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the morals of society. But no such improvement appears. Salvian, a Christian presbyter of Arles, writing about the middle of the fifth century, complains that “ the Church of God itself, which should be pleasing in the sight of God, is but the provoker of God's wrath." ** With the exception of the very few who shun evil, - praeter paucissimos quosdam qui mala fugiunt, — what is the whole body of Christians but a sink of vices?"
A new world the Spirit had builded, but much of the old material went into the building. Morality was not its pri
That will come in due season, when the work is complete. The moral law, by the “ Power that makes for righteousness," will finally vindicate itself. The aim of the Spirit in the founding of the Christian Church I suppose to have been this,- to provide a matrix and nursery for certain ideas; notably for these three, the idea of a divine humanity embodied in the doctrine of the Trinity, the idea of the solidarity of the human race, the idea of a heavenly kingdom in this earthly world. When these ideas have taken full possession of the mind and heart of humanity, and have actualized themselves in human life, then Christianity will have fulfilled its mission; then the Spirit will cast aside the sheltering hull of ecclesiasticism; the Church, no longer a separate organism, will be merged in society; the secular and the spiritual, principially and practically one, will realize at last in their full consummation the "new heaven and new earth wherein dwelleth righteousness."
FREDERIC H. HEDGE.
MARTIN LUTHER AND THE GERMAN BIBLE.
Among the illustrious services of Martin Luther which in this commemorative season call forth the admiration and gratitude of the Protestant world, there is none which so discloses the characteristics of his genius, whose influence has proven so enduring and which may be regarded with such unmixed satisfaction, as his translation of the Scriptures into the German tongue. His was not the first attempt to give the people the treasure of the Bible in their own familiar speech, but it was the first which was successful in any large degree; and this paper is intended to show that this success was due quite as much to the imposing and consecrated personality of Luther as to the favoring circumstances under which his great work was produced.
The earliest translation of the Scriptures into a Germanic or Teutonic dialect of which we possess any knowledge is the Gothic version, made from the original Greek about 360–380 A.D., by Ulfilas, the Arian bishop of the Christian Goths of Mæsia on the Lower Danube. Of this work, fragments are still in existence. Traces of other renderings into the popular idiom of parts of the Scriptures appear in the succeeding centuries. In the ninth century, the Benedictine monk Otfried, of Weissenberg in Alsatia, produced his rhymed version of the Gospels, designed for popular use ; and an unknown author composed the gospel harmony wrongly ascribed to the Syrian monk, Tatian. The translation and commentary upon the Psalms, made by the learned monk, Notker Labeo, of St. Gallen (1022), was a work of more pretension, and its use probably limited to the educated classes. In the thirteenth century, Rudolph von Hohenems, by command of Conrad IV., translated the whole Old Testament freely into German. The oldest complete Bible in a German idiom now existing is that of Matthias von Beheim, a monk of Halle, dating from about 1343 A.D., of which a manuscript is preserved at Leipzig. All of these early versions, except that of Ulfilas, were from the Latin
Vulgate, and either slavishly literal or else mere paraphrases. While of slight critical value, they were, however, of considerable importance to succeeding translators, since to them, and particularly to Notker, may be traced many Biblical and churchly forms of expression which thereafter became fixed in the German language. Among such words, which they invented or applied to religious uses, we may instance: Altar, from the Latin altare; alamuosa, in later German Almosen (alms), from the Latin eleemosyne; Angil, later Engel, from the Latin angelus; Fimchusti, later pfingsten, from pentecosti; Kiricha, later Kirche, probably from xvpuaný ; kestigen, later kasteyen, from castigare ; opfer, from obferre; Priestar, later Priester, from presbyter; taufi, later taufe, from taif (tief), meaning deep. Many of these were corruptions of the Latin, others were evidently put together from both languages, or adapted from popular German use. Whole passages, indeed, in these earlier versions, acquired a current form, which they later retained. Thus, the rendering in Tatian's harmony, “Fater, in thine hanton biuilo ih minan Geist,” is reproduced in Luther's version, “ Vater, in deine Haende befehl ich meinen Geist.” In English, “Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit.”
A long period of ignorance and superstition ensued, during which the Scriptures were practically lost from sight. The Catholic hierarchy discountenanced and suppressed their circulation. Their use was limited to the liturgical service of the Church. Here, their Latin garb concealed them from the knowledge of the laity. The clergy, however, were hardly more conversant with the Bible than the laity. Their knowledge of Latin would barely suffice for the daily service of the sanctuary, and even that was so corrupted and altered as often to be almost unrecognizable. That familiarity with the Biblical story which had distinguished the early Christians no longer existed. The priesthood, uneducated, superstitious, and immoral, were content to fulfil the external duties of their vocation, and looked with dislike and fear upon all learning and culture. We know with what difficulty the young monk, Martin
Luther, obtained a release from the menial tasks which
that this Psalm treats, according to the letter, of Christ; allegorically, of the Church and the tyrants who pursue it ; tropologically, it is directed against the sinful flesh, the world, and the devil; and, from a common-sense point of view, it may be understood to refer to David. The growing insight of the great reformer soon showed him the baselessness and absurdity of this symbolical method. In his TableTalk, he tells us that, while still a monk, he was a master in the art of spiritual interpretation, and allegorized the whole Scripture. “Now, I have learned by experience; and my best and only art is tradere Scripturam simplici sensu.”
To such a low estate had the Bible fallen in Luther's day. Already, however, there were signs of a great intellectual and moral awakening among the German people. “When Learning fled from the cells, she took refuge in the outer world.” That great revival of classical studies, of secular science and free thought, called the Humanistic movement, together with the invention of printing and the establishment of the German universities (Prague, 1348, Vienna, 1365, Heidelberg, 1386, Wittenberg, 1502), mediated the return of knowledge and enlightenment from their long exile. In vain did scholastic learning and ecclesiastical authority set themselves in opposition to this movement. A revival of classical and Oriental studies took place, so general and enthusiastic that some feared with Erasmus that it would result in bringing back the ancient paganism. The result of these classical and critical studies soon became apparent in the increased attention paid to the Scriptures. Hitherto, the Vulgate had been the chief, if not sole,
, authority of the Church; but eminent Orientalists, like John Reuchlin († 1522), pointed out its manifold errors of translation, and even falsifications of the original text.
Of still greater influence in destroying the exceptional esteem with which the Vulgate had been regarded were the critical labors of Erasmus of Rotterdam.
The wide-spread discontent with the corrupt and scandalous practices of the Roman clergy, and the tyrannical course of the papacy