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Version we are at a loss to conjecture. However, they neither add to nor take from the value of the narration. In chap. iv. 24, the words, " and those which were,” are omitted: but this omission, like the other, makes no difference in sense. There are many similar omissions to these. We come to a more significant one in chap. v. 22. The new reading is, Every one who is angry with his brother shall be in danger of the judgment. The Authorised Version has the conditional words, “ without a cause,"' A foot-note of the Revised Version says, • Many ancient authorities insert without cause. Then why exclude the words ? We think it highly probable that these words were spoken by Christ, because He was Himself angry with sinners, “ being grieved with the hardness of their hearts.” And to be angry at wrong-doing is a part of true religion, if properly regulated; for an inspired injunction is, “Be ye angry and sin not : let not the sun go down upon your wrath.”
There is a more remarkable omission from verse 44 of the same chapter, without any reason assigned or notice given. The injunction—“Bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you,
for them which despitefully use you ”_has vanished ; and what remains is, retaining “ Love your enemies ”—the one other limb of the sentence—“ pray for them that persecute you." What is here omitted is so much like the spirit of Christ's teaching that we think it far more likely that He spoke the words than that any copyist attributed them to Him without authority. They are far more likely to have been omitted inadvertently by some copyist.
The next important omission is that of the doxology from the Lord's Prayer. And we here quote with approval our own Richard Watson, who says, “ By some critics the doxology is rejected from the text; but it appears in most of the Greek MSS., the Syriac and other ancient versions, and was certainly read in the copies used by the Greek fathers; and on such evidence must be retained.” One particular in the rendering of the prayer is worthy of attention. Instead of the indefinite clause, “ deliver us from evil,” the Revisers have inserted the definite article which appears in the Greek original, and added the word one in italics, so as to express the sense of a personal “evil one ” from whom we are pray
be delivered. This has greatly offended Socinians, who do not admit that there is a personal devil in existence.
The 21st verse of Matt. xvii. is omitted entirely. A foot-note says, • Many authorities, some ancient, insert ver. 21—But this kind goeth not out save by prayer and fasting. See Mark ix. 29.” In this text the words, “and fasting," are left out, although a foot-note there states that “Many ancient authorities add, and fasting.” The eleventh verse of the eighteenth chapter also is omitted. And there again the foot-note says, “Many authorities, some ancient, insert ver. 11–For the Son of Man came to save that which was lost. See Luke xix. 10.” In both these instances we think it far more probable that the rejected words were in
that we may
the original manuscripts and were inadvertently omitted by some copyist, than that they should have been inserted in any manuscript without authority.
Coming to chap. xx, we lose the latter half of verse 16,-“for many be called, but few chosen.” From Dr. Clarke we learn that “there are several MSS. which do not contain the clause, and that Bishop PEARCE thinks it is an interpolation from chap. xxii. 14,” where it is preserved in the new version. But our Lord spoke the omitted words on more than one occasion, and we think it quite as likely that He did so on the occasion here stated, as that He did not.
In the narrative of the ambitious request of the sons of Zebedee, we miss part of Christ's solemn question in verse 22 of the same chapter : "and to be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with ?” This member of the interrogation is omitted. It is not sustained, some think, by reliable writings generally. Dr. A. Clarke states the case, and adds: “ According to the rules laid down by critics to appreciate a false or true reading, this clause cannot be considered as forming part of the sacred text.” Yet he admits that it is “found in many MSS.” We confess that the opinion of critics, however learned and erudite, does not carry conviction to our judgment against the authenticity of the rejected words. Our blessed Lord spoke of a baptism that He had to be baptized with, and it seems to us quite natural that He should put such a question as this to the aspiring brothers, and in the terms here ascribed to Him. R. Watson says,
“ It is found in the greater number of MSS., and not only coincides with the context, but is found in the parallel place. Mark x. 38." In that text the New Version retains the clause. The correspondent clause in Christ's reply to the brothers is omitted from verse 23 of chap. xx., but is retained in verse 39 of Luke x. The 14th verse of chap. xxiii., also, is omitted ; but in the parallel places of Mark (xii. 40) and Luke (xx. 47) it is retained.
In chap. xxvii. 35, there is an allegation of prophecy fulfilled, and a quotation of the prophet's words. This is omitted from the New Version. Dr. A. Clarke says, “ The whole of this quotation should be omitted, as making no part of the genuine text of this evangelist. It is omitted by almost every MS. of worth and importance; by almost all the versions, and the most reputable of the primitive Fathers who have written or commented on the place. The words are plainly an interpolation, borrowed from John xix. 24.” We can only say we see no reason why Matthew as well as John should not have made such a remark, with the same reference.
Yet if the evidence to the contrary is so strong, we may rest satisfied with the placing of the record to the credit of John only. Nothing very important rests upon it. Having noticed the principal omissions from St. Matthew's Gospel, we shall call attention to only a few in that of St. John, and his first Epistle. The most remarkable of these is the account of “the moving of the water” of the pool of Bethesda,
And if any
the descent of “an angel at a certain season into the pool," and the
We pause here to notice a corrected rendering of a clause in John X. 16, one flock, one shepherd; instead of “one fold, one shepherd;" a text that has often been pressed into controversy by Papists and Sacerdotalists in support of outward uniformity, and to the disparagement of diversity in unity. There are many folds, but one flock. “ Other sheep I have,” said Christ to the Jews, " which are not of this fold;" clearly indicating the plurality of folds.
