Imágenes de páginas

and found a free and happy nation in the wilderness. Providence, in the direct progress of events, has placed it before their children to exert a controlling influence over the world, and make it the kingdom of our Lord. If, then, this is not brought to pass, the indications of God's providence will be contravened; and the people of New England will even criminally swerve and turn aside from the course he has marked out for them, and will be held inexcusably guilty.


WE have given in detail what we have been able to recover of the lives, characters, and qualifications of the men whose names stand enrolled on the list of those whom king James commissioned for the work of giving us our precious version of the Word of God. The duty we have performed, has never before been attempted, except in the very briefest manner. This is the more strange, as it might seem that the interest and importance of their work would have excited curiosity to know something of their personal qualifications. No better vindication could have been made of their translation, which has been warmly assailed and defended, than to shew by what manner of men it was made.

It remains for us to add a brief account of some who are known to have assisted in different stages of the work. It has been shown that two or three of those who were named in the king's commission, died soon after their appointment; and two others, Dr. Aglionby and Dr. Hutten, appear to have taken their places.

JOHN AGLIONBY, D. D. was descended from a respectable family in Cumberland. In 1583, he became a student of Queen's College, Oxford, of which college he afterwards became a Fellow. After his ordination, he travelled in foreign countries; and, on his return, was made chaplain in ordinary to Queen Elizabeth, who endured no drone or dunce about her. In 1601, he was chosen Principal of St. Edmund's Hall, in the University of Oxford, and about the same time became Rector of Islip. He was soon after made chaplain in ordinary to king James I. Dr. Aglionby was

deeply read in the fathers and the schoolmen, "an excellent linguist," and an elegant and instructive preacher. It is said of him by Anthony Wood in his Athenæ: "What he hath published I find not; however, the reason why I set him down here is, that he had a most considerable hand in the Translation of the New Testament, appointed by king James I. in 1604." Dr. Aglionby died at his rectory in 1609, at the age of forty-three. In the chancel of his church at Islip, is a tablet erected to his memory by his widow.

LEONARD HUTTEN, D. D. This divine was bred at Westminster School, from whence he was elected on the score of merit to be a student of Christ Church, Oxford, in 1574. He there devoted himself with unwearied zeal to the pursuit of academical learning in all its branches. He took orders in due time, and became a frequent preacher. In 1599, at which time he was a bachelor of divinity, and vicar of Flower, in Northamptonshire, he was installed canon of Christ's Church. He was known as "an excellent Grecian," and an elegant scholar. He was well versed in the fathers, the schoolmen, and the learned languages, which were the favorite studies of that day; and he also cultivated with care the history of his own nation. In his predilection for this last study, he showed good sense," seeing " as an old writer has it, "history, like unto good men's charity, is, though not to end, yet to begin, at home, and thence to make its methodical progress into foreign parts." Of Dr. Hutten also, it is stated by Wood, that he had a hand in the Translation of the Bible." He died in 1632, aged seventy-five.


Several other persons were employed in various stages of the work. In a letter from the king to the Bishop of London, dated July 22d, 1604, the monarch says: "We have appointed certain learned men, to the number of four and fifty, for the translating of the Bible." As the authentic lists contain but forty-seven names, it is presumed, that the others were certain "divines referred to in the fifteenth article of the royal instructions to the Translators. In this fifteenth article it is provided, that besides the several directors, or presidents of the different companies, "three or four of the most ancient and grave divines in either of the Universities, not employed in translating, be assigned by the

[ocr errors]

vice-chancellor, upon conference with the rest of the heads, to be overseers of the Translation, as well Hebrew as Greek, for the better observation of the fourth rule." That "fourth rule" required that, when any word hath different meanings, that is to be adopted which is most sanctioned by the Fathers, and is most 46 agreeable to the propriety of the piace, and the analogy of the faith." It is not known who these supervisors were; but if one University designated three, of them, and the other designated four, it makes out the requisite number.

When the six companies had gone through with their part of the undertaking, three copies were sent to London; one from the two companies at Cambridge, another from those at Oxford, and the third from those at Westminster. Each company also delegated one of its ablest members to go up to London, and prepare a single copy from these three. When the Synod of Dort was discussing the subject of preparing an authorized translation for the use of the Dutch churches, Dr. Samuel Ward informed that celebrated body as to the manner in which the business had just been effected in England. He then stated that this last single copy was arranged by twelve divines, " of great distinction, and thoroughly conversant in the work from the beginning; " and he as one of the Translators, must have known the number. It is likely that the other six members of this committee were bishops, as it was certainly the king's intention to have several of that order concerned in the revision of the work.

