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Lewis proceeds to say, 'a copy of these orders or instructions being sent to Mr. Lively at Cambridge, and other copies to Dr. Harding, the king's reader of Hebrew at Oxford, and Dr. Andrews, dean of Westminster; it seems as if some other doubts arising concerning them, application was made by the vice-chancellor to the bishop of London for the resolution of them. To which his Lordship replied, that,—' to be sure, if he had not signified so much unto them already, it was his majesty's pleasure that, besides the learned persons employed with them for the Hebrew and Greek, there should be three or four of the most eminent and grave divines of their university, assigned by the vice-chancellor, upon conference with the rest of the heads, to be the overseers of the translations, as well Hebrew as Greek, for the better observation of the rules appointed by his highness, and especially concerning the third&ndfourthnile: and that when they had agreed upon the persons for this purpose, be prayed them to send him word thereof.' The same author observes, that the translators in their Preface to the Reader affixed to their translation, declare 'they had on the one side avoided the scrupulosity of the Puritans, who left the old ecclesiastical words, and betook them to others, as when they put washing for baptism. and congregation for church; and on the other hand, had shunned the obscurity of the Papists in their Azymes, Tunike, Rational, Holocausts, Prepuce, Pasche, and a number of such like, whereof their late translation (at Doway and Rheims) was full, and that of purpose to darken the sense, and that since they must needs translate the Bible, yet by the language thereof it might be kept from being understood.' The same author again says, ' of this translation the learned Mr. Matthew Poole has given the following character. In his royal version, says he, occur a good many specimens of great learning and skill in the original tongues, and of an acumen and judgment more than common. By others it has been censured as too literal, or following the original Hebrew and Greek too closely and exactly, and leaving too many of the words in the original untranslated, which makes it not so intelligible to a mere English reader. This last was perhaps in some measure owing to the king's instructions, the third of which was, that the old eclesiastical words should be kept. However it be, we see many of the words in the original retained, as, Hosanna, Hallelujah, Amen, Rdka, Mammon, Manna, Maranatha, Phylactery, etc., for which no reason can be given, but that they are left untranslated in the vulgar Latin.' This author further declares, that Navy, in his Preface to the Bible, (printed in 1719), remarks, there were certain words in the Scriptures, which use and custom had in a manner consecrated, as sabbath, rabbi, baptize, scandalize, synagogue etc., which he said he had every where retained, (though . they were neither Latin nor Greek, but Hebrew and Greek,) because they are as well understood, even by men of the meanest capacity, as if they had been English. Speaking of WicklifFs translation, he adds, 'in Dr. WicklifFs translation of the Bible, we may observe that these words of the original which have since been termed sacred words, were not always thus superstitiously regarded; thus for instance, Matt, iii. 6, is rendered weren washen, instead of were baptized, though for the most part they are here left untranslated, or are not rendered into English so frequently as they are in the Anglo Saxonic translation.'
On these instructions given to the translators by King James, and the subjoined extracts, we have now a few remarks to make. 1. King James had the same right as every other man, to translate the Bible, and understand it for himself. Nor do we question his right to employ others to make a translation of it for him. But we do question his right to call men together to make a translation, fetter them with instructions as to the one they must make, and then order that this translation be received by his subjects, and 'appointed to be read in churches.' This is being a regulator as well as the ' defender of the faith.' But 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 con* sciences, 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. 2. It is well known that king James was a very superstitious man. The translators knew the nature and disposition of their employer. The instructions be 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. A perfect translation needs not be expected by imperfect men; but 3. The instructions of king James were calculated to perpetuate imperfections and increase them. This will apppear obvious, by attending for a moment to these instructions. For example, it appears from rule third, of the king's instructions to the translators, that he forbade them to translate the old ecclesiastical words. And in rule fourth he commands, that when any word hath divers significations, they should retain that in their translation which has been most commonly used by the most eminent fathers, being agreeable to the propriety of the place and the analogy of faith. And we are informed,' it was his majesty's pleasure, that besides the learned persons employed with them for the Hebrew and Greek, there should be three or four of the most eminent and grave divines of their university, assigned by the vice-chancellor upon conference with the rest of the heads, to be the overseers of the translations, as well Hebrew as Greek, for the better observation of the rules appointed by his highness, and especially concerning the third and fourth rule.' See these