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rected, especially in the spelling of many words, in 1769, by Dr. Blayney, has continued to the present time, as the only “authorized version ” of the Holy Scriptures, “ appointed to be read in churches.” Until lately, this “ authorized” translation was not allowed to be printed, without special licence, unless with a commentary or notes, except by five privileged parties in England and Scotland.
Testimonies regarding the excellence of this version of the Scriptures are many; though it is not pretended to be perfect, and most admit that it might be improved in some renderings. Still, as the Rev. Mr. Scott, the most eminent commentator on the Bible of any in the Church of England, says, “ It may be asked, “How can unlearned persons know how our translation may be relied on, as in general faithful and correct? Let the inquirer remember, that Episcopalians, Presbyterians and Independents, Baptists and Pædo-baptists, Calvinists and Arminians, persons who maintain eager controversies with each other in various ways, all appeal to the same version, and in no matter of consequence object to it. This demonstrates that the translation, on the whole, is just. The same consideration proves the impossibility of the primitive Christians corrupting the Sacred Records."*
* Commentary, vol. v. Introduction, vol. v., p. v.
The History of the Bible Society.
EFFORTS ANTICIPATING THE BIBLE SOCIETY.
Tyndal's Association-Propagation of the Gospel in New England
Missionary and Bible-Propagation of the Gospel in WalesPromoting Christian Knowledge-Propagation of thc Gospel in Foreign Parts-Missionaries to India—Highlands of Scotland-Book Society-Naval and Military Bible-WesleyanBaptist- London - Scottish Missionary Societies — Religious Tract -- The Church - Sunday School Union - British and Foreign School-Hibernian Society.
EXPERIENCE has largely proved the necessity of combination, in accomplishing great works for the multitude. On this principle, various efforts have been made, with powerful effect, in obtaining many of the translations of the Scriptures. Their circulation, also, was effected by the same means, long before the formation of the Bible Society. Repeated references to some of these, and a brief review of them, therefore, will enable us, with greater admiration, to behold, in that institution, the wisdom and goodness of God.
I. TYNDAL's Association.—That great man was aided, by a kind of Bible Society, in accomplishing his work of translation and circulation of the Scriptures. Copies of his New Testament were soon brought to England, after it was printed in 1525, when Cardinal Wolsey, Lord Chancellor Sir Thomas More, and Tonstall, bishop of London, with other prelates, made every possible effort to destroy the work. Sir T. More wrote a “Confutation" of the alleged errors in the translation, in which he indicates the combination in this work. “Which books," he says, “ neither can these be printed without great cost, nor here sold without great adventure and peril; yet cease they not with money sent from hence, to print them these and send them hither by the whole vats full at once; and in some places looking for no lucre, cast them abroad at night.” Information was laid against “R. Webbe, of Bristol,” as one of this Bible fraternity,“ that some of these pestilent books were thrown in the street, and left at men's doors by night, that where they durst not offer their poison to sell, they would of their charity poison men for nought.”
Mr. Offor gives a “List of Books either ascribed to Tyndal, or published with his name,” indicating the necessity of some combination to get such numbers into circulation. The first two items in his list are:
“ The Bible, containing the Old and New Testaments and the Apocrypha. Published in folio 1537, 1538, 1549, 1549, 1551, 1551; and, in octavo, 4 vols., 1549 and 1551.
“ The New Testament, 1525, revised in 1534. Not less than eighty editions were printed !"
Various combinations were formed to promote the circulation of the Bible as revised by Coverdale, and first printed in 1535; and the Geneva Bible, printed in 1559 and in 1560.
II. SOCIETY FOR THE PROPAGATION OF THE GosPEL IN NEW ENGLAND.—This was occasioned by the labours and successes of John Eliot, worthily denominated “ THE APOSTLE OF THE INDIANS." He was educated at Cambridge; but, being a Nonconformist, he emigrated to America in 1631. He engaged in his ministry among the Indians in 1644, learned their language, and translated for their use the whole Bible. His successes were extraordinary; the report of which being made in England, Dr. Calamy, Mr. Marshal and Mr. Whitaker, submitted an account of them, in 1647, to the Long Parliament. It was referred to the“ Committee for Foreign Plantations,” to prepare a “ Bill for the Promotion of Learning in New England.” Commissioners were appointed, and collections were made throughout the parishes of England. From this Society Mr. Eliot received assistance; and its president, the Hon. Robert Boyle, encouraged the apostolic man by his correspondence, besides contributing, on account of the difficulties of the times, about three hundred pounds a-year towards the circulation of the Word of God among the Indians.
Beside preaching, translating the Scriptures was one great part of the work of Eliot; for which he was highly qualified. “ Possessing a sound and enlightened judgment,” as Dr. Mather remarks, “great patience of investigation, a correct philosophical taste, and an extensive critical knowledge of the Hebrew, Greek and Indian languages ; entertaining a most sacred regard to Divine Truth, and exercising an humble dependence on the Divine blessing. Having employed all the time he could command for several years in making this translation, he had the happiness, in September, 1661, of seeing an edition of the New Testament, with marginal references, completed at press. It consisted of fifteen hundred copies. In about two years afterwards, the Old Testament was finished; so that, before the end of 1663, the whole Scriptures were printed in the Indian language.” “Behold! ye Americans!” exclaims Dr. Mather, in the height of his pious rapture, on account of the completion of this noble work, “Behold the greatest honour that ever you were partakers of! The Bible was printed here, at our Cambridge; and it is the only Bible that ever was printed in all America, from the very foundation of the world.”
III. MISSIONARY AND BIBLE SOCIETY.—In 1656, the Lord Protector Cromwell projected a grand Missionary and Bible Institution, which was to be placed under the government of seven commissioners and four secretaries : the first for France, Switzerland and Piedmont; the second for the Palatinate and the Calvinists of other provinces.; the third for Germany, the North of Europe, and Turkey; and