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tant sects take the liberty of discarding the Apocrypha; and at the same time cry out, "Heresy!" when some humble individual discredits some other portions of the Bible, which they deem authentic.
IN the preceding Lectures, I have endeavored to trace the history of the Bible from the periods at which its several distinctive writings were composed, or first compiled into the two general divisions styled the Old and New Testaments, up to the present time. I wish now to reverse the order of investigation thus far observed; and to journey back from the point where we now stand, till we reach an early stage of the progressive history of the Church.
1. Our first stopping place will be the year 1611; when the English version of the Bible, now generally accredited by Protestants of every name, was printed for the first time, by order of King James I., whose appointed agents had been engaged in its preparation for a period of about eight years; as detailed in my second lecture. This version included the Old Testament Apocrypha, the books of which were ordered to be translated with the rest.
It is the opinion of many that this translation is sus
ceptible of considerable improvement. Mr. Balfour, after acknowledging the merit of the version in several respects, and admitting that the "translators did wonders. for the day they lived in," offers the following very sensible remarks:
"King James wanted a translation of the Bible for his subjects; he selected men to make it; he gave them instructions concerning the kind of translation which would suit him; and they produced one to his liking. Their judgments, their learning, their consciences, must all bend to the king's instructions. It lies on the face of these instructions, that their translation must be modified by them. We frankly confess, we are not lovers of kingly authority interfering in any shape in the things of religion. It is well known that king James was a very superstitious man. The translators knew the nature and disposition of their employer. The instructions he gave them, their own prejudices, and the prejudices of the nation, must all have had an influence on their minds in making their translation; nor is it an improper reflection on those worthy men, to suppose that such was the case. Their translation bears evident marks of this, as is generally confessed by all critics, friendly or unfriendly to their version. The age we live in, the prejudices of our education, and the circumstances in which we are placed, influence us all much more than we are aware of, and will leave some errors to be corrected by the next generation. We do not make such remarks with a view to blame the translators, but to guard men against
the superstitious notion that our English version is perfect."*
2. We halt next at the year 1545, between which period and the year 1563 the celebrated Council of Trent was several times convened; which council pronounced authoritative the Vulgate edition of the Bible, which includes the Apocrypha, and is the received, canonical version of the Romish Church; and which is in some instances so varied in phraseology from the translation of King James, as to convey a different meaning in relation to some points of doctrine.
3. Passing by the several periods at which appeared the translations of Coverdale, Tyndal, &c., we stop at the year 1360; about which time the first complete English translation of the Bible was made by John Wickliffe, (or Wycliff, as it is sometimes spelt) of whom I spoke somewhat particularly in Lecture II.
4. Previous to the time of Wickliffe, only a few portions of the Bible had been rendered into the English tongue, which was then in its primitive Anglo-Saxon state. The remaining books were in Greek and Latin MSS., and principally in the possession of the Roman Catholic Church; which at that time held almost undisputed and tyrannous sway over the larger part of Europe, and whose continuous aim and policy was to keep knowledge securely locked up beyond the reach of the
*Univ. Expositor, Vol. iii. Old Series, Art. vi. by Rev. W. Balfour, on "King James' Translation of the Bible."