Abbildungen der Seite

expectations and aspirations respecting the future of Christendom in a more definite form. It is evident that, for the purposes of his picture, he assumes the existence throughout Christendom of a purity of doctrine such as, alas! only small portions of it can at present claim to possess.

"If wemay so dareto interpret history/'hesays, "we see that through all the elements of opposition the Christian world was to learn that the 'faith once delivered' was to be preserved by the balance of more communions than one; that when the National Churches were sufficiently organized, when the old idea of visible unity had played its appointed part, these Churches were to be a mutual support and protection, to supply what was deficient in one another, from the basis of intercommunion. The position to which every event has been gradually leading up, the position of National Church independence freely and mutually recognised, with all the modifications of liturgy and rite and custom peculiar to each, a union of all such Churches on the footing of the primitive creeds and the primitive councils, seems at last, by the force of events in the East and in the West, to be dawning upon the age.

"What a future will then be m store for the world, when this last act of the closing drama is announced! What force will Christendom then exert on the masses of heathendom! And if, aroused by the separate yet harmonious action of the Churches, the rehel powers of Secularism join those of ignorant Paganism and modernized Mahometanism, and gather themselves up for one last straggle, what will this be but the expected sign that the end is near, and that the 'stone cut out without hands' is at last about to 'consume all these kingdoms,' and to ' stand for ever'?"

The Lecture in which these sentiments are embodied, was delivered in November, 1866. We cannot think that the current of thought on ecclesiastical matters, since that time, has tended towards a fulfilment of the Professor's prognostications. True, the demand hinted at by him for an (Ecumenical Council is about to be complied with, but it remains to be seen whether the bias of opinion at that Council will lean to the substitution of a Federation for a Union of Christendom. It is at least significant to note that precisely the contrary is anticipated by one of our deepest students of ecclesiastical history. The Bishop of Lincoln, in reference to the approaching Council at Rome,* has expressed himself as follows :—

"It is a remarkable sign of the present times, that whereas the Roman Catholic Council, which eventually met at Trent (a.d. 1545— 1563), was due to Luther's appeal (a.d. 1518-1520), and was convoked by the Bishop of Rome, Paul III., after long delay on the part of his predecessors, especially Pope Clement VII., at the request of Christian princes, and they were invited to it,—the proposed Roman Council of 1869 is summoned by the Pope, not only independently of Christian princes, but with a disregard and defiance of their authority. The striking difference between the attitude of the Church of Rome, before and at the Council of Trent, towards Christian states and princes, and her present treatment of them, has been pointed out in the speech of an eminent French jurist, M. Emile Ollivier, in the Senate of France, July 10, 1868.

* On the proposed Council at Rome ject of the impending Council, the

—(An Address at the Ordination of address from which we have quoted

Priests and Deacons in the Diocese of above, and also auothor pamphlet, en.

Oxford, Sept. 20, 1868,) p. 11. n. 1. titled "An Anglican Answer to the

We cannot too highly commend to the Apostolic Letter of Pope Pius IX., to

perusal of our readers, upon the sub - all Protestants and other N ou-Ca.

Vol. 68.—No. 87». 3 X

"The Church of Rome, it is evident, has much more confidence in her own power now, than she had three centuries ago. This has arisen from the weakening of National Churches, and from the falling away of nations from the supremacy of Christ. The Christian hierarchy has been repelled from their national centres, and has been attracted towards Rome. Democracy and Infidelity have advanced the cause of Ultra-montanism, and are doing the work of Hildebrand."

Viewed in the light of history as well as in that of the present progress of thought among a considerable body of persons in our own Church, it is impossible not to acknowledge the justice of the observations we have just quoted. The original acquisition by Rome of spiritual supremacy was, as we have seen, due in great part to the severance, which the conquests of the pagan barbarians occasioned throughout Western Europe, between Christianity and the civil power, and the necessity thereby imposed on the former to look for support elsewhere; and we should naturally expect to find that a similar dissociation of Church and State, even though less violently and summarily effected, would tend to produce a corresponding result. We think that even Professor Burrows himself would hardly assert, that during the interval between the delivery of this Lecture which we have been last considering, and its publication in the present volume, the tide of feeling throughout Christendom has been setting in towards a nationalization in preference to a union of the Churches.

If we cannot, however, concur with the Professor in all the details of the conclusions at which he arrives from the passages of history which he has laid before us, we are not on that account disposed to underestimate the value of his book as presenting a series of lucid and candid historical sketches upon the subjects of which he treats, and particularly as exhibiting in a clear and forcible light the influence ever exercised by matters ecclesiastical and religious over civil and political affairs —an influence which some of our politicians at present seem disposed to ignore, but which their disinclination to recognise does not render one whit the less certain in the past, or inevitable for the future. A severance of Church and State may alter the nature of this influence, but it cannot destroy it, or diminish its force; and at a time when the principle of disestablishment is becoming familiar to men's minds, a compendious survey of the historical side of the question, such as is presented in the Lectures which we have been reviewing, is most useful in aiding the formation of an estimate of what the relations of religion to the temporal interests of the nation have been under the hitherto received conditions of a union between Church and State, and what is likely to be their character upon a dissolution of that union. We are much mistaken if a perusal of Professor Burrows' work will not tend materially to strengthen the conviction, that, whatever may be the disadvantages connected with it, there is an overwhelming preponderance of advantages to be secured by the maintenance of an Established Church.

tholica," which, though published The latter was originally written and

anonymously, bears, in its style and published in Latin, but has been

composition, unmistakeable traces of translated by its author into Eng

kaving emanated from the same pen. lish.

