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1852 . 


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P R 0 C E E D1JN (1 S. 

First Baptist Church, Memphis, Tenn., > 

10 o’clock, A. M., April 2d, 1852. $ 

In pursuance of resolutions, adopted in Nashville, May loth, 
1851, by friends of the revision of the English Scriptures; and 
in accordance with the appoin ment of a meeting held in this 
city, December 26th, 1851, delegates appeared from the States 
of Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi, Missouri, Arkansas, Ala¬ 
bama, Virginia, Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Pennsylvania 
and New York. < 

After prayer by Rev. A. Maclay, D. D, of New York, Rev. 
John L. Waller, Chairman of the Provisional Committee, called 
the Convention to order, and requested J. II. Branham, of Ten¬ 
nessee, to act as Secretary. 

The Circular, put forth by the Provisional Committee, ex¬ 
planatory of the objects and designs of the Convention, was 
read by the Chairman. 

On motion of Ptev. D. E. Burns, of Tennessee: Resolved , That 
a committee of three persons be appointed to receive and enroll 
the names of the members of the Convention. Rev. D. E, 
Burns, Rev. Dr. B. F. Hall and J. IT. Branham, all of Tennes¬ 
see, were appointed said committee. 

On motion of Rev. D. L. Russell, of Missouri, 

Resolved, That the Convention be organized by the appointment of a 
President, eight Vice Presidents, and four Secretaries. 

On motion of Rev. P. S. Gayle, of Tennessee: 

Resolved, That a committee of seven persons be appointed to nominate 
the officers of the Convention. 

Rev. P. S. Gayle, Tenn.; Rev. S. E. Jones, Tenn; Dr. M. W. 
Philips, Miss.; Rev. D. P. Henderson, Mo.; Rev. E. Strode, 
Tenn.; Rev. Y. R. Pitts, Ky.; and Rev. Robt. T. Anderson, 
Ky.; were appointed said committee. 



On motion of Rev. President Fanning, of Franklin College, 
Term.: Resolved , That a committee of three persons be appoint¬ 
ed to prepare rules for conducting the deliberations of this Con¬ 
vention. Rev. T. Fanning, W. P. Bond, Tenn., and Rev. J. 
Jameson, Mo., were appointed said committee. 

Adjourned to meet at three o'clock. Prayer by Rev. D. L. 
Russell, Mo. 

Friday Evening, 3 o’clock. 

The Convention was called to order by the Chairman. Prayer 
by Rev. President Shannon, of Missouri University. 

Reports were called for. 

The Committee on Nominations reported the following names 
for officers, which report was unanimously adopted: 

President: Rev. John L. Waller, Ivy. 

Vice President: Rev. S. W. Lynd, D. D., Ivy.; John Fin¬ 
lay, L. L. D., Tenn.; Alex. Campbell, Va.; A. Maclay, D.D., New 
York; James Shannon, D. D., Mo.; IT. W. Middleton, Miss.; 
T. Fanning, Tenn.; D. L. Russell, Mo. 

Secretaries: Revs. W. Carey Crane, Miss.; J. R. Graves, 
Tenn.; John Young, Ky.; S. Dupuy, Miss. 

The following report was then offered: 

The Committee appointed to prepare rules for conducting - the delibera¬ 
tions of the Convention, beg - leave to report, for that purpose, the rules 
of the Senate of the United States, so far as they may be applicable to the 
business which may be transacted. 

Respectfully submitted, 

T. FANNING, Chairman. 

Adjourned to the Odd Fellows’ ITall, at 71 o’clock. P. M. 
Prayer by Rev. Alex. Campbell of Virginia. 

Odd Fellows’ Hall, Memphis, 

71 o’clock, P. M. 

Prayer by Rev. T. Fanning of Tenn. 

Rev. James Shannon, President of Missouri University, de¬ 
livered an erudite and interesting address upon “The Impor¬ 
tance of procuring a pure English version of the Scriptures, 
shown from the position it is to occupy, and the influence which 
it is to exert.” 

Adjourned to 10 o’clock to-morrow morning, 
by Rev. A. Maclay, D. I).. of New York. 




Saturday Morning, 10 o’clock. 
Convention met. The proceedings of yesterday were read. 
On motion of Rev. J. R. Graves: 

Resolved, That the Editors and Reporters of the city press are cordially 
invited to report the proceedings of this Convention for their respective 

The following letter was read, and the proposition therein 
made was unanimously agreed to: 

Memphis, April 3d, 1852. 

To the President and Members of the Bible Convention, noio sitting in this city: 

Gentlemen :—Presuming - that the Convention will employ a Stenogra¬ 
pher to report its proceedings, speeches made, etc., I would respectfully 
tender the columns of the Advocate, a weekly sheet, published in this 
place, for their publication in extenso, if furnished, by said reporter, with 
copy. Respectfully, yours, 

F. A. OWE1N, Ed. Advocate. 

A letter from the “American Bible Union’' was read. The 
delegation therein named, were cordially invited to seats with us. 
Rev. Archibald Maclay, D. D., of New York, addressed the 
Convention upon “the necessity of a revised version of the 

On motion of Rev. D. R. Campbell, President of Georgetown 
College, Kyi: Resolved, That a committee of nine persons be 
appointed on Order of Business, to report this afternoon. The 
following persons were appointed said committee: Revs. D. R. 
Campbell, Ky.; S. S. Church, Mo.; P. S. Gayle, Tenm; Dr. B. 
F. Hall, Tenm; Rev. S. W. Lynd, Ky.; Dr. M. W. Phillips, Miss.; 
Revs. John Young, Ky.; D. L. Russell, Mo.; T. Fanning, Tenn. 

Adjourned until 3 o’clock. Prayer by Rev. S. W. Lynd, D. 
D., of Kentucky. 

3 o’clock, P. M. 

Convention met. Prayer by Rev. C. C. Conner, Tenn. 

Rev. James Challen, of Cincinnati, delivered an address upon 
“the necessity of revision.” 

Adjourned to 7 1 o’clock, P. M. Benediction by Rev. W. C. 
Crane, of Mississippi. 

11 o’clock, P. M. 

Convention met. Prayer by Rev. S. L. Helm, of Kentucky, 
Ou motion of President T. Fanning, of Tennessee, the order 
of exercises for this evening was dispensed with. 


On motion of President Jas. Shannon, of Missouri, 

Resolved, That the business of each meeting be preceded by an address. 
Adjourned until Monday morning at 10 o’clock. Prayer by 
Rev. John Young, of Kentucky. 

Monday, 10 o’clock, A, M. 

Convention met. Prayer by Rev. T. L. Garrett, of Kv. 

The proceedings of Saturday were read. 

On motion of Rev. I). L. Russell, of Mo.: Ordered , That the 
order of proceedings be dispensed with for the introduction of a 

On motion of the same: Resolved, That a committee be ap¬ 
pointed to draft resolutions, to carry out the objects of this Con¬ 
vention. Said committee consists of Revs. D. L. Russell, Mo.; 
D. R. Campbell, Ky.; Jas. Shannon, Mo.; E. Owen, Mo.; Josiah 
Waller, Ky. 

The delegates from the American Christian Bible Society, an¬ 
nounced themselves in writing, and were invited to seats, viz: 
Revs. A. Campbell, J. Challen, E. A. Smith and John Young. 

Rev. W. C. Crane, of Mississippi, then addressed the Conven¬ 
tion upon the “Necessity of revision, as admitted by eminent 

Rev. 0. B. Judd, of New York, addressed the Convention 
upon the principles and plans of the “American Bible Union.” 

Rev. A. Maclay, D. D.. of Now York, followed upon the same 

On motion of Rev. T. Armitage, of New York: Resolved, That 
a committee be appointed to examine and report upon the plans 
of the American Bible Union, for the revision of the English 
Scriptures; what progress they have made towards its accom¬ 
plishment, and what may be the duty of this Convention in view 
of these plans. Said committee consists of Revs. T. Armitage, 
N. IT; S. W. Lynd, D. D., Ky.; J. Challen, 0.; D. E. Thomas, 
Ohio, and W. C. Crane, Miss. 

The Committee on Organization reported a constitution. 
Pending a motion for the amendment of the first article. 

On motion of W. P. Bond, Escp, of Tennessee, adjourned to 
3 o’clock, P. M. Prayer by Rev. T. Armitage, N. Y, 



3 o’clock, P. M. 

Convention met. Prayer by Rev. Jas. Inglis, of Michigan. 
Prof. Asa Drury, of Covington, Ky., offered the following re¬ 
solution. and supported it in an able address: 

Resolved, That the history of revision fully justifies us in making an 
effort to procure a faithful and perspicuous version of the English Scrip¬ 

Resumed the consideration of the constitution. The motion 
to insert “Southern” being discussed by W. C. Crane, John L. 
Waller, D„ L. Russell and D. R. Campbell, was decided in the 

Each article was read and adopted separately, and finally the 
Constitution, as a whole, was adopted without dissent. 


Whereas, The question of revising the present common English Scrip¬ 
tures is now fairly entertained, by a large body of friends of pure versions, 
in this country and in Great Britain; and whereas this body, in Convention 
assembled, believe the version to be susceptible of important improve¬ 
ments in many particulars, and that duty to God, as well as deference to 
the wishes of the numerous people represented here, require an organi¬ 
zation to be brought into existence, which shall effectually bring the 
energies and resources of the friends of the enterprise to bear upon it; 

Resolved, That the following Constitution be adopted as a basis of such 
organization : 

Art. I. The Society, under this Constitution, shall be called, The Bible 
Revision Association. 

Art. II. The object of the Society shall be to aid, in conjunction with 
the American Bible Union, in procuring a pure version of the English 

Art. III. It shall be composed of Annual Contributors, Life Members, 
and Life Directors. Annual Contributors of FivE Dollars shall be 
Members of the Society. Life Members shall be constituted such by the 
payment of Thirty Dollars. Life Directors shall be made such by the 
payment of One Hundred Dollars, and, in addition to the rights of 
Membership, shall be entitled to seats in the Board, with all the privileges 
of Managers, except that of voting. Persons who have already been 
made Life Members and Life Directors of the American Bible Union shall 
be ex officio Life Members and Life Directors of this Association. 

Art. IV. The Association shall hold an annual meeting, for the elec¬ 
tion of Officers, and for the transaction of business, on the 1st Friday in 

Art. V. The Officers shall be a President, two or more Vice Presidents, 
a Corresponding Secretary, a Recording Secretary, a Treasurer, and an 
Auditor, whose duties shall be such as are usual in other Societies. 



Art. YI. The Executive Board shall consist of fifty Managers, of 
whom nine shall be an Executive Committee, of which five shall be a 
quorum to transact business. The Officers of the Society shall be Mem¬ 
bers of the Board ex officio. The Managers shall be chosen at each an¬ 
nual meeting, and shall continue to discharge the duties assio-ned them 
until superseded by a new election. They shall have power to fill all 
vacancies occurring in the Board, when the Society is not in session. 

Art. VII. The Board of Managers shall meet at such times as their 
own By-Laws may prescribe, and at each annual meeting they shall fur¬ 
nish to the Society a full report of their proceedings. 

Art. VIII. The Board, or its Executive Committee, shall have power 
to employ agents, to take such measures as they may deem necessary, 
to make known the character and the claims of the Society, and to 
collect funds for its object, as defined in the second Article of'this Con¬ 

Art. IX. The Constitution may be altered, by the vote of two-thirds 
of the members present, at any annual meeting. 

13, R. CAMPBELL, Chairman. 


S. W. LYND, 

B, F. HALL, 





On motion of Rev. W. C. Crane, of Mississippi, Resolved, That 
a committee of one from each State represented in this Con¬ 
vention, be appointed to nominate officers. Said committee 
consists of Revs. W. C. Crane, Miss.; S. L, Heim, Ky.; E. Owen. 
Mo.; E. Strode, Tenn.; J. Lee, Ark.; J. Challen, 0.; W. J. Pet¬ 
tigrew, Pa.; A. Campbell, Va.; J. W. Jeffries, Ill.; A. Maclay, 
N. Y.; W. II. Barksdale, Ala.; J. S. Mather, la,: and J, Inglis. 

The committee on resolutions reported in part. The follow¬ 
ing was adopted, and the remainder ordered to lie on the table: 

Resolved, That a financial committee be appointed to raise 
the funds necessary for the incidental expenses of the Conven¬ 
tion. Said committee consists of TL G-. Dent, J. H. Branham. 
B. F. Hall, D. E. Burns and T. E. Whitfield, all of Memphis. 

On motion of Rev. Jas. Challen, of Ohio: Resolved , That the 
Board of the Bible Revision Association be located in Louis¬ 
ville, Ky., and that the first annual meeting be held there on 
Friday, April 1st, 1853, 

Adjourned to 1\ o’clock, P. M. Prayer by Rev. Y. R. Pitts. 


7o o'clock, P. M. 

Convention met. Prayer by Rev. Mr. Trott, Tenn. 

Rev. D. R. Campbell, President of Georgetown College, Ky., 
offered the following resolution, and supported it by an able and 
elaborate address: 

Resolved, That the defects of King James’ version justify the present 
movement for revising it. 

Adjourned to 9 o’clock Tuesday. Prayer by Rev. E. Strode, 
of Tennessee. 

Tuesday, 10 o’clock, A. M. 

Convention met. Prayer by Rev. J. Jameson. 

The minutes of the last meeting were read and confirmed. 

The order of the day was, on motion, dispensed with in order 
to receive the report of the committee on the plan of the Bible 
Union for the revision of the Scriptures, and their connection 
with the Convention. 

The report was read by Rev. Mr. Armitage, and received 
and adopted. 


Your Committee, appointed to examine and report upon the plans of 
the American Bible Union for the revision of the English Scriptures—rvhat 
progress they have made towards its accomplishment, and what may be 
the duty of this Convention in view of these plans—ask permission to 
present the following as the result of their deliberations: 


Your Committee find that the plan of the American Bible Union for 
the revision of the English Scriptures, involves the following principles: 

1. The version in common use shall be made the basis of revision, and 
all unnecessary interference with the established phraseology shall be 
avoided ; and only such alterations shall be made as the exact meaning 
of the inspired text and the existing state of the language may require. 

2. The exact meaning of the inspired text, as that text expressed it to 
those who understood the original scriptures at the time they were first 
written, must be translated by corresponding - words and phrases, so far 
as they can be found, in the vernacular tongue of those for whom the 
version is designed, with the least possible obscurity or indefiniteness. 

3. The revision of the New Testament shall be made according to the 
received Greek text, as recently published by Bagster & Sons.—Octavo 
Edition, 1851. 

4. Every Greek word or phrase, in the translation of which the phrase¬ 
ology of the common version is changed, must be carefully examined in 
every other place in which it occurs in the New Testament, and the views 
of the revisor be given as to its proper translation in each place. 



5. Whenever an alteration from that version is made on any authority 
additional to that of the revisor, such authority must be cited in the man¬ 
uscript, either on the same page or in an appendix. 

6. As soon as the revision of any one book of the New Testament is 
finished, it shall be sent to the Secretary of the Bible Union, or such other 
person as shall be designated by the Committee on Versions, in order that 
copies may be taken and furnished to the revisors of the other books, to 
be returned with their suggestions to the revisor or revisors of that book. 
After being re-revised with the aid of these suggestions, a carefully pre¬ 
pared copy shall be forwarded to the Secretary. 


For the execution of this plan according to these principles and rules, 
a special committee, known as the Committee on Versions, has been ap¬ 
pointed by the Board of the Union, subject entirely to their dictation and 
authority. Through this Committee, an extensive correspondence has 
been held with the principal scholars in all sections of the United States, 
and in Great Britain and other foreign countries. The result of this cor¬ 
respondence has been the recommendation and approval of the follow¬ 
ing plan : 

1. The whole New Testament to be divided, and apportioned among a 
large number of competent scholars of different religious denominations, 
acting individually or in companies, in all parts of this country and in 
Great Britain. 

2. When all the different parts assigned to the individuals or compa¬ 
nies, respectively, shall have been finished, the revisor of each, or the 
representative of the company of the revisors of each, shall meet togeth¬ 
er and go over the whole work conjointly. 

3. The manuscript revisions are to be accompanied with the citation of 
authorities, embracing the opinions of eminent critics and commentators 
for every important variation from the commonly received version. Those 
authorities to be published in connection with the first edition of the work, 
which may be done without occupying much space, so that the common 
reader may have the means of justifying these variations as readily and 
satisfactorily as a man of learning. 

4. The whole work, thus brought to the highest state of perfection, is 
then to be edited and published under the supervision of a competent 
scholar or scholars. 


1. By the employment of a large number of scholars in different sec¬ 
tions of this country and Great Britain, the several parts of the New Tes¬ 
tament may be so apportioned as to prevent the book from having a mere 
sectional or national reputation, and thus receive for it the most general 

2. By the employment of scholars belonging to different religious de¬ 
nominations, the work will be less liable to the charge of sectarianism. 

3. The citations of acknowledged authorities will disarm unjust criti¬ 
cism, as it must be directed against the authorities rather than the 
work itself. 




The American Bible Union are now prepared to consummate arrange¬ 
ments with the revisors for the execution of the work, and some progress 
has already been made towards the employment of competent men. Al¬ 
though nothing further has been so determined as to enable the Commit¬ 
tee to speak more definitely on this subject. 

In view of the importance of the work and the principles and plan for 
its execution as thus developed, your Committee would recommend the 
adoption of the following resolution : 

Resolved, That it is the opinion of this Convention, that the American 
Bible Union has thus far wisely and successfully prosecuted the enterprise 
of procuring a pure version of the English Scriptures ; and that we shall 
best promote the same object, by organizing an independent association to 
co-operate with the Union in this specific work. 

All of which is respectfully submitted. 


S. W. LYND, 




Secretary Crane then read the report of the committee to 
nominate officers of the Bible Revision Association: 

The committee to nominate officers respectfully reported the following 

President —Rev. John L. Waller, Louisville, Ky. 

Vice Presidents —Rev. Alex. Campbell, Va.; Wm. Crane, Esq., Md.; 
Rev. J. R. Graves, Tenn.; Rev. James Shannon, Mo.; Rev. S. W. Lynd, 
Ky.; Rev. W. C. Crane, Miss.; Rev. W. II. Barksdale, Ala.; Rev. George 
W. Baines, Texas; Rev. James Challen, Ohio ; Rev. John T. Jones, Ill.; 
Rev. J. S. Mather, la.; Rev. T. S. N. King, Ark.; Rev. James Inglis, 
Mich.; Rev. Wm. Rowsee, Pa.; Rev. Wm. C. Duncan, S. C.; Rev. C. R. 
Hendrickson, N. C.; Rev. John L. Dagg, Ga. 

Cor. Secretary —John L. Kirk, Louisville. 

Rec. Secretary —David Spalding, Louisville. 

Treasurer —Wm. Garnett, Louisville. 

Auditor —C. Duffield, Louisville. 

Managers —Henry T. Anderson, W. Terry, T. B. Johnson, J. B. Slaugh¬ 
ter, H. C. Seymour, John M. Delpli, Rev. W. Crawford, Rev. A. W. La 
Rue, W. B. Caldwell, M. D., B. N. Crump, Wm. Jarvis, Louisville; Sam’l. 
Church, Pa.; Rev. D. S. Burnet, Ohio; C. K. Winston, M. D., Rev. T. 
Fanning, Rev. B. F. Hall, Rev. C. C. Conner, Tenn.; Rev. L. H. Jameson, 
la.; J. D. Ferguson, La.; Dr. M. W. Phillips, Miss.; Rev. H. W. Middleton, 
Miss.; Rev. George Tucker, Miss.; Rev. W. W. Gardner, Ky.; Rev. D. R 
Campbell, Ky.; Rev. E. Owen, Mo.; Rev. John Bateman, Ark.; Prof. A 
Drury, Ky.; Rev. D. P. Henderson, Mo.; J. W. Jeffries, Ill.; Rev. John 0. 
Kane, la.; Rev. D. L. Russell, Mo.; Rev. Wm. Vaughan, Ky.; J. W. 
Newland, Louisville; T. S. Bell, M. D., Louisville; Rev. Jeremiah Cell, 
la.; John H. Macrse, New Orleans, La,; Rev. James B. Smith, La.; Dr 
Cullen Battle, Ala.; Dr. L. Parmely, Ala.; John A. McGill, Littleton 



Munday, Elijah Dupree, Rev. L. H. Milliken, Rev. H. B. Hayward, Miss.; 
Dr. Wm. Jewell, Mo.; Dr. Robert H. Maclay, Ill.; Brof. J. A. B. Stone, 
Mich.; Wm. P. Bond, Tenn.; Rev. E. Strode, Tenn.; Rev. R. L. Cole¬ 
man, Ya. 

Your Committee on Finance beg leave to report as follows, viz : They 
have received in contributions, one hundred and thirty-four dollars and 
thirty-three cents, ($134 33.) Respectfully submitted, 

H. G. DENT, Chairman. 

Mr. Branham, from the committee on enrollment then read 
a corrected roll of the members of the convention as follows: 


Rev. John L. Waller, 

“ S. W. Lynd, D. D 
“ Prof. Asa Drury, 
“ D. R. Campbell, 

“ R. T. Anderson, 

“ J. B. Evans, 

“ Y. R, Pitts, 

“ S. L. Helm, 

“ J. M. Bennet, 

“ John Young, 

“ E. A. Smith, 

“ H. T. Anderson, 

“ L. AY. Potter, 

“ Mason Owen, 

“ J. AY. AValler, 

“ T. M. Daniel, 

“ T. L. Garrett, 

“ AV. P. Clark,' 

“ H. R. Puryer, 

“ W. F. Spelman, 

“ M. F. Harn, 

“ G. B. Peck, 

“ G. B. AValler, 

“ Benj. Tiller, 

“ F. M. Pearl, 

Messrs. J. L. Kirk, 

“ J. T. Yates, 

“ P. Johnston, 


Rev. D. L. Russell, 

“ James Shannon, 

“ J. L. Green, 

“ John Jameson, 

“ D. P. Henderson, 
“ S. S. Church, 

“ AY. H. Hopson, 

“ L. B. AVilkes, 

“ E. F. Pittman, 

Rev. R. B. Fife, 

“ Edw. Owen, 


Rev. T. Owen, 

“ John Finley, 

“ P. S. Gayle, 

“ C. C. Conner, 

“ Jas. R. Graves, 

“ D. E. Burns, 

“ B. F. Hall, 

“ Peyton Smith, 

“ E. Strode, 

“ AA 7 . G. Lancaster, 
“ Levi C. Roberts, 

“ L. II. Bethel, 

“ J. L. Cross, 

“ W L. Go wen, 

“ M. AY. Webber, 

“ S. E. Jones, 

“ J. J. Trott, 

“ E. Collins, 

“ A. Applewhite, 

“ G. AV. Young, 

“ Eli Rainer, 

“ Benj. Cooper, 

“ AV. S. Perry, 

Messrs. John Blackwell 
“ M. B. Ryan, 

“ F. E. Whitfield, 

“ J. D. Smith, 

“ J. J. Toon, 

“ V, Rhodes, 

“ E. C. Crisp, 

“ W. H. Poindexter. 
“ Alex. Ramsay, 

“ W. P. Pond, 

“ R. D. Baugh, 

“ H. G. Dent, 

“ R. S. Thomas, 

Rev. J. M. Rutledge, 

“ James Bond, 

“ AV. F. Still, 

“ R. B. Herndon, 

“ Joel Jones, 

“ J. Morton, 

“ A. L. Goff, 

“ L. D. Ring, 

“ J. H. Branham, 

Dr. J. F. Johnson. 


Rev. W. J. Pettigrew. 


jRev. James Inglis. 


Rev. AV. H. Barksdale. 


Rev. 0. B. Judd, 

“ Thos. Armitage, 

“ A. Maclay, D. D., 


Rev. A.lex. Campbell. 


Rev. J. W. Jeffries, 

“ Elias Hibard, 

“ A. R. Kenner. 


Rev. C. R. Hendrickson. 


Rev. J. H. Mathews, 

Rev. L. H. Jameson. 


Rev. D. E. Thomas. 

“ James Challen, 

“ J. J. Sadler. 


Rev. A. Morrill, 

“ AV. M. Lea, 

“ Jno. Bateman. 



ev. W. C. Crane, Messrs. R. T. Fowler, 

“ B. F. Hallowell, “ E. Morrow, 

r. M. W. Philips, “ T. N. Loving, 

[essrs. J. Clanton, “ J. M. Yowell, 

“ E. Bullington, “ D. K. Boswell, 

“ S.W.Montgomery “ R. T. Clanton, 

“ W. H. Sparke, “ David S. White. 

“ T. B. Middleton, 

President Waller then introduced Rev. Mr. Henderson, a 
Methodist minister, who addressed the convention in a long ad¬ 
dress, in which he assailed the designs and objects contemplat¬ 
ed by the convention. 

Adjourned to 3 o’clock, P. M. 

3 o’clock, P. M. 

Convention met, and was opened with prayer. 

Mr. Judd of New York, then took the stand, and made an 
able speech. 

Hr. Young moved that a copy of Mr. Henderson’s speech, 
delivered during the morning session be requested for publica¬ 
tion, as additional evidence of the necessity of a new translation 
of the Scriptures, and supported it in an address.' 

Adjourned to meet at 7i o’clock, P. M.. in 1st Baptist Church. 

First Baptist Church, Memphis, > 

7o o’clock, P. M. $ 

Met pursuant to adjournment. Prayer by Rev. R. T. An¬ 

The convention was addressed by Rev, D, E, Thomas, of 
Zanesville, Ohio, in an animated discourse on the necessity of 
revising the English Scriptures. 

Adjourned to meet to-morrow morning at 9 o’clock, in the 
Odd Fellows’ Hall. 


Rev. P. H. Roberts, ! 
•* Lee Compere, 

“ H. W. Middleton, 

“ Starke Dupuy, 

“ Jesse Booth, 

“ G. Tucker, 

“ J. J. Sledge, 

Odd Fellows’ Hall, Memphis,? 
Wednesday, 9 o’clock, A, M. ^ 

Convention met. Prayer by the Rev. Mr. Sadler. 

The following resolutions were then offered by the Rev. Mr. 
Graves, and agreed to: 



Whereas, Considering it as a matter of the first importance, for the 
harmony of the Baptist denomination in the South, that thd" exact position 
and policy of this association should be clearly understood, that the fears 
of many true friends of revision may be dissipated and their co-operation 

Resolved, That we are opposed to any movement the tendency of which 
may be to injure or conflict with the interests of the existing Boards of the 
Southern Baptist Convention; and we therefore advise our Baptist breth¬ 
ren in the South to direct their funds, intended for the circulation of the 
Bible at home, and also, those intended to aid in the circulation of the 
scriptures in those foreign fields, occupied by the missionaries of our Foreign 
Mission Board, through the Southern Bible Board, located in Nashville, 
unless they prefer some other medium, while those funds intended for re¬ 
vision purposes only, to the treasury of this Association. 

Resolved, That the proceedings of this convention be published under 
the direction of the Executive Board, at Louisville; and that the various 
Speakers, who have prepared addresses for this convention, be requested 
to furnish the Secretaries without delay with copies of their addresses. 

Resolved, That the thanks of this convention be returned to Maj. Hiram 
Ivaine, city editor of the Appeal, for his full and able reports of its pro¬ 
ceedings; and also to the Express and those other city papers which have 
courteously noticed its objects and transactions. 

Dr. Lyncl then, in accordance with previous notice, proceeded 
in an able address, to show the reasons which demand a faith¬ 
ful and author,ative revision of the Scriptures, Dr. Lynd pre¬ 
sented the following resolution which was adopted: 

Resolved, That in view of the defects of the common version, it is the 
imperative duty of the disciples of Christ to secure a revision. 

At the suggestion of the Rev. Mr. Burns, a collection was 
taken up to defray the expenses of the convention. 

President Shannon offered the following resolution: 

Resolved, That it be recommended to the members of this Convention, 
and the friends of the cause, to provide copies of the Reports of the Meet¬ 
ing, as made in the city press. 

Rev. Alex. Campbell, of Virginia, then delivered an elaborate 
and learned address upon the following resolution, which was 

Resolved, That it is a paramount duty of the Christian Church of the 
19th centurv, to give to the present age, in our own vernacular, a per¬ 
spicuous, exact and faithful version of the living oracles of God, as we 
find them in the Hebrew and Greek originals of inspired Prophets, Apos¬ 
tles and Evangelists. 

On motion of Rev. D. P. Henderson, of Missouri: 

Resolved, That the sincere thanks of this Convention he tendered to the 
citizens of Memphis, for the hospitality arid kindness shown to members 



of this Convention during their sitting and sojourn in their growing and 
lovely city. 

Adjourned until 3 o’clock, P. M. 

3 o'clock, P. M. 

Convention met. Prayer by Rev. C. R. Hendrickson, N. C. 

Rev. James Inglis, of Michigan, delivered an eloquent ad¬ 
dress upon the objects of the convention. 

Rev. Archibald Maclay, of New York, explained the history 
of Baptist translations, and the course which the Baptists had 

Rev. S. J. Henderson, of Memphis, replied. 

On motion of Rev, D. L. Russell, of Missouri: 

Resolved, That this Convention agree to take 500 copies of its proceed¬ 
ings, as reported by the “Memphis Appeal.” 

Ordered, that the Secretaries revise the publication of said 

Adjourned to 71 o’clock, P. M. 

7 2 o’clock, P. M. 

Convention met. Prayer by Rev. J. W. Evans, of Ky. 

Proceedings read. 

Committee on Finance reported. The report was received, 
and the committee discharged. 

On motion of Rev. W. C. Crane, of Mississippi: 

Ordered, That the Finance Committee be instructed to pay over all 
moneys, over and above the defrayment of the expenses incurred for the 
rent of the hall and the printing of proceedings, to the Treasurer of the 
Revision Association, at Louisville, Ky. 

Rev. Thomas Armitage, of New York, delivered an address, 
able and eloquent, upon the following resolution: 

Resolved, That in this effort to procure a pure version of the sacred 
Scriptures in the English tongue, we discover a work eminently worthy of 
the exalted aspirations of the human mind; and of the vigilant Ete which 
has preserved the inspired Text in unadulterated purity unto this day: 
and as an efficient agency in accomplishing the holy purposes of the Fath¬ 
er, in the establishment of Christ’s Kingdom on the earth, such versions 
must at once invoke the unqualified approval of the human conscience, 
and reflect boundless honor upon the infinite Inspirer himself, by extort¬ 
ing from universal and individual humanity the undisguised confession, 
“thy Word is very pure,” and from every regenerated heart the grateful 
response, “therefore thy servant loveth it.” 



Oil motion of Rev.. A. Campbell, of Virginia: 

Resolved That the thanks of this Convention are due co our hiohlv 
esteemed I, evident, Alder J. L. Waller, for the patient, able and dignified 
manner m which he has presided over its deliberations. * 

. Whereupon the President delivered a brief address, counsel- 
rig activity and union in the great and noble cause, for which 
the Convention had assembled, and than king the Convention for 

the mark or confidence and approbation expressed in the reso¬ 

Winch the Convention adjourned sine die . Prayer bv 
Rev. Archibald Maclay, D, D,, of New York. 7 } 

JOHN L. WALLER, President. 

Wm, C. Crane, 

J. R. Graves, 

John Young, 

Starke Dupuy, 

Secretaries . 




The subject of a revised version of our English Scriptures is worthy of 
investigation. This is obvious from the number and character of those 
who are arrayed upon its side, and the immense influence for good or evil 
which is supposed to be involved in the issue. No subject of greater 
magnitude, has ever occupied the attention of the religious world. It 
therefore demands a free, full, and public discussion. In very few of our 
religious periodicals has a fair field for discussion been allowed. The pro¬ 
fessed, and, doubtless, with many, the true reason for this course, is the 
Inexpediency of the measure. 

Those who admit that our common version is not as clear and faithful, 
as it ought to be, and as it may be made, propose against revision, the fol¬ 
lowing objections:—“ The time has not arrived. It will cause division in 
he churches. It will shake the faith of Christians. It ought not to he 
done but by a union of all evangelical denominations. It will deprive Baptists 
of their name. It will be called a sectarian Bible." 

All these objections are based upon expediency. Believing, as we do 
that it is the imperative duty of Christians to procure and circulate a re¬ 
vised translation of our English Scciptures, it is of the first importance 
that the doctrine of expediency should be thoroughly examined. 

What is expediency? When is it applicable? The right answer to these 
questions will decide the case, and establish the duty of revision, as im¬ 
perative upon the people of God. 

Expediency is fitness, propriety, suitableness to an end. It is applica¬ 
ble, in those cases only, where time and mode undesignated, or, not im¬ 
plied in the nature of the duty, are concerned, in relation to things which 
must be done; or, where, without regard to time and mode, things may be 
done, or may not be done, at the discretion of the subject. 

When a thing must be done, because our duty to God makes it necessa¬ 
ry, and no particular time or mode is specified, or implied in the nature of 
the case, one time may be more proper for the performance of the duty 
than another, or one mode may be better adapted to the end than anoth¬ 
er; but where time and mode are designated, or implied in the nature of 



the case, nothing can arrest the performance, in harmony with the speci¬ 
fied or implied time and mode, but the inability of the subject. The doc¬ 
trine of expediency cannot apply. 

Let us now see how far expediency may be pleaded, as a a ground of 
opposition to the revision of our English Scriptures. 

We take it for granted, for it has never been disputed by intelligent 
Christians, that God has made it the duty of his people, to give his word 
to the nations to the extent of their ability. The mode of giving it is im¬ 
plied in the nature of the case. It must be by translation from the origi¬ 
nal, into the languages of the nations. It must he perspicuous, and faith¬ 
ful translation, one that shall, as nearly as possible, convey the mind of 
the Holy Spirit, as contained in the original. Neither to the mode itself, 
that is, by translation, nor to the character of the work, that is, clearness and 
faithfulness in expressing themindof the Spirit ; can the doctrine of expediency 
apply. Nothing but inability can excuse from the performance of this duty. 

