that Bible affords to one single individual, the fortitude it imparts to him in his moments of temptation, and the calmness it gives to days and nights of sickness and sorrow, and there is an amount of virtue inspired by it, which has never been equalled by any other instrument of happiness. But consider also the multitude of places where such individuals may be found, follow our language into every quarter of the globe, and see that its constant companion, and in many cases the only instructor that it brings with it, is the English Bible; aml it will be manifest, that no limit can be assigned to the importance of translating the Scriptures faithfully, and preserving that translation, as far as may be, pure and undefined.'
On the behalf, then, of unlearned readers, and for the sake of many others, who, not being destitute altogether of the necessary information for determining the question of fidelity in respect to the English Bibles in common use, may not have the means of verifying or refuting the allegations which charge corruptions so extensively vitiating the authorized text, it is proper that they should be brought under the consideration of those tribunals to which the public are accustomed to look for decisions in matters of so grave a character. If many thousands of errors are diffused throughout our modem Bibles ;—if, so far as the English text of the English Bible is in question, we clearly have all our modern Bibles printed after copies of no authority, or after bad or erroneous authorities, with the important exception of what remains of the Authorized Version itself; (and how much of that remains would seem to be doubtful;) we should be guilty of dereliction of our duty, if we hesitated to denounce evils of such magnitude, and which might involve such perils. If, to the poor, the Bible which is in their hands be not a trust-worthy book, to which they may look with most assured satisfaction that they are not misled in the sentiments and feelings of their faith and hope, it is more than time to warn them of the delusions by which they have been led astray in their judgements, and deceived and abused in their confidence.
It would indeed be a ground of most serious complaint, and could not fail of furnishing matter of grave accusation against parties who have had the ordering of their Bibles, if humble and serious inquirers of the present day could not, with those books open before them, obey the Divine injunction which directs them to the examination of the Scriptures, with as much advantage as was possessed by readers of the Bible two hundred years ago. Has the stone been rolled back upon the well's mouth, that the living waters can no more be drawn from them as in other times? Have briars and thorns been set around it, to become a thicket impervious, or rendering access to the salubrious element perilous and difficult? Or are the footmarks worn out, by which the path was so easily traced by former travellers? The circumstances from which arise the disadvantages to modern readers of the Bible, that place them so unfavourably for the acquisition of the knowledge contained in it, compared with others of a much earlier time, are to be learned from Mr. Curtis's statements, and particularly from the Report of a Sub-Committee of Dissenting Ministers, which we must now present to our readers, as we find it in his pamphlet, p. 114.
'Present—Dr. Bennett, Dr. Cox, and Dr. Henderson, a SubCommittee appointed to verify and report upon a Collation of various editions of the Holy Bible, made by the Secretary.—Dr. Smith, though not of the Sub-Committee, kindly assisting in the investigation, it was
'Resolved, 1. That this Committee are perfectly satisfied that an extensive alteration has been introduced into the text of our Authorized Version, by changing into Italics innumerable words and phrases, which are not thus expressed in the original editions of King James's Bible, printed in 1611.
'2. That these alterations, so far from being an improvement of our Vernacular Translation, greatly deteriorate it; inasmuch as, in most instances, they convey to the reader the idea that, wherever any words are printed in Italics, there is nothing corresponding to them in the original text : whereas it must at once be obvious to every person who is competent to judge on the question, that what has been supplied in these instances, was absolutely necessary in order to give the full force of the Hebrew and Greek idioms; and, consequently, should have been printed in the same characters as the rest of the text.
'3. That those who have made these alterations, have discovered a great want of critical taste, unnecessarily exposed the sacred text to the scoffs of iniidds, and thrown such stumbling-blocks in the way of the unlearned, as are greatly calculated to perplex their minds, and unsettle their confidence in the text of Scripture.
'4. That it be recommended to the General Committee, to take such measures as they shall deem most likely to effect a speedy return to the Standard text, which has thus wantonly been abandoned ; but that it is expedient to wait till the reprint of the edition of 1611, now printing at Oxford, be before the public, ere any further correspondcnct! be entered upon with the Universities.
(Signed) 'E. HENDERSON. • P. A. COX.
King James's Translators have prefixed an address to the readers of their Bible, in which they vindicate the undertaking completed by them, and state many particulars in respect to their proceedings in preparing it. On the subject of Italics, however, they have not given us any information. Some readers of the preceding resolutions would be apt to conclude, that the Bible of 1611 was without Italics, or characters answering to Italics. This, however, is not the case; for though, strictly speaking, the Translators do not employ Italics, they frequently have printed words and phrases in a distinguishing type. The letter of the edition of 1611 is a large black one, and the passages distinguished from the other portions of the text, are printed in Roman letters. The Translators, doubtless, had their reasons for
such occasional deviations. They did indeed but follow the mode of printing adopted by their predecessors. In the Bibles of Henry VIII.'s time, we find passages in parentheses and in smaller type, which have nothing corresponding to them in the original, but were introduced as readings from the Vulgate, thus: * And 'beholde, it is written in the boke of the righteous. (And he taid: 'Consydre, O Israel, these that be dead and wounded upon thy hie hilles.) 'O noble Israel the wounded are slaine upon thy hylles.' 2 Sam. i. 18, 19. 'Oh let my mouth be filled with prayse (that I maye •ynge of thy glory) and honoure all the daye long.' Ps. Ixxi. 8. The Geneva Bible has many words and phrases distinguished by a type different from the ordinary letter; and in reference to such cases, the Translators say in their preface: 'Whereas the neces'sitie of the sentence required any thing to be added (for such is 'the grace and proprietie of the Ebrewe and Greeke tongues, 'that it cannot but either by circumlocution, or by adding the 'verbe, or some word be understood of them that are not well 'practised therein,) we have put it in the test with another kinde 'of letter, that it may easily be discerned from the common 'letter.' Thus we have, 'Salvation belongeth unto the Lord.' Ps. iii. 8. '—answere mee in saving me from the homes of the 'unicornes.' 'My prayse thall be of thee.' For the kingdomeis the 'Lords.' Ps. xxii. 21, 25, 28. King James's Translators have printed the text of their Bible, using Italics instead of smaller letters, in a similar manner; but an examination of it will shew many irregularities in the application of their rules, and some instances of the deviation in question are of a very anomalous character. We shall give a few specimens of the inconstant readings furnished by a collation of the edition of 1611. Gen xxii. 2. 'thy sonne, thine only aunne? vs. 16,' thy sonne, thine only sonne.' In the original, the expressions are precisely the same; but the Translators have, in the first of these examples, printed the second instance of the word sonne in a manner corresponding to the use of the modern Italics. So, in Gen. xxiv. 19, the reading is, 'draw water,' where no word occurs in the original answering to the noun 'water;' but, in the following verse, where the same mode of expression is used in the Hebrew text, the supplied word is marked, 'to draw water? In Chap, xxxvii. 13, we have, 'feed the flocke;' vs. 16, 'feed their Jinckea; the Hebrew expressions in each case being the same. 'And Abraham planted a grove.' Gen. xxi. 33. * Joseph 'went into the house.' Chap, xxxix. 11. The nominativet are wanting in the Hebrew text in both examples, yet the translation of 1611, marks the one as implied, and the other as expressed. In Matt. xxvii. 46, the Translators have distinguished by their peculiar type the entire sentence, 'Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani;' but in Mark xv. 34, the parallel passage