This completed copy was then referred to the final examination of Dr. Smith, one of the most active of the Translators, and soon after made bishop of Gloucester, and of Dr. Bilson, then bishop of Winchester. These two worthies prepared the summary of contents placed at the head of the chapters, and saw the work accurately through the press, in the year of grace, 1611.

DR. THOMAS BILSON was of German parentage, related to the duke of Bavaria. He was born in Winchester, and educated in the school of William de Wykeham. He entered New College, at Oxford, and was made a Fellow of his college in 1565. He began to distinguish himself as a poet, but on receiving ordination gave himself wholly to theological studies. He was soon made prebendary of Winchester, and warden of the college there. In 1596, he was made bishop of Worcester, and three years later 43


was translated to the see of Winchester, his native place. He engaged in most of the theological disputes of his day as a strong partizan of the Church of England. When the controversy arose as to the meaning of the assertion in the apostle's creed, that Christ descended into hell, bishop Bilson defended the literal sense, and maintained that Christ went there, not to suffer, but to wrest the keys of hell out of the devil's hands. For this doctrine he was severely handled by Henry Jacob, the father of modern Congregationalism, and by other Puritans. Much feeling was excited by the controversy, and queen Elizabeth, in her ire, commanded our good bishop, "neither to desert the doctrine, nor let the calling which he bore in the church of God be trampled under foot by such unquiet refusers of truth and authority." His most famous work was entitled "The Perpetual Government of Christ's Church," and was published in 1593. It is still regarded as one of the ablest books ever written in behalf of Episcopacy. Dr. Bilson died in 1616, at a good old age, and was buried in Westminster Abbey. It was said of him, that he "carried prelature in his very aspect." Anthony Wood proclaimed him so "complete in divinity, so well skilled in languages, so read in the Fathers and Schoolmen, so judicious in making use of his readings, that at length he was found to be no longer a soldier, but a commander-in-chief, in the spiritual warfare."

In the Translator's Preface, which used to be printed with all the older editions, there is an allusion to one who was "the chief overseer and taskmaster under his Majesty, to whom not only we but also our whole Church was much bound." This was Dr. Bancroft, then bishop of London, and afterwards archbishop of Canterbury, on whom devolved the duty of seeing the king's intentions carried into effect. He was a very terrible churchman, of a harsh and stern temper. Bishop Kennett, in his History of England, styles Bancroft "a sturdy piece;" and says, "he proceeded with rigor, severity, and wrath, against the Puritans." He does not appear to have tampered with the translation, except in a few passages where he insisted upon giving it a complexion somewhat too favorable to Episcopal notions. But considering the control exercised by this towering prelate, and the fact that the great majority of the Translators were of his way of thinking, it is very surprising that the work is not much more deeply tinged

with their sentiments, than it is. On the whole, it is certainly far from being a sectarian version, like most of those which have since been attempted in English. Bancroft altered fourteen places so as to make them speak in prelatical phrase. Dr. Miles Smith, who had so important a share in the labor, and who also wrote the learned Preface, and edited the first impression, and who for these services was made bishop of Gloucester, complains of the archbishop's alterations. "But he is so potent," said Dr. Smith, "there is no contradicting him!" Two of his alterations. are quite preposterous. To have the word "bishopric" occur at least once in the volume, the office is conferred, in the first chapter of Acts, on Judas Iscariot! Many of the Puritans were stiffly opposed to bestowing the name "church," which they regarded as appropriate only to the congregation of Christian worshippers, on any mass of masonry and carpentry. But Bancroft, that he might for once gain the name to a material building, would have it applied, in the nineteenth chapter of Acts to the idol's temples! "Robbers of churches," is strictly, according to the original term, "temple-robbers ;" and particularly, in this case, such as might have plundered the shrines of Diana. Let us be thankful that the imperious prelate tried his hand no further at the emendation. of the sacred text. el


The first addition to the authorized version was printed, as we have said, in 1611, and in folio. The first edition in quarto appeared the next year. The successive reprints, in different styles and sizes, became very numerous. In 1638, an edition revised by command of Charles I. for the purpose of typographical corrections, was prepared by a number of eminent scholars, among whom were Dr. Samuel Ward and Mr. Boys, two of the original translators. The edition in folio and quarto, revised and corrected with very great care by Benjamin Blaney, D.D., under the direction of the vice-chancellor of Oxford, and the delegates of the Clarendon press, in 1769, has been the standard edition ever since, till one was published in 1806, by Eyre and Strahan, printers to his majesty. This impression approaches as near as possible to what is called "an immaculate text," as only one erratum, and that very slight, has been detected in it. As every reader of the Bible in the common English editions must feel some anxiety to know how far he may depend upon their accuracy, it may be well to introduce the testimony of a committee

« AnteriorContinuar »