The time when this duty shall be performed is implied in the nature of 
the case. If we must give the word of God to the nations, it must be done 
at the earliest point of our ability, and the favoring providence of God. If 
we have men fully competent to the work, and means to circulate it when 
made, no time is to be lost. It cannot be done too soon. If all Christians 
will not unite in the work, it must be done by those who are able and wil¬ 
ling. It is vain for any one to plead the doctrine of expediency, as a 
ground of refusal. The duty is imperative, the mode is implied in the na¬ 
ture of the case, the time for those who can cany out the enterprise has 
arrived. They dare not hold back from this duty from fear of results.— 
The whole history of modern missionary organizations, and Bible transla¬ 
tions, justifies the position we have taken. And doubtless, all Christians^ 
will admit the justness of our reasoning in reference to all new transla¬ 

This is all that we ask. This much must be admitted. This point 
gained, the whole case is gained. Our aim is to show, that it is the im¬ 
perative duty of Christians to procure and circulate a revised translation 
of our English Scriptures. If it be asked, in what -way we apply this 
reasoning 1 to a revision of our common version, when its general excel- 
lence is acknowledged, we reply, by another question—Is our common ver¬ 
sion thoroughly clear and faithful; in giving the mind of the Holy Spirit, 
as contained in the original Hebrew and Greek? 

If this question is answered in the affirmative, then the doctrine of ex¬ 
pediency, as to revision, is perfectly admissable. But if the question is 
answered in the negative, the doctrine of expediency can no more affect 
the character of translation, than it can affect translation itself. Whether 
a clear and faithful version is fit or proper, cannot be made a question. It 
must have these characteristics, or we are recreant to duty, and God is 

If then, we are as much bound to give clearly and faithfully, in a trans¬ 
lation, the mind of the Holy Spirit, as we are to give a translation at all, 
it is our duty to see, that, as far as possible, every existing version be pure, 
and the English version among others; and the time for doing it is neces¬ 
sarily implied in the nature of the case. It must be done, at the earliest 
point of our ability, and the favoring providence of God. 


This is something that must be done. Nothing but inability can be 
pleaded as an excuse for not doing it; and, consequently, the doctrine of 
expediency vanishes away. Imperative duty requires that where a ver¬ 
sion is not thoroughly pure, it must be made pure, as early us our ability 
will justify, no providence occurring to arrest the work. It appears to us 
that there can be but one opinion on this subject. It is as much an im¬ 
perative duty to make an old version clear and faithful, as it is to make a 
new version clear and faithful. 

If all Christians will not unite in the work of revision, it must be done 
by those who are able and willing. If all will not unite, it must be on one 
of two grounds:—First, that the Holy Spirit is clearly and faithfully rep¬ 
resented in our common version, and that revision, as a matter of taste, 
involves nothing more than a question of expediency: or, Secondly, that 
the Holy Spirit is not clearly and faithfully represented, and that, on 
grounds of expediency, his mind ought not to be dearly and faithfully expressed. 

But this is a monstrous doctrine, and when the true state of the case is 
perceived, our brethren will be compelled to take the iirst ground, that is, 
the perfection of our common version, or abandon their opposition to the 
revision movement. 

If this mode of reasoning be incorrect, we' cannot perceive it; and, if it 
be just our brethren deceive themselves when they offer against revision, 
the objections that have been stated, holding at the same time, that our 
present English version is not thoroughly clear and faithful. Let this point 
be admitted, and all objections to the enterprise of revision vanish. We 
maintain that our English version is not as clear and faithful as it can be 
made, and ought to be made. This fact has been fully established by the 
speakers who have preceded, and it is not our intention to go over this 
ground. We would, however, in passing, call special attention to the 
opinion of Dr. Adam Clarke, in his commentary on the 12th Chapter of 
Second Book of Samuel. He says: “Though I believe our translation to 
beby far the best in any language ancient or modem, yet I am satisfied 
it stands much in need of revision. Most of the advantages which our 
unbelievers have appeared to have over certain passages of Scripture, 
have arisen from an inaccurate or false translation of the terms in the 
original; and an appeal to this has generally silenced the gainsayers. But 
in the time in which our translation was made, Biblical criticism was in 
its infancy, if indeed it did exist; and we may rather wonder that we find 
things so well, than be surprised that they are no better.” 

This is unbiassed testimony. It comes from one who had the highest 
respect for our common version, and from whom truth fpreed the confes¬ 
sion contained in the quotation. 

Now we ask, how is the common English reader to silence gainsayers? 
While the version stands, which gives rise to infidel objections, infidel ob¬ 
jections will arise; and the enemies of God will triumph over the mere 
English reader. Shall we allow translations thus “inaccurate and false” 
to be perpetuated, as a shield to infidelity, and a whirlpool of destruction 
to the simple hearted English reader? When it is in our power to alter 
this, shall we not do it? Shall we let such awful sin sleep upon our souls? 
Has conscience no voice in the Christian world? Shall expediency be 
pleaded against a faithful revelation of the mind of the Spirit? Shall 



party dogmas refuse to hear God speak? It is almost enough to- make 1 at 
good man an infidel. 

Imperative duty requires that we should endeavor to secure a pure ver¬ 
sion of our English scriptures. God demands it of us:—the honor of the 
Holy Spirit demands it of us:—the cause of pure religion demands it of 
us:—the welfare of all who speak the English language demands it of us. 
They have a right to know when they read the Bible, whether they are 
readingthe testimony of the Holy Spirit, or the testimony of King James* 
or the testimony of a worldly hierarchy. 

Is it not then our imperative duty to revise our present version? Here 
is something that must be done. We cannot in honor, in virtue of our 
allegiance to Jesus Christ, refuse. The earliest point of our ability, and 
idie favoring providence of God constitute the time for the performance of 
this duty. We are able to do it now. As far as scholarship is concerned, 
there is no difficulty. As far as pecuniary supplies are necessary, there 
is enough and to spare. The providence of God favors the work. The 
action of the British and Foreign Bible Society, and subsequently, the ac¬ 
tion of the American Bible Society, respecting translations, awakened an 
interest in the minds of thousands, to the trite principle upon which the 
word of God should be rendered into other languages, and led to the de¬ 
sire to see the same principle applied to our English version. 

For the last 25 years eminent scholars have been engaged in preparing 
a pure text, and have, probably, reached a perfection in this department, 
that will never be surpassed. The organization of the American Bible 
Union grew out of peculiar circumstances which seemed to many, learned 
and unlearned, throughout our land, to be demanded. Its friends have 
rapidly increased. A noble liberality has been manifested in its behalf.—- 
All these are favoring providences. 

In view of these facts, what should have been the attitude of every 
Christian man? Believing that our present version is not as perspicuous 
and faithful as it ought to be, and as it may be made; that the duty of 
giving the most pure version that can be procured, is imperative; that the 
time is the earliest point of our ability; should not every Christian man 
have stood with his loins girt about, in a state of preparation to seize the 
earliest moment, to engage in this work? Should .not his heart have 
bounded with joy, when simultaneously, as one man, thousands arose, 
prepared to enter upon the work, and invited his co-operation? And now 
shall he oppose his objection, “the time has not arrived ,” as constituting an 
unfavorable providence, and thus shield himself from imperative duty? 

What are objections worth based upon expediency? If an improved, 
a more pure version of our English Scriptures will tend to unsettle the 
faith of Christians, let it be unsettled. It is a faith not worth the profes¬ 
sion of it. If it will cause divisions in churches, let divisions come. We 
can only regret, in this event, that the passions of those opposed are un¬ 
der no better control by the spirit of piety. If the duty is imperative 
upon the part of those who are able and willing to do the work, and they 
act simply in the spirit of their duty, the fault of division will not rest 
with them. They have invaded no man’s right of opinion. They have 
been free to hear both sides of the question. They have pursued the 
course marked out by duty with a spirit worthy of imitation. There is no 



-element of fanaticism in their movements; no, resolutions causing a dis¬ 
ruption of the fellowship of believers; no action antagonistic to the peace, 
the union, and the happiness of our country. They have a work to do 
which must be done, and done, whenever the time for it arrives. That time, 
implied in the very nature of the case, has arrived, and we ought to bless 
God that the work is progressing. 

It has been said that a revision ought not to be effected except by the 
union of all evangelical denominations. If this were a subject purely of 
taste, the present version being a thoroughly clear and faithful exponent 
of the mind of the Spirit in the original Hebrew and Greek, the expedi¬ 
ency of revision would be admissable, and the objection against making it, 
except by the union of Christians, would stand in force. But it is a sub¬ 
ject involving imperative dxity, and if all will not unite, those who are 
able and willing must do the work. Besides the union of all evangelical 
denominations in this enterprise is impracticable, if the revision is to be 
clear and faithful. This assertion may be thought too strong, but the 
proof is before our eyes, bright as the noon-day sun, in the revision, re¬ 
cently effected by a committee of the American Bible Society. Com¬ 
pelled to bow to the mandates of sectarianism, they have retained the 
word “Easter,” the name of a heathen festival, where the original re¬ 
quires “Passover,” an institution of divine appointment. We say it with 
deep sorrow of heart, that the world has nothing to expect, as regards a 
pure version, from this union of different denominations. The Christian 
public could not cherish confidence in the faithfulness of men whose union 
■compels compromise. There is no difference between the mandates of 
a monarch, and the mandates of embodied sectarianism. 

The only questions which a godly man ought to ask, are these:-—Is it 
our duty to give God’s word to the people, in the most pure version that 
can be procured? Is our common version as faithful to the original as it 
ought to be? Are we not able to make it more pure? Is there any prov¬ 
idence that forbids? 

Then, if those who are able and willing, secure the services of the most 
eminent and independent scholars and Christians to prepare a revision, 
and their work when finished, be submitted to a committee of other men 
equally competent, in order to a final decision; if no laws are imposed 
upon the translator, no directions given how certain words shall be ren¬ 
dered, no transfer allowed where translation is possible and proper; if the 
simple requirement be that the translator shall give the clearest and most 
faithful version that can be made; of wbat avail would be the charge of 
sectarianism? Except with bigots it would not weigh a feather against 
the revised version. Every thing is to be feared from sectarianism in op¬ 
position to a revision, but nothing from sectarianism in a faithful transla¬ 
tion. We are not afraid to meet the issue, if the mind of the Holy Spirit 
is to be translated from the original Hebrew and Greek into our own lan¬ 
guage, by competent, independent scholars and truly pious men, of any 
denomination. Are any afraid of translation by such men? Let them 
hide their heads for shame. Let them never avow that the Bible, as it 
came from the hand of God, is the rule of their faith and practice. 

It has been charged against us, that our main object in procuring a re- 
' vised version, is, that the Greek word baptize may be rendered immerse .— 



This is not the true state of the case. We desire that this word may be 
translated bv an English word, that will express, according to the current 
use of words in our language, the same thing that the Greek word express¬ 
ed to those to whom it was first delivered. If honest and competent lin¬ 
guists say “sprinkle,” let it be sprinkle. If they say “pour,” let it be 
pour. If they say “immerse,” let it be immerse. But to say “baptize” is 
nothing, and worse than nothino-- for even if it meant immerse when first 
adopted as a Latin word, as some contend, it has long since lost that spe¬ 
cific meaning. The word itself conveys no idea to the mind of an En¬ 
glish reader, except that which he derives from the diversified practice to 
which the word is applied. 

Some of our Baptist brethren contend, that if “ baptize ” is not retained 
we shall lose our name. But we have settled the question of expediency. 
It does not apply to the case, and every objection from this source is void. 
It is better to lose our name, than to break our allegiance to God. 

What objection that has yet been offered can have any force, if this, 
as we have shown, is a question in which axpediency has no voice? It is 
a question involving imperative duty, in which both time and mode 
are implied; and it cuts off every plea for non-performance, except that of 

We have briefly referred to the true principles upon which a revised 
version should be sought. 

1. The most eminent and independent scholars should be engaged to 
perform this service. 

2. They should be required to make no transfers where translation is 
possible and proper; and to give the mind of the Holy Spirit in as clear 
and faithful a manner as possible, in all places where our present version 
is deficient in these characteristics. 

3. That when they have finished the whole, it should be referred to a 
competent committee, in connection with the translators, for final decision. 

Let these things be done, and ample time be allowed for doing them 
well, and let every printed copy bear a preface, showing by whom the 
work was accomplished, and the principles upon which the translators pro¬ 
ceeded; and if it should prove to be decidedly more perspicuous and faith¬ 
ful than our present version, it will carry with it an influence more power¬ 
ful than that of antiquity, or of royal authority. It will become the book 
of the masses, and will be read by them as they never yet have read the 
Bible, while to the humble Christian, who desires to understand his duty, 
it will become an increasingly valuable companion, as the yeai - s of his 
pilgrimage advance. 

A glorious work is before us. Every heart should rejoice at the thought 
that the w'ord of God will soon be given to the millions that speak our 
language, in a version thoroughly clear and faithful. 

This is one of those mighty moral movements that shall be felt by the 
world to the end of time. The hand of God is in it, and it must prosper. 
Generations yet unborn will bless the hour that gave birth to this enter¬ 
prise. The world’s history will point to it as an era of light and moral 
power, to be celebrated by the wise and good, until the earth and the 
heavens shall have passed away. 

God favoring us, we intend to hare an amended version of the English 



Scriptures; and more than this, to put a copy into the hands of every one 
that can read the English language. We intend that the whole truth 
shall be given, that God’s Spirit shall speak his own sentiments, in lan¬ 
guage not to he misunderstood. 

As Baptists we are willing to have our name and our practices blotted 
from the page of history, if God’s word in a pure translation, dooms us 
to oblivion. A spirit is abroad among the people, that will try every reli¬ 
gious system as by tire, and consume everything that will not stand the 
test of truth. “Thus saith the Lord'’’ will be the motto of the Christian 
world; and primitive love, and zeal, and practice, will bind in one the 
hearts of God’s children. 



That we need a better translation than the one in common use; one that 
will express the mind of the spirit with more perspicuity and force, with 
greater accuracy and precision, cannot be successfully denied. In proof 
of this position, we refer to the fact that among all the leading parties in 
protestant Christendom, attempts have been made at a purer version.— 
Episcopalians, Presbyterians, Congregationalists, Methodists and Baptists, 
have each given their contributions towards this object. Some in afford¬ 
ing new versions of certain parts of the old Testament, others of the new. 
Each have furnished substantial evidence of their conviction that a better 
version is needed. 

There is scarcely to be found a preacher of any note, of any preten¬ 
sions to learning, who does not find fault with the common version in his 
pulpit exhibitions; attempts at criticism are quite common by every ser- 
monizer and lecturer in all the ranks of protestantism, and it must be con¬ 
fessed that many of them are exceedingly crude, and unlearned; betray¬ 
ing no little ignorance of the original text; exposing the annotator to the 
charges of pedantry and display. 

At the same time it must be admitted that much that is useful and just, 
I s to be heard on every Lord’s day from those -who have diligently stud¬ 
ied the scriptures of truth, in the way of Biblical criticism and interpreta¬ 
tion. Even in the Catholic church, a strong distrust lias been evinced in 
regard to the purity and truthfulness of the Latin vulgate, and attempts 
have been made, to render it more perfect by a diligent comparison be¬ 
tween it, and the Greek original. As far back as the days of Jerome, 
the old Italic was laid aside by the Latin version, given by this learned 



father of the primitive church, out of which the vulgate in the course of 
time reached its present authority among the Papists. We have the most 
abundant proof from the most adverse parties that a new and better ver¬ 
sion, than any now extant is not only desirable and demanded, but that 
the interests of the true religion would be greatly facilitated by such a 

Among the most bigoted and servile of the Catholic party, it is con¬ 
tended that the Latin vulgate is inspired and of equal authority with the 
Greek Scriptures. This prejudice is indulged in to serve a purpose,, and 
grows out of that disposition so common, of sacrificing the interests of the 
truth to the dogmatism of the party. Is there not some reason to believe, 
that the mist and smoke of Babylon has blinded the eyes of certain Prot¬ 
estants to the defects and imperfections of the common version? Not a few 
seem to believe, or at least to act as if King James’ version was inspired, 
and consequently infallible, that to touch it with the rod of criticism, is 
like laying sacrilegious or unpriestly hands upon the ark of God. 

The translators of the common version did not undervalue the labors of 
their predecessors, but availed themselves of the helps which they had 
furnished; giving them due credit for the truthfulness with which they had 
accomplished the work undertaken by them. 

“Do we condemn the ancients?” say the translators of the modern ver¬ 
sion. “In no case; but after the endeavors of them that were before us, 
we take the best pains we can in the house of God.” The valuable efforts 
of the ancients was their express warrant to do what they could to give a 
better version of the scriptures to the people. 

Nor did they think that their version would be so perfect as to super¬ 
sede all future attempts at improvement. 

This indeed would have been the height of vanity and self conceit.— 
Perhaps not one of the forty seven believed that his work would stand 
the test of all coming time, and meet the wants of a future and progres¬ 
sive age. The different readings introduced by them into the margin— 
afford sufficient proof, that the work in their own estimation was not ab¬ 
solutely perfect. Their marginal readings are often to be preferred to 
the text, and afford presumptive evidence of the fact, that the verison it¬ 
self was the result of compromise. 

Why should we adhere, with so much servility, to a work which even in 
the judgment of those who made it, was not without its defects, and would 
probably need an entire supervision. We are commanded “to call no 
man teacher save one.” It looks too much like a surrender of our right 
of private judgment, to receive and hold on to the present version, with 
all of its manifest errors, when a more correct and perfect one can ba- 

“Tis abase 

Abandonment of reason to resign 

Our right of thought—our last and only place 

Of refuge; this at least shall still be mine. 

Though from our birth the faculty divine 
Is chained and tortured, cabin’d, cribb’d, confined, 
And bi ed in darkness, lest the truth should shine 
Too brightly on the unprepared mind. 



It is freely granted that all the versions ancient and modern now known 
an earth, substantially agree in all the great facts, events, doctrinal state¬ 
ments, and persons found in them. That even with the most defective 
the way of salvation by the inquirer after truth may be found. Howev¬ 
er great the diversity of sentiment, and to whatever party the version owes 
its origin, a singular harmony exists in all that constitutes the sum and 
substance of the sacred records. 

But is there no choice between things which possess different degrees 
of merit; who would choose to travel over the old foot paths of the Buf¬ 
falo instead of the McAdamized road of the present age; or choose the 
old barge upon which our fathers crept down our western waters; to the 
noble steamer which now navigates them? Is there no difference between 
the rail car and the Dilligence—the telegraph and the post boy. 

Simply to believe does not satisfy the intelligent Christian , he would be- 
rich in faith. How is that wealth to be obtained, but by a diligent study 
of the oracles of God, with all the helps that the original scriptures afford, 
and the most perfect translations that can be obtained. 

Who would prize the ore, however rich, as found in the quartz of Cal¬ 
ifornia or Australia, to the melted and purified gold, into which it is trans¬ 
lated by the searching appliances of the alchemist? 

It accords with the experience of every student of the Bible, that dif¬ 
ferent versions of the scriptures aid much in a just and comprehensive 
view of the truths of revelation. 

Let any one read and compare the several versions given in the En¬ 
glish language, and he will derive incomparably more benefit from it, 
than by confining his reading, to any one of them. If in addition to this 
he will compare this with the German, the French, the Spanish and the 
Welsh versions; and all these with the original records, he will find not 
only the sphere of his knowledge greatly amplified, but his faith in the 
word of God permanently sealed. 

In no way can he more successfully search the scriptures (a word taken 
from mining) than the one now recommended. The slight differences ex¬ 
isting among them will only give greater weight to the original scriptures, 
just as the unimportant differences among independent witnesses, only 
tend to give greater credibility to their statements, if all they say harmon¬ 
ize with the facts in the case. But it is of the first consequence that the 
best translations should be had, as the errors and imperfections of the in¬ 
accurate impair the in tegrity of the divine record; weaken the evidence., 
and injure the cause of .Christianity by occasioning distrust in reference to 
the truth of its general statements. 

The satisfaction which attends the acquisition of knowledge, amply re¬ 
pays the labor employed in securing it. The more thorough our acquain¬ 
tance with the, oracles of God, even in matters not immediately connected 
wdth our faith and obedience, the greater is our^conception of the symme¬ 
try of the whole, the more unwavering is our faith, and the stronger our 
reasons for a devout and religious life. 

Whatever in religion and in nature is the most necessary to our life and 
enjoyment lies the nearest to us. But as God has abounded towards us 
in the riches of his benevolence, it betrays an unpardonable indolence on 
our part to be satisfied with the bare necessities of our common nature,. 



and to be indifferent to what would contribute to our comfort and improve¬ 

Objections to new versions are as old as the fourth century, when Je¬ 
rome gave a Latin version to supersede the old Italic, or to render it 
more conformable to the original Scriptures of the Greek. 

Even some, distinguished for their talent and learning, entertained then 
fears, and openly expressed them, that the cause of truth and the faith 
of Christians would suffer by it. 

But this version grew by degrees into favor, and the Italic fell into dis¬ 
use. The same is true in regard to Wiclif’s Bible, and the many ver¬ 
sions which appeared, about the era of the Reformation. 

And the objections were urged with all their force and violence against 
the version, now in use. It is more than probable, that had it not been by 
“Law established,” it would not have gotten into general use; but long 
since would have been superseded by others, more deserving public favor. 

It is fal ehood, not truth that shuns the light. Error is weak and needs 
the strong arm of the State to support it. But truth can take care of it¬ 
self though crushed and persecuted it will rise and stand -erect. 

Like the dead bodies that lay in the streets of the Great City, spiritu¬ 
ally called Sodom and Egypt, to which kindreds and nations refused bur¬ 
ial the spirit of life shall enter into it, and clothe it with the verdure of 
a glorious resurrection, to the discomfiture of its enemies. 

Milton said, “though all the winds of doctrine were let loose to play 
upon the earth, so truth be in the field, we do injuriously by licensing 
and prohibiting, to misdoubt her strength. Let her and falsehood grap¬ 
ple, whoever knew truth put to the worse in a free and open encounter. 
Her confuting, is the best and surest suppressing.” 

And what the immortal poet said of England, may be said with equal 
truth of those who are willing to throw off the shackles of a version, 
rapidly growing obsolete, for one more faithful to the original and better 
adapted to the age. 

“Methinks I see (said Milton) in my mind, a noble and puissant nation, 
roitsing herself like a strong man after sleep, and shaking her invincible 
locks. Methinks I see her as an Eagle, mewing her mighty youth, and 
kindling her undazzled eyes, at the full midday beams. Purging and un¬ 
sealing her long abused right at the fountain itself of heavenly radiance. 
While the whole noise of timorous and flocking birds, with those also that love 
the twilight, flutter about amazed at what she means.” 

To those wdio entertain doubts and fears in reference to the issue, we 
would refer them to the history of the past whilst we would commend the 
work itself to the care of that Providence, which arms the hand which is 
raised in defence of the truth, which has magnified his word above all his 
name, and can open up a thousand ways, for the success of an enterprise, 
wb'vcb cannot fail to accomplish so much in behalf of the interests of his 
cause, and people on the eai'tli. 

To those who believe that the work is needed, but entertain doubts in 
relation to the time and the persons chosen to accomplish it. I would ask 
if the present is not as auspicious as any that can exist. It is one re¬ 
markable for its general intelligence, and enterprise. Knowledge is run¬ 
ning to and fro, is daily on the increase. The ancient languages were 



never better understood than now. The principles of interpretation are 
fully settled. Biblical criticism lias reached a point of perfection, never 
until now attained. Our researches into the manners, customs and usages 
of the times in which the Bible was written are most ample for the work. 

The contributions in every department of sacred literature, for the last 
two hundred years by the learned are most abundant. The material for 
a new and correct version immeasurably greater, than existed, when the 
forty seven gave the common version. The wants of the English world 
loudly call for the work, why then should we delay? The origin and ex¬ 
istence of the American Bible Union is a providential one. Such a socie¬ 
ty as this never before existed. It is not the outgrowth of a day. It has 
not sprung into existence by chance. It is the offspring of him who said 
“Let there be light, and light there was.” As God is seen in history, I 
see his hand in the several steps, which originated this blessed institution. 
It grew out of the missions to the heathen, having its necessity, in the 
versions designed for the benighted pagan. It was called for as far back 
as the time when the request was made for aid of the American Bible So¬ 
ciety in the publication of these versions. It was rebuked and opposed 
by those who had control of that society, and this originated the Ameri¬ 
can and Foreign Bible Society which adopted as its chief element and 
vital principle, “That the only standard of authority was the original 
scriptures of the Hebrew and the Greek, and to these all versions should 
conform.” But those who contended for the principle against the views of 
the old society, and by whose influence the American and Foreign Bible 
Society originated; found themselves associated with men, who neither ap¬ 
preciated their views, or would assume the responsibility of maintaining 
them. After a brief struggle “the union ” was born, a man child from its 
nativity, the legitimate offspring of the skies whose object is one and only 
one. To give the Bible fully and freely translated, to every nation under 
heaven, the English not excepted. As charity begins at home, but does 
not stay there; so the society have projected a new and corrected version 
of the scriptures for the benefit of the English world, and those speaking 
the English tongue. 

There is a necessity existing in our day, and among those speaking the 
English language for a new version, that does not obtain among any other 
people on earth, growing out of the changes continually being made in 
the idiom and language spoken and written among us. It is manifest that 
among those nations which remain stationary in the arts and sciences both 
elegant and useful, but few changes, if any, take place in their language. 
Their vocabulary remains the same from year to year. 

Thus among the Jews, an isolated people, shut up by the geographical 
position of their land, as well as by their religion and laws, and forbidden 
to form alliance, or have intercourse with any other people—their lan¬ 
guage continued unchanged up to the captivity in Babylon. 

During seventy years great modifications were effected in their lan¬ 
guage. The pure speech of the nation was lost—a new nomenclature was 

It was found necessary by Ezra the scribe to read the sacred text and 
to explain its meaning; by the use of the new terms introduced into their 
language in Babylon, or in other words to translate the original scriptures 

2 8 


into the mixed and confused speech the nation had acquired during their 
long exile from their own land. Without this expedient the scriptures 
would have been locked up in an obsolete language, and the people left in 
a state of necessary ignorance of their meaning. 

So long as they remained in their own land and their language was kept 
pure from the introduction of new and foreign terms, no such necessity 
was required, and probably for ages would not have been, at least so long 
as they continued a separate people, shut, in and isolated as God designed 
they should be, from the surrounding nations. 

Their connection afterwards with the Greeks and Romans, and the new 
sects formed among them, introduced new terms and changed the mean¬ 
ing of old ones. It has been so with every other nation similarly situa¬ 
ted. But among those speaking the English language, whose constitution 
-and laws, civil and religious institutions differ from all other people; whose 
manners and customs are undergoing’ continual changes; whose advance- 
ment in the arts and sciences is so rapid, whose intercourse with foreign¬ 
ers in peace and war, is so great, whose literature is so wide and vai’ious, 
that our language cannot remain stationary, but is ever in endless progres¬ 
sion, multiplying with the occasion for its use, and thus we have thousands 
of words and names of which the Greek and the Romans had none cor¬ 
responding, and of which our fathers knew nothing, because they were 
wholly ignorant of the things, which they are designed to represent. In¬ 
deed no people have names or words, for things of which they are igno¬ 
rant. The nomenclature always kept pace with their knowledge and never 
anticipated it. 

It is not only true that foreign words are being introduced among us 
continually, but old terms lose their meaning or undergo great changes, 
■or become entirely obsolete. 

Like the coin of other countries, and the defaced and time-worn coin of 
our own, is cast into the mint, and comes out with a new dress and value, 
with a different image and superscription. So from the causes assigned 
the most remarkable changes have been effected, and are now being ef¬ 
fected in our common language. These afford good reasons, strong and 

o o o ° . 

unequivocal, for a new version of the scripturee of truth. Thus what is 
true in general in regard to all living languages is particularly so with 
regard to our own. 

One of the serious difficulties that a translator meets, is the inadequa¬ 
cy of the words of his own language, to express with perfect accuracy 
the ideas found in the original. 

The natural philosopher and mathematician, if he finds no words suffi- 
cently exact to express his meaning, can easily frame them, and thus hap¬ 
pily these sciences now possess a language of their own; a language liable 
to no ambiguity or variation, because these sciences are conversant with 
the properties of matter and its relations. The vocabulary employed is 
in harmony with the sciences taught. 

But in moral and religious truth it is far different. Who has not felt 
how powerless the symbol to express with precision and certainty the infi¬ 
nite variety of thought and emotion which dw'ells in the soul? Language 
is too poor, words too few, the instrument too rude and vulgar to serve 
the purposes of the mind; which painfully realizes the difficulty of finding 



a proper vehicle to convey its wealth, or to treasure up its abstractions.— 
It is even so with the translator of ethical and religious truth from a for¬ 
eign language to his own. 

The obstacles which Lucretius and Cicero met with, in translating the 
literature of the Greek into their own tongue was felt at every step. The 
etherial conceptions found in their poetry, and the subtle philosophy of 
their schools, they had no terms in their own vernacular to express. And 
may not this have been among one of the main difficulties which the 
translators of the common version encountered; the chief cause of their 
failure, in many parts of their work. The English language was then in 
its adolescent state. Its vocabulary belonged to the childhood rather than 
to mature age of the present day, and not sufficiently copious and exact 
to convey with absolute certainty, the mind of the spirit in all of its luxu¬ 
riance and variety as found in the original scriptures. 

No such difficulty now exists, the wealth of our language has increased 
in proportion to the necessity for its use and in direct ratio with all other 
portions of our intellectual domain. So that now we have a vocabulary 
sufficiently large and perfect to afford a translation immeasurably superior 
to the one now in use. 

And if with the coarse tools in the hands of the forty-seven, a work has 
been furnished, which has held its place with so much favor, for so great 
a length of time, and which so many are still disposed to retain, with all 
its many imperfections; how greatly superior the work, if accomplished 
now, by the aid of the finer instruments which time and art has put into 
our hands. 

Are not the optician and the surgeon able now to ply their several pro¬ 
fessions with greater skill than those who lived two hundred years ago ? 
And would it not be strange if men could be found who would prefer the 
rude instruments then employed to those of modern times, or the skill of 
those comparative dark ages to the skill of the present day. 

Those who are engaged in this great work are in the true and proper 
sense of the term—Orthodox. In every item which constitutes the faith 
of Christians,—“The faith once delivered to the saints,” they firmly be¬ 
lieve, and publicly teach. They adhere to the old land marks of the 
Protestant churches, in every thing deemed essential to Christian faith and 
Christian obedience. 

None shall excel them in their intelligent conviction of the importance 
to be attached to the cardinal principles of the Christian system, as taught 
by Christ and his holy Apostles. 

Do they believe in the Inspiration of the Scriptures ? So do we. Do 
they believe in the miraculous conception of Jesus of Nazareth ? So do 
we. Do they belive in the supernatural attestations of his mission, in signs 
and wonders and diverse miracles ? So do we. Do they believe in the 
Divine and human nature of the Son of God ? So do we. He is the In¬ 
carnate Word. God manifested in flesh. Do they believe in the doctrine 
of the atonement ? So do we. Do they believe in the resurrection of the 
dead, and of the Eternal Judgments ? So do we. Do they believe in the 
personality, offices and work of the Holy Spirit, in his advocacy of the 
claims of Jesus to be the Messiah, and in the great work of regeneration, 
adoption and sanctification ? So do we. Do we not then give sufficient 



pledge in this our belief, that no pin in the Tabernacle shall be disturbed. 
That not even the fringe on the vestments of the High Priest,'shall be pro¬ 
fanely touched. That the altar, and salver, the shew bread, and the candle¬ 
stick, and all the sacred furniture of the House of God shall not only re¬ 
main; but that each shall hold its appropriate place, both in the type as in 
the antetype, as the Lord has commanded. 

Why then should fears be entertained or suspicions indulged, in regard 
to the faithfulnes, with which the work we have undertaken shall be ac¬ 

I will venture to affirm, that no change will be introduced in the propo¬ 
sed version, for which authority will not be found, in versions, scholife, 
and commentaries even of those who stand, unfortunately the most oppo¬ 
sed to this great undertaking. We will not appeal to the family of the 
Baptists, or those practicing immersion, as the only apostolic baptism to 
justify us in the work before us. But to those who adhere to quite a dif¬ 
ferent system and practice upon an opposite theory. 

Even upon the action of immersion, the “Pons asinorum” of the great 
movement, and that which forms the chief occasion of hostility to it, we 
rely upon the unbroken testimony of the Church, Papal and Protestant, 
Eastern and Western, as our authority for it. 

The Pedo Baptist world have given us, (shall we say,) their voluntary 
and unsuspicious testimony in its behalf. But whatever may be the char¬ 
acter or merits of this, or any other version—the original Scriptures, of 
the Hebrew and the Greek, will always be the standard, and the only stan¬ 
dard of appeal. These constitute the weights and measures of the sanc¬ 
tuary, as by Heaven’s Law established. These hold their place in the 
Church of God never to be changed, altered or amended. They have 
stamped upon them the Sacred and the awful name of the God of Israel, 
the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. 

We believe that the version now in use, excellent as it is in many re¬ 
spects, given to us in pure old, rugged Saxon, comes not up to this God 
appointed measure. It reaches not to the line. It is deficient in weight, 
and needs to be re-cast and purified from the baser metal. And when the 
work is completed then will be the proper time to compare, to weigh, and 
to apply all the tests which the sanctuary has furnished, and if any inac¬ 
curacies shall be found, and further adjustments needed, to render the 
book perfect, we are pledged to attend to it. 

