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THE history of the earliest translations of the HOLY SCRIPTURES into the AngloSaxon language is involved in much obscurity, notwithstanding the researches of Fuller, Lewis, Thompson, Orme, and others. At a council held at Rome in the year 679, it was determined that Britain should be supplied with portions of the Bible, but nothing was accomplished until 701, when the venerable Bede translated the Psalms from the Vulgate ; and this was also done in 709 by Adelme, bishop of Sherborne. In 735 Bede completed in his dying moments the Gospel by John ; and soon afterwards the bishop of Landisfarne, called by different historians Egbert, Ecbert, Eckart, and Edfrid, gave to his countrymen a translation of several books of the Old Testament. During the next century Alfred the Great ordered that the whole Bible should be translated, and undertook some parts himself, but his death prevented the completion of this noble intention. In 995 Eldrid, or Elfrid, archbishop of Canterbury, translated the Pentateuch, and other historical books; but it was reserved for Wickliffe, in 1380, to give to the English church a translation of the entire Bible. In 1526 Tyndall had the honour to print the first New Testament, all preceding it having been written with the pen. It was published at Antwerp, to which city he had fled with Myles Coverdale to escape persecution. In 1535 Myles Coverdale printed the Old as well as the New Testament, which he dedicated to Henry VIII, In 1537 this Bible was revised and republished under the feigned name of Thomas Matthewe. In 1539 Archbishop Cranmer, assisted by several learned divines, revised this version, printed it with a preface by himself, and published it with the title of “The Great Bible," and under the sanction and auspices of Henry VIII. In 1560 "the Geneva Bible” appeared, and in 1568 " the Bishops' Bible" was published by Archbishop Parker and seven other bishops. In 1603, at a conference held at Hampton Court, King James the First acceded to the request of Dr. Reynolds and others, and appointed fifty-four learned men (of whom only fortyseven engaged in the work) to revise and correct the Bishops' Bible by collating it with Tyndall's, Coverdale's, Matthewe's, and the Geneva Bible. It was published in 1611, and this is our AUTHORIZED ENGLISH VERSION, which is characterized by un. equalled fidelity, perspicuity, simplicity, dignity, and power. It is not only the most seurate standard of our language, but, as a whole, it perhaps approaches nearer to the spirit, the elegance, and the sublimity of the originals than any other translation extant; and it is a delightful circumstance, and one demanding deep and unfeigned gratitude, that whilst during the past two hundred years it has undergone more rigid serutiny than any other book in the world, and whilst men of commanding intellect and unbounded research (some the friends and others the enemies of revelation) have minutely examined it, and suggested innumerable emendations, bo one has ever yet detected a single error in reference to those great and vital truths in which all Christians agree. Hence it stands as an impregnable bulwark against the attacks of those who would weaken or destroy the cardinal doctrine of justification by faith alone in the propitiatory sacrifice of our Lord Jesus Christ.
It must excite the wonder of every reflecting mind that so few mistakes, omissions, or taistranslations, should be found in the authorized version ; when it is recollected, that it was made many centuries after the originals were written ; that printing not having been invented until the fifteenth century, every copy had previously been transcribed with the pen by uninspired and fallible men, and that the translators had but a comparatively limited acquaintance with oriental languages and manners. Besides which, the sacred