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in a former number we have inserted a letter which plainly speaks our mind upon this point *.
At present we are more disposed to urge the importance of selecting spiritual men, men of prayer, as translators: for how many passages are there in the Bible which none but a truly spiritual man can touch! It may be said this is not always possible. Perhaps not. But is the vast importance of it felt? And do we lay it down as a fundamental rule, that we prefer a translation made by a child of God, with the prospect of only a limited circulation, to one made by a mere natural man, with prospects of the most extensive? Do we take and maintain spiritual views of the work in which we are engaged, or are we getting into a mere mechanical routine of business?
But perhaps it will be objected, that the adoption of such principles would often occasion long delay. Observe then, that, if we would have God's blessing on our work, we must often wait for it, and be contented to submit to long delays; and this exercise of faith and patience prepares us for receiving blessings large and abundant. The Dutch churches felt the necessity of a new translation of the Scriptures for sixty-six years before they could have it. Two whole generations had passed away in the interval! If it be said they had already one translation, and therefore the cases are not parallel,—this is true: but may we not with propriety wait, sometimes, as many months as they waited years, in order to have a good translation, by a spirituallymindeď man, rather than an indifferent one, by a man who knows nothing at all of that about which he is writing? that believeth shall not make haste."
We would gladly have added here a word or two about other qualifications desirable in a translator of the Scriptures; but these perhaps may better be deferred till we resume this subject. We will therefore make only one observation, by way of establishing the confidence of our fellow-Christians and fellowcountrymen in our received version, which arises from the comparison of the English with the Dutch translation. We have many reasons to feel a comfortable assurance of the talents, the learning, and the piety of the translators of our Bible; and therefore to trust that God, by their instrumentality, has put a faithful rendering of his word into our hands. But when we find another company of learned and spiritual and able men, the flower and glory of the Dutch churches, pursuing the course
we have described, and coming so closely and accurately to the same result, what an additional confirmation is this of the faithfulness and accuracy of our English Bible! We must confess that all our study of the original languages has brought us to the same conclusion, has greatly established our confidence in the authorized version. We understand it better, indeed, by the help of the original, but we are less and less disposed to differ from it; and we are more and more suspicious of proposed alterations and improvements.
To the Editor of the Christian Review and Clerical Magazine,
SIR, I am very glad to see that in your last Number you have given a word of warning on the subject of "Favourable Notices of Infidel Publications." It is matter of great surprise and regret that a religious periodical should give occasion for such a warning, and I hope and trust it will suffice to put the editors and conductors of such works upon their guard; which is as necessary in these days as it is important in itself. And I am sorry to observe that this is not the only point on which such warning is requisite. There are other points, besides such notices, in which religious periodicals are sometimes guilty of doing that which is contrary to the interests of religion. For example, it was not many months ago, that I found upon the back of a religious periodical, which has a very wide circulation, an advertisement of the Novels by the Author of Waverley. I need not to tell you how contrary the spirit in which those works are written is to all true religion, what immense mischief they are calculated to do,-what claims the author has to be considered as an eminent servant of Satan, who is doing his work with both hands greedily, and how necessary it is that his works, instead of being advertised in a religious periodical, should be proscribed in every religious family. The appearance of that advertisement was, I believe, a mere inadvertence, and quite unknown to the editor: but, though 1 have reason to know that the matter was plainly and strongly represented to him, he never took any notice of it, nor published the least explanation in the body of the work, by way of counteracting the evil, and disavowing all concern in the recommendation of such mischievous books, which was implied by the appearance of an advertisement of them in such a place. Presently, in another religious periodical, I found another advertisement of a new and cheap edition of all those novels. So that it seems there is somewhere a conspiracy to recommend them to the religious world; which I am sure in its present state does not want any such fuel to its vain affections, its worldly dispositions, and its trifling habits.
But this is not all. I have now lying before me the advertisement of a book upon the cover of a religious periodical, which I am requested to circulate to some extent among the people committed to my care, and it ends thus:
N. B. The author thinks that the whole of the Sacred History refers to the soul, or inner man; and that no part of it ought to be understood in the usual literal and vulgar sense.
Is not this downright infidelity? And is it fit that one sentence of such stuff should be put into the hands of the young and unstable, the poor and half-educated, under the sanction of the name of a respectable periodical, which is especially intended (or should be) to promote real edification. I felt myself obliged to cut off the fly leaf on which it was printed, before I dared to circulate the work in question-for I should be very sorry that any such notions should be once suggested to the people under my care.
If you could give a gentle but decided hint upon this subject in your valuable work, you would much oblige,
A COUNTRY CURATE.
P. S. It is the more needful that some warning should be given on this subject, because I have been informed that in the columns of a professedly religious newspaper, lately set up, there actually appeared an advertisement of the works of Lord Byron !!! i. e. of all manner of infidelity and blasphemy and licentiousness in the very worst shape!!! I did not see this with my own eyes, but perhaps you have opportunity of ascertaining the fact. If I have been misinformed you will of course omit this postscript. But if it be so, it is surely high time that, somewhere or other, a public and decided protest should be entered against such advertisements in periodicals professedly religious, and intended to promote the cause of godliness.
ADVICE TO THE EDITOR.
To the Editor of the Christian Review and Clerical Magazine.