But we need not expect to accomplish this work without a great and 
sore opposition. This we anticipate; this already have we encountered; 
and we regret to have met with it from many, who, if true to themselves 
and to the cause of truth, would now be with us, laboring side by side. 
We will not reproach them. May the “Lord give them repentance to the 
acknowledgment of the truth.” 

The same spirit is now at work which led the quick scented vultures of 
of the Papacy to disinter the bones,—say rather the dust of Wicklife in 
1428, after he had been dead forty and one years, to burn whatever could 
be found of the relic of the old reformer and Bible Translator. After this 
petty work of malice was accomplished, his dust was cast into a running 
brook, significantly called—the Swift —from which it was conveyed into 
the Avon, and from the Avon into the Severn, from the Severn into the 




Narrow seas, and thence into tlie Ocean. And thus (says Fuller) the ashes 
of Wickliffe, became the emblem of his doctrine now dispersed through 
all the world. 

LetJ it be remembered that Rome and the spirit of Rome is not changed, 
and never will change. God has not given to it “repentance unto life.” 
It is his ordination that it shall perish, suddenly and hopelessly, as the 
stone in the bottom of the sea. But I will close this address, by a quota¬ 
tion from a favorite poet. 

‘•What a fair world were ours, for verse to paiut, 

If power could bid at ease, with self-restraint, 

Opinion, bow before the naked sense 
Of the Great Vision —faith in Providence, 

Merciful over all existence—just 
To the least particle of sentient dust, 

And fixing by immutable decrees, 

Seed time and harvest for his purposes ! 

Then would he closed, the re-tless obliqup eye, 

That looks for evil like a treacherous spy . 

Disputes would then relax, like stormy winds 
That into breezes sink: impetuous minds 
By discipline endeavor to grow meek 
As Truth herself,—whom they profess to seek.” 




Mr. President: —It is with unaffected diffidence, that I rise to address 
you upon the present occasion. Around me, are fathers in the ministry of 
Christ, some of whom have dandled me on their knees in the hours of my 
childhood. From them I have been wont to receive instruction, and from 
them to take counsel. There are others here, with whom, and against 
whose views, I have in other years in my short pilgrimage, thus far pro¬ 
gressed to its terminus, fleshed my “Jerusalem blade,” in the earnest strife 
for the “faith once delivered unto the saints,” We are met now, not as 
hostile combattants, not as fathers or sires, hut as peers in parliament, 
more august, and more solemn in its object, more important, for good or 
ill, to the interests of mankind, than any other parliament, which has ever 
deliberated upon the high concerns of nations. It is a parliament, in which 
one fundamental principle of true liberty is foremost, and in the ascendant, 
“that error of opinion may be tolerated, where reason is left free to com¬ 
bat it.” I cannot therefore repress my misgivings when I rise in such a 
presence and for so momentously important an object. If I believed, as 



some do, that the words of Scripture were inspired, I would shrink from 
the task of addressing you; nay more—I would abandon all association 
with this convention, as engaged in a work which mortals durst not touch, 
and to which angels alone were competent. Believing, however, that the 
truths of the Bible, only, are inspired, I cannot conceive what greater 
danger there is to spiritual Christianity, in agitating this great question, 
than there is in changing the forms and fashions of human society, as de¬ 
manded by the increasing wants and improvements of the growing years. 
Whatever may be the views I therefore entertain, as to separate and indi¬ 
vidual points in Biblical criticism as affecting Christian doctrine, I can have 
no hesitation in advocating a revision of the Sacred Oracles of Divine Wis¬ 
dom, especially as it has been assigned me to show that such a revision has 
been, admitted as important and absolutely necessary f rom a very early period 
after the publication of the present version. I maintain therefore, in the 
first place, that new or revised versions of the Scriptures, will be needed, at 
those specific pjeriods in the history of language when its organic structure has 
undergone radical transformations. The numerous changes which have 
passed upon the English language, since the Anglo-Saxon character was 
impressed upon England, have made new and revised versions the neces¬ 
sity of the times. Hence as early as the eighth century, a version, foun¬ 
ded, it is believed, on the old Latin translations, and not on the original He¬ 
brew and Greek was made into the Anglo-Saxon language. In 1290, an 
English translation of the Bible appeared: the work of an unkown author, 
Wicklif’s version appeared in 1380. Tyndale’s in 1526. Coverdale’s in 
1535. Rogers’ in 1539. Crpnmer’s in the same year. The Bishop’s Bi¬ 
ble in 1568. And Kins - James’ version was given to the world with all 
the authority of the church of England in 1611. Now, without entering 
into a minute history of these respective versions, w r e shall take each succes¬ 
sive version as an argument in favor of new versions, as demanded by the 
changes of phraseology, in a spoken language and the fresher light, which 
the study of philology may shed upon the original Hebrew and Greek 
Scriptures. It is well said, by a distinguished speaker and writer, now 
present, “A living language is continually changing like the fashions and 
customs in apparel; words and phrases at one time current and fashiona¬ 
ble, in the lapse of time become awkward and obsolete.” It is conse¬ 
quently a wise provision of Divine Providence that has caused the lan¬ 
guages, which are the sacred repositories of Divine truth to cease to be 
spoken, in order that all the ideas which the Spirit of God has made known 
to the world, might be preserved in undying Hebrew and Greek charac¬ 
ter's to the end of time. Thus remarks the same writer from whom I have 
quoted, “the meaning of the words used by the sacred penman is fixed 
and immutable, which it could not have been, had these languages contin¬ 
ued to be spoken. But this constant mutation in a living language will 
probably render new translations or corrections of old translations neces¬ 
sary, every two or three hundred years.” A long catalogue of illustrious 
names might be adduced to sustain these positions, but every intelligent 
mind will come to unerringly correct conclusions upon very slight reflec¬ 

Second. There are numerous errors and mistakes in the present version, 
which do require correction. That the present is in many respects, the most 



faithful in general use, will not be doubted; that changes should not be 
made except for good reasons; that in making the changes, no liberties 
should be taken, which would shake the faith of simple minded Christians, 
in the inspired oracles, are positions of undeniable importance. Both Bap¬ 
tists and Pedo-Baptists, are agreed that there are errors in punctuation, 
in particles, phrases, obsolete words, and wrong spelling, which require 
attention. The learned philologist. Dr. Edward Robinson, from a com¬ 
mittee appointed by the'“American Bible Society,” reported, that there 
are twenty-four thousand such errors, and the friends of the American Bi¬ 
ble Union allege that there are twenty-two thousand errors which require 
immediate attention. The most glaring of these, are, 

1. Such errors in words, as have accrued from the change of meaning. 

2. Errors, resulting from a translation of two words of very different 
signification, by the same Fnglish erors, thus losing the beauty and force 
of the passages in which they occur. 

3. Errors, from negligent typography, mis-spelling and mis-transla- 
tion. The specification of the particular examples of these classes of 
errors is assigned to other hands. It will be my purpose, now to show 
that from a very early period, the present Episcopal version, has been 
admitted to be imperfect in many respects, by eminent churchmen and 
other Pedo-Baptists. I hold in my hand, a work entitled “An Histori¬ 
cal View of the English Biblical translations; the expediency of revi¬ 
sing by authority our pi-esent translation; and the means of executing- 
such a revision, by William New come, D. D., Bishop of Waterford, 
and Member of the Royal Irish Academy, Dublin, printed by JohnExshaw, 
1792.” Thus, one hundred and eighty one years after the publication of 
King James’ version, a Bishop of the very church, by whose authority that 
version appeared, publishes a work upon the expediency of revising by 
authority our present translation. If it was necessary, important, and ex¬ 
pedient in the year 1792, it is ten fold more necessary, important and ex¬ 
pedient in the year of Grace 1852. Shall we hesitate to avow our opinions 
and earnestly strive to accomplish so important and holy a work, when 
even a British Bishop dared to assail the infallibility of our common ver¬ 
sion ? I will avail myself of the labors of this learned Bishop, and cite 
some authorities whom he has adduced. In Blackwell’s Sacred Classics, 
Pref. xv, p. 1731; there is the following language, “Innumerable instances 
might be made (in the English Bible) of faulty translations of the divine 
original; which either weaken its sense, or debase and tarnish the beauty 
of its language,” “A new translation can give no offense to people of 
sound judgment and consideration; because every body conversant with 
these matters, and unprejudiced, must acknowledge, that there was less oc¬ 
casion to change the old version into the present, than to change the pres¬ 
ent into a new one.” “It is with pleasure, and a just veneration to the 
memory of our learned and judicious translators, that I acknowledge their 
version in the main to be faithfully clear and solid. But no man can be so 
superstitiously devoted to them, but must own that a considerable/number 
of passages are weakly, and imperfectly, and not a few falsely rendered. 
And no wonder; for since their time, there have been great improvements 
in the knowledge of antiquity, and advancements in critical learning.” 
Waterland, Scripture vindicated, part iii, 64, says: “This I offer with 




submission to better judgments if ever a proper time should come for revi¬ 
sing and correcting our last English translation; which though a very good 
one, and upon the whole scarce inferior to any, yet it is undoubtedly ca¬ 
pable of very great improvements.” Philip Doddridge, a Presbyterian 
of unquestioned piety and orthodoxy, says in his preface to “The Family 
Expositor,” that he can by no means, repent giving the text in a new ver¬ 
sion, “as it has given me an opportunity of searching more accurately into- 
several beauties of expression which had before escaped me; and of ma¬ 
king some alterations, which though they may not be very material to the 
edification of men’s souls, yet may in some degree do a further honor to 
Scripture; raising some of those ornaments which were before depressed; 
and sufficiently proving that several objections urged against it were en¬ 
tirely of an English growth; ends which might yet more abundantly be an¬ 
swered by a new version of the Old Testament, which has suffered much 
more in our translation, as it is natural to suppose it must.” 

John Wesley, the highest authority with one of the most numerous 
classes of Christians, in the world, declares in the preface to the New Tes¬ 
tament, page 4, 1754, that “the common English translation is in general, 
so far as I can judge, abundantly, the best that I have seen. Yet I do 
not say, it is incapable of being, brought in several places nearer to-the 
original. Neither will I affirm that the Greek copies, from which the trans¬ 
lation was made, are always the most correct. And therefore, I shall 
take the liberty, as occasion may require, to make here and there, a small 
alteration.” Dr. Lewth, the Translator of Isaiah, in a visitation sermon, 
preached at Durham 1758, remarks, “To remove the difficulties that dis¬ 
courage the honest endeavors of the unlearned, and provoke the malicious- 
cavils of the half learned; this is the most worthy object that can engage 
our attention; the most important end to which our labors in the search 
of truth can be directed. And here, I cannot but mention, that nothing, 
would more effectually conduce to this end, than the exhibiting of the Holy' 
Scriptures themselves to the people in a more advantageous and just 
light, by an accurate reyisal of our vulgar translation by public authority; 
This hath often been represented; and I hope, will not always be repre¬ 
sented in vain.” 

Matthew Pilkington, in “Remarks upon several passages of Scripture 
&c., 1759,” says, “No doubt but that the inprovement of the language 
was one of the considerations that induced King James to order a new ver¬ 
sion to be made, about forty years after that published and made use of in 
the time of Queen Elizabeth; the translators whereof appeared so well to 
have understood the Scriptures, that little more than the language of it, 
was altered by the translators in King James’ time.” It is now about 140 
years since that version was made; and will it not be thought, will it not 
be found upon examination, that our language hath been more altered, 
and received greater improvement, in the last 140 years, than in the 40 
years preceding ? And would not, consequently, a greater benefit arise 
now, from a new version, upon that account, than could then be expected.” 
Nearly one hundred years have elapsed, since Pilkington wrote this sen¬ 
tence, and has not the argument then adduced, increased in force ten-fold ? 

Purver, in the introduction to his translation of the Bible, London, 1764, 
says, “It is well known that those called the living languages do alter.— 



Hence it is necessary that new translations should be made from one time 
or century to another, accommodated to the present use of speaking or 
writing.” “Let the preface of King James’ translators—be compared 
with Addison’s writings, and see what a difference there is, in a hundred 

Dr. Lowth, from whom I have already once quoted, remarks in his Pre¬ 
liminary Dissertation to Isaiah, ‘‘Whenever it shall be thought proper to 
set forth the Holy Scriptures for the public use of our church to better 
advantage, than as they appear in the present English translation, the ex¬ 
pediency of which, grows more and more evident, (every day,) a revision 
or correction of that translation may perhaps be more advisable, than to 
attempt an entirely new one.” 

Green’s preface to Poetical Parts of the Old Testament sets forth that, 
“It is now near two hundred years since our present translation of the 
Scriptures was made; a space of time much too long to expect any trans¬ 
lation should continue correct, amidst our continual improvements in knowl¬ 
edge and Biblical learning.” 

Dr. Blayney, in Prel. Dis. to Jeremiah, 1784, observes, “Let the work 
of purifying and reforming what is amiss in the present version of our Bi¬ 
ble, be fairly set about, and with that moderation and soberness of mind, 
which the gravity of the subject requires.” 

Dr. Geddes’ Prospectus of a Hew Translation of the Bible, 1780, sets 
forth “That a new translation of the Bible, particularly of the Old Testa¬ 
ment, is still wanted, I shall assume a position generally agreed upon.” 

Dr. Lymond’s Preface to Observations on the Expediency of revising 
the present English Version of the Four Gospels, and the Acts of the 
Apostles, 1789, remarks, “Hath not the misrepresentation of one word 
driven thousands of well meaning Christians from the Holy Communion ? 
For the truth of this melancholy assertion, we may safely appeal to the 
masters of families, and to such as are concerned in parochial cures.”— 
“The more frequently I reflect upon the important truths of Christianity, 
the more ardently I wish to see our version revised by proper authority; 
not according to the caprice of licentious interpreters, but expressing the 
genuine sense of the sacred writings; not embellished with the false col¬ 
oring of rhetoric, but, like the original itself, simple and unadorned; in 
fine, correct enough to satisfy the learned and the polite; yet plain enough 
to convince the lowest orders of mankind.” 

Bishop Newcome, page 235, of the work already referred to, happily 
observes, “One argument for such a translation” (a corrected English 
translation of the scriptures for national use,) is the flux nature of living 
languages.” The style of Wicklif’s version, and of Tyndale’s differs very 
widely in the course of 148 years; and the English tongue underwent also 
a great change between the publication of Tyndale’s Bible and that of 
King James’ translators, in the course of 81 years. Since the year 1611, 
when the present version first appeared, the cultivation of classical learn¬ 
ing, a series of eminent writers, and the researches of acute grammarians, 
have communicated to our language a great degree of copiousness, of ele¬ 
gance, of accuracy, and perhaps of stability.” If, therefore, we are con¬ 
demned, for advocating a revision of the Holy Scriptures, why not con¬ 
demn Doddridge, Pilkington, Geddes, Newcome, Lowth, Wesley, and a 



Lost of others, who insisted upon the inaccuracies of our present version, 
and many of whom have earnestly contended for a new translation. And, 
if it was necessary sixty-two years ago to publish a book in favor of revising 
the Holy Scriptures; have the arguments of that book lost aught of their 
weight and importance ? 

Third. No valid objection can be urged against a new version, on the score 
of the antiquity of the present version. All that has been said about the 
dear “Old Family Bible that lay on the stand,” is sheer stuff; for surely, 
no sane mind supposes that it is the rags, sheepskins, printer’s ink, and 
typical impressions which constitue the value of the Bible; it is the truth 
which these convey to the mind, which alone is precious; and, by neces¬ 
sary consequences, that version which conveys the clearest, most un¬ 
doubted, and most unclouded truths to the mind, must be- the most pre¬ 
cious, and far the most valuable for family use. If the same old Bible 
could be used by all the generations which might spring from one man’s 
loins’, there might be some feeling in this twaddle argument; but inas¬ 
much as any such pretence is impossible, all that has been said, or can be 
said on this score, is but tire “argumentum ad hominem,” an appeal to 
vulgar prejudices and animal feelings. This same argument keeps hun¬ 
dreds and thousands chained to the idolatrous worship of Boodh—threat¬ 
ening children with the vengeance of the departed ghosts of their ances¬ 
tors, if they abandon the religion of their fathers, to embrace the truth of 
Christianity. It is this same argument, which now encircles its thousands 
within the bosom, and under the blinding, corrupting and soul-destroying 
influence of the papal apostacy. It is this same argument, which fills the 
ranks of the Pedo-Baptist army with young giants of error; which, be¬ 
cause the father was an Episcopalian, Presbyterian or Methodist, is urged 
as a chief reason, why the child should remain in the faith of the parent. 
It is the argument of error against truth; of dead formalism against pure 
religion; and of lukewarm professions against gospel progress. Had it 
always prevailed, there would be now no Christianity. And were it hence¬ 
forth and universally to prevail, the Bible itself would be a fable, and the 
Christian religion, an imposition, and a long night of error, the world’s 
last sad prospect. The same short sighted argument wmuld bind us al¬ 
ways to the follies of antiquity. There would be no additions to science, 
no discoveries in philosophy, no ingenious inventions in art; and the world 
would be a stagnant pool, for all fooldom, to gaze at. It once made a 
laughing stock of the Papacy, when it consigned Galileo to a dungeon, 
and abjured the planetary system of the present philosophic world. And, 
surely, in this enlightened age, thinking men will not let their tears, which 
fall naturally hot and fast over departed ashes, frighten them from their 
sober convictions of what is truth, and what God’s word of truth requires at 
their hands. Much might be urged, as to the advantages to be derived from 
a new version, the abolition of a multitude of commentaries, (continents of 
mind, as Robert Hall remarks of John Gill’s,) more than are needed; the 
abridgement of sermons, and hence an economy of time for other impor¬ 
tant services of religion; a strange confidence on the part of simple minded 
Christians, in the Bible, and clearer conception of the whole, unmutilated, 
unconcealed plan of salvation. As to the objections, to a new version, 
they were equally as strong in 1611. as now, and should have no more 



weight now, than then. The present state of the world demands a more 
faithful expression of GiSd’s revealed will. The interests of civil and reli¬ 
gious liberty, in this last home of freedom, in the Mississippi Valley, de¬ 
mand it. Vital spiritual religion, as opposed to formalism demands it, and 
obedience, to the commands of God absolutely require it. The men, the 
means, the instruments, and the materials, are as abundant and as acces¬ 
sible, now as they ever will be, and far more abundant, than they ever 
have been before. In the name of our insulted and crucified Master, let 
us progress with this great work. Let it be committed to faithful hands. 
Give them their time, even should it require ten years, to complete the 
work, let it be revised, and re-revised, until as far as human intelligence can 
discern it shall as nearly reflect the sacred original, as is possible. And 
then, pictures, and visions, cannot convey to the mind, the happiness, of 
that temporal millenial state, which will be introduced, as a prelude to the 
unutterable glory of the celestial Kingdom of God. 

Ere I close, I am bound in candor to express my sentiments as to the 
position in which this great question is placed, as to practical action. We 
are not met to register decrees already drawn up; to vote resolutions pre¬ 
viously made ready to our hands; to carry out schemes originated for our 
adoption; or to ally ourselves with any exciting organization. Represen¬ 
ting, as we here do, different shades of religious belief, we are still con¬ 
vened for one great object, the revision of the Sacred Oracles. It is not 
the province of this convention to do this work. We wish to set forth its 
propriety, and to enlighten the public mind, throughout the South-west, 
as to the feasibility of doing what we advocate. We are willing to con¬ 
tribute money and labor in accomplishing the one specific object of revi¬ 
sing the Sci'iptures. Bui, occupying as I do, an humble position in the 
Southern Baptist Convention which makes me ex officio, a member of all 
its boards, I am unwilling, here to take any action, which shall jeopard 
any of its great interests. The circulation of the Bible faithfully transla¬ 
ted, among the heathen, is as important a work, as the circulation of the 
same Holy Book at home. And this great work should be kept steadily 
in mind, while we aim to do the home word. At a more fitting period of 
business transactions, I may say fully, what course we should pursue.— 
Let us have but one object before us, the revision alone, of the Scriptures. 
Let us promote this object independently, holding ourselves in readiness to 
favor the plans and work of others, when these plans and work are fully 
presented to us. 





Friends of a Revised and Corrected Yersionof the English Scriptures: 

I feel truly grateful to our kind Father in Heaven, that in his good Pro¬ 
vidence I have an opportunity of addressing you this day on a most in¬ 
teresting subject, viz: “The importance of procuring a pure English Ver¬ 
sion”—of the Scriptures : —“shown from the position it is to occupy, and the 
influence it is to exert.” 

My theme, thus stated, takes for granted both the importance of such a 
Version, and the thrilling fact, that at present we have it not. Else, why 
seek after, and labor to procure that which we already possess ? 

We are assured by an Apostle, that “all scripture, given by inspiration 
of God, is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction 
in righteousness, that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished 
unto all good works.” 

Now, for a single moment, imagine, that this design is consummated in 
the universal perfection of the human race—what language, what intellect, 
or even what imagination, angelic, or human, could soar to the untrodden 
heights of a conception so sublime? The rapture of angels, bursting forth 
in hallelujahs of “glory to God in the highest heavens; on earth peace, good 
will towards men”—at the contemolation of a single incident in the grand 
drama of its development, barely suggests an approximation to a proper 
view of the transcendent importance of this subject. 

The agency of the Scriptures in turning men “from disobedience to the 
wisdom of the just,” and the absolute necessity, that men should be thus 
turned, to elevate them to the highest perfection and felicity, of which they 
are capable, either on earth, or in Heaven, will be questioned by no per¬ 
son of ordinary intelligence, who has a proper respect for the teaching of 
Christ and his Apostles. 

But, if the Scriptures are admitted to have such an agency, it will not be 
contended, that they act as a talisman, or an incantatipn; on the contrary, it 
will be readily conceded, that they can only operate in the production of this 
effect, so far as they are understood, and reduced to practice. 

V lien it is affirmed, that the “word of God is living and powerful”— 
that “the Scriptures are able to make men wise unto salvation,” it is very 
important to know definitely, what is meant by the word of God, or ths> 
Scriptures, in this connection. 



A moment’s reflection will show, that no such affimration, as the above, 
< can be made with truth, either about the mere sounds, called words, spoken 
by the Apostles—or the mere written characters, by which those sounds 
'were at a subsequent period visibly represented. What we call words, 
whether spoken or written, are mere signs, which of themselves have no 
meaning, and, consequently no power. 

Pronounce in the hearing of an ordinary modern assembly the words, 
“Risteusas kai baptistheis sothesetai,” and they will be to the audience as 
unmeaning and powerless, as the words, “poiesomenta kaka ina elthe ta 
agatha.” And yet, of the sentiment contained in the former, an Ap¬ 
ostle affirms, that “it is the power of God unto .salvation to every one 
that believeth,” whilst of those who hold, and propagate the sentiment 
contained in the latter, the same Apostle avers, that “their damnation is 
just.” Equally indifferent, equally unmeaning, and barbarous, would any 
modern translation of these two propositions, no matter how faithful, be 
to those congregations, that were personally addressed by Christ and his 

Hence, it is manifest, that whatever power is rightfully ascribed to the 
word of God, belongs not to the spoken, or written signs, (which may, 
without either impiety, ox profanity, be called a “deo/1 letter,” '} but to the 
precise meaning of those signs, the exact sentiment which they are designed 
to convey. This sentiment, received with meekness, working by love, puri¬ 
fying the heart, and overcoming the world, becomes “the engrafted word, 
which is able to save the soul.” 

Such most obviously is the reasoning of Paul—(in Rom, 10: 18)—where, 
in pursuance of the proposition, that “faith comes by hearing, and hearing 
by the word of God;” and in order to show that this proposition does 
not exclude the heathen from the possibility of salvation, he makes a quota¬ 
tion from the following language of David in the nineeenth Psalm: “The 
Pleavens dec'are the glory of God; and the firmament showeth forth his 
handiwork. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night show¬ 
eth knowledge. There is no speech nor language, where their VOICE 
is not HEARD. Their line is gone out into all the earth, and their 
WORDS unto the ends of the world.” 

It is too obvious to need argument, that the voice thus heard, and the 
words thus going forth, are not what we call words, whether spoken, or 
written—but that testimony to the existence and perfections of Deity, 
which is furnished by His works. 

In like manner, Paul elsewhere argues, that sinners everywhere are with¬ 
out excuse, because the invisible things of Jehovah, being understood by faith 
from the creation of the world, are clearly seen in “the things that are made, 
even His eternal power and Godhead.” Heb. 11:3. Rom. 1: 20. 

From these premises, we are naturally, and indeed necessarily led to the 
conclusion, that what the Ploly Spirit predicates about the power of the 
truth to convert and save, is predicated not about the mere words, whether 
spoken, or written, but about the ideas which those words convey, “that 
God exists, and that He is a rewardee of them that diligently seek Him.” 



The Spirit tells us emphatically, that it was this proposition, received by faith, 
and producing conformity to the will of God, that constituted Enoch’s piety, 
and caused his translation. Like faith, and like conformity to the Divine 
will, must necessarily, ( semper et ubique ,) always and everywhere, secure 
like approbation. For, nothing can be more certain, than that the righteous 
Lord loves righteousness, and hates iniquity; and “will withhold NO GOOD 
TLIING from them that walk uprightly.” Hence, “in every nation, he that 
fears. God, and works righteousness, is accepted of Him.” 

If these things be true, we see the manifest importance of diffusing among 
all nations the full amount of knowledge, which God has been pleased to 
communicate to the human family respecting His existence, perfections, and 
moral government; and also respecting tlieir own origin, duty, and destiny, 
as accountable moral agents. But it is very evident, that this cannot be done 
by sending the Bible even in the very words in which it was written by its 
inspired authors. The Hebrew of the Old Testament, and the Greek of the 
New, have long since become dead languages, and must be translated in 
order to be intelligible to those who are acquainted only with modern tongues. 

This, however, is no calamity, nor even a misforlune, since, as we have 
already seen, the mere words, whether spoken, or written, constitute at 
most, but the mere body, whereas, the sentiment, which they are designed 
to convey, constitutes the indwelling spirit of that word, and contains its life- 
giving energy. 

Hence the exact word and will of God is communicated to any people, then, 
and then only, when they are put in possession of the exact ideas originally 
communicated by the Holy Spirit, without either increase, or diminution. 
This purpose, most obviously, never can be effected by the Bible in an un¬ 
known tongue,—or, when but partially, imperfectly, and erroneously trans¬ 
lated. To accomplish this object—or, in other words, to give the Bible 
in reality to any people, we aver in the language of the “Bible Union,’’' 
that, “The exact meaning of the inspired text, as that text expressed to those 
ivho understood the original Scriptures at the time they were first written, mus 
be translated by corresponding words and phrases, so far as they can be found, 
in the vernacular tongue of those for whom the Version is designed, with the least 
possible obscurity or indefiniteness." 

To fall short of this, (although there should he no mistranslations, convey¬ 
ing erroneous, and even mischievous sentiments,) would be, at the very best, 
to give men but a part of the Bible, and at the same time to keep back a 
part of that word which is “able to save their souls.” Who will dare to esti¬ 
mate the value of the portion which is thus kept back; or the folly and im¬ 
piety of deliberately withholding a portion, whilst they fraudulently profess, 
Ananias-like, to cast the whole into the Lord’s treasury ? That enlightened 
Protestants, who unite in unmitigated condemnation of Catholicism for with¬ 
holding the word of God from the laity, should thus be guilty ol doing 
the very thing which they severely reprehend in others, is indeed passing 
strange. “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” 

That any people have the Bible, so far alone as they possess its exact 
meaning, communicated in “words easy to. be understood," is taught most. 



conclusively and emphatically in the 14th chapter of 1 Corinthians. The 
absurdity of pretendiDg to communicate spiritual ideas to men in words 
not easy to be understood, Paul illustrates by the similar absurdity of pre¬ 
tending to play on a musical instrument without making any “distinction 
in the sounds.” In such a case, “how shall it be known what is piped or 
harped? For, if the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare 
himself for the battle ?” 

So likewise, if a man deliver me a message from Heaven in a foreign lan- 
guage, if I know not the language, “I shall be to him that speaks a barba¬ 
rian; and he that speaks will be a barbarian to me.” 

For this cause the Apostle commands, “If any man speak in an unknown 
tongue, let it be by two, or at most, by three sentences at a time, and let 
one interpret. But, if there be no interpreter, let him keep silence in the 
Church, and let him speak to himself, and to God.” 

The express design of this injunction makes it equally applicable in con¬ 
demnation of every attempt to communicate the will of God to men in an 
unknown tongue, or in words of indefinite import, or not easy to be un¬ 
derstood. Indeed in such a case, there is a most glaring and manifest in¬ 
consistency between the j^rofession and the practice —the profession of giving 
men the revelation of God, and the practice of withholding, meanwhile, a 
portion of that revelation, by veiling it in a foreign language, or obscuring 
it with words and phrases of hidden or indefinite meaning. How can such 
inconsistency be rationally, or even plausibly defended ? It has been the 
common misfortune of us all, fellow citizens, to have been born, and edu¬ 
cated, to some extent, at least, the victims of this gross and indefensible 
inconsistency. If we remain so much longer, or, if we willingly suffer our 
children, or our neighbors, to remain in this deplorable condition, it will 
be, not our misfortune, but our fault. 

That the common Version abounds with mistranslations, ungrammatical 
expressions, and obsolete words and phrases, which to the common English 
reader are wholly unintellioible—no intelligent and candid man, in this en- 
ightened age, either doubts, or denies. I regard it, therefore, as wholly un¬ 
necessary for me, on the present occasion, to occupy much of your time on 
this topic. The errors aforesaid, many of them at least, have been so fre¬ 
quently pointed out by intelligent critics, and are so generally known, and 
admitted, by all parties, that I shall barely notice a very few, as a sample of 
the whole. 

In the Version aforesaid, James 2: 1, readsthus: “Mv brethren, have 
not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with respect 
of persons.” The w'ords are English, it is true;but so far as intelligibility 
is concerned, they might as well be Choctaw, or Arabic. If they mean any 
thing, it must be, that there is a faith, called here “the faith of our Lord 
Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory,” which Christians are forbidden to have. 
But this would be manifest nonsense and absurdity. 

The proper translation is, “My brethren, hold not the faith of our Lord 
Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory in respecting persons.” This makes good 
sense, and harmonizes beautifully with the Apostle’s argument. Hold not 



your profession of Christianity so unworthily, as would be indicated by 
respecting persons. A child can understand this. But the important ques¬ 
tion arises—Does the original warrant the proposed translation? 

It is a well-established principle of Philology, that the only infallible evi¬ 
dence that a word has a given meaning, is the absolute necessity of that mean¬ 
ing in a given case to make good sense. This fundamental principle, which 
lies at the basis of all correct translation and interpretation, will authorize, 
and even require a , translator to give an unusual meaning to a word, where 
that meaning is absolutely required by the context. 

But it is not necessary for us to resort to this argument, undeniable though 
it be, in defense of the proposed translation. Hold, is a well-established 
meaning of the Greek verb echo, which is here improperly translated, have. 
And, although the latter is its most common and general meaning, there 
are several passages, besides the one in question, where it indubitably means 
hold. Take the following as examples: 

1 Tim. 1: 19. “Holding (Echon) faith, and a good conscience, which some 
having put away,concerning faith have made shipwreck.” 

1 Tim. 3: 9. “Holding (Echonts) the mystery of the faith in a good con¬ 

2 Tim. 1: 13. “Hold fast (Eche) the form of sound words, which thou 
hast heard of me, in faith and love, which is in Christ Jesus.” 

Philemon 17. “If thou count (Echeis, hold, or esteem ) me, therefore, as 
a partner, receive him as myself.” 

Rev. 1: 16. “And he had, (Echon) held, in his right hand seven stars.” 

Taking into view the whole of the foregoing premises, is not the propriety 
and the necessity of the proposed translation thus clearly demonstrated? I 
speak as to wise men. Judge ye wlmt I say. 

Again: In Hebrews 2: 16, the King’s translators have presented Paul to 
the world, in the ridiculous attitude of re-stating a certain fact, as a reason for 
the existence of the same identical fact, as already stated by him in the two 
preceding verses. In effect he is made to say, by a most blundering mis¬ 
translation, that Jesus took on Him human nature, because He took on Him 
human nature. Nor is this even the worst; for the force of a most beautiful, 
and even sublime argument is thereby annihilated. Let us see by what mon¬ 
archical legerdemain this critical exploit has been effected. 

The passage, properly translated, reads thus: “For, verily, He did not 
talce hold of angels, but He toolc hold of the seed of Abraham.” In the 
preceding part of the letter, the Apostle had. quoted various passages from 
the Old Testament, proving conclusively, that the divine and human natures 
were mysteriously and marvellously united in the person of the Messiah; 
that Jesus Christ was not merely addressed by the Divine Father,as the 
God, whose throne is forever and ever—the Jehovah, who created the 
heavens and the earth—but that He was also the man of whom David 
speaks in the eighth Psalm; made a little, (and for a little,) “lower than the 
angels, in order to the suffering of death, that He, by the grace of God, 
should taste death for every man,”—and who, at the end of His course, was 
crowned with glory and honor, and had all things put under His feet.— 



This “great mystery of Godliness, God manifest in the flesh/' which from 
the first has been to infidel Jews a stumbling block, and to skeptical 
Greeks foolishness, the Apostle proceeds to vindicate, as being in most perfect 
harmony with right reason, the necessity of the case, and the perfections of 
Deity. The very work of salvation which He came to effect, made it necessary 
that He should participate in that nature which He designed to save. Had 
He come to save fallen angels, it would not have been necessary for Him to 
stoop below the angelic nature; but as He came to save lost man, it was ne¬ 
cessary for Him to be “made a little lowmr than the angels”—to be made a 
partaker of flesh and blood, “that, through death, He might destroy him 
that had the power of death, that is the Devil; and deliver them, who 
through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. For verily 
He did not take hold of angels; but He took hold of the seed of Abraham. 
Wherefore, it behooved Him in all things to be made like to His brethren, 
that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest, in things pertaining 
to God,to make reconciliation for the sins of the people.” 

