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the mere english reader' (p. 44). Now, Sir, why may not other persons, even Socinians, if it should so happen, express their wishes for a new translation as well as yourself, without being more exposed than you are to the charge of clamour for a favourite system? In
page 58, you talk of Socinians presuming to lop off à text of scripture. If you mean the three heavenly witnesses (1 John v. 7.), as they are called, but which, like all the other witnesses for the tri. nity, have nothing heavenly in them (and I know not what else you can mean)'you must surely know by this time, what every one knows, who has but a smattering of that species of critical knowledge which relates to the state of the sacred text and its various readings, that the labours of Messrs. Porson, Marsh, and Pappelbaum have indeed“ unquestionably' proved that this passage, so long and obstinately defended, never came down from the father of lights (James i. 17.), but is, like the trinity itself, one of those many unfruitful works of darkness (Ephes. V. 11.) with which the rulers of the darkness of this world (Ephes. vi. 12.), working abomination, and making a lie, have desiled the Lamb's book of life (Rev. xxi. 27.)*
* There is a very neat, comprehensive, and concise abridgment of the controversy relating to this text, down to the year 1790, in Dr. Disney's “ Friendly Dialogue between a Unitarian “ and an Athanasian,” republished in vol. ii. of Tra&s by the Unitarian Society, 1791, 12mo. See the note in p. 24–26. Even bishops and archbishops have begun to give up this text. Bishop Prettyman, in his “ Elements of Christian Theology," says, “ After an attentive consideration of the controversy relative to
But you are persuaded, you say, that these same Socinians would not have been so clamorous for a new translation, had they been aware of your
im provements upon the common version, and of your new proofs of the divinity of Jesus. How the wishes of Socinians relating to this subject may be affected by your Remarks, I, who am no Socinian, though long and patient study of the scriptures has convinced me that Jesus was in all things made like unto his brethren (Heb. ii. 17.), know not: but I will tell you, en passant, what effect your Remarks have had, in this respect, upon myself.
I am one of those who have long wished for a new translation of the Bible, by public authority, not so much because the present, in some parts of it, discovers an undue bias towards your favourite system, , or other systems, for which I can see no foundation in the original, as because in very many parts, and in very large portions of it, it is so extremely literal as to be wholly unintelligible to a mere english reader; and when read in our churches, or families, might just as well be read in the hebrew, or greek. The
consequence of this is, that such of the hearers, or readers, as have more piety than good sense, are driven into superstition, and are led to suppose that God may be worshipped and served by a stupid, senseless, and sanctified reverence for sounds and words, which, as they are not understood, can have no influence upon the conduct; while, on the con
« that passage, I am convinced that it is spurious.” Page 90. vol. ii. edit. 1799. And Archbishop Newcome has entirely omitted it in his translation of the New Testament.
trary, such of them as have more good sense than piety, are driven towards infidelity, and are led to consider the Bible as a book which, in many places, is very confused, absurd, and incomprehensible, and of little use but to throw dust in the eyes of the vulgar : two opposite evils, both highly injurious to the interest and effect of christianity, and consequently to the happiness of mankind. It is the de sign and tendency of our most excellent religion to unite us all into one family, and to make us love and esteem each other as brethren: but the tendency of the Bible, thus translated, and thus read, is to separate us into two classes, the worldly wise, and the ignorantly pious, who do not love, because they cannot esteem, each other; but who live together deceiving and deceived, the former even deeming it a kind of pious fraud to impose upon the latter, whom, at the same time, they cannot help de spising for being duped by the imposition.*
To reasons like these, for which chiefly I desire a
* “ There is no book so translated as the Bible for the pur* pose. If I translate a french book into english, I turn it into
english phrase, not into french english. Il fait froid, I say, “ 'tis cold not, it makes cold ; but the Bible is rather translated into “ english words, than into english phrase. The hebraisms are “ kept, and the phrase of that language is kept: as for ex“ ample, he uncovered her shame, which is well enough, so long 66 as scholars have to do with it ; but when it comes among the
common people, lord, what jeer do they make of it !” Sele DEN's Table Talk.
Whoever doubts about the necessity of a new translation of the Bible, would do well to read Archbishop Newcome's “ His* torical View of English Biblical Translations,” 8vo. 1792.
new authorised translation, nothing which you have said is any way applicable. And as to any other reasons derived from a disbelief of the divinity of Jesus, your 'new proofs' have not in the least abated my wishes upon that ground; as you may pretty well
guess from the preceding examination of these proofs. The specimens, however, which you have given of your abilities for correcting the common version, have most certainly had some influence upon my wishes for a new translation. They have made me heartily wish, that whenever the good work shall be undertaken, neither you, nor any one else who cannot give better proofs than you have done of his qualifications for the employment, should have any concern in the business. But to return to your treatment of these clamorous Socinians.
Why are those, who, in obedience to what they "believe to be the voice and meaning of Jesus and his apostles, 'deny divine honour to our lord the Christ or Messiah,' to be branded with the title of
apos. tates? Why is he who teaches that Jesus is nothing ' but a man,' because he is persuaded, after a careful inquiry, that revelation teaches the same thing, to be contemptuously called a sadducee? Why are christians of this description to be accused of. ca
lumny, because they say that some passages of scripture have been corrupted ? Have not you said the same thing in these very Remarks? And why are they to be charged with arrogance' because, by the help of manuscripts, versions, fathers, and other aids of just and sober criticism, they attempt to correct these passages, and to restore them to their
original original integrity ? Have not you done this likewise? Are your charges, too, like your limitations, made to affect others, without affecting yourself? Or is it arrogance in those wretches, whom you think proper,
shall I say, or in proof, of your orthodoxy,'to insult with the titles of apostates and sadducees, to think of doing as you do? Be it so, Still I see no cause for so much rage and railing. If some Socinians, or other deniers of our lord's divi; nity, have occasionally presumed to collate
your fa, vourite Alexandrian MS., that need not thus disturb you. There will yet remain distance enough between you and them; you will still stand unrivalled till some of them shall aspire, and I know not that they have yet shewn symptoms of aspiring, to the honour of drawing any text of that MS., letter by letter, or of making any tittle of it nearly three times as long as it is broad, by the help of a magni, fying glass.
But you go on to execrate as ' impious,' those who, though they receive the word with all readiness of mind, and search the scriptures daily, whether this thing be so (Acts xvii. 11.) yet cannot find any proof, new, or old, that Jesus is really Jehovah, This would be a serious and a heavy charge indeed, if you had any foundation for it: but you produce none. You do not condescend to say in what their impicty consists. All that I can find that looks like the least attempt to corroborate a charge which you have repeated more than once, is where you say (page 42), our socinian sadducees, who have impi