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But the great reason why the New Church makes only one commandment of what the Protestants make two, is, because the whole substance and design of their two is evidently but one thing, namely, the worshipping no other God than the Lord alone. And as this is the sole and simple end of both, we see no necessity for dividing what God himself has joined; but rather consider the external division of that first and great commandment, as a strong presumptive proof of the mental acknowledgment of more Gods than one.
Other reasons might be advanced in opposition to the Protestant division of the Ten Commandments, and in favour of that which is adopted by the New Church; but we trust the foregoing observations will be found sufficient to justify the conduct of the members of that Church, in having so rigidly adhered to what they humbly conceive to be the truth, independent of all prejudices either for or against any party in Christendom, whether they be of the Popish or the Protestant persuasion.
Extract of a letter from the Rev. J. C. to a member of the Church at Philadelphia, dated Manchester, April 30, 1817.
MY DEAR SIR,
I received your kind and interesting letten, bearing date Jan. 23, with all that affection and delight, which never fail to be excited in the bosoms of the members of the LORD's New Church, whensoever they are favoured with a communication of sentiment from their brethren at a distance, and especially when those brethren are gifted with a superior degree of information, of discernment, and of intelligence. It is gratifying also to observe, that whatsoever may be the variety of character by which those brethren are distinguished, and the variety too of sentiment corresponding with that character, yet in one point they are all agreed, and this point of all others the most important, viz. to refer both character and sentiment to one common DrVINE SOURCE, under the humble and grateful acknowledgment, that all is of the Divine unmerited mercy of their HEAVENLY FATHER, from whom are derived, and by whom are arranged in
the most perfect harmony and order, the indefinitely multiplied genera and species of goods and truths. But in replying to your much esteemed favour in the manner it deserves, it will be necessary for me to attend you, step by step, regularly through all its pages, that so I may convince you that nothing has been overlooked, but that on the contrary, every word has made its proper impression, and called forth, as you doubtless designed it should, a reciprocation of attentive interest.
The concise history which you give in some succeeding pages, of the rise and progress of the New Church in your city, is a manifest proof, amongst a thousand others, that the operations of the ALMIGHTY are not to be measured by the scanty line of human apprehension, and that though slow, they are always sure, and perhaps sure because they are slow. With all your advantages therefore of a new and crowded Temple, and of an able minister, I would advise you not to be too sanguine in your expectations of seeing the fruit of your laudable exertions, since we learn from high authority, that the kingdom of GOD cometh not by observation. This remark is not intended either to abate your zeal, or to diminish your confidence in the production of good and the dissemination of truth, but only to guard against the disappointment which you may experience, if you expect that the kingdom, which your are about to establish, will be a visible kingdom. For it appears to me that the Church here on earth is like that treasure spoken of in the parable, of which it is written, that when a man hath found it, he hideth it, (Matt. xiii. 44,) to denote that he storeth it up in the interiors of his mind, and thus it is concealed both from his own observation and that of others. The Church may be formed and grow, and if the truth be taught, it will be formed and grow, and yet possibly little of its growth may come into outward manifestation. Let us therefore be content to sow the seed of eternal life, and leave the product to the LORD of the harvest, under the sure and consolatory conviction that the harvest will come, though perhaps it may be concealed from our view.
I have not as yet seen a copy of your Liturgy, but hope soon to be able to borrow one from Mr. Hindmarsh, when I shall expect to be highly gratified with observing the improvements you have made on all former liturgies. Nevertheless, a Liturgy is a composition of which I feel myself very unequal to judge, and
therefore I caution you against placing much dependance on my opinion. I can only say, that in general too many words, and in some cases repetitions of the same sentiment, have been adopted in formularies of worship, so as to become tedious and burdensome to the devout mind, which, after all, has always a formulary of its own, best suited to express its own wants, and to obtain relief. It is not meant by this remark to reduce a Liturgy to the compass of the LORD's prayer, and to expunge all petitions as supernumerary, which are not contained in that prayer; because I think that as a sermon is designed to be a comment on some part of the HOLY WORD, by opening its internal sense, so a Liturgy is designed to be a comment on the LORD's prayer, and on other prayers contained in the HOLY WORD, by explaining and unfolding their internal or spiritual meaning.