The King’s translators have grossly mistranslated one word, and improp¬ 
erly supplied several others, of which Paul, in this connection, never dreamed. 
Epilambanomai, the word to which I refer, is used in the New Testament 
nineteen times in all, and invariably means to take hold of a person, or thing. 
I give a single passage as a speci men. Peter, sinking in the stormy sea, 
cried, “Lord, save me. And immediately Jesus stretched forth His hand 
and took hold of him.” Mat. 14: 31. The same word, and the same con¬ 
struction is used in that passage, as in the one under consideration. 

It is not allowable in a translator to deviate from the established and 
common meaning of a word, or to supply words, which his author has 
not used, unless it be manifestly necessary to make good sense. The common 
Version, in this instance, violates both of these principles, without any such 
necessity—and on the contrary, in defiance of a most obvious necessity of 
adhering to the rule for the perfection of the argument. 

Multitudes of errors, equally gross, might be quoted from the common 
Version, proving conclusively to the unprejudiced, that neither British June/s, 
nor their hired servants, are always wiser than other men. But it is 
unnecessary, and I forbear. Not merely is it universally admitted among 
the intelligent of all parties, that numerous blunders and imperfections exist 
in the King’s Version, but this is manifestly nothing more than what, in 
the admitted circumstances of the case, might reasonably be expected.— 
To prove this let us note a few facts. 

1. The translators were fettered by restrictions imposed by King James, 
notoriously a weak and unprincipled despot, distinguished much more for 
self-conceit, pedantry, and superstition, than for either talents, learning, 
or piety. 

2. Since King James’ day, great advances have been made in every depart¬ 
ment of knowledge, and in none more than in that of Philology, criticism, 
and translation. 

3. Christianity itself, is at present incomparably better understood, than it 
was in that purblind period, wdien men had done little more than begin to 



grope their way out of the Egyptian darkness of mystic Babylon, and the 
middle ages. 

4. Had it even been possible, as it obviously was not, in such circumstances, 
to make a perfect translation—such a translation, then made, would not, and 
could not, have prevented the present necessity of revision. In the two cen¬ 
turies and a half, that have well nigh elapsed since the common Version was 
made, our language, as might have been expected, has undergone such 
changes, that many words and phrases, then current, and well understood, 
are now obsolete, and, to the common reader, wdiolly unintelligible. 

I am ready to admit, that the King’s Version is characterized by general 
fidelity and perspicuity. Nay, more: I hesitate not to avow my conviction 
that all the leading and fundamental truths of Christianity may be prov¬ 
ed from the worst translation that I have ever seen, much more readily, than 
the opposite errors. A drowning man, in the middle of a river, may perad- 
venture escape with the fortuitous aid of a floating plank. The possibility 
of such an event, however, furnishes no reason, why benevolence should 
not promptly man the yawl for his assistance. 

If we have not wholly misapprehended Paul and David, the heathen, 
that have not a written law, may, by the light of nature, do the things con¬ 
tained in the law, and thus, not having the law, become a law unto them¬ 
selves,—in short, may believe, “that God exists, and that He is a rewarder 
of them that diligently seek Him.” Under the influence of this belief, 
they may fear God, and keep His commandments, and thus be accepted of 
Him. But tliis is no reason why enlightened Christian.sympathy should not 
with eager haste dispatch the life-boat of the Gospel for their relief and sal¬ 
vation. So, neither is the truth, that men may get to Heaven by means 
of an imperfect translation, any reason why they should not provide them¬ 
selves with a better, when they have it in their power. 

In all the concerns of this life, we readily admit the wisdom of employing 
the very best means, that are attainable for the accomplishment of valuable 
objects. It is only in religion, that men are sufficiently unwise to inquire, 
not what is best, but what will barely do —what is absolutely “ essential to sal¬ 
vation.” Well has the Master said, “The children of this world are wiser 
in their generation than the children of light.” 

The importance of procuring a correct English Version of the Scriptures 
is proved conclusively to my mind by various considerations, a few of which 
I will now briefly state: 

1. The admitted agency of the Scriptures in the work of conversion, to 
which a brief reference has already been made, is of itself a sufficient reason, 
why the most perfect translation of God’s word should be made into every 
known language. No well regulated mind can suppose, even for a single 
moment, that error can produce the same effects as truth; or that partial , t 
erroneous, and distorted views of Christian doctrine can be as efficacious, 
as unmutilated and perfect truth in the business of salvation. 

If, therefore, we desire, and pray, that “all men may be saved, and come 
to the knowledge of the truth,” in order to be consistent, we must, so far as 
we are able, give them the pure word of God—“the truth, the whole 



truth, and nothing but the truth,” on this important subject. This can 
only be done, as we have already shown, by means of faithful translations. 

2. The foregoing principles apply with no less force to the work of sanc¬ 
tification, than to that of conversion. Messiah prayed to ilis Father for 
those, who should believe on Him through the word of the Apostles, 
that they might be sanctified through the truth. Besides, it is made the 
imperative duty of Christians, “as new-born babes (to) desire the sincere 
milk of the word, that they may grow thereby.” This injunction would 

be unmeaning and absurd, if ignorance or error could be harmless _or could 

under any circumstances, do otherwise than retard spiritual growth. With 
equal reason might we expect to substitute arsenic for bread in the support of 
the physical system. 

The command to “grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord 
Jesus Christ”—involves the same principles, and teaches very manifestly 
the same lesson, as to the importance of faithful translations of the word of 

3. Another argument in favor of giving to all mankind the Bible faith¬ 
fully translated, without either addition, diminution, or concealment, results 
from its obvious tendency to promote Christian union. 

Hear the language of the Messiah, in His intercessory prayer to His Fath¬ 
er shortly before His crucifixion:—“Neither pray I for these alone,” (the 
Apostles,) “but for them also, who shall believe on me throuo-h their word, 
that they all may be one, as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that 
they also may be one in us, that the world may believe that thou hast sene 

“If any man love not the Lord Jesus, (says Paul) let him be Anathema 
Maranatha.” And who, that feels a single spark of love for the Saviour 
can hear Him thus praying to His Father with intense desire, immediately 
before His last agony, and not drink deep into His spirit, and with Him 
pray and labor for the union of Christians, that the world may be convert¬ 
ed; especially, since thus alone can the Messiah see the full fruits of “the 
travail of His soul, and be satisfied ?” 

Should there be one present, who is at all implicated in the moral treason 
of giving “aid and comfort ” tc sectarianism, or, in any shape, approbatin')-, 
advocating or fomenting the present unhappy divisions among Christians. 
I would earnestly implore such a one to contemplate seriously his alarmino- 
position of manifest and undeniable hostility to the accomplishment of the 
Saviour’s dying prayer. I would invite him also to meditate on the clear 
and emphatic language, in which the Holy Spirit portrays his character, 
and writes his condemnation : “Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them 
who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine, which ye have 
learned, and avoid them. For they, that are such, serve not our Lord 
Jesus Christ, but their ow n appetite; and by good words and fair speeches, 
deceive the hearts of the simple.” 

If such be their true character, and righteous condemnation, “Oh! rav 
soul, come not thou into their secret! Unto their assembly, mine honor, 
be not thou united !! ” 



It would be nothing short of blasphemy the most atrocious to insinuate, 
that Jesus, although He prayed thus to His Father—and thus by His 
Spirit condemned divisions among His followers,—nevertheless desired that 
His prayer should not he answered, or, that He designedly took such mea¬ 
sures in organizing the church, prescribing conditions of membership, and 
inditing the Hew Testament Scriptures, as to render an answer to His own 
prayer impossible. Who will dare to affirm that the Bible, which so 
pointedly condemns all sectarian divisions, is itself A sectarian book ? 
The affirmation would be most impious and absurd. Hence, as the avow - 
■ed design of Heaven’s truth is to unite the children of God in one, and to 
prevent all sectarian divisions in His family, the more perfectly that truth is 
made to stand out in a translation, the more powerful will be its tendency to 
produce Christian union, and thus lead to the conversion of the world.— 
Hay, more: Those religionists who refuse to be thus united, placing them¬ 
selves in an attitude of manifest opposition to the will of God, and the ful¬ 
fillment of the Saviour’s dying prayer, forfeit thereby all just claim to be 
regarded as the children of God. 

On this topic I cannot express my sentiments better than in the lan¬ 
guage of the venerable and beloved Archibald Maclay, D. D., of New 
York, at the last anniversary of the “Bible Union.” 

“So long as different denominations combine together to make a Version 
obscure or ambiguous, in order that all may consistently use it, each explain¬ 
ing it in a different way to suit their respective views, sectarian divisions 
are inevitable. They are provided for in the translation, but not in the word 
of God. Defective Versions, I am persuaded, have done more to multi¬ 
ply and perpetuate sects in the Christian world, than all other causes com¬ 
bined. Give to all people, in their vernacular tongues, faithful translations 
of the inspired truth, unmutilated by man, and as free as possible from error, 
and whatever may be the immediate results, it will certainly terminate in the 
closer union of believers. In this case, however, we are not to inquire 
so much after results, as for what God would have us do. For, this is 
one of those great matters, in regard to which we may know the will of 
God, and do it, without being able to calculate, by any definite measure the 
consequences of our action.” I need hardly say, that the foregoing senti¬ 
ments receive my most cordial approbation. I consider them creditable 
alike to the head and the heart of the beloved disciple of Christ, by whom 
they were uttered—one who has been a follower of Jesus for 62 years, and 
has deservedly been regarded as a master spirit in the Baptist Israel for near¬ 
ly half a century. They will call forth a thrilling, heartfelt response from 
many hundreds of thousands in these United States, who love the Lord Jesus 
Christ and His blessed Gospel, more than they love life, or the attainment 
of any personal, or sectarian object. 

4. The evil effects of defective Versions do not stop with the indefinite 
multiplication and support of sectarian divisions. Such Versions, with their 
sectarian adjuncts and consequences, have furnished infidelity with some of its 
strongest arguments against the truth of Christianity. The same causes keep 



multitudes of believers from making a public profession of the Christian relig¬ 
ion. And, thus, for all practical purposes, their influence is united with that 
of infidelity in opposing the triumphs of the cross, and retarding the time, 
when God will give the heathen to His Son for an inheritance, and the 
uttermost parts of the earth for His possession. 

That faithful Versions have a natural tendency to remove these obstacles, 
and thus contiibute to the overthrow of every form of heresy, infidelity, and 
a false religion, and to the speedy fulfilment of the Saviour’s intercessory pray¬ 
er, will hardly be questioned. Who, then, will doubt, or who can rightly 
estimate, their pre-eminent importance? 

The foregoing are a few of the many arguments, that might be adduced to 
show abstractly the importance of faithful Versions of the Scriptures in all 
languages — the English included. 

There are other considerations, however, and these not few, that tend 
directly to establish the pre-eminent value of a faithful English translation. 

It seems to me, that every unprejudiced mind must see, even at a single 
glance, the egregious inconsistency of advocating the most faithful Versions 
for others, and, yet, repudiating them for ourselves; and our children. If 
this spirit savor all of righteousness, it would seem to belong to that class 
that is described as being “righteous over muck;” for I have yet to learn 
in what part of the Bible, or in what chapter of wisdom, piety, or even ben¬ 
evolence, we are commanded to love ourneighbors better than ourselves. 

But we may fairly take higher ground, and argue logically, from various 
considerations, as already hinted, that whatever importance attaches to a 
faithful translation into any other language, attaches in a still higher degree to 
a faithful English version. 

It will hardly be denied, that the souls of those who speak the English lan¬ 
guage are as precious, as a like number of Frenchmen, Spaniards, Choc¬ 
taws, or Burmese. If this be admitted, then the relative importance of a 
faithful Version in our own lano-uage would be in the exact ratio of the 
numbers, by whom that language is spoken, multiplied by their present and 
prospective power and influence in moulding the destinies of the world. 

That the English is advancing with unparalleled rapidity to the dignity of 
a universal language, will be readily admitted. Even at the present moment, 
it is the vernacular of those whose dominion extends over perhaps 200 mil¬ 
lions of the human race. 

In these United States alone, should our population continue to increase, 
as it has done for the last half century, there will be a century hence, 
400 millions of inhabitants, all speaking the English language. Add to this 
vast number England and her dependencies, girdling the globe from the 
rising to the setting sun, controling at present a population of 175 millions, 
which will then probably have doubled, or trebled—and you approximate 
a position, from which may be obtained a birds-eye view of the vast moral 
field, that lies before us, already whitening to the harvest. Were our view 
limited exclusively to these hundreds of millions speaking the English lan¬ 
guage, it woald be difficult to exaggerate the importance of giving them a 
faithful Version of the Scriptures in their mother tongue. 



But this is not all. It is the manifest destiny of the Anglo-Saxon race to 
regenerate the world, by giving to all nations, not merely commerce and civ¬ 
ilization—art, science, and literature—but beside all, and above all, the 
missionary, the Bible, and the religion of our Lord Jesus Christ. How im¬ 
portant, then, that the missionary, whom we send, be properly instructed; and 
that the Bible, which he carries with him be faithfully translated. 

Indeed, as we have already seen, what we call the Bible, is the word of 
God to any people, so far alone as it is faithfully translated. Shall we, then, 
when earth’s teeming millions cry to us for bread, give them a stone? When 
they ask for a fish, shall we give them a serpent? 

To my mind, it is very obvious, that the direct tendency of a faithful 
English Version of the Scriptures will be to impart a better knowledge of 
Christianity, and inspire a greater love for Bible reading. To the Corin¬ 
thians Paul says, “Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord 
Jesus Christ, that there be no divisions among you; but that you be perfectly 
joined together in. the same mind, and in the same judgment.” 

Give to any community Heaven’s Creed-book, the Bible, faithfully trans¬ 
lated, in words easy t® be understood, and the divine philosophy, as well 
as the reasonableness of the foregoing exhortation, will soon be apparent. 
In such circumstances, it will be an easy matter, (I had almost said, a nat¬ 
ural result,) for those, who love Ghrist, His cause, and people “speaking the 
same things," to avoid,or heal divisions, and to be perfectly joined together in 
the same mind, and in the same judgment. Thus an extensive revival of 
pure and undefiled religion may justly be expected to result from this in¬ 
crease of Bible knowledge, and Christian love and union. 

So was it in the days of Ezra, when he brought the Book of the law- or 
the Lord before the congregation, and, from morning- until mid-day, read 
therein, distinctly, and gave the sense, and caused them to understand the 
reading.” “And Ezra blessed the Lord, the Great God. And all the 
people answered, Amen, Amen, with uplifted hands: and they bowed their 
heads, and worshipped the Lord, with their faces to the ground.” 

So was it also in the days of Luther, when, by means of his translation 
of the Scriptures into the German language, the means of acquiring a cor¬ 
rect knowledge of the Christian religion were diffused among his country¬ 
men. Of this celebrated translation, Horne remarks—“ Having originally 
been published in detached portions, as these were gradually and succes¬ 
sively circulated among the people, Luther’s Version produced sudden, and 
almost incredible effects; and contributed more than any other cause, to ex¬ 
tirpate the erroneous principles, and superstitious practices of the Church of 
Rome from the minds of a prodigious number of persons. Since that time, 
it has been printed times without number; and, as the reformation spread, 
it became the basis of several other translations.” 

Similar results will no doubt follow a faithful English Version, made 
under the auspices of the “Bible Union.” Such a Version can, and, we 
would fondly hope, will be made, as will abide the test of the severest criti¬ 
cism; and will, at no disttnt day, be generally introduced, wherever the 
English language is spoken, or understood. 



A.s facilities are thus increased for a correct understanding of Christianity, 
a corresponding increase of Bible reading, Scriptural knowledge, and per¬ 
sonal piety, as we have already hinted, may reasonably be anticipated.— 
Nor will these effects be confined to the many millions, who speak the Eng¬ 
lish language. 

The charm of a blind and superstitious veneration for hoary errors being 
once dissolved, the minds of Christian missionaries, engaged in the work of 
translation, will be left free, to .prove all things, and hold fast those corrections 
that are manifestly good. Hence, in making new translations into foreign lan¬ 
guages, we may reasonably conclude, that they will make free use of 
the corrected English Version, at least as a work of reference, and for the 
purpose of aiding them to a more thorough understanding of the original 
text. In that event, (unless we are greatly deceived in our confident an¬ 
ticipations with regard to the superior excellence of the Revised Version,) its 
corrections, approved, as they will be, by men of candor, learning, and pie¬ 
ty, will naturally he adopted; and will thus pass into all Versions subse¬ 
quently made by able and candid men, speaking or even understanding 
the English language. 

Horne mentions no less than ten different Versions, of which Luther’s was 
the bas s. It .is not unreasonable, or visionary, to hope and pray, that a 
’Corrected English Version may speedily lead to the introduction of similar 
Versions, with all their blissful consequences, into all lands, and among all 

Ac no preceding period, did the means of making such a Version exist in 
the same degree, as at present in these United States. The Baconian, or 
inductive system of philosophising, that has completely revolutionized almost 
every department of science and art, during the last half century, has be¬ 
gun to extend its renovating influences to Lexicography and Translation, 
The minds of men, freed from the shackles of Kingcraft and Priestcraft, 
of big Popes and little Popes, have been taught to think for themselves-—to, call 
-no man Master—to prove all things, and hold fast that which is good. By 
virtue of intense and independent thinking, they have soared to sublime 
elevations of thought and mental power, that would, under other circum¬ 
stances, have been wholly' unattainable. 

Minds thus disciplined are not compelled to rely for their opinions on Au¬ 
thors and Lexicons; but are capable of becoming, in matters of Science and 
Literature, their own Authors; and, in matters of Philology, their own Lex¬ 
icographers. Such minds alone, deeply imbued, ivith piety, are capable of giv¬ 
ing us a faithful translation of the Scriptures. Since the days of King 
James, Lexicographers of the New Testament have done little else than ser¬ 
vilely follow the blunders of the common Version. There are principles of 
Philology and Lexicography, that are as indubitable as mathematical axioms. 
Yet these principles are overlooked, or disregarded, and trodden under foot 
by the King’s translators, in several important passages, vitallyaffecting the 
peace, purity and happiness of the Church, the union of Christians, and 
the conversion of the world. Nor do I recollect to have seen a Lexicon, 
with perhaps a single exception, published since King James’ day, that has 



not servilely followed, and copied, some of the grossest blunders of the 
King’s translators—blunders so palpable, that even a well-educated Sophomore 
should be able to detect them. I hazard nothing in pledging myself to dem¬ 
onstrate the truth of this assertion, in reference to the blunders aforesaid, 
by arguments that cannot be refuted, whenever it may become necessary for 
me so to do. 

Beloved brethren, lovers of Jesus Christ and of His blessed Gospel, shall 
these errors be permitted to remain, marring the beauty of the Holy vol¬ 
ume,—■ muddying , if not poisoning the waters of Salvation at the very foun¬ 
tain? Forbid it, Heaven! It must not be. We have the men and means 
far beyond what any other people ever possessed, to make a pure and faithful 
Version of the Scriptures in the English language, and send it into all lands. 

“The field is the world.” Shall we scatter broad-cast, in this field, 
the good seed, the pure word of God, confidently leaving the issue with 
Him, who alone can give the increase? Or, shall we ignobly go to sleep, 
and abandon the field to the enemy, to sow therein the tares of skepticism, 
infidelity, and numberless forms of a corrupted and sectarianized Chris¬ 

We cannot properly appreciate the advantages of our position without 
feeling, that a fearful—or, should I rather say, a sublime, and glorious re¬ 
sponsibility rests upon us; fearful, if we disregard its claims; sublime and 
glorious, if we but do our duty. 

Opposition and persecution of the most bitter and malignant character 
we may reasonably expect to encounter; and that, too, from men calling them¬ 
selves Protestants; nay, more, orthodox, evangelical Christians. Our Master 
was persecuted, even to the death, by the professors of the only true reli¬ 
gion then on earth. They accused Him of being in league with Beelzebub;, 
and, on a charge of blasphemy, put Him to death. Common sense might 
teach us, even if the Master did not, that it would be utterly foolish and 
vain for us to expect to walk in His footsteps, and not, to some extent at 
least, share His fate. Religious zealots, who boasted, “We have Abraham 
for our father, and were never in bondage to any man,” impeached the 
Holy One, and the Just, as a blasphemer, and procured His condemnation— 
crying with the malignity of fiends, “Away with Him—Away with Himl 
Crucify Him—Crucify Him! The fellow is not fit to live.” Religious zeal¬ 
ots, who boast of their adherence to the principle, that the Inspired Volume 
is the only authoritative standard of faith and duty, have actually denounced, 
against those who are laboring to give the pure word of God to all mankind, 
without either increase or diminution, those fearful curses, which the Holy 
Spirit pronounces against those, and those alone, who take from, or add 
to, the Book of God. Protestants, who condemn the Pope for withholding the 
word of God from the laity, condemn also their fellow-Protestants, because 
they are unwilling that any part of that word should be withheld; and 
because they have resolved, that, to the utmost of their ability, they will 
give to all mankind the whole revealed will of God without any conceal¬ 
ment, subtraction or adulteration. 

Is this marvellous inconsistency to be regarded as an evidence of pitiable 



and pardonable imbecility? Or, should we consider it an example of the 
judicial blindness of such as are abandoned to “ strong delusion to believe 
a lie?" Be this, however, as it may, well may we be comforted, remem¬ 
bering “Him who endured similar contradictions of sinners against Himself.” 
Because He humbled Himself to the cross. His Father exalted Him to th? 
crown. “They that conquer shall wear the crown.” 

“To him that overcometh, will I grant (says Messiah) to sit with Me 
on My throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with My Father 
on His throne.” 

Blessed promise! Sustained by thee, “one may chase a thousand, and 
put ten thousand to flight.” In the pending conflict between truth and 
error, the eyes of Christendom are fixed on us with breathless suspense. 
Hear, on this topic, the language of Dr. Thomas W. Jenkin, one of the most 
distinguished Pedo-baptist divines of England, or of this age:— 

“The collision of conflicting principles is rapidly approaching. The two 
great battles of truth and error will probably be fought on the plains of In¬ 
dia, and in the valley of the Mississippi. In India the encounter has com¬ 
menced between Christianity and the united forces of idolatry and Moham¬ 
medanism. In the valley of the Mississippi the lines are now drawing for 
a deadly conflict between true Christianity and Anti-christian Popery. The 
neutral ground is narrowing every day, and they that are on the Lord’s side 
must quit it fore\er.” 

Solemn thought! There can be no neutrality in this warfare. Neutral 
territory is a chimera. Its imaginary locality is the haunt of cowards, spies, 
and traitors. All that profess to be on the Lord’s side, must abandon it 
speedily, and forever—or share the traitor’s ignominious doom. 

If any confidence can be reposed in the signs of the times, or in the pre¬ 
dictions of God’s word, we are rapidly approaching a crisis that is well cal¬ 
culated to try men’s souls; a crisis, most deeply involving every thing that 
is dear to us, either as men or as American citizens. 

Within the last few months sentiments have been boldly advanced from 
high places in the center of the Great Valley, that are directly calculated 
to annihilate every vestige of civil and religious liberty. It has been confident¬ 
ly affirmed, that outside of a Church, claiming infallibility , there is no pos¬ 
sible refuge between unbridled Despotism on the one hand, and lawless 
Anarchy on the other. The reasoning, by which this startling conclusion 
has been reached, deserves serious attention, not by any means, however, 
on account of its logic —but because it presents itself as developing an item 
of religious belief, that is wholly incompatible with the allegiance of an Amer¬ 
ican citizen, and utterly subversive of our Republican institutions. The po¬ 
sitions that have been taken, are substantially as follows: All lawful gov¬ 
ernment is of God; and they that resist it, shall receive to themselves dam¬ 
nation. But a government, no matter what may be its form, may become 
corrupt, and oppressive, and thus forfeit all just claim to the Divine sanc¬ 
tion, and the obedience of its subjects. To allow the individual to judge, 
when the government had become despotic, and might properly be resisted, 
would be Anarchy —and, yet, to enforce unlimited obedience in such circum- 



stances, would be Despotism. Hence the necessity, (say these advocates of 
Politico-Ecclesiastic Despotism ,) of an infallible Judge to decide, when any 
given government, or form of goverment, is lawful, and can be resisted 
only on i.ain of damnation, —and when it is unlawful, and can be obeyed only 
at the peril of Heaven's displeasure. Such an infallible Judge is the Church— 
“Holy Catholic, and Apostolic” —of course!!! Now, mark the necessary re- 
suit of these arrogant, unscnptural, irrational, and impious assumptions. 
The right of private judgment, in reference to the best form of government,, 
and the conduct of rulers, is utterly denied to the individual citizen. So 
long, therefore, as rulers, (no matter how despotic and tyrannical,) can se¬ 
cure the favor and sanction of “Holy Mother,” it would be a damning sin 
to resist their tyranny—but so soon as the Scarlet Lady may please to with¬ 
draw her sanction, pronounce the government unlawful, and absolve its 
subjects from their allegiance, resistance becomes a duty, and obedience, a 


It is very obvious, that these principles are utterly imcompatible with the 
allegiance of an Ameiican citizen; and that no person, who holds them, can 
take an oath of allegiance to any other government, than that of the 
Church, without being guilty of perjury. And yet, the number of those 
who bold these sentiments, and claim the privileges of American citizens, is 
already estimated by millions,—and is yearly increasing, (mainly by immi¬ 
gration, ) not merely by tens, but by hundreds of thousands. How long 
our Republican institutions can withstand the spread of such anti-republi¬ 
can and anti-christian sentiments, is a problem worthyof most grave, consid¬ 

But, notwithstanding this fearful peril, the Press is muzzled, and hardly 
dares even to whine out its disapprobation and sense of approaching danger. 
Politicians are in quest of votes; and pray to be excused from the duty of 
sounding an alarm, that might obscure their prospects for promotion.— 
Meanwhile the ship of State, a noble craft as ever spread a sail, is riding 
gaily over the swelling waves of foreign allegiance, that are rapidly pro- 
pelling her into the vortex of Politico-Ecclesiastic Despotism, in which, 
should she he engulfed, she inevitably sinks to rise no more forever. 

That this fearful catastrophe must necessarily result from the prevalence 
of the sentiments, that the Scriptures should be withheld from the laity, 
and the right of private judgment be denied them, in religion, and in politics, 
is as clear as the light of Heaven—as inevitable as the day of judgment. 

What startling confirmation is thus presented by the truth of Dr. Jen- 
kin’s assertion, that, “In the Valley of the Mississippi, the lines are now 
drawing for a deadly conflict between true Christianity and Anti-christian 
Popery.” And what is the real issue? Simply—Shall the right of private 
judgment be held sacred; or shall it be repudiated and denounced, as mis¬ 
chievous and execrable? Shall the Bible, or any part of it, be withheld 
from the laity, and retained under the exclusive jurisdiction of religious 
teachers, arrogating to themselves infallibility, and the right to decide for 
their fellow-men what they must believe, and do, in order to salvation? Or 
shall it be given to them faithfully translated, and in words easy to be 



understood, that all may read therein, and learn their duty for themselves, 
and not be made the helpless slaves and vassals of self-constituted con¬ 
science-keepers, and self-styled infallible spiritual advisers? This, and this 
alone, is the true issue. 

Let us, then, defend manfully, as the palladium of civil and religious lib¬ 
erty, the right of private judgment, and the Bible for the laity. And, 
above all things, let us avoid the shameless inconsistency of claiming contin¬ 
ually to correct the errors of the -common Version in the pulpit, as almost 
all do, and yet refusing to unite in any rational plan to give the laity a 
Version, in which these same errors shall have been corrected. What is this 
else, so far as it goes, than to deny the use of the Scriptures, and the right 
of private judgment to the Laity, and to retain in our own hands the right 
to judge for them in these particulars? The crisis that is approaching, is 
well calculated to try men’s souls. The impending conflict between truth 
and error, (of which a warning voice has come to us across the broad Atlan¬ 
tic,) spurns the aid of cowards, and calls for brave men, tried spirits, and 
true. The struggle may be fierce, and comparatively protracted; but the 
victory is certain, and the reward unspeakabty glorious. No weapon, 
that is formed against Heaven’s truth, and its unrestricted communication 
to every human being, can prosper. 

The Leader of the embattled hosts, with whom it is our royal honor to 
be associated, is a great and invincible Captain, wearing the sublime and 
significant titles of “The Word of God” —“KING OF KIiVGS, AND 
LORD OF LORDS.” Harbinger of His triumphant progress to the last 
great battle between light and darkness, truth and falsehood, an angel stand¬ 
ing in the Sun, fit emblem of the Sun of Righteousness, and of that light, 
which emanates from the Word of God, cries “with a loud voice, saying 
to all the fowls that fly in the midst of Heaven, Come, and gather your¬ 
selves together unto the supper of the Great God; that ye may eat the flesh 
of Kings, and the flesh of Captains, and the flesh of mighty men, and the 
flesh of horses, and of them that sit on them, and the flesh of ail men, both 
free and bond, both small and great. And I saw the beast” (says the re¬ 
vealing Spirit,) “and the Kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered to¬ 
gether to make war against Him that sat on the horse, and against his army. 
And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet, that wrought mir¬ 
acles before him, with which he deceived them that hud received the 
mark of the beast, and them that worshiped his image. There both were 
cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone. And the remnant 
were slain with the sword of Him that sat upon the horse, -which sword 
proceeded out of His mouth. And all the fowls were filled with their 
flesh.” “The Lord God Omnipotent reigneth,” His name be ble: sud for 






Whether the common version of the English Scriptures really needs re¬ 
vision depends on the question, whether it already expresses with accu¬ 
rate fidelity and perspicuity, and in the most appropriate vernacular terms,, 
the ideas and sense of the Hebrew and Greek originals ? This, again, is 
a question to be decided by comparing it with those originals, and with a 
just standard of a pure and perspicuous style. A version tnay be strict¬ 
ly faithful to the originals, yet defaced and less useful through defect of 
style, or it may be unexceptionable in style, yet wanting in fidelity; or, it 
may be wanting in both these respects. 

Any attempt, at this late day, to deny or make light of the defects of 
the common version, either as it respects its fidelity or perspicuity, is fore¬ 
closed and nullified by the express, united, uniform testimony of the whole 
field of biblical criticism and literature, for the last two hundred and forty 
years. During this long period, Providence has been preparing for the 
contemplated revision, as it only can, and ought, to be done. During the 
time, the original texts themselves, have been the subjects of the most in¬ 
tense study, up to the remostest authoritative sources; doubtful readings 
have been compared, and verified or corrected, and light cast on obscure 
passages, not a few. The historical lands of the Bible, have, also, been 
explored, and many suggestive and corrective hints thence obtained.— 
Meanwhile, a vast amount of true learning and talent has been brought to 
bear upon the true expression, in English, and numerous other languages, 
of the real meaning of the Hebrew and Greek texts. In this gradual, 
vast, varied, and sifting biblical operation, numerous collisions have oc¬ 
curred between individual minds, communities and tongues, on the true 
meaning of words and phrases; and on the true principles and exponents 
to be used in translating them. Controversy has in many instances been 
warm and disruptive; but has, in almost every instance, resulted in the 
victory of truth; and in the committal of multitudes to principles, the fu¬ 
ture operation of which, the just and inevitable, has often been, at though 
time, unforseen. 

The Baptists, some years since, acting under a sense of this responsi¬ 
bility to God, adopted a principle of translation in making their foreign ver¬ 
sions, which Pedo-Baptists found to be irrefragably sustained by the criti¬ 
cal and philological concessions of their own first biblical scholars, made 
when the vision of their scholarship was unobscured by the smoke of 
interested strife. Much in the same predicament, is that party of the 
Baptists who now oppose the application of the principle of their foreign 
versions to the home one. They occupy the ridiculous attitude of con¬ 
tending against a principle for which they once felt emboldened to agitate 



and disrupt English—nay, universal Christendom. There they are, waging 
war with all the rest of the Christian world in the foreign fields, multiply¬ 
ing and circulating versions characteristically antagonistic to those of Pedo- 
Baptists, yet laboring at home with might and main to make out, on criti¬ 
cal and philological grounds, even, that the very principle, for whose sake, 
the disruption took place, and the strife is still practically carried on, does 
not at all exist in the character of the common version !! They absolutely 
require that the missionaries and infant churches shall contend, in the for¬ 
eign fields, unto the death, for a given principle of translation; while at 
home they themselves most zealously and learnedly labor to prove its non¬ 
entity and the injury to truth which its maintenance must involve ! ! Veri¬ 
ly, consistency has gone demented, and zeal is left to run without her 
aid. The principle which we have so successfully planted, however, in 
foreign lands, commends itself too fully to the common sense of the multi¬ 
tude, both at home and abroad, to be otherwise than cherished. It is 
plainly obvious to the most ordinary capacity, that to be consistent, as a 
people, we must be the same in India and in America; our principles and 
our practices must be the same; the principles and character of our ver¬ 
sions, though in different tongues, must be the same. We cannot consis¬ 
tently maintain the existence and sacred obligations of a principle in one 
latitude and deny its existence and propriety in another. Pedo-Baptists at 
home are Pedo-Baptists abroad, and so must Baptists be. It wont do for 
us to fight them on the practical maintenance of a principle abroad, and at 
the same time contend in their presence, at home, that no such principle exists 
or applies. Jesuits may act thus, but Baptists may not. If they persist in 
it, Pedo-Baptists will soon demolish them, both in the home, and foreign 
field, with their own forged weapons; and the foreign Baptists, too, will 
unite in-the denunciation of their inconsistency. This influence is already 
favorably at work. Baptists have no alternative left them, except to con¬ 
form their versions, every where, the world over, to one, and the same 
principle. If they have erred in the matter of foreign versions, let it be 
shown, and let them retrace their steps; but if they are right there, they 
must come up to the same rectitude here, and leave consequences with 
God. By the act of separation from the rest of the Christian world in the 
matter of foreign versions, they have committed themselves irretraceably 
to the imperfection of the common version, and to the existing practical 
necessity for its revision. They must carry out their principle, or other¬ 
wise, stand before the world in the ridiculous attitude of at once holding 
and denying a sacred principle with respect to the Bible. Baptist opposi¬ 
tion to this movement must give way. 

