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"If by any light we may cast upon these ancient books, we can enable and invite the people to read the Bible for themselves, we discharge, in my judgment, the first duty of our function; ever bearing in mind, that we are the ministers, not of our own fame or fancies, but of the sincere gospel of Jesus Christ."-Paley's Visitation Sermon at Carlisle, July 17, 1777.

THE intention of this Revision of the Common or Received English Translation of the Gospel and Three Epistles of St. John is so fully set forth in the title page, that it will be necessary to add only a very few observations to explain the design and method of the Reviser.

The first and leading advantage proposed to be attained by the Revision is, to render, as far as possible, every passage and expression in the Gospel and Epistles of St. John as clear and intelligible to the unlearned English Reader as it is reasonable to suppose the original Scripture was to them for whose use and instruction it was at first written; and this can be effected only by a strict attention to the grammatical, and also to the idiomatical, construction and usage of the original Greek expressions adopted by the Evangelist, which frequently and necessarily require a peculiar yet well-authorized latitude of translation, when rendered into English.

The writings of St. John, though in mere grammatical construction they are perhaps the most simple and easy of all written compositions, abound preeminently in high and holy intimations, and in divine instruction.

They excel in unity and sublimity of doctrine not less than in simplicity of style and humility of precept; and therefore it was well said by Origen, one of the ancient Fathers of the Christian Church, that "the first-fruits of the holy Scriptures were the Gospels; and that the firstfruits of the Gospels was the Gospel according to St. John, the

true sense or meaning of which no one can clearly comprehend unless he have, as it were, like the Evangelist himself, reclined on the bosom of Jesus."

After such a remark it is almost an evil presumption in any one to attempt to throw new light and conviction on the peculiar sublimity and doctrines of the unadorned writings of St. John.

But it must be allowed that, admirable as the common English Translation of the New Testament even now is in many respects, yet there are many passages in which those persons who are familiarly acquainted with the peculiar style, concise and acknowledged grammatical figures of speech, idiom, Hebraisms, local and historical allusions, and peculiar though usual phraseology or elliptical mode of expression used by the several Evangelists and Apostles, assuredly know and perceive, that the common received English Translation, owing to its studied brevity and closely literal rendering, fails, like the ancient Vulgate Latin Translation of St. Jerome, to give an adequate and satisfactory interpretation to the unlearned reader, of expressions which, in the original language, are familiar and obvious; consequently that, in such passages, though the reader may apprehend, and in some degree devoutly feel the general meaning of any particular passage, yet much of its perspicuity and of its characteristic spirituality is suffered to escape.*

Hence has arisen a fruitful and painful source of difference in opinion, and even in doctrine, among different denominations of Christians, derived frequently from the ambiguity of the present English Translation, and from the either too indefinite or too constrained use of peculiar scripture terms and modes of speech at that time in familiar use, when reasoned upon and attempted to be expounded by incompetent and fanciful, though religiously disposed, persons?† not to mention the different sense which, owing to the varying usage and modification of language and of ideas, frequently attaches itself, in the course of time, to the same English word-e. g. Church-Atonement-Baptism,‡ &c.


* See also Preface to "Hints for an Improved Translation of the New Testament," by the Rev. James Scholefield, M. A. Regius Professor of Greek in the University of Cambridge. 1832, It becomes every one who undertakes to explain the Scriptures, before he determine to whom or to what an expression is now-a-days to be applied, to consider diligently whether it admit of any such application at all, or whether it is not rather to be restrained to the precise circumstances and occasion for which it was originally composed."-Paley.

"Memoir of William Tyndale, who first printed the New Testament in English, 1525, and was martyred at Vilvoord, near Brussels, Sept. 1536.”—P. 39, 12 lines. The term which gave most offence, was "Congregation," used instead of "Church," &c. See also "Mammon," p. 47; the true and universal church of Christ, beautifully and faithfully characterised; 42 lines, beginning with "Each denomination of Christians," &c.

This disappointment may be said to be a necessary consequence of having the precepts of the Gospel doctrine transmitted to ourselves, among other Christian nations and generations of men of divers tongues, through the medium of a very peculiar and distinct dialect, if it may be so called, of the Greek language, as exhibited in the Septuagint Greek Version of the Old Testament, and in the Greek Gospels and Epistles of the New Testament. But this is a disappointment which the diligence, discernment, and learning of mankind, when employed in successive ages in translating the original Greek Testament into their respective languages, ought, and may always, when faithfully exerted, in a great measure remedy; for it is to be feared that the integrity of the judgment, if not of the moral principle, has been frequently violated in the scholastic disquisitions of former ages in a war of words and doctrinal terms and harsh sectarian distinctions; as in the doctrine of the Trinity and of Transubstantiation, or the Real Presence of God and Christ in the bread and wine, &c. when book-learning set common sense and the sober use of judgment at defiance.* In doing this, however, it will be necessary and indispensable that the interpolated expressions, synonyms, metonyms, and expletive words, should be distinguished carefully from the original text, by being printed in a different letter or type, in order that the pure native gold, so long as copies of the original language or text shall remain and be understood, may be clearly distinguished from the possible alloy.

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If we can in any considerable degree avail ourselves summarily and judiciously of the vast treasures of acute and laborious criticism and exposition which have been transmitted to us, as a necessary comment, by the learned and pious expositors who have written before us, in elucidation of the text of the holy Scriptures, it is our duty to do so, and to endeavour to embody their obvious and acknowledged illustrations, and to condense them in our own language and translation for the instruction of the unlearned, as briefly and with as little burthen of human note or comment as possible. For we ought never to forget, that the Gospel was to be preached to the Poor; and consequently to the, generally speaking, unlearned portion of mankind. Therefore in the declaration of the moral and religious doctrines communicated to us through the medium and language of the holy Scriptures, all of which doctrines are clearly and graciously designed to be practical and influential, there ought to be no positive obscurity or ambiguity in language. Christians are expected to be Children of Spiritual Life, and their

*Lord Brougham's 'Discourse of Natural Theology' (Note V. p. 248. On the Doctrine of the Real Presence), and in support of Archbishop Tillotson's argument.

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