I entirely agree with you on the subject of Translation, and think we cannot be too attentive to accuracy, when we attempt to make our enlightened author speak English, or any other language than that in which he wrote. In regard to the A. C., every precaution has been taken to render the translation as correct as possible, and whenever a volume is reprinted, it is at the same time revised. Nevertheless, in so large and extended a work, it is more than probable, that some errors may have crept in, and escaped notice, and therefore, whosoever will be at the pains to detect and point them out, has a peculiar claim on the Church's gratitude. When I next see Mr. Hindmarsh, I will consult with him on the two errata which you note in your letter to him, and which at present I do not recollect, and we will do all in our power to rectify them. In regard to your remark on No. 6480, line 6, I cannot quite agree with you that the article the ought to be inserted before several, since the original Latin is plura, which is never applied by our author to denote all, but only a considerable number, or the generality, both which ideas are expressed by the term several. You perhaps know that a new translation of the H. and H. is now in the press, and expected to be published in a few months. Before I engaged in this work, I was not fully aware of the defects of the former translation, nor could I have conceived that they were so gross and numerous as I have since found them to be. Truly thankful shall I be if the new dress, in which the incomparable original is soon to make its appearance, shall be found without spots, and well fitted to
express the beauty and symmetry of that wisdom, which it was designed at once to display and to adorn.
On the translation of the HOLY WORD, to which you advert, I have only to remark, that it can never be accomplished in any degree of perfection but by a translator, who is not only thoroughly versed in the original language, but is also enlightened to discern the internal sense of every passage, and of every expression, and who will further be at the pains to assign distinct English terms to express such and such ideas, and will afterwards be careful to apply them accordingly. As for exampleIn the fifty-first psalm, we read as follows: have mercy on me, O GOD, according to thy loving kindness; according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. (verses 1 & 2.) Now, in this passage, three distinct terms are applied to denote opposition to the divine will or wisdom, viz. transgressions, iniquity, and sin, and each expression is used according to a definite meaning, being intended to express a definite idea, thus a distinct kind and degree of the above opposition, whether originating in the will, the understanding, or the operation of the opponent. What then I wish to remark, and to press as a point of weighty obligation on every translator of the WORD, is this, that the English term assigned to express each of the above oppositions ought always to be applied according to its definite meaning, and never to be confounded with expressions which denote other oppositions. The same remark will extend to all other cases, in which a variety of terms is used to express ideas, which bear some similarity to each other, but yet in themselves are perfectly distinct. Such are the terms laws, statutes, judgments, testimonies, commandments, &c.; also weeping, lamenting, being sorrowful, &c. with many others, on all which occasions it will be found absolutely necessary for the translator, first, to acquaint himself with the distinct idea suggested by each term in the original; secondly, to assign to each term a corresponding English one; and thirdly, to be careful to apply his English term in all cases, according to the definite meaning allotted to it. Much, therefore, as I am gratified with your account of your Hebrew Bibles, Lexicons, and Comments, and convinced as I am, of the advantage and necessity of accurate skill in the Hebrew tongue to make a faithful translation of the scriptures of
the Old Testament, yet it is equally clear to my mind, that the one thing needful may yet be wanting, and will be wanting, in case the translator be either ignorant of the internal sense, or careless in his adoption of English terms to express it.
I entirely agree with you in your remarks on the necessity of caution, respecting all information about the New Church, communicated in periodical publications, or in any other way, that so nothing may be circulated but what is authentic and wellgrounded. Yet I frankly confess, that the charge against the Halcyonites (as you call them,) which was first published in the Hawkestone Report, originated with myself, nor was I aware at the time that they were not of the New Church, but rather concluded from a book of their hymns, which had been put into my hands, that they acceded to its heavenly doctrines. I am glad however to find that I have been mistaken, and that the Halcyonites are a distinct people from the members of the New Church, and therefore ought not to be confounded with them.
Having now gone through the principal parts of your interesting letter, and made such remarks as the subject suggested, I should hold myself inexcusable if I did not supply you in return with information of what is passing, in this country respecting the dissemination of the heavenly doctrines of the New Jerusalem. You have doubtless before this time received the annual Report of our Printing Society, and possibly also the Report of the Missionary Society, from each of which you will discover that the friends here are not idle, and that the glad tidings of the everlasting gospel have already acquired an extended circulation through a considerable part of the British empire. Still, however, I am sorry to say, the reception of the truth is far less general than might be wished and looked for. The clergy, for instance, of the established Church almost universally reject it, and though there are a few recipients, and those of most respectable character, both as to rank and talents, yet their number is comparatively small. In the county of Lancaster perhaps we have more of the clerical order, who pay attention to the new doctrines, than in any other county, but still we cannot reckon up more than six. Two of these however are young men of high respectability, both on the score of birth, of learning, of exemplary conduct, and of extended influence, and their society is a great comfort to me. It appears to me therefore, that the most