Imatges de pÓgina
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from the large deputation, to review the whole work, revising and correcting it, in harmony with their highest judgment; which task they accomplished in the space of a little less than one year. It was printed in the year 1611. Anil from that time to the present, it has been received and considered, generally, (except among the Roman Catholics) as the standard version.

It is now printed in one hundred and forty different languages. And a few years since, it was stated by the British and Foreign Bible Society that they alone had published, and distributed broad-cast over the world, nearly five million copies.

All the words and phrases printed in Italics, (as most of you may already know) were added to the original text by King James's translators; and that some of them render obscure the passages with which they are connected, is generally acknowledged by candid writers of every different Theological belief. Without doubt, the interests of truth, and the cause of human improvement, would be greatly subserved by a new translation, at the present day, if undertaken by some competent persons with minds truly liberal. They would be essentially aided by the large amount of knowledge upon almost every subject, which the world has accumulated since the last translation was made.

The first copy of the Bible printed in this country, was a translation in the language spoken by the North American Aborigines,) made by John Elliot, the celebrated “Apostle to the Indians," as he has been very

appropriately styled. Its publication, as respects both the translating and the printing, was the result of great labor. The words of the Indian dialect are said to have contained from thirty to sixty letters each. To the facetious Cotton Mather is attributed the remark, concerning them, that they must have been very long at the flood, and growing long ever since."

It is a matter of history, which, in justice to the memory of poor Tyndall, should never be forgotten, that although he was charged by a bloody monarch and an infamous priesthood, with having corrupted and perverted the Bible, in his published edition; yet King James, when he appointed the best scholars in his realm to prepare the identical version which we now receive, directed them to consult Tyndall's translation, among others, and to follow it in all respects wherein it more closely resembled the original than the others then in

use.

Before concluding, I solicit your special attention to one particular fact, and also to the expression of some thoughts suggested by it.

As intimated in a former part of this lecture, the Scriptures declared by the Council of Trent to be the standard version of the Romish Church, included the Apocrypha of the Old Testament; which Protestants generally are united in repudiating, as regards any authoritative sanction that may be claimed for it. And whatever other version of the Biblical writings may have been arranged and proclaimed authentic, by any orga

nized council or unorganized assemblage of men, concerning which any record has been preserved, such Scriptural canon must have been essentially of Roman Catholic origin: for the Protestants have never yet called a special council or convention, to decide what books are genuine, and to separate from them those regarded 8s spurious. King James's translators form the nearest approach to any thing of this description ; but they did not pretend to make any decisive proclamation in reference to the abstract genuineness of the books. They took them, as they were, in the Greek language-handed down from their fathers—and endeavored merely to render them, as exactly as possible, into English. In the sixth article of the Church of England, the books of the Apocrypha are ordered to be read "for example of life and instruction of manners ;" but no direction is given to refer to them for the purpose of establishing any particular doctrine. In fact, all Protestants, by their past mode of procedure in relation to this subject, virtually leave every man to judge for himself, concerning the authenticity and truthfulness of scripture documents. This is in exact harmony with the spirit of Republicanism and Christianity: it is in conformity with the directions of the free and liberal-minded Paul: “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.” “Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind.” We should all of us consider it extremely unfair, as well as irrational, in any person, to demand our implicit belief in a proposition, merely on the authority of his dictum,

without any reason for it. And we could not feel justified, at the tribunal of our own consciences, should we, in turn, make the same unreasonable demand of others. We never ask even a child to repose entire faith in

any thing, until we have, at least, attempted to show its reasonableness. In the manner in which we conduct discussions, as well as in all our common modes of speech, we practically admit that human reason is our final court of appeal. The dictate of calm, enlightened, unprejudiced, virtuous reason, is the clear utterance of the voice of God in the human soul : the same voice which spake to Adam "in the cool of the day”-in his moments of reflection ;—the “still small voice” which fell entrancingly on the listening ear of the prophet.

In the present conflicting state of religious opinion and speculation,—with the uncertain nature of much historic testimony abundantly demonstrated to us, while commentaries are in circulation, diametrically opposed to each other on some points, written by the most learned Theological doctors and expounders,—with Christendom divided into six hundred sects, the majority of them each like Ishmael,--is it not a species of groundless assumption, bordering on the ludicrous, for one man, "dressed in a little brief authority,especially if he claim to be a Protestant, to stigmatize his brother as a skeptic or an infidel, because (though truly religious in feeling and morally upright in conduct) he cannot, in the deep sincerity of his soul, assent to every thing pro

nounced canonical by the Roman Catholic Church-and has the honesty to say so!

The question of the “decisive authority," as it is termed of the written productions of an author, whether prophet or apostle, is not to be settled in a moment; nor can its discussion be summarily stifled: at any rate, not in the present age of light and freedom. It is not my design to espouse either side of any of the personal controversies which have arisen, quite recently, from the open avowal of certain opinions on this topic. I interfere not with the conscientious convictions of any man or class of men. To his own master, each standeth or falleth. But feeling the responsibilities of the station I occupy as a professed teacher of the truth, it seems to me nothing more than plain duty to give unrestrained utterance to my own sentiments; for which I alone am to be held responsible.

If we are disposed to improve, as we may, the sad but instructive incidents of tyranny that I have presented, which, with ten thousand others, blacken the annals of the world, we shall learn, individually, and in whatever associate capacity we may be found, to guard against the encroachments not only of nominal Popery, but of that minor spirit of dictation, which, fed and nurtured, grows at last into persecution : and we may perceive the necessity that we should keep alive within us,, ever fresh and vernal, the beautiful blossoms of Charity and Toleration, suffering them to emit freely their delightful fragrance; which, wafted upon the gently agitating

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