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THE BIBLE SOCIETY'S POLYGLOTT. CONTEMPLATING the difficulties, which attend the self
imposed duties of a reviewer, we have sometimes thought within ourselves, that we would give up the critical department altogether, and carry on our Magazine without it. It is so hard to give satisfaction in this department, so easy to commit gross injustice. But then a thought entered our minds, “ How will our readers like this? Will they not say, that we are deceiving them in our very title-page, and have departed even from the name of the Christian Review?” To which, in our own sagacity, we answered to ourselves, “ Never mind that. We can tell them that we review the times. This will, of course, pacify them, and stop their mouths.”—Then, doubting whether such a plea would quite answer our purpose, we thought of another plan. “ We will continue to review; but we will review only pamphlets. Pamphlets, as it has been said, are like straws thrown up, to shew which way the wind sets. And, consequently, in pursuing this plan we shall gain our own object; and review the times in reviewing them."
If such a system should, at any future period, be adopted by us, we are certainly very far from it at the present instance; when our article announces, in its superscription, a work of many volumes, large enough to cover many shelves. The proper way to review the Bible, is with prayer and reverence, in the closet. That is not, at this moment, our object. There are some circumstances connected, however, with the extraordinary work now before us, to which we are desirous of calling attention. It is well known how many versions of the Holy Scriptures have, at different times, been published and put forth, by
the much assailed, much agitated, but, God be thanked, still extant, still flourishing, still efficient Bible Society. A work is thus produced of high, of real, of Christian interest: of interest that must ever go on augmenting, in time and in eternity. The appearance of this work we regard as by far the most important event, in the history of printing. And we know of no better title, by which to describe the collection, and present it to the attention of our readers, than that of the BIBLE SOCIETY's PolyGLOTT.
Not that the volumes, merely, are many; and these, volumes of the Scriptures ; and that, therefore, we are here employing an arbitrary term to describe them. The bulk of them have been brought together, into a set; and may, in that shape, be seen. The Bible Society, within no very long period, has kindly granted such a set, upon application, to a religious institution ; in which institution we have had the pleasure of seeing it. And surely it is a sight which, if seen by some enemies of the Society, would have the effect of softening their hearts, and lifting them up in thankfulness to God : and which, seen by friends, might create in them a love to the cause, still fresh and young; and lead every beholder to ask, as if the Society had only been formed yesterday, and he had only heard of it within the last second, What can I do to help this glorious work? In whatever degree the whole Bible, in a great many languages, is more than the law of Moses in one, in that degree the bookcase, in which these volumes shall be deposited, will contain more than the ark. And, when they have received their final arrangement, and each has found its proper place, we know not of any more appropriate title, to be inscribed upon that book-case, than The Bible Society's POLYGLOTT. And-yes, we will say it, let who will shake their heads at us—if any rich man, on reading this statement, should, as a token of gratitude to God, as a small thank-offering upon the completion of this work, consecrate a few of his superfluous thousands, deliberately and cheerfully, to the still further extension of the Bible Society's cause, and of this Polyglott, he will shew that he is possessed of far more of that true wisdom, which cometh down from above, than the hundreds and thousands that will call him a fool for doing so.
We know not, indeed, that the Bible Society's versions have ever been announced as a polyglott. Nor did they all appear at one time. It is also admitted, that they are not generally published interleaved, or printed page for page. And the exhibition of the several languages at one view, is what, strictly speaking, the nature of a polyglott seems to require.
however, is merely the more technical part of the work. The great, the striking fact, is the number of the languages. This is no diglott, no triglott, no octoglott. It is, in a far larger sense of the word than it was ever used in before, a POLYGLOTT. If the work be not uniform, that is a defect which admits of gradual remedy. In having got the languages, the great point has been gained. And the institution, to which the volumes have been given, has received a gift from the Bible Society, which, without that Society's aid, no society besides, no corporate body, no learned body, no university, no king, could bestow.
This set, which we have had the pleasure of examining, consists of about seventy-six distinct works; by far the greater part, entire New Testaments or Bibles. As to alleged inaccuracies in some of the versions, if they be real, they cannot detract from the importance of the work as a whole. The versions of Walton and Hutter are not immaculate ; yet no person, in his senses, would think of writing a libel against Walton or Hutter. But, after all, our own conviction is, that many of the charges, brought against the Bible Society's versions, have been utterly unfounded, "fanciful, and vexatious. We will not speak of errors alleged by others; but of those which we have noticed ourselves. On one occasion we met with an early edition, with some inaccuracies, bearing the Society's name and in consequence of a circular, requesting that errors might be pointed out, communicated our discovery in the proper quarter. The answer was, that the plates of this edition had long since been broken up. At another time, we discovered, as we thought, in a foreign version, an error which really looked most insidious and dangerous. Fired with a Luther's zeal, we did not, indeed, rush before the public with a denunciatory pamphlet; but, big with our message, we proceeded to the Society's house, and there recorded our discovery. Since that time, however, we have satisfied ourselves, that the error is by no means so dreadful as we imagined. If it be an error, it is perhaps the change from an older to a newer dialect, which has made it so. And when we discovered that the word, which had so much alarmed us, was, in all probability, the very word written by Luther himself, we learned more fully to appreciate the courteous gravity with which our objection was received.