rules above. That the translators observed these rules, is certain for they say 'they had on the one side avoided the scrupulosity of the Puritans, who left the old ecclesiastical words, and betook them to others, as when they put washing for baptism etc., and we are told above, that their translation is 'too literal, or following the original Hebrew and Greek too closely and exactly, and leaving too many of the words in the original untranslated, which makes it not so intelligible to a mere English reader.' The reason assigned for their doing this is,'this was perhaps in some measure owing to the king's instructions, the third of which was, that the old ecclesiastical words should be kept. It is added, 'however it be, we see many of the words in the original retained, as hosanna, hallelujah, amen, rafca, mammon, manna, maranatha, phylactery, etc., for which no reason can be given, but that they are left untranslated in the vulgar Latin.' Besides, Navy in his Preface to the Bible, printed 1719, says, that 'he had every where retained these consecrated words, though they were neither Latin nor English, but Hebrew and Greek.' Moreover we are told, that Dr. Wickliffin his translation, though he has in Matt. iii. 6, rendered the words weren washen instead of were baptised, the ecclesiastical terms are not rendered into English so frequently as they are in the Anglo Saxonic translation.' 4. What were the old ecclesiastical and consecrated words which king James wished the translators to retain in their version? It is ordered in the king's instructions, that 'the word church is not to be translated congregation,' etc. And in the extracts we are further informed, sabbath, rabbi, baptize, scandalize, synagogue, etc., were also of the number. But it is evident from the etc. which is added, that these were only a specimen of the words which the king wished the translators to retain in their version. That there were many others, no one will question. A few of these 1 shall now notice. Of these old ecclesiastical, consecrated words, was the term,
//.'//. In old ecclesiastical usage, this word designated a place of inconceivable and endless torments in a future state. By means of the word hell, the clergy had for ages terrified the world into an almost entire subjection to them. Their denunciations of endless hell torments had made whole nations tremble, from the king on the throne to the beggar on the dunghill. But did sheol, hades, tartarus, or gehenna, the four words which are rendered hell in king James' version, mean such a place of unutterable and endless misery ?3 No; and the contexts of the places where these words are used, show this. As to the word hell, the translators did not believe it always meant such a place of misery. Sometimes they render the same original word grave and hell, and where they put hell in the text, they often put grave in the margin. Professor Stuart in his Essays just referred to, says, pp. 113, 114, 'I am much more inclined to believe, that in their day the word hell had not acquired, so exclusively as at present, the meaning of world of future misery. There is plain evidence of this, in what is called the Apostles' Creed; which says of Christ, (after his crucifixion), that "he descended into hell." Surely the Protestant English church did not mean to aver, that the soul of Christ went to the world of woe; nor that it went to purgatory. They did not believe either of these doctrines. Hell then means, in this document, the under-world, the world of the dead. And so it has been construed by the most intelligent critics of the English church.' Let us now suppose, the translators had left the words sheol, hades, tartarus, and gehenna untranslated, as they did some other words; it would have been difficult for any one to make out from the contexts of the places, that a place of endless misery was taught in the Bible. The very concessions of Professor Stuart, and the difficulty he found to produce anything like proof of this, show the remark just. Or, let it be supposed, the translators had rendered sheol, hades, and tartarus, under-world, world of the dead, as Mr. Stuart admits correct; and also Gehenna, valley of Hinnom, which he allows is its meaning, who could have found endless hell torments in the Bible? As the case stands, of the word hell, which is the translation of all these words, Mr. Stuart confesses this is not the sense in the Apostles' creed. But who gave the word hell the exclusive sense of world of future woe, he does not inform us. To do the translators justice, as they retained the old ecclesiastical consecrated word hell in their version, they were honest enough to show they did not believe it always meant a place of endless misery. Another old ecclesiastical word was the term,
3 See this question discussed in Balfour's first Inquiry, Professor Stuart's, Exegetical Essays, and in Balfour's Reply to these Essays.
Satan. As this word and the term devil, are both used to designate an evil being who fell from heaven, they may be noticed together. These old ecclesiastical words are the names of an imaginary being little inferior to God himself. He rebelled in heaven, was cast down to hell; and yet he is everywhere present in our world, going about seeking whom he may devour. But whoever will take the trouble to examine the Scripture usage of the terms devil and satan, we think, will find this a mistake.4 But it is well known, that these two terms have been, and now are, words by which the clergy have terrified unnumbered millions of mankind. They terrify the parents in the pulpit with the devil,
4 See Balfour's second Inquiry where this subject is discussed at some length.