Westcotts History Of The English Bible.

A General View of the History of the English Bible. By Brooke Foss Westcott, B.J)., late Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge. Macmillan. 1868.

Canon Westcott has already earned such a reputation as an erudite scholar, that he needs no special introduction to our readers. But the work which he has last taken in hand, is one of peculiar interest to every English Christian, dealing as it does with that treasure of treasures, the authorized version of the Scriptures. Something more than a passing commendatory notice of the book before us may therefore be permitted, especially at a time such as the present, when Biblical questions, many of which involve detailed criticisms of the text, are being so freely and publicly discussed.

Our translation of the Bible is, like everything else in our constitution, the growth of ages, and not the work of one man. It bears upon its pages the thought and the criticism, the ecclesiastical and doctrinal teaching, the language and even the spelling, of many men, and of many phases of our history. Perhaps we should value the result all the more if we were to trace the processes, and to mark the changes which have led up to the completion of the book as it now stands.

First of all, we have to go back to Anglo-Saxon times. Mr. Westcott has dismissed this part of the history very summarily, because it has had no practical effect upon the translation as it now stands. Bat we cannot forget that both the poetical paraphrases, such as that of Cssdmon, the actual translations, as that of Bede, had their effect upon the people of the time, formed a religious language, and cultivated healthy religious thought, and thus paved the way for that thirsting after Scripture, which we find springing up from time to time among the people of our country.

Five hundred years ago, Wycliffe was busily at work upon the Scriptures, translating them into English as it was spoken in his time. What materials he had before him, we cannot tell, but certain it is that he and his friend Nicolas de Hereford completed the Bible between them before 1384. Probably all attempts at previous translation were made from the Vulgate; certainly Wycliffe's, as also Purvey's, which was a revision of WyclifiVs, are simple reproductions in English of the Latin text.

Few things are more remarkable in the history of the Church of Christ, than the influence which Jerome's Latin Bible has had upon all the versions of the Scripture which have been made in Western Europe. We only know one thing to which it may be compared, namely, the influence which the Septuagint had, under God's Providence, upon the inspired writers of the New Testament. Just as, in this case, the Greek Testament is impregnated with Septuagintal expressions, and phrases, and sentences; so, in the other case, translators have never been able to divest themselves entirely of the influence of the Vulgate. Whether we turn to the early translations in Bohemia, Italy, Spain, France, or Germany, or whether we confine our observations to our own country, the same holds true. Our own authorized version has been built up largely with the help of the Vulgate; and our translators do not hesitate to speak of Jerome's work in terms of almost unqualified praise. In the New Testament the text of the Vulgate is often more in accordance with the ancient MSS. than is our textus receptus; and in the Old Testament, although the text at times varies from ours, the meaning is practically the same, and Jerome, under the guidance of the Jewish rabbis at Bethlehem, has generally succeeded in hitting upon the sense, so that modern critics are seldom unanimous in rejecting his translation even in the most difficult passages.

We cannot wonder that, when the age of printing had begun, when editions of the Bible and translations of the Bible began to multiply on the continent, the Church of Rome should come forth on the Conservative side, and should declare that the Vulgate was to be regarded as the version which represented the Boman textus receptus, and which gave the correct meaning of the Scripture as a whole. That version was even then, i.e. at the time of the Council of Trent, eleven hundred years old, and had been quoted hitherto as the Bible. in the multitudinous writings of the past ages of the Latin Church; it was therefore felt that to unseat it, or to make questions of text and translation open questions, would be to produce vast difficulties, and to kindle many dissensions in that body whose main virtue has always been its uniformity and its compactness of organization.

But whilst an apology for the Church of Rome may be made to this extent, it must not be forgotten that a further motive prompted that body to authorize a Latin Bible, which can meet with no sympathy from Protestants; and that was the desire to keep the people from the reading of the Word of God. This is the real shield of Romanism as a system. It keeps its votaries in the dark. It knows too well that there is no popery in the Bible. It is well aware that even the Vulgate itself, when read with unprejudiced eyes, is mainly Protestant. The policy of Rome is to substitute the voice of the Church, which is uninspired, for the voice of the Scripture, which is inspired. What "the Catholic Church" has always held, that must be true; and, lest it should seem inconsistent with Scripture, this must be kept in the back-ground. Rome treats all its adherents like children. It thinks for them, and forbids them to think for themselves. It appeals to the eye, and to the ear, and even to the nose, rather than to the intellect. It uses exquisitely devotional language, and adopts, unhesitatingly, the most glorious truths of the Gospel; but these things are fitted into the system, instead of being its foundation. The text of Scripture is not taken as the basis of truth, but is artfully cut up into little bits, and presented as part of the system, in such a way aa to delude the hearers with the idea that the whole is Scriptural, whereas it is really quite the contrary.

In these respects Rome is but little changed from what she was when Wycliffe made his translation from the Vulgate; for, in 1408, in a Convocation of the Province of Canterbury, held under Archbishop Arundel, the following enactment was made: —" It is a dangerous thing to translate the text of this holy Scripture from one language into another, for in the translation the same sense is not easily kept; we therefore decree and ordain that no man hereafter, by his own authority, translate any text of the Scripture into English or any other tongue, by way of a book, pamphlet, or treatise; and that no man read any such book, pamphlet, or treatise, now lately composed in the time of John Wycliffe, or since, or hereafter to be set forth in part or in whole, publicly or privately, upon pain of greater excommunication, until the said translation be approved by the Ordinary of the place, or, if the case so require, by the Council Provincial. He that shall do contrary to this shall likewise be punished as a favourer of heresy and error."

« ZurückWeiter »