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retain it. To our ears, the form of words “ Our Father, which art in heaven," has a very barbaric sound ; and we regret that the Revisers have not exchanged “which " for who, in this and many other texts.

An admirable preface to the work gives a considerable amount of valuable and interesting information in a comparatively small compass. Among the rest are five “fundamental Resolutions adopted by the Convocation of Canterbury,” in reference to the proposed Revision in May, 1870.

“1. That it is desirable that a revision of the Authorised Version of the Holy Scriptures be undertaken.

“ 2. That the revision be so conducted as to comprise both marginal renderings and such emendations as may be found necessary to insert in the text of the Authorised Version.

“3. That in the above resolutions we do not contemplate any new translation of the Bible, or any alteration of the language except where in the judgment of the most competent scholars such change is necessary.

" 4. That in such necssary changes, the style of the language employed in the existing version be closely followed.

“5. That it is desirable that Convocation should nominate a body of its own members to undertake the work of revision, who shall be at liberty to invite the co-operation of any eminent for scholarship, to whatever nation or religious body they may belong."

About three weeks after the adoption of these Resolutions, a Committee of Convocation gave its sanction to the following Principles and Rules:

"1. To introduce as few alterations as possible into the text of the Authorised Version consistently with faithfulness.

“2. To limit, as far as possible, the expression of such alterations to the language of the Authorised and earlier English Versions.

“3. Each Company to go twice over the portion to be revised, once provisionally, the second time finally, and on principles of voting as hereinafter is provided.

" 4. That the text to be adopted be that for which the evidence is decidedly preponderating; and that when the text so adopted differs from that from which the Authorised Version was made, the alteration be indicated in the margin.

“5. To make or retain no change in the Text on the second final revision by each Company, except two-thirds of those present approve of the same, but on the first revision to decide by simple majorities.

“6. In every case of proposed alteration that may have given rise to discussion, to defer the voting thereon till the next meeting, whensoever the same shall be required by one-third of those present at the meeting, such intended vote to be announced in the notice for the next meeting.

7. To revise the headings of chapters and pages, paragraphs, italics, and punctuation.

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“8. To refer, on the part of each company, when considered desirable, to divines, scholars, and literary men, whether at home or abroad, for their opinions."

Such are the Rules by which the Revisers avow themselves to have been guided, and which they have endeavoured “faithfully and consistently to follow.” One of them, however, and only one, they were "unable to observe in all particulars." They state the matter thus: “We have carefully revised the paragraphs, italics, and punctuation. But the revision of the headings of chapters and pages would have involved so much of indirect, and indeed frequently of direct interpretation, that we judged it best to omit them altogether.”

Can our readers imagine any course that could have been followed that would have afforded greater security against error, and for conserving the purity of “God's Word written," either in its original form, or in its English representative? We confess we cannot. And we think the English-speaking world is under unspeakable obligations to the scholarly men who have devoted their time, talents, and energies to this great enterprise. The clergy and people of the Established Church of England may be expected to accept with considerable reverence the boon presented to them, inasmuch as it is virtually the product of the authorities of their own Church in Convocation assembled. It was they who set the project in action, and laid down the lines on which it should move. Nonconformists may be expected to regard it with favour, inasmuch as their first-class med have contributed as freely as the others to its production.

“ Different schools of criticism,” say the Revisers," have been represented among us, and have together contributed to the final result. In the early part of the work every various reading requiring consideration was discussed and voted on by the Company. After a time the precedents thus established enabled the process to be safely shortened; but it was still at the option of every one to raise a full discussion on any par. ticular reading, and the option was freely used. On the first revision, in accordance with the fifth rule, the decisions were arrived at by simple majorities. On the second revision, at which a majority of two-thirds was required to retain or introduce a reading at variance with the reading presumed to underlie the Authorised Version, many readings previously adopted were brought again into debate, and either re-affirmed or set aside."

So much as to settling, from the variations of manuscripts, the Text to be followed. And now as to English Revision. What do our Revisers

“ The alterations which we have made in the Authorised Version may be roughly grouped in five principal classes. First, alterations positively required by the change of reading in the Greek text. Secondly, alterations made where the Authorised Version appeared either to be incorrect, or to have chosen the less probable of two, possible renderings. Thirdly, alterations of obscure or ambiguous renderings into

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such as are clear and express in their import. For it has been our principle not to leave any translation, or any arrangement of words, which could adapt itself to one or other of two interpretations, but rather to express as plainly as was possible that interpretation which seemed best to deserve a place in the text, and to put the other in the margin.”

“ The subject of the marginal notes deserves special attention. They represent the results of a large amount of careful and elaborate discussion, and will, perhaps, by their very presence, indicate to some extent the intricacy of many of the questions that have almost daily come before us for decision. These notes fall into four groups : first, notes specifying such differences of reading as were judged to be of sufficient importance to require a particular notice; secondly, notes indicating the exact rendering of words to which, for the sake of English idiom, we were obliged to give a less exact rendering in the text; thirdly, notes, very few in number, affording some explanation which the original seemed to require; fourthly, alternative renderings in difficult or debateable passages.

The notes of this last group are numerous, and largely in excess of those which were admitted by our predecessors. In the two hundred and seventy years that have passed away since their labours were concluded, the Sacred Text has been minutely examined, discussed in every detail, and analysed with a grammatical precision unknown in the days of the last Revision. There has thus been accumulated a large amount of materials that have prepared the way for different renderings, which necessarily came under discussion. We have, therefore, placed before the reader in the margin other renderings than those which were adopted in the text, wherever such renderings seemed to deserve consideration. The rendering in the text, where it agrees with the Authorised Version, was supported by, at least, one-third ; and where it differs from the Authorised Version, by, at least, two-thirds of those who were present at the second revision of the passage in question."