We have dwelt upon this subject, of inaccuracies in the Bible Society's versions ; because there is always a pleasure, in giving a finishing thrust to a dying calumny. In our own objections, we were sincere; and we trust and believe, that other friends of the Society were equally so, in theirs : some of which, per
haps, were well grounded, though ours were not. But, as to the accusations of enemies, any one who has not forgotten them must know, that many of them, such, for instance, as those contained in the Quarterly Review,were calumnies, properly so called, and nothing more ; and we watch their death with pleasure.
We conclude, by once more offering a respectful suggestion to the excellent Society, of whose publications we have now been speaking. Our former suggestion, to which we now allude, was a recommendation, that every Committee ineeting should begin and end with prayer. Neither have we lost sight of the subject. (Vol. I. p. 415.) We would now however suggest, whether, having such a Polyglott, it would not be desirable to bring and keep this fact before the public. Sets should be made up, more and less complete, larger and smaller ; and it would be well to let people know, at how much they might be had. But we would by no means stop here. We would see a regular Polyglott, in the strictest sense of the term. The Bible Society has, in its hands, the means of producing a work of this kind, such as the world has not seen. The only thing requisite is, to print every new edition with just so much, and no more, of the Sacred Text in each page; so that, in any number of varieties and combinations, the different versions would admit of being interleaved, and bound up together. What would all the usual questions, about arithmetical combinations, be to this? In publishing the Talmud, this is the regular practice. Be the size and shape of the edition what it may, there is almost always the same quantity of matter in each page; so that a person who has once seen a passage in any one copy, is sure of finding it, at the same page, on the same side, at about the same proportionate distance from the top or bottom, in nearly every other copy; a very great advantage, in referring to 80 voluminous a work. Where the Society publishes several sizes of the Bible in one language, as, for instance, in our own, there would not be the same necessity to adhere to the rule in every case. In cases where the language
very wordy or redundant, the difficulty thus arising might be met, by giving exactly two pages for one. That, the printers would manage. If a step further were thought desirable, and it were wished to exhibit several languages upon a page, stereotype plates, made with a view of being used for this object, when required, would render it easy enough. The completion of such a work would make us exult in belonging to the Bible Society, more than we do already: and, if the object is really desirable and attainable, this Institution has the Scriptures, as a common message from God to man, so much in its own hands, that it is responsible for the execution of it. We can see no reason, why the Bible Society should not make it an object to have a polyglott Bible, in the strictest sense of the term, in thirty or forty languages; and a polyglott New Testament in twice that number, at no very remote period ; and both continually increasing. Suppose the bulk of the Society's versions to be reprinted, within the next ten years : within the next ten years the object might be effected. And what are ten years, for the completion of such a work? The Parisian Polyglott, in only seven languages, was seventeen years in the press. The plan once executed, the Queen of Sheba might visit our metropolis, to behold a sight, which Solomon, in all his glory, had not to shew her at Jerusalem.
We will only ask, If such a work were once finished, what theological library could be without it? After all the charges against the Institution in Earl Street; after all the pamphlets; after all the bulls of the Pope; after all the denunciations of Protestants; after all the assaults from without; after all the storms within ;-the library of the religious student, the library of the Duke of Sussex, the libraries of our two universities, the library of Sion College, the library of St. Paul's Cathedral, would be incomplete, without the Bible Society's Poly
THOUGHTS ON VARIOUS SUBJECTS.
By a Clergyman. I. We are led, in the course of a day, to think on various subjects: but we should strive to view them all in one light; namely, in the light of the Gospel, and of God's Holy Spirit.
II. When, going to the place where I am to preach, I see the drunkard reeling in the street, it seems as if my Master pointed to him and said, “See how little you can do, without my help.” But when I see, during the sermon, the broad, vacant, self-satisfied countenance, of that respectable looking stranger, who walked in and seated himself opposite to me after the second lesson, the same words seem to be spoken to me with much greater force.
III. Seeking first to do good to the Jew, is like seeking first the kingdom of heaven. Secure that, and so many things follow.
IV. After all the canons of the learned for interpreting Scripture, I am inclined to think that Luther's is the best : When the Bible says a cow, it means a cows when it says a man, it