Слике страница
PDF
ePub

And if any

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

the descent of “an angel at a certain season into the pool,” and the miraculous cures of the “ impotent folk,” that followed the disturbing of the water by the angel ; not a word of which is retained by the Revisers. The account “is wanting in some MSS. and Versions,” as our learned commentator, Dr. A. Clarke, remarks ; but his belief was that there is “no sufficient evidence against its authenticity.” And why should it be rejected ? What honest man would invent such a story, and impose it upon the credulous as part of the Apostle John's narrative? man were vile enough to do it, what end could be answered by it? What motive can be supposed to prompt anyone to invent such a story and palm it upon the Church of Christ as inspired truth ? The supposition seems its own refutation. A foot-note says, “Many ancient authorities inserted, wholly or in part,” this account. Were those ancients all deceived by some impostor? We cannot think so.

We pause here to notice : 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 one.” 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 Montfortiï, 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.

.

a

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,

а

66

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. Comparing 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

turning." 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 God and 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

Success.

وو

abiding presence of the Holy Ghost, to aid in this glorious work. GOD is on the side of the preacher, as He is against the shepherds who feed not the flock (Ezek. xxxiv. 10).

There is nothing more certain than that the benefits bestowed through the Gospel are conditional ; and if, as preachers and servants of the Most High, conscious that we possess His commission, we do but use the means, or abide by the conditions laid down, we may assure ourselves of And, oh! what a solemn work is ours.

6. Let him know,” says James, “ that he which convertetb the sinner from the error of his way, shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins."

In order to the conversion of the sinner, it is also most important that we have full confidence in our work. 6. He that doubteth is condemned;' or, in other words, the man that doubts condemns himself. How important, then, that we enter upon, and carry through our work in the utmost “confidence of faith.” “ All things are possible to him that believeth.” " Without faith it is impossible to please God.” Should a messenger be sent from an earthly sovereign to any of his subjects, promising favours or threatening punishment, and the messenger himself have no confidence in its fulfilment; how could he be expected to deliver his message so that others would believe it ? We remember reading an anecdote of the Duke of Wellington, which may illustrate our case. • When a certain Commissary-General complained to His Grace that, Sir Thomas Picton had declared that he would ang him if the rations for that General's division were not forthcoming at a certain time, the Duke replied: "Ah! did he go so far as that? Did he

say
he would hang you ? '

Yes, my lord. • Well, if General Picton said so, I have no doubt he will keep his word; you had better get up the rations in time.''

Surely there must be no doubting our own message. We must have -confidence in it; in the doctrines we preach, in the promises we hold out, in the certainty of the punishments we declare against the evil-doer ; always remembering we have to do with a Sovereign whose character is unalterable, and that the Word is His, not ours.

And should we not also remember to whom our message is sent ? not to the dead, but to the living, who must soon die ; the living, who wil] stand together with us at the bar of the Eternal God and Judge; the living, but whose life hangs on a thread, and upon the use made of that frail life, “whether they hear or whether they forbear," depends their eternity of happiness or woe. Well would it be for us, did we learn-as far as such finite minds can—to estimate the value of the soul; and, as we gaze upon the countenances of our audience, to remember the soul's immortality, the awful condition of the impenitent in the eternal death that awaits them, the inestimable price paid for their redemption, and the intensity of the love of God, who, while we were yet enemies, gave His Son to die for us.

Our sermons are not done with when we leave the pulpit. They are

6

6

6

immortal. They will be either the "savour of life unto life or of death unto death." Those countenances we shall see again, blighted by the wrath of an angry God, or lit up with an eternal joy.

a

THE CLASS-MEETING. ALTHOUGH very vague and erroneous ideas obtain amongst men outside the pale of Methodism with regard to this question, every Methodist understands it perfectly well; it is not necessary, therefore, neither is it my intention, to enter into any explanation of the subject, or to give a definition of a class-meeting. Considering that the bulk of the readers of this Magazine are Local Preachers, such a course would be superfluous, if not presumptuous. It is well known that a hue-and-cry has of late been raised against the class-meeting; and the object of this article is to vindicate the time-honoured practice of God-fearing people meeting together, and “ speaking one to another.”

It is clear that those who have entered the lists against the classmeeting, are not agreed amongst themselves; there is division amongst them. Some would completely abolish it; do away with it root and branch. Others would do away with it as a test of membership ; whilst

h a third party pleads for such a modification of it as would adapt it to the educational exigencies of the times, and the superior intelligence of our young people who have enjoyed greater educational advantages than ourselves.

I wish to address a word or two of caution and expostulation to each class of these objectors.

1st. Those who would do away with the class-meeting, root and branch. I believe that, as a rule, those who are clamouring for the abolition of this distinctively Methodist institution bave had little or no experience of the benefits associated with it; and, consequently, are not in a position to form an intelligent opinion upon the subject. It would be well, perhaps, for such to pay a little deference to those whose experience qualifies them to speak with some degree of assurance with regard to the question. There are millions of godly men and women within the pale of Methodism to-day, who have had long and rich experience of the spiritual blessings connected with this means of grace, and if they were appealed to on this subject, and their advice sought, they would say with emphasis, and with perfect unanimity, “ Don't give up the class-meeting, for it is the most blessed and healthful means of grace that the Methodist economy provides." Now, I submit that the opinion of so many competent and credible witnesses on this point, is entitled to the respectful consideration and deference of those who have had no experience in the matter, and who, as a consequence, are not in a position to form an independent judgment thereon. If, indeed, the class-meeting did neither

« ПретходнаНастави »