We have quoted enough and said enough to convey a sufficient idea of the work done by the Revisers of the New Testament. We do not suppose that this new version will, for a long time to come, supersede the Authorised Version. Probably it may yet be itself revised. It certainly will if sound criticism show that it ought to be. In any case, it will be highly valued by students. It will gradually work its way into favour and confidence. It will eventually become the standard version of English-speaking peoples over the whole earth. Romanists, of course, will reject it, as they will any version done by those whom they brand as heretics. Other sects there are, no doubt, who will regard it with distrust: but after it has been stigmatised by some, and battered by others, it will stand until two or three more centuries have passed, when, possibly, the mutation of language may necessitate another revision,

The Bishops of the Established Church in Wales have appointed

a committee to consider the expediency of undertaking the revision of the Welsh version of the New Testament. The Annual Assembly of the Calvinistic Methodists of Wales, also, have passed a Resolution for the same object. It is evident, therefore, that Biblical scholars in the Principality see the need of giving Welsh speakers the benefit of a revised Bible in their own tongue, that they may not be behind their English brethren in so important a matter. The Lord prosper their endeavours, say we. And may He graciously accept and greatly bless the labours of the united Companies of Great Britain and America.





One more portrait from the ancient gallery of noble women is set before

She is strikingly beautiful; and she wears the diadem of a Persian queen. She is clothed, of course, in magnificent apparel ; and she appears to move in her court like the bright evening star in the firmament: hence her Persian name, Esther, a star. She had been called Hadassah, a myrtle, when she was young ; living comparatively unknown with her relative, Mordecai. But her pre-eminent beauty having won the heart of Ahasuerus (or Artaxerxes), who had begun to mourn for his lost Vashti, henceforth she shone as the brightest star of the Persian Court.

It is pleasant to think of her (as Dr. Prideaux does) as the queen who was sitting by King Artaxerxes when Nehemiah asked for leave to go

and rebuild the walls of Jerusalem (Nehemiah ii. 6); for she would back such a petition with all the force of her eloquence, and all the power of her sweetest smiles. Nor is it at all unlikely that it was greatly owing to her influence that Nehemiah retained for so many years the high favour of that despotic king. It is pleasant, too, to think that the queen herself retained her power and dignity so many years after the events recorded in the Book of Esther.

But what a sea of troubles had she to struggle through in her youth ! An orphan child (are not such the special care of the Almighty Father?) her near relative became to her a second father. Living with him in peace, she was just bursting into the bloom of youthful beauty, like & modest myrtle-tree with its star-like blossoms, when the imperious mandate of the king snatched her from her chaste and gentle home to the palace of a haughty and licentious monarch. No modest heart can fail to sympathise with the anguish she must have felt during the twelvemonths of her probation there. And when chosen to be queen instead of


Vashti, although surrounding circumstances were such as to satisfy most female hearts, yet the knowledge of what had happened to her predecessor, and the uncertain character of the king's mind, would make her tremble on her throne of gold and ivory; and would make her sigh for the days when the daughters of Zion used to draw, with joy, water from the wells of salvation.

We can see how such thoughts troubled her when Haman had designed the destruction of the Jews, and her relative Mordecai sent to her a second time to chide her for her inaction in this threatened calamity. Here is her reply: “All the king's servants, and the people of the king's provinces, do know that whosoever, whether man or woman,

shall come unto the king into the inner court, who is not called, there is one law of his to put him to death, except such to whom the king shall hold out the golden sceptre, that he may live ; but I have not been called to come in anto the king these thirty days. Go, gather together all the Jews that are present in Shushan, and fast ye for me, and neither eat nor drink three days, night or day: I also and my maidens will fast likewise ; and 80 will I go in unto the king, which is not according to the law : and if I perish I perish ” (Esther iv. 11).

On the third day Esther put on her royal apparel, and went into the inner court of the palace, opposite to the king's throne ; and she obtained favour in his sight; and the king held out to her the golden sceptre. So Esther drew near and touched the top of the sceptre. On this, the king affected to feel all his tenderness revived, and promised to grant whatever her request might be, to the half of his kingdom.

But the queen knew him too well to tell him get the dreadful secret ; and so she again, and again, invited him and his chief minister, Haman, to a banquet of wine. On the night between the banquets, the king could pot sleep; and so he called for the chronicles of his reign to be read before him, wherein he found that Mordecai had discovered a conspiracy against his person, and had not yet been rewarded. With characteristic impulsiveness, the king instantly determined to do Mordecai honour; and, having heard from Haman what he considered an ostentatious reward, made him the doer of it; who had come thus early to ask that Mordecai might be hanged !

At the second banquet of wine, Esther boldly presented her petition, and denounced the enemy and adversary of herself and her race, wicked Haman.” Then rose up the king in a great rage, and down fell Haman grovelling at the feet of Esther. One of the chamberlains said, “ Behold the gallows fifty cubits high, which Haman had made for Mordecai.” Then the king said, “ Hang him thereon.” And in that way the king's favourite received his last exaltation.

After this Esther and Mordecai ruled the king's counsels ; and the Book of Esther ends happily for the Jews; but singularly enough, without a word of praise to the King of kings, and without the mention of

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