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three hundred and fifty years of careful study, investigation and discovery, thrown upon it.
Both the Anglo Saxon and the Anglo-American Committees are guided by the following principles:
"1. To introduce as few alterations as possible into the text of the authorized version consistently with faithfulness.
"2. To limit, as far as possible, the expression of such alterations to the language of the authorized or earlier versions.
3. Each company to go twice over the portion to be revised, once provisionally, the second time finally.
"4. That the text to be adopted be that for which the evidence is decidedly preponderating; and that when the text so adopted differs from that from which the authorized version was made, the alteration be indicated in the margin.
"5. To make or retain no change in the text, on the second final revision by each company, except two thirds of those present approve of the same; but on the first revision to decide by simple majorities.
"6. In every case of proposed alterations that may have given rise to discussion, to defer the voting thereon till the next meeting, whensoever the same shall be required by one third of those present at the meeting, such intended vote to be announced in the notice for the next meeting.
"7. To revise the headings of chapters, pages, paragraphs, italics, and punctuation.
"8. To refer, on the part of each company, when considered desirable, to divines, scholars, and literary men, whether at home or abroad, for their opinion."
If these principles shall be conscientiously adhered to in prosecuting the work of Revision to completion, not only will general satisfaction be given, but the new Bible will steadily win its way into universal use. It will be a work of time, of course, but we can well afford to let it be so. No one will welcome the work more heartily than Universalists, assured as they are that every clearer unfolding of the Scriptures will show forth more conspicuously the faith that was once delivered to the saints. No doubt the Universalist Church would be well pleased to see such words as, 'Aidns, Téevva
(DIN)), ragragów, &c., &c., left untranslated. But they will be well pleased if they shall be so rendered as no longer to mislead. It would be well, also, if an edition could be published, for the benefit of those desiring to see side by side, for quick comparison, the work of Revision with the Received Version, with both forms in parallel columns-the new renderings placed in a different type, perhaps in red letters.
However this may be, the new Book will be looked for with eagerness. It is to be hoped that it will give a fresh impetus to the study of those Sacred Writings, which are the WORD of GOD.
Thomas Erskine of Linlathen, his Life, Writings, and
FEW lands have given birth to a larger number of brilliant and distinguished men than Scotland. Whether there is any remarkable virtue in geographical position or physical circumstances favorable to the production of genius, piety, and patriotism, we know not; but certain it is, that this, not a large region of lake and mountain under the northern skies, has in time past, furnished many eminent examples of these noble qualities. And in that long list of illustrious names that adorn its history, none will be more loved or honored in time to come, for his independent thought, saintly character, and the pure and healthy influence of his writings, than the name of Thomas Erskine, of Linlathen. By those who believe in the final moral harmony of the universe, will his memory be especially held in reverence, as one of its most earnest and uncompromising advocates.
About a half a century ago this man, remarkable both for his singular piety and originality of mind, had secured con
NEW SERIES. VOL. XVII
siderable celebrity and influence among the evangelical churches of Great Britain and America, on account of certain works he had published in the defence, and on the nature of Christianity. But his brave, avowal and earnest advocacy of his belief in the ultimate redemption of all souls, diminished, to a large extent, the enthusiasm of his former friends, and eclipsed in that quarter his growing fame. Since, however, the death of Mr. Erskine, which occurred some few years ago, there has been awakened a new interest in regard to him, among all classes who recognize intellectual strength, and honor a beautiful character, independent of church or party relations. Yet it is a somewhat singular circumstance, and not excessively flattering to the Universalist Church, which has hitherto shown marvellous curiosity and facility in hunting up its scattered friends, and claiming the ties of an ecclesiastical relationship with all who sympathize with it on the fundamental doctrine, that notwithstanding the clear and pronounced views of Mr. Erskine in its favor, that he has not received more attention from it in the past. This omission is still more strange, when we consider the noticeable position he occupied in the religious and literary circles of his time, his many published works, the charming life and devout spirit of the man. But it is not too late to perform an act of tardy justice, to express at least a grateful recognition of his labors in behalf of those sentiments so dear to our own hearts, and a sincere appreciation of those virtues which have given to his character such hallowed lustre. Our readers, we know, will be glad to learn more of one, who in the interests of religious truth was a burning and a shining light in his generation, one who did not hide the truth under the bushel of time-serving expediency, but let it shine in its full sweet radiance to cheer the hearts, and brighten the hopes of others, while at the same time it was reflected with peculiar beauty from his own daily walks.