Passing on to John's First Epistle, we lose the threefold heavenly witness mentioned in chap. v. 7,“For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost : and these three are
The testimony of “the spirit, the water, and blood," is retained ; the word spirit being distinguished by a capital S, to indicate the third person of the Trinity. Mr. Wesley transposes the 7th and 8th verses, but strenuously contends for the genuineness of the rejected verse. Adam Clarke expresses the contrary opinion, and assigns reasons for it. “ It is likely,” he says, “ that this verse is not genuine. It is wanting in every MS. of this Epistle written before the invention of printing, one excepted, the Codex Montfortü, in Trinity College, Dublin : the others which omit this verse amount to one hundred and twelve. It is wanting in both the Syriac, all the Arabic, Æthiopic, the Coptic, Sahidic, Armenian, Slavonian, &c., in a word, in all the ancient Versions but the Vulgate ; and even of this Version many of the most ancient and correct MSS. have it not. It is wanting also in all the ancient Greek Fathers; and in most even of the Latin." In the presence of such overwhelming evidence against the verse, we can only wonder how, when, and by whom, it came to have a place in any manuscript. Saving truth, however, is unaffected by the removal of this verse from the writings of the beloved apostle. We can but regret that any human being should have been either so vile or so foolish as to attribute to him words which he never wrote; and we have cause to rejoice in the removal of such words from the Sacred Volume.
In the Revised Version we meet with innumerable transpositions of words and clauses, which greatly improve the diction and make the sense more clear and apparent. The punctuation, too, is decidedly improved. The language used is not always an improvement upon that of the Old Version. Sometimes it is, and sometimes not. A freer use of AngloSaxon would have been better than so many words drawn from Latin and Greek. Some critics are of a different opinion. One of them regrets that “the Bible Revisers have not been bold enough to present their Revised Version in the English of our own time, instead of the oldfashioned English of the time of Elizabeth and James." This is true with regard to some of the old grammatical forms, but not true with regard to many of the words used.
A writer in the Weekly Review—one of the ablest of our weekly religious newspapers—has expressed his opinions freely and rather severely, He says, “Our Revisers have subjected their original to the most
, exhaustive grammatical analysis, every chapter testifies to the fear of Winer that was before their eyes, and their familiarity with the intricacies of modern verbal criticism. But the reader who was conversant with the Old Version--and what Englishman, cultured or untaught, was not so conversant ?-is surprised and irritated by the inversion of familiar phrases, by a multitude of minute alterations, and by the occurrence of cumbrous paraphrases. Every phase of New Testament scholarship was
. represented in the New Testament Company, but the niceties of idiomatic English appear to have found no champion, and no voice was raised to warn these eminent scholars of the danger that threatened their work from over refinement. It is true that this unhappy flaw cannot destroy the labour of a decade, but it mars the symmetry and cripples the efficiency of this version to a serious degree." The writer of the article, remarking on Romans vii. 14-24, says, “A
A more faithful piece of translation could not be put into the hands of the English-speaking public ; but it is paralleled and rivalled again and again in the Pauline epistles. The First Epistle to the Corinthians is an admirable example of the Revised Version at its best.
- The Revised Version will remain a monument of the industry of its authors, and a treasury of their opinions and erudition ; but, unless we are entirely mistaken, until its English has undergone thorough revision, it will not supplant the Authorised Version. After all, the chief use of the present attempt will be as a work of reference, in which the grammatical niceties of the New Testament diction are treated with laborious fidelity. It will no more furnish an authorised version to eighty millions of English-speaking people, than any number of mémoire pour servir will give them a standard history. The superior critical apparatus at the disposal of our scholars, and their advanced scientific knowledge of grammar, seem to have been rather impediments than aids; and we are left with another critical commentary on the New Testament,
but not with a new version which will mould our thoughts and afford a dignified vehicle for the great truths of revelation.”
Mr. Spurgeon's judgment on the subject seems to accord with what is so fully expressed by the writer quoted above. His remarks are laconie and weighty. He says, “It is a valuable addition to our versions, but it will need much revision before it will be fit for public use. To translate well, the knowledge of two languages is needful. The men of the New Testament company are strong in Greek, but weak in English. Com. paring the two, in our judgment the Old Version is better."
The Bishop of Derry is offended with the revision on very slight grounds. Preaching in Derry Cathedral, he remarked that three words, “charity," "doctrine,” and “conversion,” had been removed. His complaint was that “charity "was rendered " love," "doctrine " changed into “teaching,” and “conversion ” rejected for “turning." These words he could not accept as equivalents, and he hoped the former renderings would yet be restored. We cannot participate in this hope. Our opinion is that the original words are more accurately represented by the revised renderings than by the rejected words.
Defective as is the Revised Version in some respects, it has been hailed with laudation in some quarters, and by not a few persons. The Presbyterians of Great Britain, Ireland, and America, have expressed general approval of it, and the Wesleyan Conference have stamped it with approval almost without qualification. We question whether any member of the learned company of Revisers is fully satisfied with the result. Whenever a vote was taken, it would go against the judgment and convictions of a minority. We think it not unlikely tbat other revisions will be made by individual scholars. Perhaps there will be conflicting revisions : but the final result will be a generally accepted version in sound and nervous English, which will occupy the proud position of preeminence over universal English Literature.
WINNING SOULS FOR CHRIST.
No. II. “He that winneth souls is wise.” “They that turn many to righteousness
shall shine as the stars for ever and ever." How important that the preacher of the Gospel should fully understand that, as an ambassador of the Cross, his chief work is to “save souls.” Can this be possible ? Certainly. But only God can save the sinner. True ; but whoever will study the Word—the unfailing Word of Godand get a clear comprehension of His character as a faithful, covenantkeeping God, will assuredly find that an immense power is entrusted to those who are workers together with Him ; even the mighty power and