Providence is also pi'eparing the evangelical Pedo-Baptists by move¬ 
ments, the ultimate bearing of which is not yet generally perceived by 
themselves. In addition -to the irresistable foree of the evidence of the 
imperfections of the version, furnished by the varied biblical learning, is¬ 
suing constantly from the press, and from the schools, and tbe pulpits of 
the times, there are denominational conflicts at work amongst themselves, 
which are gradually calling that evidence into active requisition. The 
Episcopalian Sectarianism of the version is acknowledged on all hands; 
and the haughty assumptions and intolerance of Episcopacy are, especi¬ 
ally in England, making themselves sensibly felt. Congregationalism is 



the powerful antagonism of Episcopacy in that country. The strife is 
warm, and likely to be yet warmer. It is already seen, that the chief 
means of humbling its pretensions is Scripture. And the project is already 
on foot to revise the version with a view to remove, what all scholars 
agree to he unwarrantable, palpable, Episcopal favoritism, placed there, at 
the expense of the inspired truth. This project will receive favor with 
all dissenters from the church. This done, and another step will be ta¬ 
ken. Episcopalians will return to their ancient principle of immersion.— 
Thus, step by step, the truth will triumph. 

Last year, the American Bible Society took an important stand, and 
avowed the following noble sentiment: “By far the greater portion of the 
readers of the English Bible, are unlearned persons and children; and it 
is essential to remove every thing in the mere forms, which may become 
to any a stumbling block in the way of the right and prompt understand¬ 
ing of God’s holy word.” Hep. of Com. on ver. p. 20. In accordance 
with this sentiment, the Society formally adopted an edition, on the revis¬ 
ion of which, its committee had been engaged nearly three years, in which 
alterations from previous editions, are acknowledged, “but little short of 
Twenty-Four Thousand.” The scholarship of the Committee was, how¬ 
ever much hampered by the mixed and conflicting denominational inter¬ 
ests represented in it, and by the stringent constitution of the Society, so 
that they seldom felt at liberty “to go behind the translators” of King 
James: though they did it on minor points, where no jealousy could be 
excited. Of what they have done, the present movement will avail itself, 
and will carry out the whole of the above noble sentiments, with no re¬ 
striction, except that which a sacred regard to truth, and the decisions of 
the most sound and competent scholarship will impose. We know of no 
competent authority to put any other restriction on the matter; and the na¬ 
ture of the case forbids any other. We feel that the American Pedo-Bap- 
lists have conceded the principle, in the foregoing extract, on which all ver¬ 
sions ought to be made. Nothing ought to be in their “form which may be¬ 
come to any, a stumbling-block in the way of the right and 'prompt understanding 
of God's holy word:" and this is especially important, as “by far the greater 
portion of their readers are unlearned persons and children.’’ The Baptists, 
eVery where, are irretraceably committed, as we have seen, to the same 
principle. Is is therefore vain, under any pretext of expediency, to resist 
its application. So far as the principle is concerned, the Catholics are as 
justifiable in withholding the Bible altogether from the masses, as Protes¬ 
tants can be, in withholding a single sentence or word. The contest, on 
this question, is destined, at no distant day, to narrow down to this. Ev¬ 
ery word for the masses, or none at all. 

The present movement places the question of version-making on a new 
basis. It introduces, as its main element, the voice of the Christian peo¬ 
ple; and is teaching them, that the question of making or revising a ver¬ 
sion is their own —not that of Popes and Councils, or of Kings and clerical 
convocations as generally heretofore; that it is properly under their own 
supervision, at their own expense, and for their own especial use as immor¬ 
tal beings. Hence it is, that we hold these public meetings, to spread out 
publicly the merits of the case, to diffuse information, promote intelligence, 
awaken interest, create means, prepare patronage, and insure success.— 



This, we admit, is contrary to the usurping maxim, sometimes, even now, 
recommended, and heretofore generally acted upon in English Christen¬ 
dom, viz: “Prepare the version privately.” This maxim has long enough 
had its sway, over the inalienable rights of the people of God, and suffi¬ 
ciently long deprived them of the whole word in their vernacular. Our 
maxim is, inform the people of the true conditimi of their version, that they 
may unite in procuring the removal of every avoidable defect, which char¬ 
acterizes it. In accordance with this avowed end, I design, in the sequel 
of this address, to lay before you, selected samples, bearing on the gene¬ 
ral points on which the present version is defective. 

In the first place, the titles of some of its books, savor of the canoni¬ 
zing practice of Rome. On the first page of the New Testament, we read: 
“The Gospel according to Saint Matthew.” In like manner, we read, 
“Saint Mark,” “Saint Luke,” “Saint John.” Propriety would require 
simply, “The Gospel according to Matthew,” “The Gospel according to 
Mark,” &c. The prefix “Saint,” is wholly of Popish origin, though 
agreeable, also, to Church of England ears. The title of the Apocalypse, 
goes farther, and reads: “The Revelation of Saint John the Divine .”— 
Here the Popish form is not the most objectionable item; it contradicts the 
opening statement of the book itself. The Apocalypse is not the Revela¬ 
tion of John, neither as Saint or Divine; it is, as the opening words say, 
“The Revelation of Jesus Christ.” This title is, therefore, both Papistic 
and false, and forms a shameful blot on the pages of a Protestant Bible. 
Truth and consistency alike, demand the removal of such degrading blem¬ 

In the second place, some of its renderings sacrifice fidelity and unifor¬ 
mity, if -not candor, to sectarianism. The word epislcopee occurs four times 
in the Greek New Testament. Twice (Luke 19: 44. 1 Pet. 2: 12,) it de¬ 
notes the act of being visited, and Is correctly rendered in the version by 
the word visitation. Twice (Acts 1: 20. 1 Tim. 3: 1,) it denotes office, 
(see Ps. 109: 8,) or charge, (as Geneva Yer. in loc.) the connection deter¬ 
mining its nature. Instead, however, of charge or office, the version has 
(Acts 1: 20,) “bishopriclc,” and “office of a bishop,” (1 Tim. 3: 1.) The 
reference (Acts 1: 20,) is to the place held by Judas. As the original 
word denotes charge or office but twice in the New Testament; and is first 
used to designate that of Judas; King- James and his translators, bv ren- 

, . t # O J t 

dering it bishopriclc —using the word in its ecclesiastical sense, have unwit¬ 
tingly assigned Episcopacy an unenviable origin. According to the ver¬ 
sion, Judas was the first Episcopal bishop, the first link in the succession, 
and is the only person said, in the New Testament, to have held a bishop¬ 
riclc. Episcopalians may regard the statement of this fact as invidious; but 
they have their own zeal to engraft Episcopacy on the version alone to 
bla'me for the existence of the odium. To procure -it, the original word 
was tortured into a comment, rather than translated. The passage in the 
Acts is, properly rendered, his office or charge —not his “bishopriclc”—let 
another take ; that in Timothy, If any desire office or a charge —not “the office 
of a bishop,” as the version has it. The Episcopacy is in the translators’ 
comments on the original word, not in the word itself, or in its proper trans¬ 
lation. It is strange that the translators did not render the word in the- 
passage in Timothy, by bishopriclc. Uniformity would require it; and it 



would not have left the vacancy made by the death of Judas as the only 
bishoprick spoken of, or distinctly alluded to in the Bible. 

The word episkopos occurs six times in the Greek original. In 1 Pet. 
4: 15, the version has it “ busy-body .” In Phi. 1:1.1 Tim. 3: 2. Tit. 1: 
7. 1 Pet. 2: 21, it has “ bishop” or “bishops” as the case may be. In Acts 
20: 28, it has “overseers” as its rendering. Now, why this diversity ?— 
There is nothing in the import of the original word to require it. The 
simple and proper rendering in every case would be overseer or overseers, 
and this rendering would exactly represent its meaning in every instance 
of its occurrence. Disinterested fidelity and simplicity, as well as unifor¬ 
mity, therefore, required this to be given every where, as the true render¬ 
ing. But then there would be no direct mention of any bishop in the Bible, 
and this would be ruinous to the pretensions of English Episcopacy. To 
prevent such a Scriptural result, the “old ecclesiastical word, bishop, was 
employed to represent the original in preference to the other. But once 
adopted, uniformity would require it, as the representative in every case. 
To have carried this rule out, however, would have given us “bishops in 
other men’s matters.’’ 1 Pet. 4: 15. And in Acts 20: 28, the word bish¬ 
ops would have told the fact, that bishop and elder are but different names 
of the same officer in the New Testament Churches; for obviously, the 
persons called episkopoi, bishops, Acts 20: 28, are also called presbuteroi 
elders, Acts 20: 16. To keep this important fact from the English reader, 
the translators threw aside their favorite word bishops, and used, in its 
stead, for once, the true word, overseers. [Acts 20: 28,] Thus, by an un- 
candid abandonment of their chosen word, by which they were to give Epis¬ 
copacy a foundation in the English Bible, when that word was about to ex¬ 
pose the whole fabric as baseless-—they succeeded in giving their ecclesi¬ 
astical system an unwarrantable hold in the version; violently sacrificing, 
for this sectarian end, fidelity, uniformity and candor. The substitution 
of overseer, every where, for bishop would relieve the version of violent dis¬ 
tortion; or the use of bishop, every where, as the exponent of episkopos, 
would give it, at least, consistency with itself. 

The existence of the notes appended to the second epistle to Timothy, 
and to the epistle to Titus, making it appear that Timothy was the “first 
bishop of the Church of the Ephesians,” and Titus the “first bishop of 
the Church of the Cretians,” can be accounted for, only on the ground, 
that they seem to favor Episcopacy. No scholar allows them a particle of 
authority, and the only purpose they can serve, is to mislead the unwary. 
They are spurious appendages to the inspired records. They were rejec¬ 
ted by Tyndale, Coverdale, and even by the Yulgate. There is no pro¬ 
priety in their existence in the standard English version. 

Since the retention of the word church, as the representative of ekklesia, 
instead of the word congregation, is matter of distinct record in King 
James’ 3rd Rule, the sectarian design, in this particular, will not be ques¬ 
tioned by any one. I shall therefore pass it without further notice. 

Some may be surprised to learn that our version sanctions the Easter 
festival of the Episcopal and Catholic churches. Acts 12:4, reads, “inten¬ 
ding after Easter, to bring him forth to the people.” The true rendering 
is, “intending after the Passover to bring him forth,” &c. How, some 
may ask, came the word Easter to be substituted in our version for Pass- 



over? It occurred thus: When the Missionaries of the Papal church first 
went among the heathen Saxons, they found them having an annual festi¬ 
val in honor of their Goddess, Easter, which they observed with great pomp 
and solemnity every April. With a view more speedily to convert them 
to their church, they adopted the name of their Godess, for what they 
called their paschal feast, which was observed about the same time of the 
year. Thus originated the Easter festival. The term immediately be¬ 
came “ecclesiastical”—found its way into the first version of the English 
Bible—is in the common version because made to support the organism 
and the usages of the church of England. In the recent revision by the 
American Bible Society, this word could not be displaced from the text, 
though all agreed that it is a palpable corruption. The observers of the 
feast of Easter would not surrender the only sanction they have for it, (a 
corruption of the English text.) The policy that first introduced it, suc¬ 
ceeded still to retain it, and obviously for a sectarian end. The revisors, 
however, inserted the following; note in the margin: “Greek—the Pass- 
over,” as if doomed to testify to their own unfaithfulness in the text. By 
what code of conscience they could leave the acknowledged corruption 
“Easter” in the version, in this passage, while they felt it to be their duty 
to correct, “ according to the Hebrew,” Ruth 3: 15, Josh. 19: 2, and several 
other passages, where the corruption was less manifest and less corruptive, 
they themselves best know. It is clear, that fidelity failed them. 

The aim of this train of remarks, has not been so much to attack Epis¬ 
copacy, as to expose the intentional sectarianism of King James’ version, 
and the unworthy method by which this feature was imparted to it. It is, 
intentionally a church of English version; and is by its very character, 
unfitted to be any thing else. It forfeits all claim to be received as the com¬ 
mon version in the English tongue. 

In the third place, it is rendered untelligible in many places, by the 
presence of untranslated words. Take the following: Math. 5: 22, “Who¬ 
soever shall say to his brother, Baca, shall be in danger of the council.” 
What is the meaning of Baca ? How many of the readers of the version 
can attach any certain meaning to the passage containing it on account of 
it? Mat. 6: 24, “Ye cannot serve God and mammon.” The word mam¬ 
mon is now used very frequently and popularly. Yet how many of the 
plain readers of English know its literal meaning ? 1 Cor. 1R: 22, “If any 

man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be anathema maran-atha.” 
As pointed in the version this whole jargon appears to be one word. A 
period should follow anathema, maran-atha being not only of an entirely 
different meaning, but of a different tongue from anathema. But even 
correctly punctuated, what sense does it convey to the English reader ? 
The tone of the verse indicates that something very important is intended; 
but who can learn what it is from the passage ? I have selected these 
as samples, because they are not only unintelligible themselves, but render, 
also, the passages containing them unintelligible. Can this be pleasing 
to God, or just to the souls of men ? Is there any good reason why such 
words should not be translated, and their meaning given to every child in 
plain vernacular terms ? 

This is the place to consider the terms relating to the ordinance of bap¬ 
tism, also untranslated in our version. All we insist on is, let them be 



put on the same level with Raca, Mammon, Anathema, Maran-atha; and 
let the true and candid scholarship of the churches and of the world say 
what they literally mean; and let that meaning—whatever it is—be given 
in the version, in specific English words. This is the only rule admissa- 
ble in translating the words of the inspired record. We want no party 
end, farther than the exact truth, precisely given, may favor it; but we 
firmly object to any covering up of the truth by any non-translation of 

In the fourth place, it is obscured in many instances, by the presence of 
unnecessarily learned words. This defect is rendered the more striking, 
because of the general Saxon simplicity of the style. Notice the follow¬ 
ing list; ‘synagogue,’ ‘proselyte,’ ‘tetrarch,’ ‘quaternion,’ ‘centurion,’ ‘ma¬ 
trix,’ ‘delectable,’ ‘celestial,’ ‘terrestrial,’ ‘progenitor, ‘prognosticator,’ 
‘ambassage,’ ‘cogitation,’ ‘inquisition,’ ‘omnipotent.,’ ‘occurrent,’ ‘amerce,’ 
‘Calvary,’and such like. Now why depart, in these instances, from the 
u ual simplicity? While some of these may be more intelligible than others, 
it is obvious that all of them are susceptible of simplification or displacement 
by simpler equivalents. Some of the passages in which they 7 occur, are 
rendered, to say the least, obscure, if not unintelligible by their presence. 
For instance, it is said, Acts 12: 4, that Peter “was delivered to four quar- 
ternions of soldiers.” Now, how many can tell from the reading, of how 
many the guard consisted? Probably not one in a hundred knows how 
many are in a “querternion of soldiers.” If so, what is the propriety of 
having such learnedly obscure words in a version, which ought to be intel¬ 
ligible to the humblest capacity. 

The same objection lies against the following learned forms of proper 
names: Thomas Didymus, Marcus, Lucas, Timotheus and Sylvamis. How 
much simpler and more intelligible would be, Thomas the Twin, Mark, 
Luke, Timothy and Silas? There is no propriety in the existence of such 
learned forms; besides, they affect the uniformity of the version, and must 
tend to depreciate its value, as the Bible of the unlearned and the young. 

In the fifth place, it is defaced and obscured by the presence of numer¬ 
ous obsolete and antiquated words and phrases. The words of a living 
language, like every other created living thing, are. subject to the modify¬ 
ing influences and changes of time. They come into being and flourish; 
then some change their meaning, while others decay; and many, at length, 
die out. A period of near two centuries and a half has brought many of 
the words and phrases of our version into the several conditions. The 
consequence is, that the style is, in many instances, obscure and perplexing 
to such as are not versed in such matters. Take the following as samples. 
“Take with thee ten loaves and cracknels,” 1 K. 14: 3. What is meant 
by cracknels? Would one in a hundred know that they were a sort of 
cakes? “Eat the lamb’s head with his legs, and th e purtenxmce thereof,” 
(Ex. 12: 9.) How many know what is meant by the purlenance of a lamb? 
“All that hear the bruit of thee.” (Neh. 3: 19.) What is the meaning of 
the word bruit? Can one of a hundred tell ? “And David left his car¬ 
riage in the hands of the keeper of his carriage, and ran into the army,” 
(1 Sam. 17: 22.) The obvious meaning of the language of this pas¬ 
sage is, that David left his carriage in the care of his carriage driver; 
but the actual meaning is, that he left his baggage with his baggage car- 



tier. The word carriage has changed its meaning since the version was 
made. “These are come to fray them,” (Zach. 1: 21.) What does 
to fray mean ? How may of the readers of the Bible are likely ever to 
meet with this verb outside their Bible ? He will set them to ear his 
ground,” (1 Sam. 8: 12.) Who ever uses, or understands the verb to ear, 
at this day ? Who would suppose that it is equivalent io the verbs to till 
or to plough? “Then thou slialt have worship in the presence of them 
that sit at meat with thee,” (Luke 14: 10.) The most natural meaning of 
the expression, Thou shalt have worship, is, that thou shalt have religious 
exercises. How many uninformed persons could know that the actual 
meaning is, “Thou shalt have respect or honor, &c. Paul uses the phrase, 
“Providing for honest thing, (2 Cor. 8: 21.) Honest things in modern dis¬ 
course would mean the opposite of dishonest; but here the phrase means 
decent, becoming, befitting things. Yet who would suppose this, from the 
mere reading of the verse ? “Be thou an example to the unbelievers in 
conversation,” says Paul to Timothy, (ch. 4: 12). In what was he to be 
an example ? Nineteen in every twenty would answer, in his talk, speech, 
discourse; but the word conversation, generally, in the English Bible means 
conduct. He was to be an example therefore in conduct. “Moreover, 
brethren, we do you to wit of the grace of God,” (2 Cor. 8: 1.) What 
is the meaning of this sentence ? How many of the intelligent read¬ 
ers of the Bible, know the meaning of “we do you to wit?” How much 
more intelligible would be, “we make known to you,” &c. “How long- 
will ye seek after leasing?” (Psalms 4: 2.) What is the meaning 
of the word leasing? Why, said an intelligent lawyer, when this ques¬ 
tion was put to him, and who is opposed to the revision movement, “leas¬ 
ing denotes the letting of lands or other property to a person for a given 
term of years, and the Psalmist must be reproving worldliness in that pas¬ 
sage !” The only mistake here is, that the word simply denotes lying .— 
The lawyer’s mistake was a natural one, however, and the version more 
to blame than he. “We shall not prevent them who are asleep,” (1 Thes. 
4: 15.) The uninformed would naturally understand the writer to say: 
“We shall not hinder them;” because to hinder is the modern meaning of 
to prevent. He means to say, however, “We shall not go before or antici¬ 
pate them.” “The mystery of iniquity doth already work, only he who 
lettetli will let, until he be taken out of the way.” (2 Thes. 2: 7.) By “he 
who letteth will let,” the million will most naturally understand, he who 
permitteth will permit, which is the very opposite of what is intended, viz: 
he who hindereth will hinder. The verbs to prevent and to let have entirely 
changed their meaning, since the version was made. They now mean the 
very opposite of what they do in these passages. Now, what is the neces¬ 
sary effect of the existence of such words and phrases in the Bible of the 
people, the vast majority of whom must take words in their current sense, 
having no knowledge of the changes of meaning, which they gradually 
undergo ? Must they not necessarily obscure it, and perplex its read¬ 
ers ? Surely all such defects of style ought to be removed. 

In the sixth place, the phraseology is, in several instances, offensive to 
true delicacy. There should be no vulgarisms in the language of the com¬ 
mon version. As a book to be read and expounded in the presence of 



raised society, every expression should be in accordance with the dictates 
of good taste and propriety. That our version contains expressions offen¬ 
sive to true and acknowledged delicacy, which prevent portions of it from 
being read, either in the pulpit or family, every minister and every head 
of a family, accustomed to read the Bible in such places, knows. Consult 
an expression found in all of the following passages, which I may not pro¬ 
nounce in your hearing, 1 Sam. 25: 22, 34. 1 K. 14: 10; 16: 11; 21: 21. 

1 K. 9: 8; 18: 27. Isa. 36: 12. If our translators could have felt them¬ 
selves at liberty to give a somewhat obscure rendering of any expression 
found in the original for any good end, or even to transfer any phrase or 
word, the expression in question, one would suppose, would have been 
the first upon which the privilege would have been exercised; but here 
they are plain to offensiveness. The original is capable, however, of be¬ 
ing given in the version by a euphemism sufficiently perspicuous and ap¬ 
propriately refined. The change ought to be made. Until it is, an offen¬ 
sive and depreciating stain will rest unnecessarily upon its pages. 

All Bible readers must have been struck with the frequency with which 
the word “belly," is used in the version. Though less vulgar and offensive 
than the expressions just alluded to, good taste, and, often, strict accuracy 
would suggest a more sparing use of it. No writer of taste employs it at 
the present day. It is forbidden in polite social discourse. Its indiscrim¬ 
inate use in the English Bible cannot, therefore be an excellency, or add 
to its usefulness. A remarkably undignified and unintelligible use of it 
we have in Titus 1:12. “The Cretians are always liars, evil beasts, slow 
bdlies.” The assertion, “The Cretians are slow bellies" is equally vulgar 
and incomprehensible. What do we know of the Cretians by being told 
that they are “sloiv bellies ?” How much more intelligible would be the 
assertion, “The Cretians are lazy or slothful gluttons," which is the true 
rendering. Is there no room here for revision ? Must such a phraseology 
be forced upon society in spite of all propriety, simply because it happens 
to be in the version ? In numerous passages in the Book of Revelation, 
especially in the 4th, 5th and 6th chapters, our version speaks of “ beasts ” 
in the “midst of the throne,” and “round about the throne,” and “before 
the throne;” giving “glory,” and “honor,” and “thanks,” to God; “fall- 
down,” with the four and twenty elders “before the Lamb,” uttering 
“Amen.” Thousands of pious Christians have been startled by this lan¬ 
guage, and greatly perplexed by the incongruity of its representations; 
while infidels and unbelievers have been made to sneer by it. The laws 
of symbolical representation justify the use of the term beast or beasts to 
denote wicked men on earth; but it violates every law of language to rep¬ 
resent beasts as in Heaven, praising, thanking, and adoring God and the 
Lamb. The original should be rendered living creatures. Why should 
not our version be so amended, and freed from a phraseology, which 
shocks the moral intuitions, and bewilders the intelligence and piety of mul¬ 
titudes of its readers ? 

In the seventh place, the version is obscured by a want of uniformity 
in the orthography of proper names. It was a remark of Origen, that 
“no person who desires thoroughly to understand the Sacred Scriptures, 
should undervalue a scrupulous attention to the proper names.’ The names 
of persons and places are the great centers of all history. An orthogra- 



phy that tends to confound persons and places, is an obliteration of such 
guiding centers, and is, therefore, not tolerated in any writer. Suppose 
Bancroft’s History of the United States were to exhibit on its pages the fol¬ 
lowing specimens of orthography, what would be the judgment of the peo¬ 
ple and the press upon it ? In one section the name of the Father of the 
country is written Washington, in another Washton, and in a third Wash¬ 
ing , In like manner is written, Monroe, and Moro; .Jefferson, and Jeffron; 
Madison and Masdon. So Boston, and Beson. Philadelphia, and Delphia. 
Memphis, and Mophis. What would be the public estimate put upon such 
a work ? How would it be received ? Precisely this defect is extensively 
characteristic of our version. The Hebrew names in the left hand column 
are represented by the forms opposite them respectively. 

’Haz-zah.Gaza and Azzah. 

Rah-hel.Rachel and Rahel. 

Noahh ..Noah and Woe. 

Elih-shah.Elisha and Eli&ms. 

Hka-ran.Haran and Charran. 

Ye-ther.Jether and Jethro. 

Kish.. Kish and Cis. 

Yo-nah.-Jonah and Jonas. 

Yir-m ? pth.Jeremiah, Jeremias and Jeremy. 

Y’ho-sLooa .... Jehoshua, Joshua and Jesus. 

Hhiz-kiy-yah. . .Hezekiah, Hizkiah, and Hizkijah. 

Yim-nah.Jimna, Imna and Jimnites. 

Y.ot-ba-thah.. .. Jotbathah, and Jotbath. 

Y’ho-tsa-dhak .. Jehozadak, and Josedech. 

Yits-ri.. .Izri and Jazerites. 

Kots.Koz, Coz and Ilakkoz. 

Koosh.Cush. Ethiopia and Ethiopians. 

Kooshi.Cushi, Ethiopian and Ethiopians. 

P’le-sheth.Philistia, Palestina, Palestine, and Philistines. 

R’pha-im.Rephaim, Rephaims and Giants. 

Ba-moth-Baal. .Bamoth Baal, and “ The high places of Baal.” 

Aram.Aram, Mesopotamia, Syria and Syrians. 

Ash-shoor.Asshur, Assur, Assyria, and Assyrian. 

Ge-ba.Geba, Gaba, and Gibeah. 

This list, showing the most diversified orthography, might be swelled 
to the amount of several pages of manuscript. But the specimens given 
clearly and conclusively show that the translators were guided by no fixed, 
uniform principle in writing the names of persons and places in the Scrip¬ 
tures. In any other work, in the English tongue, such bewildering irregu¬ 
larity would be regarded as sufficient to condemn it; however otherwise 
valuable it might be. What a handle such a source of confusion and be¬ 
wilderment is in the hands of the caviler! In some of the instances the 
diversity is attributable to the influence of the Septuagint version; but there 
is no good reason for perpetuating that influence at such a cost to the 
English reader. Definiteness and perspicuity forbid it. 

In the eighth place, an unreasonable want of uniformity is characteristic 
of the renderings in the version generally. No other writings require great- 



er uniformity in the translation of them. The great aim of the translators 
of the inspired Hebrew and Greek Scriptures is, to give, in equivalent ver¬ 
nacular words, the exact ideas they contain. Nothing is the Bible in a ver¬ 
sion, but the exact equivalent of the originals. Rhetorical variety is to be 
consulted no farther than a just regard to the precise representation of the 
inspired words and phrases with their meaning will warrant. Beauty and 
finish, at the expense of a shade of truth, would be too costly. The main 
attraction in a Bible is its manifest fidelity to the mind of of God, clearly 
and appropriately expressed. A Concordance of the English Bible should, 
in the main, were it translated into Hebrew and Greek, be a fair Concor¬ 
dance of the Bible as it is in these tongues, and vice versa. An abso¬ 
lute identity of words and “phrasing” in every recurring instance is not, 
of course, insisted upon; but it is evident that a too free diversity is per¬ 
plexing to the reader and dangerous to accuracy. After making all due 
allowance for the just variety, which our language may advantageously 
allow, and which the difference of idioms may require; I am of opinion 
that the translators of King James indulged in freedom of renderings to • 
an extent, which shows, that they were governed by no fixed rule or prin¬ 
ciple in the matter. In proof of this opinion, let me first give you sam¬ 
ples of the renderings given, in our version, of single words. Romahh, 
spear, buckler, lancet, javelin; rekhesh, mule, dromedary, swift-betist; sh’hool, 
hell, pit, grave; migdal, flower, castle, pulpit, toveer, Migdal-el, Migdal-gad ; 
mota, staves, heavy, yoke, bands; mishmar, guard, watch, prison, office, dili¬ 
gence; mishpat, judgment, just, justice, laiv, lawful, right, order, ordinance, 
sentence, measure, manner , form, fashion, due, discretion, determination, des¬ 
ert, custom, cause, charge, ceremonies, usest, adversary, crimes, wrong, worthy; 
k’li, vessels, 'pot, tool, wares, weapons, sacks, bag, jewels, armor-bearer, artil¬ 
lery, instrument, thing, stuff, furniture, carriage, whatsoever, psaltery; hiie- 
bebh, axe, knife, sword, dagger, tool, mattock; hharash, artificer, carpenter, 
smith, mason, engraver, worker, maker, workman, skillful craftsman, wrought. 

The same unregulated freedom characterizes the renderings given of the 
verbs. The Hebrew verb ’hala receives 48 different renderings in the 
kal species alone, as, to arise, to ascend, to break, to bring up, to climb, to be 
burnt, to come, to cut off, to excel, to fall, to go, to group to leap, to be laid, to 
offer, to be 'perfected, at once, to be recovered, to scale, to set up, to shoot forth , 
to begin to spring, surely, vapor, &c., &c. Nasa receives 64 in the same 
species, e. g. to bear up, to be able to bear, to accept, to carry, to carry away , 
to bring, to burn, to forgive, to exact, to hold up, to lift up, to lay, to pardon, 
to go on, to fetch, to ease, to contain, to cast, to lade, to offer, to obtain, to re¬ 
spect, to set, to spare, to stir up, to take up, to take away , to suffer, to swear, to 
'wear, to yield, to exalt, to marry, utterly, honorable, &c. Soom receives 56, 
and nathan 93 in the same species or conjugation. These are but sam¬ 
ples. The list might be greatly swelled, both from the Hebrew and the 
Greek. Can it be that the above words have actually such a number of 
diverse meanings ? If so, how was the meaning in any given place deter¬ 
mined with any degree of certainty ? This is a serious view of the case. 

But let us take a glance at the subject from another point of view, and 
see the perplexity to which this unrestrained diversity leads. If one take 
up a Concordance to the English Bible, and turn up the word branch, he 
will find, upon examination, that it represents in his English Bible no fewer 


6 5 

than 20 Hebrew words; the word captain 15; the word destruction 32; the 
word mighty, 24; the word pit, 12; prince, 11; to bring, 31; to break, 25. 
To this characteristic feature of our version there is scarcely a limit; and 
the confusion to which it leads can hardly be a matter of indifference to 
any real lover of the truth. The same faulty want of uniformity appears 
in the translations of the Hebrew idiomatic phrases. The term Yadh, 
hand, which is very frequently used idiomatically, is represented by no 
fewer than 78 different renderings and modifications of renderings. To 
the want of some fixed, uniform principle of translation, a large propor¬ 
tion of them is to be attributed. 

The idiomatic word ish, a man, is rendered by 40 different words; and, 
when specified by either a concrete or abstract noun as an attributive, or 
when in apposition with a following noun, there has evidently been no 
settled rule observed in its translation. Sometimes the specifying noun, 
whether concrete or abstract, is translated as an adjective thus: “eloquent 
man,” for man of words, (Ex. 4: 10;) “bloody man,” for man of bloods, 
(2 Sam. 16: 8;) “a violent man,” for a man of violence, (2 Sam. 22: 49:) 
“valiant men,” for men of valor, (24: 9.) On the other hand, we have, 
as frequently, “man of God,” where the principle, on which the fore¬ 
going examples are translated, would require, godly man. So we have 
“men of renown,” for famous men, ( Gen. 6: 4;) “men of war,” for war¬ 
riors, (Jud. 20: 17.) So far were they from having any fixed rule in the 
rendering of this idiom, that both forms occur in the same verse (2 Sam. 
16: 7,) where we read, “thou bloody man,” and “ thou man of Belial.” 

This word Belial is in such constructions sometimes translated, and 
sometimes not; evincing in this respect a very palpable want of uniformity. 
In the following we have it untranslated. “Children of Belial,” (Dt. 13: 
13;) “sons of Belial,” (Judg. 19: 22; 20: 13,) “daughter of Belial” (1 
Sam. 1: 16.) See also 1 Sam. 2: 12; 10: 27; 25: 17, 25; 30: 22. 2 Sam. 
20: 1; 23: 6. 1 K. 21: 10, 13. 2 Chron. 13: 7. The word is translated in 
the following passages, thus: Dt. 15: 9, “wicked heart,” for heart of Be¬ 
lial; 2 Sam. 22: 5, “ungodly men,” for men of Belial; Job 34: 18, “thou 
art wicked,” for thou art of Belial; Ps. 18: 4, “ungodly men,” for men of 
Belied; Ps. 41: 8, “an evil disease,” for a thing of Belial; also Ps. 101: 3; 
Prov. 6: 12, “a naughty person,” for aperson of Belial; 16: 27, an “un¬ 
godly man,” fora man of Belial; 19: 28, “an ungodly witness,” fora wit¬ 
ness of Belial; Neh. 1: 11, “a wicked counsellor,” fora Counsellor of Be¬ 
lial; 2: 1, “the wicked,” for Belial. The course of translation, which 
produced such a diversity and obscurity as the above passages exhibit, is 
unjustifiable. It betrays the absence of just views of the duties and aims 
of translators. Why the word Belial should be translated in some pas¬ 
sages, and left untranslated in others, is unaccountable on any other 
ground, than that, at the time the version was made, just views on the 
importance of giving the whole truth to the reader in the most explicit 
terms of his vernacular tongue, did not obtain, especially among the King’s 

In Ezek. 30: 6, 18, occurs, precisely the same expression in the Hebrew: 
yet the version has, as its translation in v. 6, “the pride of her power,” 
and in v. 18, “the pomp of her strength.” The original is precisely the 
■samein Gen. 41: 37: 20: 15: Dt. 23: 16. The rendering, in the version, 



in these three places respectively, is “good in the eyes of,” “it pleaseth thee” 
“it likctk him best.” The expression in the originals is precisely the same 
in Ex. 6: 8; Num. 14: 30; Dt. 32: 40. In the latter, the translation is, “to 
lift up the hand;” in the other two, it is, “to swear” I have confined my 
illustrations in proof of the want of uniformity in the renderings in our 
version to the Old Testament. But it would be easy to add copious illus¬ 
trations from the New Testament also. I have adduced enough, however, 
to sustain my proposition: that there is a want of just uniformity; and the 
conclusion is inevitable, that the precision and accuracy of the version is 
thereby impaired, and its value depreciated. 