MY DEAR BROTHER,-I have read your two numbers for this year, especially the last, with much-pleasure, I was going to say; that however is a poor, feeble word of compliment, and very little suited to the occasion-but with much, I trust, of solemn impression and real edification. I desire therefore, before your next number appears, to come forward and offer you a few words of affectionate encouragement. I wish I could do something in the way of effectual assistance: for I feel that you have set up your banner in the name of the Lord, and entered on a fearful conflict, in which it is to be expected that you will have all the powers of earth and hell against you. Therefore, knowing, in some measure, from my own experience, what it is to stand up in the cause of God and his Anointed, and to do that
which will make friends to look cold or turn their backs, and enemies to stir up all their wrath, I feel assured that it will be pleasing and comfortable to your soul, if but one poor brother comes forward to wish you GOD SPEED, and to offer the right hand of Christian amity, as willing to share in any reproach or persecution which may come upon you in these days of pretended liberality.
I am convinced, like yourself, that we live in most perilous times. There has been enough done for the propagation of the Gospel, to alarm the world, and raise the fury of the hosts of hell. There has been, and is, alas! enough of lukewarmness, worldly-mindedness, and inconsistency, among the professors of serious religion, to provoke the Lord to scourge us by their hands. Considering both these points, looking at them together, we cannot but expect a dreadful storm, and already the great enemy seems to be mustering his hosts for the battle. And where will the storm burst? What will be the peculiar object of their attack? A little consideration will shew that it is the Evangelical part of the Church of England that must bear the brunt of the battle and the fury of the storm. For What, it was lately asked me, What is the only religious body which is at this time exposed to systematic persecution? There was no difficulty in answering the question. For it is that part of the church which cleaves indeed, though sometimes too feebly, to the doctrines of the Reformation, which is the object of undisguised and increasing enmity to the Papists, the Infidels, and the Radicals; to those who call themselves the High Church party, but are in truth no churchmen at all,-and to the great body of the Dissenters, who, many of them indeed, speak us fair, but I am afraid (making here and there some honourable exceptions) there is war in their hearts; and some of their late petitions to parliament have too clearly proved it. We therefore must gird on our armour accordingly. We must prepare for the worst. And truly, if we consider it well, it is a most honourable post that is assigned us. Amid all that imperfection which I see and bewail, it is the glory of the evangelical part of our church, that we are thus singled out as the peculiar mark of the fury of all the enemies of the truth. And I rejoice in the Lord, my brother, that you have come forward at this critical period, at once to warn us of our danger, and to stir us up to walk worthy of the occasion.
I trust therefore that while God allows you to retain your present important post, and carry on your work, you will continue to hold up a high standard both as to doctrine and practice. And as to doctrine first of all: for, without this, attempts at high practice will be vain. And this is a point to which, I think, you would do well to direct the attention of our brethren in the ministry. There are several good men at present who confess and lament the low standard of practical godliness that prevails among us. But it seems to me that they go quite a wrong way to effect any real improvement They preach a higher standard of practice, they insist much on self-denial, holiness, devotedness to God, spirituality, and separation from the world: but
they do not set forth the freeness, the fulness, the everlasting security, of the glorious Gospel of the blessed God: they do not feed and refresh the souls of their hearers with setting forth the glory of Christ and the abundant privileges of the Christian: without which all attempts at high practice, in one sort of people will only begin in pride and self-dependence, and end in a shameful downfall, while, in another and better sort, they will only lead to distress and despondency, in the deeper views and experience of their own weakness and depravity, unrelieved by the strong consolation and support which a mode of preaching, more truly evangelical, would supply them.
And I rejoice much to observe that in your endeavours to keep up a high standard of doctrine you begin at the right point, in insisting upon sound principles of Scriptural interpretation, and that you are determined to oppose that false and abominable system which, under the name and pretence of prodigious learning, is pouring into our country from the German school of Infidelity and Neology. "The learned translator of Michaelis" (as he is called) opened the floodgates for this mischief to roll in upon us: and it seems, with all his learning, he had not wit to discover that Michaelis was an infidel. The learned man would certainly have done much better, if, instead of translating Michaelis, he had set himself down all the while to read and study his plain English Bible, and the Thirty-nine Articles of our church. It is high time to do something to expose the folly and the wickedness of those would-be-wise men, and I hope you will continue to cry aloud and not spare. It is indeed much to be lamented that there is so much need of warning; that men, and especially ministers of the Gospel, do not know enough of sound divinity to see and detect the sophistries and monstrous heresies of these infidel divines. But so it is. There is a lamentable want of sound learning in the church. I have been astonished many times, when I found myself in the company of men much older than myself, and of such reputation in the church, that I had looked forward to the privilege of sitting at their feet, to find myself expected and compelled to become the teacher rather than the learner! This was some years ago; and I marvelled, then, what these men had been doing with their time and opportunities. But I have since, in some measure, found out how it is. Clergymen are busy every where but in their studies. They read a little for orders,-just sufficient to pass an examination (which, for the most part, is sadly meagre and superficial) and then they enter at once upon the hurry of ministerial duties, commencing and pursuing every plan for doing good, except that plan which should be the foundation of all,- and which must be pursued with unremitting diligence and perseverance in the retirement of their own closets,—a plan of sound Theological reading and study, not only perusing, but thoroughly digesting, some few standard works, that they may be able to bring out of their treasures "things new and old." Those, indeed, who have talents and strength for it, would do well to devote more time to study; to take a wider range, and to press forward to greater proficiency.