Thomas Erskine, of Linlathen, was born in Edinburgh, October 13, 1788. He came of a worthy, historic Scotch lineage. The Earl of Mar, the powerful and popular Regent of Scot
land in the time of James the Sixth, was one of his near ancestors. His grandfather was the famous jurist, John Erskine, of Carnock, author of the "Institutes of the Law of Scotland." His father was David Erskine, writer to the Signet in Edinburgh, who died in Naples, whither he had gone for his health, April 5, 1791. The mother of Thomas was Anne Graham, of the Grahams of Airth. A considerable portion of his boyhood and youth was spent among his relatives at Cardross, Sterlingshire and Perthshire. To these places he often reverted in later years with peculiar emotion, and loved often to tell of old Scottish life and manners as he had seen them nearly a century since, in the ancient houses of the agricultural population. Educated in the University at Edinburgh, he became a member of the faculty of advocates, and entered upon the practice of law in 1810.
At that time the society of the Scottish bar was celebrated for its brilliant array of representatives of forensic eloquence and literary genius, among whom were Cockburn, Jeffrey, Fullerton, Sir Walter Scott, and others who have given lustre to its history. Scott was then clerk of the Court and in the height of his fame. Generally, however, it was composed of men, with whose principles and habits, Mr. Erskine's religious. feelings and deeper convictions had but little sympathy. And, probably, on account of this incompatibility of spirit with the profession of law, as it was there represented, he exhibited little enthusiasm in seeking practice. Principal Shairp, in the Scotsman of March 31, 1870, said of him, "The distinguishing characteristic of Mr. Erskine, that which made him what he was, lay in the intense and pure religious faith that possessed him. This burned within him, a deep and central fire, absorbing or rather transfiguring his fine natural gifts and attainments scholarship, refinement, humor, and powers of argument. To his loving nature, that first truth of Christianity, that God is love, had come home with a power and totality of conviction which it is given few to feel." With such a nature and materials, for the creation of religious enthusiasm, fanned into a flame by the contemplation of the grandest view
of the divine character and government, it would have been difficult for any one, less spiritually minded and cultured than Mr. Erskine, to have remained indifferent to the great religious problems of his age. With him such a thing was absolutely impossible. So we find him early and ardently at work with his pen on those subjects that usually interest the theologian, and which lie more particularly within the province of divinity. And yet while he treated these subjects with masterly ability, he sought no office and assumed no title; but was content to be known as an humble layman, a faithful follower of the Master, devoting his talents and acquirements to the vindication of the authority and purity of his religion, and to the dissemination of its spirit among men.
Mr. Erskine's earliest published work appeared in 1820, with the title, "Internal Evidence for the Truth of Revealed Religion." This work met with remarkable success, rapidly passing through nine English editions, and was translated into the German and French languages. It gave him his first introduction to the friends of religion in America. In it he discusses he questions of the authenticity and genuineness of Christianity, placing it on the ground of its adaptation to the moral aud spiritual wants of mankind. In truth, he shows but little interest in any of his works, in the matter of mere historical criticism. In his view, the truth of revealed religion, and the truth of any religious system, could be more successfully defended from the basis of moral evidence and its ability to meet the deep questionings of the soul and promote human welfare, than from any other position. And in the interpretation of the Scriptures, he gave more importance to the spirit, than to the letter of the Word. The favor with which this work was received on this side of the Atlantic, may be gathered from a letter, addressed to Mr. Erskine, by Dr. Noah Porter, President of Yale College, while travelling in Scotland in 1866, from which the following is an extract:
"I wished to say to you that your little work on the Internal Evidence of the Christian Religion has been in America a work highly esteemed and of potent theological influence. My