In the ninth place, the version is wanting in discriminating accuracy on 
points of ellipsis. It requires the nicest judgment, in a translator, accu¬ 
rately to determine where his author really intends an ellipsis, and what 
word or words will fairly represent him. In regard to ellipses in the sa¬ 
cred text, it is obvious, that too high a degree of discrimination cannot be 
exercised. How much inaccuracy characterised the decisions of the trans¬ 
lators of King James in this particular is shown from the fact, as made 
public by Prof. Bush, that the American Bible Society discovered some 
years since, that during a revision made about 1638 those decisions were 
altered in one form or another in between “eight and ten thousand instan¬ 
ces.” On this point much remains yet to be accomplished. Notice the fol¬ 
lowing instances in proof: “The horse-leech hath two daughters, crying 
Give, Give,” (Prov. 30: 15.) There is here no intended ellipsis; and the 
word crying is wrongly inserted, and weakens the force of the language. 
The true reading is, “the horse-leech ha’h two daughters. Give, Give.— 
The two daughters are Give, Give. “Wealth gotten by vanity shall be di¬ 
minished, (Prov. 13: 11.) It should read, “Wealth is diminished by 
vanity. There is no ellipsis designed, and the insertion of the word “got¬ 
ten,” misleads the reader as to the sense. “The wicked boasteth of his 
heart’s desire and blesseth the covetous whom the Lord abhorreth, (Ps. 
10: 3.) According to the original it should read: “The wicked boasteth 
of his heart’s desire, and gaining—blesseth—despiseth Jehovah.” The 
sense of this passage our version does not give, and the word “whom” is 
entirely out of place. “But to sit on my right hand, and on my left hand 
is not mine to give, but it shall be giv:n to them for whom it is prepared,” 
(Mark 10: 40; Math. 20: 23.) As this verse reads in the version, it seems 
to throw a doubt upon the Saviour’s right to confer rewards. It ought to 
read, “But to sit on my right hand, and on my left hand is not mine to 
give, except to those for whom it is prepared;” a very different statement 
from that of the version. The supposition of an ellipsis misled the trans¬ 
lators; and the words which they have inserted mislead their readers.— 
‘Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul 
shall have no pleasure in him,” (Heb. 10: 38.) The words “any man ” 
are improperly inserted, first, because it is, to say the least, doubtful what 
the real subject of the verb, “draw back,” is; and, second, because their 
insertion commits the version to a disputed doctrinal point, which Anti- 
Calvinists reject. A common version should contain no human addition 
based on party sentiments. I say this as a Calvinist. Let the version, on 
disputed points, just represent the original, no more, no less. These spe¬ 
cimens must suffice. They are sufficient to show the importance of revis¬ 
ion, on this head, to the accuracy of the version. 



In the tenth place, the version fails in numerous instances to give the 
distinctive truth of the originals; while in others it makes unwarrantable 
additions. Let me invite attention first, to specimens of its indistinctness. 
The distinctive name, Jehovah occurs in the Hebrew in almost innumer¬ 
able places; yet in every place, except four , it is rendered by, “Lord,” 
which is by no means its equivalent. The word Adhonai, which also 
occurs very frequently, is rendered by, “Lord,” and very properly. But 
by adopting the same word as the representative of both, our version has 
lost sight of the distinction between them, which is real and important. 
The translators have also in some instances confounded in their transla¬ 
tion, Adhonai, Lord, with Adhoni, my Lord; see Numbers 14: 17; Ezra 
10: 3, where from the form of the word, the version would seem to be 
speaking of a human, rather than a divine being, as it is in the original. 
The name, “ the Jordan,” occurs in the original Scriptures near two hun¬ 
dred limes, and always has the article, except when in construction with a 
definite noun, (Num. 35: 1,) and in a few poetical passages (Ps. 42: 7, 
■Job 40: 23;) yet in the version, the rule seems to have been, contrary to 
ail usage and propriety, to conceal the article. Hence we have such read¬ 
ings as these in the version: “the plain of Jordan,” (Gen. 13: 11;) “ Jor¬ 
dan overfloweth,” (Josh. 3: 15;) “midst of Jordan,” (Josh. 4: 3;) “wa¬ 
ters of Jordan,” (4: 23;) “beyond Jordan,” (13: 8;) “on the other side 
Jordan,” (20: 8;) ‘‘over Jordan, ” (Jud. 10: 9;) “let us go to Jordan,” 
(2 K. 6: 2;) “were baptized of him in Jordan,” (Math. 3: 6;) “Then 
cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan to be baptized,” (3: 16.) In order 
to see the indefiniteness and impropriety of this method of translation; let 
us see how such a style would take in an American History, when speak¬ 
ing of our principal rivers: “I crossed Ohio;” “he went beyond Tennes¬ 
see;” “he settled this side of Kentucky;” “they were baptized in Missou¬ 
ri;” ‘Washington came from VirginiaJo Mississippi to be baptized;’ could 
such an anomaly of style, as this, be tolerated in any author ? Or would 
any human author permit a translation of his writings, which would attri¬ 
bute such a style to him ? If not, can it be pleasing to God to have the 
definite, inspired, original Scriptures so translated into English ? 

In Luke 18: 16, we read; “Suffer little children to come unto me.” 
The original requires it to read: “Suffer the little children to come” <fcc., 
which reveals an important difference in a passage relied on often in a cer¬ 
tain controversy. “Give me here John Baptist’s head in a charger,” (Mat. 
14: 18.) The original requires it to read; “Give me here the head of John 
the Baptist in a charger.” The version not only overlooks the definiteness 
of the original; but makes Mathew write John Baptist, as we would write 
John Davis, thus turning the inspired account into ridicule. “Even the 
spirit of truth,” (John 14: 17.) It should be, “even the spirit of the 
truth.” “When he, the Spirit of truth is come, he will guide you into all 
truth,” (John 16: 13.) Properly, “spirit of the truth * * * * 

guide you into all the truth.” According to the version these passages 
seem to speak of truth in general; the original speaks distinctively of the 
gospel truth, as distinguished from truth in general. 

Herod “slew all the clhildren that were in Bethlehem, and in all the 
coasts thereof,” (Mat. 2: 16.) According to the inspired text, he slew 
only all the male children. A marked difference as to the matter of fact. 



Does not this need revision "? God “spared not the old world, but saved 
Noe the eighth person,” (2 Pet. 2: 5.) The word rendered “eighth per¬ 
son” in the version, is idiomatic in the Greek, and imports that Noah was 
saved with seven others. The English phrase, the eighth person, does not 
convey that idea; and, therefore, does not fairly represent the original. 
“There shall be one fold and one shepherd’” (John 10: 16.) The version 
here favors the Catholic notion of an universal church. It ought to read; 
‘There shall be one flock and one shepherd,’ Teaching the oneness of Christ’s 
people; a sentiment materially different from that of the version. The ver¬ 
sion makes the Saviour use a tautology in the last chapter of John’s Gospel 
where he is represented as saying twice “ Feed my sheep.” According 
to the Greek it ought to read in the one case, “ Tend my sheep,” and in 
the other, “ Feed my sheep,” which shows an important and instructive 
difference, as was doubtless intended, but is lost to the English reader. 
The word “charity,” borrowed from Romish usage, frequently occurs in 
the version, where it should be “love” in every instance. In Acts 14: 12 
it reads: “They called Paul Mercurius.” According to the Greek, they 
called him Hermes. It is implied Acts 19: 37, that the Ephesians brought; 
Paul and his companions before an enraged multitude on charge of being 
robbers of churches,” but the heathen had no churches. Therefore the 
version conflicts with the fact of history. The original presents no diffi¬ 
culty however, which requires the version to read, “robbers of temples,” 
not “churches.” I could greatly add to this class of illustrative proofs of 
the want of distinctive fidelity on the part of the version; but I must for¬ 
bear, and make good the second part of my proposition viz: That the ver¬ 
sion makes, in some instances, most unwarrantable additions to the text, 
and sense of the originals. I have already called attention to the Episco¬ 
pal comments, “bishopric,” “office of al bishop,” instead of simply of¬ 
fice, or charge as the original requires; also to the word “Easter,” as a pal¬ 
pable party corruption of the text; I now invite attention to less accounta¬ 
ble, but not less reprehensible interferences with the purity and simplicity 
of God’s holy word. In 1 Sam. 10: 25; 2 Sam. 16: 16; 2 K. 11: 12; 2 
Ch. 23: 11, occurs the Hebrew phrase, Y’hhi hammelekh, which means 
simply: Let the King live! or May the King live! The Septuagent has Zeeto 
ho Baseleus. The Vulgate has vivat rex: both agreeing with the translation 
just given. The common version, however, has “God save the King.” 
There is nothing in the original to correspond with the term “God.” It 
is an irreverent, human addition. The expression, in the version, is the 
English National exclamation of loyalty - ! Its substitution, however cor¬ 
rupt, in the English Bible, for the pure word of God, may have been grate¬ 
ful to English taste, and to Kingly vanity: but it can never be proper, or 
pleasing to God. In the Turkish New Testament are such additions as 
these, “Lady Mary,” “His Majesty,” and “His Excellency Jesus;” but 
these are harmless in comparison with the corruption and irreverance of the 
translation in question. Surely the common version of republican America 
will not continue defaced by a palpable corruption, whose sole object has 
-ever been the flattery of English monarchs. The Anglo-American is enti¬ 
tled to the unadulterated word, which reads, “May the King live.” This, 
and this only, is the word of God. 

In numerous passages, both in the Old and New Testament, our vex- 



sion has the expression ‘‘ God forbid.’ The Hebrew word, which is thus 
rendered, is hhalila, an exclamation, which literally means, far be it, or 
may it not be. The New Testament Greek phrase, is mee genoito, which is 
the exact equivalent of the Hebrew word. They both mean simply, far 
be it, may it not be, by no means. In neither the Hebrew, Greek New 
Testament, Sep. nor Vulg., is there any thing to correspond with the word 
“God,” in the phrase, “ Gocl forbid,” in our version. The version does 
not represent the originals at all in this matter. It substitutes an Anglo- 
Saxon expression, used in familiar discourse, and which is founded in a fa¬ 
miliarity with the name of the Deity, involving gross profanity. The ex¬ 
pression, “God forbid,” is anything but the inspired truth; and, though 
found in our English Bible, is a violation of the third commandment.— 
The simple inspired, “far be it,” or “by no means,” may just as well be 
represented in our version, by “ Christ forbid,” “Spirit forbid,” “Heaven 
forbid,” or any other kindred phrase, as “God foi'bid.” All propriety of 
rendering is violated by the insertion of such unwarrantable human, I may 
say irrelevant additions to God’s inspired truth. If the Holy Spirit had 
intended the meaning “God forbid,” he could easily have directed the use 
of the Divine name in the originals. Let us not feign to be wiser than 
He. Let what He has inspired—fairly represented in our version—satisfy 
us; and let us neither add to nor take from. There are other phrases, such 
as, “ God speed,” “would to God,” equally unwarranted by the original, 
and to be equally condemned as misrepresentations of God’s mind, as giv¬ 
en by inspiration. Such liberties with the inspired record, as these addi¬ 
tions involve, are unworthy of Protestant Christianity. Let them be ex¬ 
punged'as spurious and irreverent. 

In the eleventh place, the version is impaired in many instances, on ac¬ 
count of a defective punctuation, which extends in some cases even to the 
originals. The punctuation forms no part of what is inspired. It is 
wholly a human device; but of vast importance in interpreting or transla¬ 
ting. Very much depends on the judgment with which it has been ap¬ 
plied in determining the sense of the rmpointed ancient MSS. of the text, as 
well as in expressing it in our version. Here too, as in many other cases, 
the system, as first applied, is but too apt to gain an authority not always 
favorable to the free investigation of the truth. Succeeding generations 
are too apt to walk in the paths of their predecessors in such matters, 
without daring or thinking of questioning them. Notwithstanding this 
strong tendency, however, the subject of punctuation has, from time to 
time, been sharing considerable attention; and wfith manifest advantage 
to the cause of sacred truth. The committee of the American Bible So¬ 
ciety have altered the curreat. punctuation of the version in several pas¬ 
sages, so as considerably to affect the sense. Truth required it. They 
might have greatly extended their labor in this branch. Other scholars 
have long anxiously labored on the original texts; and it is not unreason¬ 
able to believe that, in this respect, the texts which formed the basis of the 
present version near two and a half centuries ago, have, since then, received 
some important modifications, which will facilitate the clearer understand¬ 
ing of some of the obscure passages. Let me call attention to a few 
examples, which require modification for the sake of the English reader. 

In Ex. 12: 15, the Hebrew text is most unnaturally transposed as ren- 



dered in our version; and an obscure and somewhat different sense from 
that of the original is given. The proper arrangement, punctuation and 
reading is this: “Seven days shall ye eat unleavened bread, even the first 
day shall ye put away leaven out of your houses, (for whosoever eateth 
leavened bread, that soul shall be cut off from Israel) from the first day 
until the seventh.” (Comp Com. ver.) 

Ps. 9: 6, reads in the version thus: “Oh enemy, destructions are come 
to a perpetual end, and thou hast destroyed cities; their memorial is per¬ 
ished with them.” Here the address is evidently to the enemy, and it is 
he who is represented as triumphant. In the original it is Jehovah who is 
addressed, and the triumph is ascribed to Him. The verse should be ren¬ 
dered: “The enemy ! they are ended—desolations forever 1 and their cities 
thou hast destroyed—their very memory has perished.” This gives to 
the passage an entirely different sense. 

Isa. 53: 9, reads: “And he made his grave with the wicked, and with 
the rich in his death: because he had done no violence, neither was any 
deceit in his mouth.” It would seem from this language that the reason, 
why “he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death,”' 
was, that he “he had done no violence,” neither had “any deceit in his 
mouth.” The following rendering would more accurately and intelligibly 
convey the idea of the original: “His grave was appointed with the wicked, 
(but he was with the rich in his death) though he had done no violence, 
and deceit was not in his mouth.” 

John 7: 21, 22 reads: “I have done one work and ye all marvel. Mo¬ 
ses therefore gave unto you circumcision,” &c. This language seems to 
imply an intimate connection between their “marvel” at Christ’s miracle, 
and the giving of circumcision, as a Jewish ordinance. But this is absurd 
though the propriety of the existence of the word, therefore, on any other 
supposition or with any other force, is not easily seen. The true pointing 
in the original text, and the evidently designed sense, require the follow¬ 
ing order and translation in v. 21: “I have done one work and ye all 
marvel on account of it.” The twenty-second verse will then commence, 
“Moses gave unto you circumcision,” &c. Thus rendered, all confusion 
and obscurity vanish. 

2 Peter 1: 19, has been the subject of much difficulty with interpreters. 
It is difficult to perceive how the “day-star” can be said to rise in their 
hearts, and if some accommodated meaning could be attached to this ex¬ 
pression; the difficulty would still recur. How could they be urged to 
take heed to the “sure word of prophecy” till such a rising took place ? 
Inattention to punctuation is the probable source of the difficulty. The 
introduction of a parenthesis, as follows, would certainly remove it, and 
make the passage clear to the plainest mind. “We have a more sure 
word of prophecy, whereunto ye do well to take heed (as unto a light that 
shineth in a dark place, until the day-star arise,) in your hearts.” Bom. 
8: 20, would certainly be simplified by including in a parenthasis the 
words “not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same,” 
thus, “For the creation was made subject to vanity (not willingly, but by 
reason of him who hath subjected it) in hope; because the creation itself 
also,” cfec. 

Bom. 9: 1—3, has always been a passage of felt difficulty. It seems, as 



it stands in the version, and in the older printed Greek texts, to teach that 
Paul actually wished to be accursed from Christ for his brethren; at leas :, 
that he would willingly be accursed from him, if it could be so, and good 
would accrue to them. The Holy Spirit, even, seems to be represented 
as witnessing to the actual existence of this self-sacrificing or rather blas¬ 
phemous state of mind. By putting the words “for I have wished or did 
wish myself to be accursed from Christ,” as the original ought to be ren¬ 
dered, into a parenthesis, the whole face of the passage looms up with 
transparency, intelligent earnestness, and consistency. Thus: “I say the 
truth in Christ, and lie not, my conscience also bearing me witness in the 
Holy Spirit, that I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart 
(for I have wished my own self to be accursed from Christ,) for my breth¬ 
ren, my kinsman Recording to the flesh.” Thus, the passage represents 
the Apostle as realizing the awful condition of his Jewish brethren, as the 
enemies of Christ, by-recalling the desperate condition of his own former 
state, one which he now looks upon as accursed from Christ; and viewing 
them thus, he appeals to the Holy Spirit to witness that he had great heav¬ 
iness andcontinual sorrow of heart for them. This is all natural, clear, ear¬ 
nest, instructive. I have followed the very best authorities in these sug¬ 
gestions, but my space will not permit me to name them. 

This would be the proper place tc notice the injury, which has been done 
to the sense in many parts of Scripture, by the very injudicious man¬ 
ner in which the division of the text into chapters and verses has been ef¬ 
fected. The credit of the present arrangement has long been given ro 
Robert Stephens, the celebrated Bible printer—though his claim to it is 
very doubtful—who, as his son Henry boasts, made it— in equitando—on 
horse-back; an intimation which well agrees with the character of the ser¬ 
vice. A revision on this head, however, would now be very difficult, 
owing to the existence of so many Concordances, and other works with 
references. Still, could it be effected, it is in itself a great desideratum. 

In the twelfth place, the present version contains several instances of 
contradiction. Some of them originating in the translation, and some in 
manifest corruptions of the original texts. Take the following as speci¬ 
mens : 

2 Sam. 8: 4; “And David took from him a thousand chariots, and seven 
hundred horsemen, and twenty thousand footmen,” <fcc. In the account 
of the same matter of fact in 1 Chron-. 18: 4, we read, “And David took 
from him a thousand chariots, and seven thousand horsemen, and twenty 
thousand footmen,” &c. In the one passage, David is said to have taken 
seven thousand horsemen from Hadadezer, in the other seven hundred. 
Both statements cannot be true; for both refer to the same fact. The con¬ 
tradiction has occurred plainly by the careless mistake of some transcriber 
of the Hebrew text, who mistook zazin with two dots over it-—the Ma- 
soretic representative of 7000, for nun final, the representative of 700.— 
The two letters are so much alike, that the mistake is a very natural one. 
Critics generally allow the account in Samuel to be the correct one. 2 K. 
8: 26, states that Ahaziah was “two and twe'niy years old when he began 
to reign.” 2 Chron. 22: 2, says expressly that he was “forty and two 
years old when he began to reign.” There is here a plain difference of 
'20 years. The letter mem, which represents 40, has been substituted in 



Chronicles by some carelessness, for Tcaph which somewhat resembles it, 
and whose numerical power is 20. This correction, now generally agreed 
upon, should be made, and the unnecessary blemish removed. The pres¬ 
ent reading in Acts 13: 20, is ii-reconcilable with the chronology of the 
Old Testament, as indicated 1 K. 6: 1. Instead of turning their attention 
to the punctuation of the passage, critics, especially chronologists, have 
until recently, indulged in the most vague theories and conjectures with a 
view to the solution of the difficulty. The passage in Acts, ought to read, 
‘■And when he had destroyed seven nations in the land of Canaan, he 
divided their land to them by lot about the space of four hundred and fifty 
years; and after this he gave them judges until Samuel the prophet.”— 
Thus punctuated and arranged there is no discrepancy expressed or invol¬ 
ved between it and 1 Kings 6: 1. See Lachmann’s Greek Text. 2 
K. 23: 30 says, that Josiah was taken dead from Megiddo to Jerusalem by 
his servants. But 2 Chron. 35: 24, shows that he died after reaching Je¬ 
rusalem. The contradiction originates in this case in the translation. The 
former passage should have been rendered dying instead of dead. The 
import would then be, that fie was taken from Megiddo in a dying state, 
and no contradiction would exist. In Num. 22: 5, Balaam is said to be 
the “son of Beor.” But in 2 Peter 2: 15, he is called “the son of Bosov." 
The contradiction is palpable, and is unquestionably attributable to the 
translators; for the words, “the son, %in Peter, have nothing to correspond 
to them in the Greek. In the version they are in Italics, and were inserted 
to supply a srtpposed ellipsis; but no ellipsis exists. The original is sim¬ 
ply, “following,the way of Balaam of Bosor ,”—not Balaam “the son of 
Bosor,” as the version has it. Balaam was “the son of Beor” (as Moses 
has it) of the city Pethor in Mesopotamia. This city the Syrians, after¬ 
wards called Bosor. And Peter simply intimates that Balaam belonged to 
the city Bosor. No contradiction, therefore, exists, except in the inaccu¬ 
racy of the version. 

I had intended to specify samples of grammatical defects; also, to de¬ 
vote some space to the consideration of passages, which seem, in the ver¬ 
sion to impute to God a direct agency in the production of sinful states of 
the human mind, (Ex. 4: 21; 9: 12,) and for unworthy ends (Ex. 9: 16;) 
also to the consideration of such as teach or seem to sanction dishonesty, 
(Ex. 3: 22; 11:2; 12: 35;) and particularly to the consideration of such 
passages as seem to breathe a spirit of vindictive imprecation, (Ps. 55: 
15; 59: 13-15; 69: 22-28; 2 Tim. 4: 14;) but the length to which I have 
already taxed your patience forbids my taking them up. Suffice it to say 
that the first sets of passages, under a judicious revision, will be entirely 
relieved of the incongruities, which they now seem to involve; and that 
the last set, those which contain imprecations, may be modified, some (Ps. 
55: 15,) perhaps entirely freed from the seeming obnoxiousness. It should 
be distinctly understood, however, that no proper revision will entirely re¬ 
move this—to many—unwelcome feature. It forms an incidental part of 
the economy of redemption, and is inseparable from its inspired history. 
When it is taken into account that such utterances are inspired, therefore 
not human; that they are the utterances of God himself, they assume an as¬ 
pect of fitness and propriety, which we are apt to deny them, when over¬ 
looking their true source. 



I have now spread before you an outline—an imperfect outline, I admit 
—of the real and apparent defects of the common version. I have en¬ 
deavored fairly to represent the facts as they seem to me to exist, without 
wishing to exaggerate or diminish their number or importance. I have 
felt the force of no motive to do otherwise. I too sincerely love inspired 
truth to aim, in this enterprise, for anything, hut its advancement. I love 
all that is exact and excellent in our version and there is much; but I feel 
no inclination to love or cleave to its defects. I would feel for it somewhat 
as I would for my own body were I conscious of the existence of impair¬ 
ing symptoms of disease, I would remove them if possible. I would love 
my body whether somewhat diseased or not, nor would I throw it away; 
but I would love and enjoy it better, f reed from all its threatening symp¬ 
toms. I love the version as it is; but I know that I would love it more as 
it should be. I will not throw it aside; but I will most assiduously labor 
for its perfection. 



Mr. President:—I rise to offer the following resolution: 

Resolved, That the history of revisions fully justifies us in making an 
effort to procure a faithful and perspicuous version of the English Scriptures. 

It is admitted by all, calling themselves Christians, that the Scriptures, 
as delivered in the original Hebrew and Greek, are the Word of God— 
that they contain truth without mixture of error—that they are a communi¬ 
cation from God to man, and that their end is the salvation of the soul. 
To these admitted truths we add and believe, that all the truths contained 
in the original tongues, can be translated into the English language in 
such a manner, that the first ideas suggested to the reader shall be the 
true meaning of the words in the original. If this last article of our belief is 
true, we need no other motive to impel us forward in the work of revision; 
for, even our opponents being judges, many words in the common version 
convey ideas the very reverse of the true meaning of the originals, or no 
meaning at all. On the history of versions of the English Scriptures, prior 
to the issue of the common version, I design to be brief. The whole subject 
has of late been fully canvassed and ably discussed. The result of these 
investigations has been given to the world. I here remark that we should 
not wonder at opposition. It is no matter of surprise. Every attempt to 
make the original Scriptures speak their own truths in a living language, has 



met with decided opposition. Every inch of ground has been contested. 
When Wickliffe attempted to remove the veil, which shut out the light 
of God’s truth from the minds of his countrymen, he excited the opposi¬ 
tion of the existing powers, both spiritual and temporal. The Church, 
alike opposed to the right of private judgment and the freedom of the 
human mind, had for ages kept her eye fixed upon the very book he had 
determined to unveil to his nation. So far as the canons of the Church 
could effect it, that book was forever sealed from vulgar eyes. No sooner 
was his object known than the cry of heresy — that most fearful of all 
sounds in those dark ages—arose from every quarter. He had defied the 
Church. But in face of all opposition Wickliffe went forward with his work, 
and about the year 1330 completed it; and, feeling that God approved, gave 
the first copy of the English Scriptures to his nation and to the world. All 
lovers of trnth honor Wickliffe for his efforts in the cause of the Bible. -And 
no doubt bis record on high is, He hath done what he could. But Wick- 
iiffe’s translation could not Ion" retain its standing. A new translation must 
supersede it. Wickliffe, though an extraordinary man and a good Latin 
scholar, knew nothing of the original languages of the Bible. He drew 
from an impure fountain. His was but the translation of a translation, the 
Latin vulgate being the basis of his Bible. 

Wicklilfe’s translation appeared just before the dawn of the revival of clas¬ 
sical literature in Europe, when the original fountains were thrown open and 
men invited to drink freely. The Turks had for a long period been sapping 
the foundations of the Eastern Empire, and the first half of the fifteenth 
century was marked by the influx of many learned Greeks, they having fled 
from their own empire now tottering to its fall. These masters of Grecian 
literature, bringing their classical stores with them, settled in the West, and 
especially in Italy. They were welcomed and patronized by popes, princes 
and nobles. Italians devoted their lives to these studies. Their fame 
soon spread throughout Europe, and multitudes flocked to Italy that they 
might share in those pure streams of knowledge which welled up before 
their enchanted vision. These scholars returned and diffused among their 
countrymen a taste for Grecian literature. In 1440 the art of printing 
was invented, which changed the whole system of book making. Copies 
of tlie classics were multiplied as the leaves of the forest, and eagerly 
sought by the scholars of that period. Europe seemed as if aroused from 
the sleep of ages. But especially did the nations, groaning beneath the load 
of superstitious rites which was pressing them to the earth, thirst for 
the waters of life. This is seen in the fact that, though the discovery of 
a manuscript was regarded almost as the conquest of a kingdom, yet the 
Bible was the first book printed on moveable, metallic types. Before the 
close of this century the Latin Bible had passed through twenty editions. 
Neither was the Hebrew neglected. 

Besides portions of the Bible previously printed, the whole was struck o!T 
in Hebrew in 1488. In eleven years from that time, not fewer than four 
editions of the Hebrew Bible were published, which immediately disap¬ 
peared, so great was the interest awakened for Hebrew learning. This 



increased and increasing: light must have shown that the translation of Wick- 
liffe was corrupt and notanswerable to the truth of the original, and that a 
new tra nslation was demanded. Besides, as any one may see by comparison, 
the English language had, during the fifteenth century, undergone a 
very great change, so that even on that account anew translation would have 
been necessary. Among that cluster of bright stars, which adorned the 
literary firmament of Europe in the first half of the sixteenth century, shone 
William Tvndal. As early as A. D. 1319, Wolsey had established 
chairs of Rhetoric, Latin and Greek in the University of Oxford, with 
ample salaries. During this year, Henry the Eighth transmitted to the 
University a royal mandate, commanding that the study of the Scriptures in 
the original languages should not only be permitted, but received as a 
branch of academical instruction. This was the very period in which 
Tyndal was preparing for his great work. Of the use he made of those 
golden moments, we have ample proof. The historian of the Bible says, 
“The incontrovertible proof of Tyndal’s erudition, whether as a Greek or 
Hebrew scholar, is to be found in the present version of our Bible as read 
by millions.” 

His New Testament was published A. D. 1326, and the Pentateuch, A. 
D. 1530. In speaking of the opposition made to his translation of the 
Scriptures, these are his reflections: “A thousand books had they rather to 
be put forth against their abominable doings and doctrines, than that the 
Scripture should come to light. For as long as they may keep that down, 
they will so darken the right way with the mist of their sophistry, and so 
tangle them, that either rebuke or despise their abominations, with argu¬ 
ments of philosophy and with worldly similitudes and with apparant reasons 
of natural wisdom; and with wresting the Scriptures to their own purpose, 
clean contrary to the process, order and meaning of the text; and so delude 
them in descanting upon it with allegoiies; and amase them, expounding 
it in many senses before the unlearned lay people (when it hath but one 
simple, literal sense, whose light the owls cannot abide,) that though thou 
feel in thine heart an dart sure, now that all is false that they say, yet 
thou couldst not solve their subtile riddles. Which only thing hath moved 
me to translate the New Testament. Because I had proved by experience, 
how that it was impossible to establish the lay people in any truth, except the 
Scriptures were plainly laid before their eyes in their mother tongue, that 
they might see the process, order and meaning of the text; for else whatsoever 
truth is taught them, these enemies of all truth quench it again, partly with 
the smoke of their bottomless pit, that is, with apparent reasons of sophis¬ 
try and traditions of their own making; and partly in juggling with the 
text, expounding it in such a sense as is impossible to gather of the text 
itself.” This language was uttered in the sixteenth century, and adapted 
to the latitude and longitude of Europe, but it is well suited to the nineteenth, 
and to the latitude and longitude of the United States. This translation, 
though five times derived, was not free from imperfections. It bears evident 
marks of the Latin vulgate. “Tunstall, Bishop of Durham, detected, as he 
affirmed, over two thousand depravations and perversions.” This, however. 



was a small number, as we shall see, compared with the imperfections which 
have been found in the common version. Tyndal’s version was followed 
by Coverdale’s Bible, A. D. 1535, an inferior work. Matthew’s Bible, so 
called, was published A. D. 1537, made up from Coverdale’s and Tyndal’s. 
A. D. 1539 appeared Cranmer’s Bible, as an authorized version. The 
Geneva Bible was published, the New Testament A. D. 1557, and the Old 
Testament, A. D. 1560. The Bishop’s Bible appeared A. D. 1568, as a 
second authorized version. Thus we see that in the space of forty years 
six different versions of the English Bible were published. The cause which 
produced this rapid succession of versions was, doubtless, the feeling that the 
translation ought to be made more consonant to the truth of the original. I 
have not thought fit to. dwell upon the history of these several versions, 
because they do not bear the impress of any great improvement upon Tyn¬ 
dal’s version, while they copy his imperfections. A. D. 1603, James YI. 
of Scotland, succeeded to the English throne as James I„ At the Hampton 
Court conference, held Jan. 1604, “Dr. John Reynolds, a man eminent 
for his learning, moved his Majesty that there might be a new translation of 
the Bible,” assigning as a reason, “that those which were allowed in the 
reigns of king Henry VIII. and Edward YI. were corrupt, and not answer- 
able to the truth of the original.” The Bibles chiefly used were the Bishop’s 
read in the churches, and the Geneva version used in private families. 
Neither of these versions was yet fifty years old. But theywere corrupt—did 
not convey the mind of the spirit, and hence those learned men, the like of 
whom the world ne’er saw before, nor e’er shall see their like again, 
thought it their duty to remove those imperfections or corruptions from the 
Scriptures, “that the people might have a version that could not be justly 
excepted against.” Whereupon the king expressed a wish, that special 
pains should be taken for a uniform translation. It was understood that last 
of all the new translation was to be ratified by the royal authority, and so 
the whole Church be bound to this translation and not to use any other. 
The translation was to be as consonant as possible to the original Hebrew 
and Greek. This rule was, however, rendered null by another which 
required them to retain the old ecclesiastical words. UDder these circum¬ 
stances the translators commenced their work, and after the lapse of more 
than three years, produced their first draught. This having passed the 
ordeal of two sub-committees, and having received the royal sanction, was, 
printed and published, A. D. 1611. The translators say in their preface, 
“We never thought from the beginning that we should need to make a new 
translation, nor yet of a bad one to make a good one, but to make a good 
one better.” Such was the origin of the common English version, which 
the most eminent biblical scholars, such men as Selden, and Geddes, and 
Walton, and Owen, and a host of others, have pronounced the best version 
the world ever saw. Each successive age, as scholarship has ripened, has 
repeated the same. 

Our opponents are loudest in their praises of the common version. Do 
they suppose that they can excite an ill feeling in the bosom ot any friend 
of version, by any eulogium which they may pronounce upon the common 


version of the Bible? In the language of the address of the American Bible 
Union: “We love the Bible. No language can express the intensity of our 
affection. But we consider a translation to be the Bible only so far as it 
is a transcript of the mind of God as conveyed in the inspired Hebrew and 
Greek. W T e love the English Bible.” Our love for the Bible is the sole cause 
of the present movement. It has brought us from our homes and avocations, 
that we may stir up each other’s minds in this good work, and devise the 
best means of bringing it to a successful issue. If the immortal John 
Reynolds could re-visit his native land, he would, I doubt not, move her 
Majesty, that there might be a new translation of the Scriptures, and 
that he would assign as a reason: Because that version, which was allowed 
in the reign of James I. was corrupt and not answerable to the truth of the 
original Hebrew and Greek. The reasons for this revision movement are 
seen in the history of the common version. The language, in which this 
version is published, has greatly changed. This is the fate of all living 
languages, a fact which not only renders a revision necessary at the present 
time, but will call for a revision hereafter, so long as a living language is the 
medium of communication. An inspired copy of the English Bible in the 
language of 1600 would call for a revision in 1850, unless God had stereo¬ 
typed the English language, as to its grammar and construction—its orthog¬ 
raphy and the meaning of the words. It is now nearly two hundred and fifty 
years since the meeting of the Hampton Court Conference. In the meet¬ 
ing at which Dr. Reynolds made his motion, the historian of the Bible says: 
“To which motion there was no gain-saying at present; the objections being 
trivial,'old, already in print and often refuted. Only my Lord of London, 
Bancroft, well added. That if every man’s humor was to be followed there 
would be no end of translating.” That which Bancroft feared has come 
upon us. There is no end of translating. And why? The Scriptures are 
marred by obscurities, partly owing to errors in translating, and partly to 
changes in the language. The following, among other reasons, we assign, 
why we are fully justified in making an effort to procure a faithful and per¬ 
spicuous version ot the English Scriptures: 

I. The infidel has pointed his bitterest shafts against its errors in translation 
and chronology. He has branded God’s best gift to man as priest-craft 
and a lie. This is known to every well informed man. What has been the 
result? On the one band, thousands have been drawn into the meshes of 
their sophistry and have perished. Thousands more are entangled and are 
on their way to perdition. Love for the souls of our fellow men demands 
that we should wrest this weapon of destruction from the hands of infidels. 
On the other hand, no friend of the Bible has attempted to controvert the 
positions of the infidel, till he first prepared for himself a stand-point in a 
revised version. But though the infidel thus treats the Bible, it may well say, 
“Save me from my professed friends, who so bitterly oppose the removal 
of those errors and blemishes, which expose me to the shaft of infidelity.” 

II. Those very men, who have pronounced the highest eulogiums upon 
the common version, have most emphatically expressed their conviction that 
it needed a revision. During the last hundred years, such men as McKnight, 



Geo. Campbell, Wesley, Doddridge, Clark, Lowtb, and our own Stuart, 
Alexander and Barnes, with a multitude of others, have been pointing out 
these errors. Not a commentator upon the English Scriptures, but has felt 
it to be his duty to alter and amend the common version. The late Prof. 
Stuart, in his new version cf the Romans, has corrected fifteen out of every 
sixteen verses. Barnes has done much the same in his new translation of 
the prophecies of Isaiah. Others have made similar corrections. These are 
but specimens. These men are voluminous writers upon the Scriptures. If 
the common versions are so very free from errors and imperfections, our op¬ 
ponents ought, in consistency, to gather up these commentaries—to preach a 
crusade throughout English Christendom, and, holding up these new versions 
to the gaze of the multitude, to call upon them to see “what rents their im¬ 
pious hands have made.” But no; not a man has raised his voice against 
them. Even our bitterest opponents eagerly purchase and cheerfully recom¬ 
mend them. Our reviews are swollen with critiques and encomiums upon 
these learned men and their works. 

III. The American Bible Society, composed of different denominations, 
in 1347 appointed a committee to collate (which is, being interpreted, revise ,) 
the English Scriptures. This committee, having labored more than three 
years upon the common version, reported the correction of nearly twenty- 
four thousand errors of greater or less magnitude. That Society has issued 
an amended version, from which they have removed twenty-four thousand 
errors. What ruin would have ensued, if we had done the same thing. The 
Baptist denomination would have been annihilated! Yet that Society con¬ 
fesses, that even all known errors have not been removed. The principles of 
revision which they adopted forbade it. This furnishes a strong reason why 
.hose, who are not troubled with such principles, should engage in the work. 

IV. But this is not all. In the words of an eloquent advocate of a pure 
version, though speaking upon a different subject: “Men, who would not be 
permitted to lay a shoulder of mutton on God’s ancient altar, feel authorized 
to carve and mangle the word of God from week to week. The scattered 
members whiten all the plains of Christendom. Such dabbling tends to throw 
discredit upon the truth of the Scriptures; and were it not, that the eternal 
years of God are hers, long since the Bible must have sunk into utter oblivion, 
or have been remembered only as an old book upon which every theological 
quack bad tried his scalpel. This furnishes a still stronger reason why the 
work of revision should be carried forward. 

> V. The common English version, following the footsteps of the English 
language in its journey round the world, is meeting in its course the trans¬ 
lations of our missionaries in heathen lands. One such meeting has taken 
place. These two versions met in the palace of the king of Siam, both 
claiming to be, and both declared, by the missionaries, to be the word of the 
everliving God, and yet they contradict each other. This King is said to be 

an, intelligent man and well versed in the English language. In such a 
case would he not reason thus: “Both of these versions cannot be the Word 
of God; for they contradict each other. One must be false and both may 

be. The same men have brought us both of these versions and assert that 



both are true.” Under such circumstances the mind of the king must- lose 
confidence, either in the woi'd of God, or the missionary, or in both. Either 
of which would be most disastrous to the cause of truth. This simple inci¬ 
dent may arouse the prejudices of the king and cause him to shut up his 
mind, and his kingdom, as far as in him lies, against truth, virtue and 
Christianity. This will not remain an isolated case. Such instances must 
often occur; and eternity alone can tell the evil. consequences. But apart 
from the evil results, which must happen to the onward progress of christian- 
ty in heathen lands, consistency, honesty and truth, all demand, in the 
name of heaven’s insulted King, that such imperfections should be removed 
from the common version. This furnishes the strongest possible reason, why 
this work of revision should be brought to as speedy a consummation as the 
magnitude and importance of the work will permit. This is a work of neces¬ 
sity and mercy. We should have supposed that every friend of the Bible 
would have promptly responded to the call for a revised version of the Eng¬ 
lish Bible. But the American Bible Society had said, It is not in me. They 
have told us plainly, that they have done what they could, though they have 
left known errors to deface it Their principles forbid them to go any farther. 
The American and Foreign Bible Society have said. It is not in me. Why do 
they make this reply? Is it because they see no imperfection in the common 
version? No—far other wise. But, say they, “it is foreign to our principles— 
there is danger of violating our principles, and our principles do n<3t require it 
of us as a duty.” Such priuciples we do not understand. They separated 
themselves from the American Bible Society, because that Society refused to aid 
in the circulation of honest versions among the heathen. They were willing 
to circulate an imperfect version among those who speak the English longue, 
even where it contained twenty-four thousand more errors that the revised 
version of A. B. Society. But have they no fixed principles? Yes, verily. 
It seems to be a well established principle with them to offer the bitterest 
opposition to those whose principles lead them to this work as their highest 
duty to God and their fellow-men. It seems also to be a fixed principle 
with the A. and F. B. Society, to circulate imperfect and ambiguous ver¬ 
sions of the Bible among those who speak the English language. “The 
very head and front of our offending” seems to be that we wish to give a pure 
version of the Word of God to those who speak the English tongue—that we 
are desirous to place them, in this respect, on the same footing with the Hin¬ 
doo and the Hottentot. 

But it is said, “The work is vain, because 'perfection cannot be attained.” 
As well might we say, because we cannot banish all sin from the world and 
convert every man into an angel, therefore we will do nothing to ameliorate 
the condition of our fellow men. This objection, carried out to its legitimate 
results, would disband all our benevolent societies, call home all our mission¬ 
aries, vacate our pulpits, close our Sabbath schools, stop our printing press¬ 
es, unnerve every arm, write J.chabod upon our free institutions, and seal 
over the human family to the blackness of darkness forever. It is also object¬ 
ed, “that the application of our principle, carried to its legitimate results, 
would justify the British and Foreign Bible Society in the attempt to trans- 



late the New Testament into the corrupted, mongrel negro dialect of the 
West Indies, with all its characteristic violations of grammar, orthography 
and construction.” This objection seems to suppose that the first act of the 
missionary is to print the Bible in the language of the heathen just as he finds 
it; then circulate it, and the work is done. I had supposed that schools, 
spelling books and dictionaries preceded the circulation of the Bible. That, 
while the future translator was acquiring the language and translating the 
Bible, the youth and children were learning to speak and read their own dia¬ 
lect correctly. But suppose they do speak a mongrel dialect, disfigured by 
violations in grammar, orthography and construction, and that they can be 
taught no other. What shall we do? Let them perish in their sins or 
give them the Word of Life in a corrupted, mongrel dialect? Why, let them 
perish of course. The Bible must speak in accordance with all the rules 
of grammar, orthography and construction, save when it speaks in the English 
tongue. Iii which case it matters not. Our opponents suppose that all 
our anxiety and zeal has respect to that old English word Baptize; hence, 
in the plenitude of their love they have prescribed two infallible remedies, 
either of which will make the word mean just what we wish. “All that 
is requisite is simply to use the term in such a manner as not to leave on 
the minds of those whom we address the impression that we admit any¬ 
thing to be really baptism, but immersion.” The advice seems to be this, 
that if the clergy follow this prescription carefully, the laity, poor simple souls, 
will never suspect that the word baptize is equivocal—such a prescription 
smells strongly of the dark ages and is worthy of a Gregory IX. This doc¬ 
tor tells us here that baptism is equivalent to immersion. In another pre¬ 
scription he tells us immersion is not equivalent to baptism. Verily the 
legs of the lame are not equal. There is however another remedy quite as 
potent as the last and from the same mint. “Insist upon the old mean¬ 
ing of the word baptize, and the time will soon come when its ancient use 
will be its only recognized use.” Well, this world has produced some 
very great men! Xerxes, King of Persia, was one of these great men. 
When about to invade Greece he ordered a bridge of boats to be thrown 
across the Hellespont. After the bridge was completed the angry waves, 
not having the fear of this very great king before them, destroyed the bridge. 
Xerxes was so enraged that he gave orders that the strait should be scourg¬ 
ed and a set of fetters cast into it. The remedy proposed is a second 
attempi to fetter the Hellespont and would prove about as successful. I have 
alluded to these objections and remedies merely to show their weakness and 
futility. In every light in which this subject can be viewed, with all the 
objections before us, we are but the more deeply impressed with the con¬ 
viction, that the history of revisions fully justified us in making an effort 
to procure a faithful and perspicuous version of the English Scriptures. 




Mr. President:— It is to me, sir, a matter of great joy that I am per- 
mitted to stand side by side, to-day, with so many devoted and eminent 
men of the great South and South-west, on the impregnable platform, and in 
the noble advocacy of faithful versions of the word of God for all men. 
And that joy is not a little augmented in the consideration that, so far as 
the adoption of the great principle for which we contend, is concerned, 
those men are not the votaries of a new and ill-digested scheme. Far from, 
being frenzied in first love, or blinded by inconsiderate enthusiasm—far 
from rushing into an unmeasured chimera, or a flippant abstraction—they 
are the deliberate advocates of a long cherished and heartfelt truth — 
namely, that God as God, has a right to speak in his own words; and that 
man as man, has a right to read in his own tongue, the wonderful words ■ 
and works of his Maker. 

For the application of this apostolic principle, some of these fathers and 
brethren have long hoped, and prayed, and plead. After counting well 
the cost, they have consecrated the powers of their minds, the recources 
of their learning, their worldly goods, and their hallowed influence, to a 
determined warfare upon the autocratic dictations of tradition, and a life 
and death struggle for unobscured truth. Notwithstanding the vascillation 
to which men are subjected, and the changes which they indulge, not only 
from questionable motives and local contingencies, but also from oft-repeat¬ 
ed tests of assumed truths, in the crucibles of loss, and logic, and experi 
ence, sometimes heated to an intensity seven times hotter than their accus¬ 
tomed action—J say despite of all this, I find the same men who planted 
themselves on this rock in 1838, with “ The Bible Translated,” inscribed 
upon their banner, still ready, if need be, to die at the flag-staff. There¬ 
fore, while I may indulge in self-congratulation on the happiness of being 
with you to-day, allow me, sir, to congratulate yourself and your venerable 
coadjutors, on the unswerving steadfastness you have ever maintained to 
this heaven-born principle, and the brightening prospect that your fidelity 
will not, after all, lose its reward. 

On the 4th of March, 1838, certain friends of untrammelled truth, met 
at Talbotton, in the State of Georgia, and formed a Bible Society auxiliary to 
the American and Foreign Bible Society. After solemn prayer and de¬ 
liberation, that body unanimously 

“ Resolved , That we approve of the resolution of the American and For¬ 
eign Bible Society, to give to all nations, the pure word of God, without 
addition or diminution, alteration or concealment of one of God’s words.” 




Rev. William Carey Crane, your present able Secretary, was also ap¬ 
pointed a delegate to the State Convention of Georgia, to enlist its energies 
in this holy work. 

The same year, an auxiliary Society in Louisiana made the same avowal, 
and in February, a voice from this very State of Tennessee, was heard 
cheering on the parent Society in these words—“The Baptists here be¬ 
lieve that the word baptizo means lo dip, to plunge, to immerse; and that it 
should be so explained, in all lands wherever the Bible is read.” 

September of the same year furnished a declaration from several Baptist 
Associations in Ohio, that they “highly approved of the American and For¬ 
eign Bible Society, for the purpose of giving entire, and without restriction or 
limitation, the oracles of God to the whole population of the Globe, in every 
language under heaven, faithfully translated, and as soon as circumstances 
in God’s providence will permit.” 

Michigan said by her State Convention, during the same month, that she 
desired the Society to “be left untrammelled by anything in the Constitution, 
in giving the whole Bible to the whole WORLD.” 

By way of endorsement of all these statements, the Baptists of Arkansas; 

“Resolved, That we correspond by letter, with the American and For¬ 
eign Bible Society, and we unanimously agree to request said Society, (as 
far as their means will permit) to furnish these United States, as well as 
other nations, with a pure translation from the original Hebrew and Greek, 
of the Holy Scriptures.” 

The Baptists of Arkansas favorable to missions, have but one voice on this 
momentous subject. They believe the time has fully come, and that eternal 
truth speaks to the denomination in language not to be disregarded, that 
the world, yea! the “whole world, should have a literal translation of the 

To these, and other like communications, the Board responded as “greatly 
encouraged,” And, sir, you who passed these resolutions were greatly 
encouraged too. Flor was it until the parent society 

“Resolved , That it is not the province and duty of the American and 
Foreign Bible Society to attempt on their own part, or to procure from oth¬ 
ers, a revision of the commonly received English version of the sacred 
Scriptures,” which version is palpably unfaithful, if so be, that the Asiatic 
versions which they patronize are found faithful before God—it was not until 
this inconsistency was adopted that your expectations failed. Then, sir, 
sorrow and fear took hold upon you, You wept because truth had fallen 
in the streets, and consistency was immolated as a new victim on the bloody 
altar of expediency and tradition. 

But we hail you this day in behalf of the American Bible Union, whose 
interest we have the honor to represent in this body, upon a revival of your 
hopes, and bid you lift up your heads, for the redemption of the living 
word draws nigh, and is even at the doors; and ye who went forth weep¬ 
ing, bearing precious seed, so many years ago, shall doublless come again 
with joy, bringing your sheaves with you. You fathers, have long waited 
for that redemption, and it shall come to pass, that as you press to your 



hearts the precious treasure, and turn your faces Zion-ward, you shall take 
up this song in your closing pilgrimage, “My soul doth magnify the Loid, 
and my spirit doth rejoice in God my Saviour. Now Lord lettest thou 
thy servant depart in peace, for mine eyes have seen thy salvation.” 

Excuse these preliminary remarks, and permit me, sir, to offer the fol¬ 
lowing as the last resolution, of this memorable Convention: 

Resolved, That in this effort to procure a pure version of the sacred 
Scriptures in the English tongue, we discover a work eminently worthy 
of the exalted aspirations of the human mind; and of the vigilant Eye which 
has preserved the Text in unadulterated purity unto this day—and as an 
efficient agency in accomplishing the holy purpose of the Father, in the 
establishment of Christ’s Kingdom on the earth, such versions must at once 
invoke the unqualified approval of the human conscience, and reflect bound¬ 
less honor upon the infinite Inspirer himself; by extorting from individual 
and universal humanity, the undisguised confession, “Thy word is very 
pure,” and from every regenerate heart, the grateful response “therefore thy 
servant loveth it.” 

You will observe, sir, that the first clause of this resolution contemplates 
the objects of this Convention, as worthy of the noblest aspirations of the 
human mind. And here, I need not descant upon the marvelousness of 
those aspirations—-in their complexity—in their vigor—in their conquests. 
You know well, how the mind is capable of comprehending the visible, and 
compassing the invisible. You recognize its profound powers of analysis and 
invention—its mighty energies to reason and decide—and its passion for 
ransacking every labyrinth of wisdom, under the sun, subject to no code of 
laws but its own, which are as arbitrary and unalterable as those of the 
Medes and Persians. You ken its multiplied capacities, and capabilities, and 
elevated reachings. You discover that in its estimation, the mists of dark¬ 
ness are all one with the floods of light—restraint is all one with boundless 
freedom to range in unexplored domains—and the cubical dimensions of an 
atom, are all one with the unmeasured expanse of the universe. It shames, 
it scorns, to be cloistered in the habitations of man—in the chambers of 
purity:—and summoning its expansive understanding—its profound emo¬ 
tions—its acute sensibilities into a self-created fellowship, it spreads its pin¬ 
ions to outstrip the sun, and soar to seek riper intimacies, and grander 
demonstrations of truth, in sympathy with the impulses of Infinite mind. 
Thus, entering into audience with Omniscience, the aspiring mind rises 
above all mere forms of thought, and systems of philosophy, to receive the 
mysteries and revelations of inspiring truth, until petrifying emotion enchains 
every power, as by the spell of magic—and their accelerating it into the 
arcana of divinity, suspends consciousness by oppressive sublimity, and man 
is immersed into the pure truth of the living God. Never does the mind 
of man so develope its holiest aspirations as when enwrapt in the contem¬ 
plation of unadulterated truth. If purity be not loved here, it is because 
sin, or prejudice, or some other foreign and malevolent power, prevents a 
clear discovery of its inherent value. There are so many beauties, and ex¬ 
cellences, and graces expressed in the very countenance of transparent 



truth, that no eye can discover them without delight; while the visage of 
truth adulterated, is so monstrous and full of deformities, that if her lovers 
were not blind, they would stagnate with astonishment and disdain. Sir, 
what is it but unmingled purity that gives heaven its charm—God His 
adoration—Christ His merit—the Spirit his sovereignty—the Bible its vi¬ 
tality—the Church its potency—and man his salvation? Banish from the 
universe this immaculate virtue, and what is left of faith in God, but blind 
absurdity—of bliss in heaven, but empty pageantry—of sanctity on earth, 
but refined hypocriey? It waa the loss of purity that converted a seraph 
into a devil, man into a traitor, and Eden into a cursed desolation. And, 
sir, if your benevolent heart would fain celebrate anew the coronation and 
enthronement of Satan himself, upon an arch-angel’s seat—if you would 
convert the bottomless pit into a Paradise, and thrill the concaves of per¬ 
dition with the hosannahs of jubilee—restore but the unrivalled reign of pu¬ 
rity, and it is done! 

While the presence of purity, unalloyed, exercises the prerogatives of 
a presiding genius—in the elements of nature—in the march of science—in 
the school of morals, and in the temples of religion—man is ever inspired 
with hope, and warmed with assurance. Though the physical atmosphere 
which he breathes, may present singular aspects and strange phenomena, 
reminding him that he is a pilgrim and a stranger, far away from bis borne, 
let him but breathe a pure air, and be is content. Though the conduct 
of bis fellow-men towards him may be unwonted and inexplicable, let him 
be assured that the motives which prompt it are pure motives, and what 
were otherwise intolerable can be endured with cheerfulness. Let the af¬ 
fection which clings to him be never so uncouth, and unadorned, and erra¬ 
tic, only convince him that it is pure affection, and it will be reciprocated. 
With all persons, in all stations, and at all times, purity is desirable and 
admirable. Every other coveted excellency may perchance be wanting, and 
this may be the only ornament of the mind—yet, like a lone glittering star 
in a pitchy night, it gleams with the more effulgent splendor for its isola¬ 
tion. I care not what may have been a man’s origin—what bis advantages 
—or what his pursuits ; he may have been born in a palace or cradled 
in a lmt; he may have been educated at a university or in a log-cabin; he 
may be a young prince or a young plebeian: let him be pure in his prin¬ 
ciples, pure in his practices, pure in his professions, pure in his purposes, 
and he will be stamped with honor, be will be chosen to glory; for his soul, 
his body, his joys, his all, are imbued with the resplendent excellency; and 
the lips of Him who spake as never man spake, have already uttered over 
him the benediction of Divinity: “Blessed are the pure in heart for they 
shall see God.” 

But, sir, let me take higher ground than this. Not only is uncorrupted 
purity desirable and admirable, to all shades and complexions of truly as¬ 
piring mind, but in anything that pertains to religion; such mind cannot, it 
will not be satisfied with that which falls short of it. This is what gives 
pre-eminence to the Bible over all other books, with the reflecting and 
the appreciative. When Sir Walter Scott returned from the bland climate 



'Of Italy, to die among his own native hills, he said to Lockhart, his son-in- 
law, “Bring me a book.” “What book?” he inquired. “Can you ask 
what book?—there is but one!" replied the prolific author. His mighty soul 
recognized the Holy Book, a divine effulgence from the “Father of lights;” 
the reflected image of the mind; the perfections of the Eternal—illuminating 
humanity, and quieting its immortal cravings. Its legitimate and powerful 
springs of action had laid bare to him, in glowing contemplation, his high 
and eternal destiny, and the bearings of his present condition upon it. 
Remembering the unspotted purity of God’s book in contrast with his own 
undying productions, he exclaimed in death, “there is but one loo!:!” And, 
sir, how far was he wrong? Talk you of successful rivalry here? Yo, no. 
It is well if the greatest genius that ever lived, had penetration enough 
to fathom the abyss of its sense, or sufficient elevation of soul to rise even 
on the wino-s it lends him to its towering altitudes. Flow comes it to nass 
that certain portions of sacred Scripture, quoted by Young and Addison, 
under all the disadvantages of an imperfect translation, shine in the midst 
of their beautiful periods and commanding sentiments like burning jewels set 
in wood or common clay? Looking at the Bible, even through this very 
defective medium, you discover more beauty in one part—more pathos in 
another—and more simplicity and sublimity in all—than the most exquisite 
productions of human sagacity present, in their original dress! There is in 
this celestial composition, a naturalness and a delicacy, an exactness and an 
elevation, to which the universally idolized classics are entire strangers. 
True, in those wonderful productions you see the acme of improvement to 
which the unaided efforts of man can ascend. You see productions so highly 
finished that you can scarcely disturb and replace a single thought or a 
single word without a sensible loss. And yet with all this, how stiff, and la¬ 
bored and languid they appear, when contrasted with the pure word of God 
in its splendid originals. The cadence of every period and the adjustment 
of every phrase, exhibit the art with which their authors penned them. 
But in the Inspired Word, no attempt is made at impertinent amusement by 
minute and polished phraseology. But while the force of thought may 
be conveyed to the intellect in a rough and masculine dress, the naked 
truth appeals to the heart with a power and demonstration not to be resist¬ 
ed, and literally takes man-soul by storm. Human address requires art and 
embellishment to endue it with strength. But God communicates with the 
soul by spirit and by thought alone, and only uses words for a memorial of 
what He communicates. When He condescends to employ the human ve¬ 
hicle, he rejects its proffered adornments and vouchsafes its use merely for 
conveyance. So that in the literal verbage of Scripture, man reads clearly 
the inalienable rights of his Maker and the responsibilities of his own be¬ 
ing. Here, sir, in this biblical simplicity and plainness, we are furnished with 
a public key by which all are invited to unlock the richest treasures of 
instruction. When Christ wrought the Gospel miracle on the five barley 
loaves, his disciples said, “What are these among so many?” “Make the 
men sit down,” said the Lord of the feast, and they all sat down upon the 
emerald bosom of the same field—wise men and simple—peasants and phi- 



losophers—Eabbies and hirelings—besides women and children, and they 
did all eat and were filled.” So, in like manner, the unadulterated truth 
of God, though course as barley bread, adapts itself to the wants of all. 
Or like some rich composit Corinthian metal, it yields iron for the hus¬ 
bandman’s spade, and gold for the monarch’s sceptre. Or like a flood 
of life, raises all men higher and higher, to offer incense on the brow of the 
Alps from which it first descended until the mountain tops are seen smoking 
before them, but smoking because God has descended upon them! 

Again, sir: love of purity, enlarges and expands the human mind itself, 
rendering it thereby worthy of its great origin. Nothing is so well adapted 
to endow the mind with vigor, or so likely to elevate its tendencies, as to 
familiarize it with pure and stupendous truths. Broad and massive disclos¬ 
ures of truth bestir the spirits of mankind to attain dimensions worthy of 
man. The revelations of a God, of another world and of a wonderous 
natal immortality after we enter it—draw out the capacities of the soul, 
league after league, to fathom the oceans, and scale the heights—and weigh 
the mysteries, and measure the expanses of eternity. Let a man with an 
awakened pulsation of spirit attempt to grapple with a ponderous truth, as 
for example the existence and person of God or the majestic unfoldings of 
His mind in the precise tones he gave them forth fresh from the pavilion of 
infinite thought: and as he progresses in journeying and spanning and mas¬ 
tering the mighty theme, he will electrify every nerve, and give his soul a 
type of outstretching mightiness which utterly forbids contraction back to 
its original measure. Sir, it was an expansion similar to this, which first 
induced our Judsons and Careys and a thousand others to exile themselves 
from home, and often from civilization to pitch their tents under the scorch¬ 
ing sun of the equator; or build their snowy mounds amid the eternal ice 
of the poles! With their lives in their hands, they sought identity with men, 
in ignorance like brutes, in guilt like fiends. There they have devoted their 
health and strength, and most elastic days, to the study of barbarous jar¬ 
gon under all kinds of difficulties and dangers, that they might translate 
from the Hebrew and the Greek, which they had spent years in acquir¬ 
ing, the book of God; by which the savage himself might know in his 
own wild dialect or tongue, the law of God, and the love of God, and the 
whole duty of man. Sir, it was an expansion like this, which first spoke out 
in thundertones to the Baptists of the United States, to wake up the courage 
of heroism, and sacrifice in their high vocation by demanding an eternal 
severance between God’s Word and Popish artifice, and by protesting first to 
them that are near, and then to them that are afar off, that “the Word of 
God is not, and can not, and shall not be bound!” 

I appeal: are not faithful versions of that Word as worthy of such minds, 
as I such minds are worthy of their Maker? I appeal: can any unbandag¬ 
ed, any unmanacled mind claim anything less? I appeal: if enlightened 
reason dictates conformity to the heavenly world, will not that man who 
thirsts for perfection here be most surely an approachant to its benign eleva¬ 
tion? Sometimes a ship’s crew see the land they are approaching, distinctly 
mirrored upon the clouds above them long before they reach the shore. 



And, so may the most unlettered man who fully comprehends the mind of 
the Spirit in a pure version of His Word, whether it be Burman, Spanish, 
French or English, •‘behold as in a glass the glory of the Lord and be chang¬ 
ed into the same image even from glory unto glory,” long before he sees 
God face to face. The more fully he is able to roll back the clouds which 
obscure the throbbings of the Divine mind, the more vividly a supernatural 
oratory will overwhelm him with a sense of his own dwarfishness and 
awaken within him the intensest eagerness to plant his feet in the vibrating 
center of the untrodden solitudes of truth. Who then is commissioned to 
sit as umpire and decide what portions of this race shall be blessed with 
such perfect transcripts of the mind of Godhead, and who shall be denied? 
What man is competent to say that the chamberlain of the Queen of Can¬ 
dace shall read the pure Word of God as he journeys in his chariot through 
the desert—the son of Ham as he roves in his African wilds—and the Chin¬ 
aman in his dense cities—and the [Birman in his intricate jungles—and the 
Indian in his sombre forests; all, all shall read its mysteries and sacred obli¬ 
gations, but the Celt and the Saxon in his American home; or if he reads 
it at all it shall be in a more obscure and uncertain form than on any other 
spot upon the globe? Tell me, sir, are you ready to renounce the Divine 
right of private judgment? Will you refuse to any man the Bible as the 
Spirit penned it, lest it should prove to him a perfect rule of faith and of 
practice? I turn to you, sir, and beseech that you will divulge to me the 
secret of this refusal to me, and to my children, and to my people. What 
have we done to meiit this declinature at your hands? Is it because we 
are not Druids? Is it because we are not Musselmen? Is it because we 
never bowed the knee at the shrine of Confucius, or Bramah, or Juggernaut, 
or Moloch,. or Baal? If I bind on my sandals and take up my staff and 
go on a pilgrimage to Pekin, or Rangoon, or Calcutta, or Mecca, will you 
deny me and my people there? If I send my children to the mission schools 
of your learned Dean, or your kind-hearted Kincaid, or your indefatigable 
Shuck, will you exclude them there from the “faithful Word,” simply be¬ 
cause American blood flows in their veins, and nervous English falls from 
their lisping tongues? Well, well, but hold. You have spared me this toil 
and exile. I find in my book case a copy of your Burman Bible stained 
with the tears of Judson, as he translated its last “Amen.” It is enough. 
It is opened. It is read. Our whole family is happy. With him we weep 
for joy. It is as if another gift had been reached down to us from the 
heaven of heavens to the top of Sinai or Olivet. A gift engraved by the 
style of heaven upon leaves from the tree of life, and it is given to Asia for 
the healing of her nations. Blessed Book! Blessed saint whose tears be- 
dewed it! Sleep on in thy fathomless tomb and let the million hearts of 
Burmah unite their acclaims to call thee blessed, while the surges of the 
Indian Ocean chant thy requiem. Rest! warrior, rest! until the trump of 
the Captain of our salvation shall call many sons to glory, then the green 
weeds of thy rocky bed shall be transmuted into a laurel crown, to rest 
upon thy brow an eternal testimony of love to Christ! But why talk I thus? 
Why this triumph, and why this joy? Hark! Hark! While Burmah 


jungles echo with praise and Burman hearts swell with gratiude, and “the 
sacramental hosts of God’s elect” in this land rejoice for the time of the 
battle, a voice ‘loud as many thunders bids me put up this sword ‘into its 
sheath,” for they that use such a sword here, shall perish with it! The coin 
of Burmah is not current in America, and the two-edged sword of victory 
there, is tempered down into a sectarian guerilla-blade here, by a power 
of logical transmutation which paints a blush on the most icy-coated side of 
the Philosopher’s stone ! 0 tell it not in Siam, publish it not in the 

streets of Memphis, lest the King of Siam should stumble, and John of 
York should triumph! 

The watchful eye of God has sacredly guarded the original text from cor¬ 
ruption unto this day. What a remarkable jealousy of Divine Providence 
is evinced in that, when, the canon of revelation was completed the lan¬ 
guages in which it had been penned, fell almost immediately into disuse. For 
inasmuch as language itself has no signification whatever, excepting what it 
acquires conventionally, it is capable of constantly changing its sense and appli¬ 
cation. But in this case a beneficent provision was made in anticipation of 
this contingency, by numbering those tongues with the unprogressive things 
that had passed away. So that precisely what every word meant at the 
time it was used by the inspired pen, it should mean to the end of time.— 
In the originals you have God’s mind given in his own autograph, and in the 
disuse of those tongues for general purposes you have that autograph ste¬ 
reotyped for ever. Therefore all faithful translations from it must of ne¬ 
cessity be a mere echo of the thoughts and actions expressed by the Inspirer 
himself at that remote period; and as nothing can please an infinite purity 
but that which is pure, we may in no wise intermingle divine truth with hu¬ 
man error. We hold moreover that the very words of the originals were chosen 
by the Spirit, and that every form of verbiage was pregnant with significancy. 
Here we find a rare basis for confidence. Every single sentence and every 
single word is the authoritatve voice of Heaven. Otherwise we could never 
be positive as to what God uttered, and what was supplied from the human 
fount. Christ said to His disciples, “When they bring you unto the syna¬ 
gogues and unto magistrates and powers, take ye no thought how or what thing 
ye shall answer, or what ye shall say: for the Holy Spirit shall teach you in 
the same hour what ye ought to say.” Likewise at Pentecost; the Spirit not 
only indited the thoughts of Peter, but also inspired his very words as he 
preached to the people, and yet all the style of Peter is seen in those words. 
They could have done nothing in preaching to men from all nations under 
heaven with the thoughts which the Holy Spirit conceived, without the words 
which the Holy Spirit speaketh. It was the Spirit's word which extorted 
from the self-execrated Jews the cry for salvation. It matters nothing, sir, 
that we discover diversity of style in the sacred writers. We see diversity 
in all God’s productions, both of matter and of mind and we might as well 
deny the creative energy of God in producing two individual varying minds 
as to deny His controlling agency over the varying productions of those minds 
or of the same mind. And yet in the most profusely created diversity we 
see pei'fect unity. An inward organic coherence pervades the whole. Ko 



man who believes in plenary inspiration at all, will deny that God himself 
did choose in general the Hebrew for the Old, and the Greek for the Hew 
Testament. Ho man will say that this was the mere choice of the aman¬ 
uensis. But, sir, there is no such impassable gulf between the diversified 
styles of composition in the same Testament, as we find in the elemental 
construction of these incongruous tongues: and still as perfect a sulstratic 
unity exists between the two Testaments as can possibly exist between the 
writings of any two penmen in any two books of either Testament. The 
widest scope of imagination cannot conceive of greater variety and unity 
blended together than is found here. The voice of the Spirit is heard in 
every form of conveyance. How in the poetic and then in the historic. How 
in the didactic and then in the prophetic. How in the tone of a priest or a 
prince and then of a shepherd or a fisherman, until every form of composi¬ 
tion in which language gives birth to thought finds its archetype; and all 
fraught with simplicity and emboweling the profoundest truths. Such a work, 
sir, was worthy of the majesty of its Author, and is analagous to that rich 
and promiscuous variety which prevails in the entii e universe and which awes 
the mind of man, and ministers to his complicated wants! 

Again, sir. It is a remarkable fact, that while the originals have passed 
through more dangers, encountered more attacks from covert and open 
foes, and been more keenly scrutinized both by sanctified and skeptic minds 
than any other book under heaven, yet they are the most perfect, pure and 
unmutilated productions on the face of the earth. As a refiner subjects the 
ore to the most searching process to detect the presence of base metal, and 
as the vile is thus purged out by the action of fire until his own image 
is reflected hi the precious treasure, so the Word of the Lord has been 
thrown from crucible to crucible in search of falsehood and deceit until all 
such attempts are rendered proverbially important for their nothingness. 
Bear in mind, sir, that thirty-three centuries have passed away since men 
began to copy them. That more hands have wearied and heads ached and 
pens worn out in transcribing and translating them, in expounding and de¬ 
fending them, than have been devoted to any other human enterprise what¬ 
ever. Bear in mind that they have been proscribed, imprisoned, interdicted 
and burned by infidels, pagans and papists from Dioelesian, down to the 
Lake Cham'Iain bonfires. False legends, forged books, attempted inter¬ 
polations, and politico-ecclesiastic traditions, labored with might and main to 
supplant them through the unbroken period of the seventh, and eighth, and 
\ ninth centuries. Bear in mind that the confederated malice of earth and 
hell has ever extended letters patent to the inventors of racks and thumb¬ 
screws, to the architects of gibbits and inquisitions, and blazing faggot piles, 
and have howled in horrid diapason the infernal Te Deum of damnation. 
When the merest beggar has agonized in martydom (for the Word’s sake,) 
and the sacred manuscripts have glowed in the flames with him, as a torch 
to light him to glory. Bear in mind that senates, and cabinets, and thrones 
have consolidated their prerogatives with the laws of councils, to nulify or 
annihilate them; and yet we have them to-day in their uncompounded pu¬ 
rity. Think, sir, how God has permitted the Jew and the Samaritan, the 



Israelite and the Christian, the Protestant and the Papist, to exercise over 
each other a sleepless jealousy, lest a jot or a tittle of their words should 
be disturbed. And as a consequence, we find in a critical examination of 
many thousands of manuscripts scarcely a single deviation which would vi¬ 
tiate a point of doctrine, a point of morality, or an essential truth ! 

And now, sir, let me ask for what other purpose God has preserved the 
inspired text from corruption, if it be not that every man may read it, faith¬ 
fully translated, into his own tongue ? This, then, is what we desire, that 
all may partake of the spring of life flowing through a pure channel, just as 
it gushes from the throne, clear as crystal. We want all to see the sun in 
his own light, without being compelled to gaze upon him through mists and 

In the days of Latimer, the Romish zealots could not endure that the 
common people should have the Word of God at all. Therefore (in keep¬ 
ing with the spirit of the age,) once on a time, the celebrated Dr. Bucking¬ 
ham undertook to prove from the pulpit in which Latimer preached, that 
it was inexpedient to translate the Scriptures into English, lest haply, the ig¬ 
norant and vulgar people should leave their respective vocations; and, as 
he expressed it, “run into divers inconveniences.” “Thus,” said he, “for 
example, the plowman wdien he heareth this, in the Gospel, ‘no man that 
putteth his hand to the plow 7 and looketh back is fit for the kingdom of God,’ 
might peradventure upon this, cease from his plow—likewise the baker, 
when he heareth ‘that a little leaven corrupteth the whole lump of dough,’ 
may perchance leave our bread unleavned, and so our bodies shall be un¬ 
seasoned. Also the simple man when he heareth in the Gospel, ‘If thine 
eye offend thee, pluck it out and cast it from thee,’ may make himself 
blind, and so the world will be full of beggars,” Latimer heard this sermon, 
and in the afternoon of the same day answered it. Dr. Buckingham sat 
opposite him, with his black friar’s cowl about his shoulders; and after en- 
larging somewhat upon the figurative phrases of Scripture, he affirmed that 
these metaphors were plain and well understood in all languages; “as for 
example,” said he, turning to the place where the friar sat, “when the 
painters represent a fox preaching out of a friar’s cowl, no one is so weak as 
to take this for a real fox, but only as a figure of caution, to beware of that 
craft, which lietli hid many times in these cowls.” Now, sir, Dr. Bucking¬ 
ham knew very well, that one grain of faithfully translated Scripture, would 
outweigh innumerable tons of fabulous traditions. And this was his fear 
in giving to the people the Word of God. Therefore he desired to hide 
the holy lamp under the bushel of foreign tongues. And his fears were 
well grounded. For wherever that Word is faithfully delivered, it will as ef¬ 
fectually overthrow and eat up every tradition of man, as the rod of Moses 
and Aaron swallowed up the rods of the Egyptian magicians and all their 
serpentine enchantments. No man can gainsay the historical fact, that 
whenever, and wherever, pure versions of the originals have been made, 
they have been rendered the most efficient agency in the hands of the church; 
by which God the Father, has established the kino-dom of Christ in the earth. 
In certain parts of the Eastern world, certain parts of the inspired Word 



have been faithfully translated from the first. And although traditionary su¬ 
perstition abounds there, yet it is not on those points treated of in those 
parts of their translations which are faithful; and in other Christian lands 
where the Word is given in its fidelity on other points, we find the ab¬ 
sence of those traditions which are rife there. Showing that just in pro¬ 
portion as the Word of God in its purity abounds, in that proportion the 
reign of tradition graduates itself, and holds or relinquishes its empire. 
There was no difficulty in ascertaining the mind of the Spirit from the liv¬ 
ing oracles, in the primitive church; and why should not a perfectly accurate 
translation accomplish in this respect, upon the unlettered moderns, all that 
the originals then accomplished, upon those who were able to avail them¬ 
selves of their use ? Mark you here what we plead for. Not a new re¬ 
velation, but full expression given to that already afforded. A literal, simple, 
pure, perspicuous, uniform, elegant, and energetic translation, from the na¬ 
ked verbiage of the originals. True, we cannot obtain a single thought 
from the revealed mind of God at all, in our own tongue, until it has as¬ 
sumed, at least, four successive forms. First it must be engendered in 
the Eternal mind—then it must be transmitted, and incarnated in the hu¬ 
man mind—then the inspired organ must make it articulate, and dress it in 
a form of language—and lastly it must be copied from that form of language 
into our vernacular tongue. But because the last of this fourfold method 
involves simply unaided instrumentality, is it therefore impossible to seize 
the length, and breadth, and height, and depth of the divine import,- and 
give that import fully and unequivocally ? Must we fall back upon the po¬ 
sition assumed by a learned master of the eighteenth century, who in writ¬ 
ing to one of his pupils said, "eat simply the bread of the Scriptures, such 
as you find it; and be not disturbed if perchance you find here and there 
a little fragment of the millstone which has fallen into it.” No, sir, you 
cannot subscribe to that doctrine, while with the open book before you, 
you are interrogated thus, “If thy son ask bread, wilt thou give him a 
stone ?” You may not mock his hunger, sir, with a stone; though it be 
found only in particles from the translators’ millstone, or from the ground 
up jewels of the translators’ kingly master, or even from the crushed and 
powdered diamonds of the untranslated Word itself. Many persons may 
think this oft-repeated truth, as superfluous as the' action of the herald, 
who rides forth upon the day of coronation, when none but a crowd of 
loyal hearts are breathing blessings upon their young king—and yet that 
herald throws down his glove and challenges any man to gainsay the mon¬ 
arch’s right to the crown just placed upon his head. Well, sir, all I have 
to say, is, if the glove be offensive, let them either stand forth and render 
a reason, worthy of a full grown man, or else honor the sovereignty of truth, 
by joining the throng, and shouting hosannah to the royal diadem and its 
wearer. We claim this honor for the Truth of God, it is worthy of it, and 
we can be content with nothing less. Men may withhold their homage, if 
they will, from motives of expediency or any other motives. But, sir, in the 
very nature of things, this claim will appeal to the conscience, as a righteous 
claim, and at that tribunal it cannot be gainsayed for a moment. Give me 



a decision here, and what more do I need ? Give me possession of that 
fortress and conquest is sure. It is not a little singular, that in all the ma*ss 
of reasons advanced against faithful versions for the English as well as for 
the Asiatics, we have yet to hear the first man say “conscience revolts 
from it.” 

Objections have been predicated on the men, on the time, on the meas¬ 
ures, on the consequences, and on a thousand other things, but not one on 
the ground that God would be offended, right insulted, conscience abused. 
Why has no man thought of this weapon, why has no Thorian arm wield¬ 
ed this hammer? Eloquence, learning, influence, prejudice, fear, and as¬ 
sociation, have been invoked to “frown down” this effort. 

Tell me, 0 tell me, why the sleeping conscience, the strong man armed, 
has not been enlisted in battle array, as another Goliath of Gath, against 
the ruddy stripling? Tell me, 0 tell me, is it from a fear that the slum¬ 
bering ghost of John the Baptist has risen from the dead, and lieth in am¬ 
bush ready to walk up and down in the conscience of Herod, muttering his 
spectoral protest against the assasination of truth ? Or is it because, if 
once the appeal is made to the conscience of the common people, they will 
demand whether there is one God, and one scale of responsibility, and 
one rule of right and duty here, and another in the place of the rising sun ? 
Why, sir, if the conscience of the masses can once be fairly appealed to on 
this topic, the very thought of having the Bible among them precisely as 
it first floated in the mind of the Holy One, a book to stand up among 
its brethren, the king sheaf, to which they must all do obeisence, -would 
speak to the heart in words of pathos, to the understanding in floods of light, 
and to the conscience in coals of fire. No thinking man can wonder that 
it should do so, when he reflects what a field such a book would open to 
the soul. Not only would it give to the understanding all that a good 
but imperfect version can impart, but from the more recent discoveries of 
Oriental research, and the progressive developments of natural philosophy, 
many things hard to be understood would be explained, apparent deformi¬ 
ties removed, and seeming incongruities reconciled. As the light of phi¬ 
losophy and sacred criticism are applied in rendering more naked the 
deposition of scriptural truth, there certainly can be no valid reason why 
this heavenly treasure should come to any man, tarnished by the medium 
of communication. But on the other hand, if a better knowledge of the 
original languages, of ancient history, sacred and profane, of chronology and 
geograph} 7 , of symbolical and hieroglypliical characters, of ancient, secular, 
and ecclesiastical ethics and jurisprudence, of Rabbinical philosophy, prover¬ 
bial and parabolic interpretation, and laws, and customs, and manners, are 
not made available for this work, the church of Christ must lose the high 
ground she has maintained for centuries. And for all that now appears 
to the contrary, she will be exposed to the daring attacks and insidious 
machinations of skeptics, who, taking advantage of her lethargy, will lead 
the unwary through the pages of an acknowledgedly defective version down 
to the frigid zones of Infidelity. 

I conjure you, then, that you suffer no sectaiian phraseology of the tra- 



ditionists longer to distort the face of truth, and expose to scandal the Chris¬ 
tian oracles. Rather hold them forth as a transparent mirror, rectify every 
lax and mutilated statement, and promptly but prayerfully correct every 
deviation from the sacred standard. State the truth boldly: for whoever 
attempts to soften it in catering - to the wish of those who fear it, wound its 
character, and betray its interests. Majestic truth will frown from her 
throne, with holy indignation, upon that presumption which would dethrone 
her in the future, by entanglement with foreign alliances now. Let the com¬ 
promising spirit, and timid liberality of this day, lower the tone of duty, 
and resort to a reptile conciliation in avoiding the offense of sacred truth. 
But know ye, that she will not long brook intervention in her rights with 
impunity, nor will the right guided conscience long revolt from her claims, 
or refuse obedience to her holy, but imperious dictates. 

You recollect, sir, that Agrippa had been long imprisoned, for a trivial 
offense, by Tiberius. And when Tiberius was dead, Caligula sent a letter to 
Rome, ordering the deliverance of Agrippa. A few days after the accession 
of Caligula, he sent for Agrippa to the palace, and put a diadem upon his 
head, and about his neck a chain of gold of the same weight as the chain of 
iron with which he had been bound. This chain, Agrippa deposited after¬ 
wards in the temple at Jerusalem, as a monument that God can bring down 
those things that are great, and raise up those things that are fallen. A sim¬ 
ilar gratitude will the emancipation of truth inspire, in the truly regenerated 
heart, as that heart shall be able to read the will of God, in heaven’s 
daguerreotyped holograph. The Spirit of God must in this way take of 
the things of God and show them unto us. Hence it is, that the poor and 
unlearned, in answer to their earnest supplication, “Open thou mine eyes, 
that I may see wonderous things out of thy law,” often have a clearer appre¬ 
hension of the mysteries of the kingdom of God, and a deeper corresponding 
gratitude for them, than the maturest scholastic theologian. But, sir, refuse 
the unlettered regenerate man a perfect rule of faith and practice, and with 
it a palpable knowledge of what the Lord would have him do, and you have 
eclipsed his sun and clothed his sky in gloom. To him, you have replaced 
the flaming cherubim at the pass to the tree of life, and rendered the world 
about him a scene of dreary orphanage. 

Give to the regenerate heart of the plain Christian patriarch, in the ham¬ 
let or the cot, the pure Word of God, and without any chemical apparatus 
whatever, he will be as well qualified to analyze the atmosphere of truth, 
and pronounce it free from impurities, as the metropolitan sage. For it will 
bear its own witness that it is the air of heaven. And as the heavenly inflatus 
swells his soul, and the breath of life begins to respire from his bosom, his 
heart will begin to beat, his brain to deduct, his eye to vibrate, and every sen¬ 
sibility of the man to bound with primeval joy. After a long night of tra¬ 
ditionary supremacy, he will wake up to a light shining as in a dark place, 
and if a half-awakened fellow slumberer shall demand of him “what of the 
night ?” he will reply, “the morning cometh.” The pure Word of God 
will introduce him into a new mental and mystic universe, where serene skies 
shall glow with molten glory, and the vermillion, the blue, and the sable shall 



blend with the gray, and the azure, and the gold from the horizon to the 
zenith. Where the snow-drop, pale for very joy, shall tinge its alabaster cup 
with crimson from the blushing rose. Where the virgin lilly and the tulip 
shall drink from divinely sculptured cups the first-born dew, and the lilac, 
and the laburnum, the violet and the daisy, the honey-suckle and the wood¬ 
bine, throw open every pore to impregnate the dancing breezes with holy in¬ 
cense, Where the gay insect and the brilliant feathered tribes shall be mu¬ 
tually ambitious to swell the tide of merriness, and every leaf and every 
lawn shall smile from their rich attire a welcome to his enlightened heart. 
Then he shall see in a new and richer light the ripplings of the brook, and 
the white foam of the billow, the sombre majesty of the forest, the gentle 
undulations of the landscape, and the stupendous sublimity of the mount. 
The teeming tenantry of space shall pour themselves forth in review before 
him, along the boundless scene of earth and sky, peopled with objects in 
motion and in rest, and every emotion shall quiver as the string of the 
lute; while he presses the precious boon to his heart and gives forth to the 
evening and the morning of the new made day, and to Him who pronounces 
it “very good,” this soul-transporting response—“Thy word is very pure, 
therefore thy servant loveth it.” 

And now, sir, it only remains that I tender to this very intelligent and 
influential Convention, the hearty thanks of the Hew York delegation, for 
the kind reception and the kind treatment we have received at your hands. 
Sir, 1 thank you, from the most sacred cell of my heart I thank you. We 
came among you as entire strangers. We had often heard of your exuberent 
Southern hospitality and warm heartedness, and yet we were scarcely 
prepared to receive so much attention at your hands. In the name of the 
American Bible Union, we thank you. You have watched our operations 
from the first, and we have been cheered on in our work from the conviction 
that you were prepared to extend your sympathy and co-operation when we 
should be fairly understood as to our positions. The only thing that now 
surprises us is, that despite all the misrepresentations and difficulties which 
have been thrown in our way, you should have been able to discern so 
clearly and so soon our real purposes. We shall carry cheering tidings to 
our friends in New York, and while we purpose living with you in union of 
heart, and union of action, we also cherish the liveliest hope of convening 
with you in indissolvable union above. 



Friends of the Bible: Among the enterprises of the present age, you 
will find the grand movement of a large multitude of your fellow Chris* 
tians, to procure a faithfully revised version of the English Scriptures. 
The commonly received English version has been in existencfe for 241 
years, and if general accuracy were accredited to that version, tjie changes 
to which every living language is liable, would require a faithful revision, 
notwithstanding the opposition against which all such movements must con¬ 
tend. A brief historical sketch of the principal English versions which, 
at different times, have appeared, will amply confirm this truth, and in a 
great degree account for present opposition. 


The first translation of the Holy Scriptures into the English language, 
which we deem necessary to mention, was made by Wickliffe in 1377. In 
learning and piety the translator had no equals in that age. For his 
noble efforts to supply the perishing with the word of life, he endured 
the rage of his professed Christian contemporaries while he lived, and 
their malice pursued him to his grave. Forty-four years after his burial, 
his bones were dug up and burned, and their ashes thrown into the river 

About the year 1526, William Tyndal, a native of Wales, made and 
printed a translation of the Sacred Scriptures in the English language. 
The clergy and the superstitious people charged him with “altering God’s 
word.” The venders of his translation were punnished in various ways, 
some of which modesty forbids us to describe. Possession of the work 
was a proof of heresy, and subjected its possessor to the flames. Tyndal 
himself was burned for heresy not by the pagans or heathens; but by the 
professed friends of religion. 

In the reign of Henry VIII. Miles Coverdale completed and printed a 
translation of the whole Bible in the English language. During the reign 
of Queen Mary he was banished, and died in indigence about the year 
1568. This version was finally sanctioned by royal authority. 

In 1537 John Rogers, or sometimes called Thomas Mathews, issued an 
improved edition of the English Scriptures. He was the first martyr in 
Queen Mary’s reign. About this time, Grafton and Whitchurch printed 
an edition of the English Scriptures, and 26,000 copies were seized, con¬ 
fiscated and burned. 

In the same year, Mathews’ Bible was published, edited by Coverdale, 
and it received the Royal Sanction. But the priests and curates exhorted 
the people to do as their “fathers had done,” saying, “the old Bible is the 
best.” This appeal being the ancestor of Dr. Dowling’s ditty—“The 
arnily Bible that lies on the stand.” However, the people, anxious to 



know the will of God, bought up this edition of the Bible, and read and 
pondered the precious treasure in their families. In 1639 Cranmer’s grea 
Bible and the English Bible revised by Tavener, made their appearance. 
Tavener was subsequently imprisoned in the Tower. 

The Genevese or Genevan version made its appearance in 1660. The 
work was executed by Puritan exiles, and exhibited far greater fidelity to 
the original than the commonly received English version. This version was 
the Bible of the Pilgrim Fathers, and continued to be used in this coun¬ 
try until after the American Revolution. 

The Bishop’s Bible was translated by eight Bishops, assisted by others. 
It was printed in London in 1667, and it was used in the churches for forty 
years, while the Genevan version was more generally used in private fam¬ 
ilies. These versions were as much endeared to the families of the British 
Isles, in the days of King James, as the commonly received version is, at 
the present day, to the families of English Christendom. Every objection 
that can be urged against the necessary revision of the commonly received 
version was, or might have been urged against every version that was 
made after the days of Wyckliffe; and if these objections were generally 
true, and proper, they must to a great extent palliate the acts of cruelty 
inflicted upon learned and pious men for increasing the number of English 

In 1603, King James I. ascended the British throne as a member of the 
Kirk of Scotland; elevation changed his religious views. In Hampton 
Court, he declared that the change in English literature within forty years, 
and the tendency of the Genevan Version to instigate rebellion against mon¬ 
archy, required a new translation of the Scriptures. He drove the Pil¬ 
grim fathers from their homes, deprived the Nonconformists of their liv¬ 
ings—disabling them to collect their dues—exposing them to prisons, and 
finally denied them Christian burial. Pie gave the Scotch divines their 
choice between conformity and swinging on the gallows; he denied them 
the rights of preaching, or the privilege of holding conference meetings. 
He banished Vortius for Arminianism, burned Whitman for Ana-baptism, 
and died a half Papist and a half Protestant. Pie could justify the Gun¬ 
powder plot if it had been designed to destroy the Puritans; he prepared 
a Bible for the pulpit, and wrote a book of frolics to be read from the 
same sacred place. So affirms Dr. William R. Williams of New York 
city. His motto was “No Bishop, no King,” and he had no hesitation to 
declare the people wrong whenever they opposed his own views. He 
entrammeled the translators hj fifteen arbitrary rules, requiring the trans¬ 
fer of every “old ecclesiastical term,” and the translation of “every word 
having divers significations,” according to the analogy of his own faith. 
In a word, he was tyrannical, weak, superstitious, vain, indiscreet, and a 
jealous bigot. In his project of giving the world a new translation of the 
Scriptures, he was prompted by motives not very honorable to himself, and 
the result of which has proved of doubtful advantage to the human race. 


It pleased Infinite Wisdom to communicate His will to man through the 
medium of the Hebrew and Greek languages. The Old Testament being 
originally written in the former, and the New Testament in the latter. 
The Hebrew language, at one period, was the most extensive of all the 



languages of the earth. Besides the land of Palestine, it comprehended 
Syria, Phoenicia, Mesopotamia, Babylon, Arabia, and Ethiopia, extending 
even to Carthage and other places along the Mediterranean Sea. Its sim¬ 
plicity and purity, and the fact that the most ancient documents are found 
in it, rendered the Hebrew a suitable channel for the communication of 
the Divine will to man. 

After the decline of the Hebrew language, the Greek became the most 
copious, elegant, and precise of all the languages of the Japhetic family, 
and received its rules and government from the master hands of the most 
distinguished philosophers. After the conquests of Alexander in Asia, 
and the establishment of the Grecian dynasties, it became the most exten¬ 
sive language of those times. As early as the reign of Ptolemy Philadel- 
phus, about 286 years before the Christian era, a translation of the He¬ 
'D re w Scripture was required into the Greek. The translation is called 
the Septuagint. It was read by the Jews in their synagogue on the Sab¬ 
bath in the days of Christ, and at least 177 years before that period. 
The Greek language was understood more or less throughout the Roman 
Empire—an empire extending from the river Euphrates in the East, to the 
Atlantic Ocean in the West;—in length more than 3000 miles; in breadth 
more than 2000, including several millions of square miles. Some classic 
writers represent the Greek as the language of the world. The Jews 
were familiar with it in the time of the Maccabees, and many of their cities 
were almost exclusively inhabited by Greeks. The Jewish bills of di¬ 
vorce were indifferently written in Greek or Hebrew, and we read that 
Herod Agrippa and his brother addressed the Roman Senate in that lan¬ 
guage. Tidings designed for universal diffusion could scarcely be con¬ 
veyed through any other channel. By the divine and mysterious opera¬ 
tions of the giver of the Bible, both of these languages became dead sooa 
after they respectively received the Oracles of God. Thus God secured 
the immutability of his word from the mutations to which a living lan¬ 
guage is ever liable. 

•J o 


The importance of faithful translations of the Holy Scriptures into all the 
languages of the earth, may be established by the following considerations. 

1. The express directions given in the Book itself to the original 
Writers, Transcribers or Translators. Deut. 27: 8. “And thou shall 
write (or engrave) upon the stones all the words of this law very plainly.’’ 
Deut. 4: 2. “Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, nei¬ 
ther shall ye diminish from it.” Jer. 26: 2. “Diminish not a vjord.” Hab. 
2: 2. “Write the vision and make it plain upon tablets, (or lit. engrave it 
plainly on box tree tablets) that he may run that readeth it.” Rev. 22: 
18, 19. “If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto 
him the plagues that are written in this book; And if any man shall take¬ 
away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away 
his part out of the book of life.” To translate the oracles of God is a 
solemn work. 

2. The Gift of Tongues conferred upon the Apostles, proves that 
God intended that His Word should be known in evert Language.— 
One of the mtos remarkable events on the day of Pentecost, was the con- 




ferring upon the Apostles, of the gifts of tongues, by which they were 
enabled to translate the mind and the will of God to the understanding 
of the various nations there congregated together. This astonished the 
multitude, and troubled their minds, that every man should hear in his 
own language the words of God. 

3. The principle involved in the translation of the Scriptures, is commended by 
ike example of Jesus and his Apostles in giving a, translation to foreign words 
employed in their discourses. The most of their quotations from the Old 
Testament are made from the Septuagint or Greek version. When they 
introduced a term not understood by the people, they gave its meaning in 
a translation. Let the following passages be consulted, in which Syriac 
words are used. Mark 7: 11. “Corbah, that is to say, a gift." Mark 5: 
41. “ Talitha cumi; which is, being interpreted, Damsel.’’ Mark 7: 34. 
“Ephphatha , that is, be opened.” Mark 15: 34. Eloi, Eloi, lama Sa.bac- 
thani? which is, being interpreted, My God, my God, why hast thou forsa 
ken me.” Acts 1: 19. “Aceldema, that is to say, the field of blood.” 

4. The rule for interpretation mentioned by Paul in 1 Cor. 14: 27, 28, re¬ 
quires the work of translation, and forbids the transfer of foreign words. The 
use of an unknown term, in the church requires the aid of an interpreter: 
without such aid, no foreign word or speech can be used or made. The 
numerous untranslated words which mar the beauty of the English ver¬ 
sion, are in direct violation of this rule, and our Doctors of Divinity in 
defending such transfer, “break this commandment, and deserve to be 
sailed the least in the kingdom of heaven.” 

5. The importance of a faithfully translated version of the English Scrip 
luxes may be inferred from the importance op the Bible itself. Man needs 
the Bible, the whole Bible, the Bible as God gave it to the human race. 
The moral world needs the Bible as much as the physical world needs the 
sun, the atmosphere or the principle of gravitation. It is a book of knowl¬ 
edge, communicating information of vital importance to the human family, 
solving questions which sages and philosophers were never able to answer. 
It is a book of models, presenting examples in which religion is enlivened 
and embodied;—a book of motives, in which love is made to allure, ter¬ 
rors to awe; urging duty by the most powerful sanction, and dissuading 
vice by the most awful penalty—these are addressed to the whole man. 
the understanding, the conscience and the heart. It is the bulwark of 
our social institutions, and the sure defense of our political economy. It 
is the instrument of man’s salvation, and furnishes the only authoritative 
standard of appeal in relation both to doctrine and practice. Let this vol¬ 
ume be corrupted, obscured or banished from our schools and our country, 
and the Sabbath is discontinued, our churches disbanded, and the whole 
land is enveloped in gross darkness. Obscure the truths of such a book, 
and the consequences are disastrous both in time and in eternity. 



Is the English Bible published by our Bible Societies a faithful transla¬ 
tion of the original Scriptures ? This is a question of vast importance to 
the English reader, and its answer must be the pivot upon which the pro¬ 
priety and expense connected with revision must turn. If there are errors 



and glaring inaccuracies in the English version, no sincere lover of divine 
truth can consistently oppose their removal. Let every friend of God and 
truth state whether things erronious should be corrected; every thing ob¬ 
scure be made plain; every thing added by man be removed; every thing 
omitted by translators be inserted. If the reader should answer these 
questions affirmatively, then he is in the principle a Bible Union man; let 
him not oppose that institution in practice. 

The want of fidelity to the original Scriptures in the commonly received 
version, is almost universally conceded by its advocates. Where is the 
minister of religion of any denomination, acquainted with the Hebrew and 
Greek languages, who has not frequently in his pulpit ministrations pointed 
out its incorrectness ? Where is the biblical commentator who has not 
attempted to remove its defects? However loud the denunciation of 
preachers, book makers, against revisions, as if their favorite craft was in 
danger, they have for scores of years been undermining the authority of 
the present version. 

1. Some important words are left untranslated. 

Hallelujah. What mere English reader knows the idea designed to 
be conveyed by this word ? One under the influence of excitement takes 
it to be a proper word to express pleasing emotions. Another only knows 
it in song, or as an index to some metrical composition. The word in the 
Hebrew Bible is frequently used to give an important command—“Praise 
ye Jehovah.” This command is obscured by a transfer, and a part of 
God’s truth is hid from the English reader. 

Mammon, is a word which occurs in the English New Testament four 
times. It is used in the Chaldee Targum of Onekelos in Ex. 18: 21, 
where the word covetousness occurs in the English Bible. In Exodus the 
word was understood; but in Mat. 6: 24, Luke 16: 9, 10, 13, it becomes 
either an “old ecclesiastical tei'm,” or a ‘word having divers signification,’ 
and is doomed to the obscurity of a transfer. In consequence of this, 
conjectures must be multiplied. One derives the word from a Hebrew 
term signifying to confide, to trust, and of necessity supposes that riches 
must be the object of trusting. Another with extra learning thinks that 
mammon was the name of an idol god somewhere, at some period, and 
that this idol was the god of riches. The transfer of the word has inven¬ 
ted strange theories to excite the marvel of the uninformed. The word 
itself was familiar to the Jews, and frequently used in their writings. It 
means riches. 

Hosannah. This word occurs six times in the New Testament, and 
means save now, or save and prosper. The English reader is not allowed 
to see the uncertainty of human applause, as exhibited in the fact that one 
day, the people cried “Save and prosper thou Son of David,” and on the 
next exclaimed “Crucify him.” 

Anathema Maran-atha. 1 Cor. 16: 22. This is one of the most aw¬ 
fully solemn declarations in the book of God. Its import is hid from many 
a sinner whose doom it affirms. Why not let the sinner know the deter¬ 
mination of God. The words themselves present no difficulty against the 
translation of this sentence. Anathema —the first of these words occurs 
six times in the New Testament. In five instances, the verb has been 



rendered by the verb accursed, or its cognates. Maran-atha contains a 1 
noun and a verb. The translators met with the noun in Dan. 2: 47, where 
they rendered it Lord. The verb had been under consideration in instan ¬ 
ces too numerous to mention. There is no apology for transferring this 
important announcement. “If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, 
he will be accursed at the Lord’s'coming.” Let this declaration meet the 
sinners’ eye. 

Many other transferred words might be noticed, but the space allotted 
for this address will not permit further specifications. 


Some of the errors of the English version seriously affect important 
doctrines of Christianity. We are fully conscious that this is a grave 
charge and should be sustained by ample proof. 

1. The Divinity of the Lord Jesus is often obscured. In those passages- 
in the Old Testament which refer to the visits of the Angel Jehovah, the 
construction of the original is not preserved. Gen. 16: 7. “The Angel of 
the Lord found Ilagar,” instead of, the Angel Jehovah found Hagar. 
Gen. 22: 14, 15. “The Angel of the Lord called Abraham,” instead of, 
the Angel Jehovah called Abraham. 

Similar misconstruction is found in the English Testament. “In the 
Kingdom of Christ, and of God,” instead of, in the Kingdom of Christ, 
even of God, as a parallel expression is rendered in 1 Cor. 15: 24. “Ac¬ 
cording to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ,” instead of, 
according to the grace of Jesus Christ, our God and Lord. 1 Thes. 1: 12. 

o c> t 

“Before God and the Lord Jesus Christ,” instead of, before Jesus Christ, 
the God and Lord. 1 Tim. 5: 21. “The glorious appearing of the great 
God, and our Saviour Jesus Christ,” instead of, the glorious appearing; 
of our great God and Saviour Jesus Christ. Tit. 2: 13. “Through the 
righteousnes of God and of our Saviour Jesus Christ,” instead of, through 

o • • O 

the righteousness of Jesus Christ, our God and Saviour. 2. Pet. 1: 1. 
“And denying our only Lord God and Lord Jesus Christ,” instead of, and 
denying our only Master, God and Lord Jesus Christ. Jude 4: “As by 
the spirit of the Lord,” instead of, from the Lord the Spirit. 2 Cor. 3: 
18. See Horne’s Intro, vol. 1, p. 327. Sharp on the Greek Articles, pp 
39, 40-50. 

The divinity of the Lord Jesus and divine character of the Holy Spirit 
are frequently obscured in the English version by the omission of the defi¬ 
nite article. A Christ and the Christ; A Spirit and the Spirit are not sy¬ 
nonymous expressions. In the original the definite article is almost inva¬ 
riably prefixed to the name of Christ and of the Spirit. When the article 
is not used before the word Spirit in the original, the reference is generally 
made to the spirit of man and not the Spirit of God. This fact has been 
greatly overlooked by the translators. Sometimes the article is inserted in 
the English version to the evident injury of the passage. ‘God is a Spirit.’ 
The article is added. An Angel is a Spirit; but no one can affirm of an 
A.ngel that he is Spirit, in the sense in which God is. The omission of 
the article before the name of the third person in the God-head militates 
against the personality of the Spirit, and its insertion where it is not found 
in the original, renders it difficult to ascertain what Spirit is meant. 



Much violence is done to other topics of less importance by the unwar¬ 
rantable insertion or omission of the artiele. Its omission in the Greek 
marks indefiniteness. “Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers.” There is no 
article in the Greek, as the sick and lepers generally are included. “All 
power is given unto me.” There is no article in the Greek text, as the 
power referred to is general and unlimited. “For if the dead rise not.” 
The Greek article is not used, as reference is made to the dead generally. 
Perhaps no exception to these remarks can be found unless it be where the 
article is omitted, the whole is put for a part, and the generic for the spe¬ 
cific. “Suffer little children to come unto me,” “'and judgment to come.” 
In both of these passages the translators have dropped the article. 

The doetrine of repentance is an important truth of the Christian religion. 
Two Greek words are indifferently translated to repent. When the Spirit 
enjoins the duty of repentance upon sinners, the word metanoeo, a word 
used thirty-four times in the New Testament, is employed. Mctamelomai 
is used five times, and designates unavailing regrets, such as those of Jit- 
das. This important distinction in the Greek, is lost in the English version, 
rendering doubtful and obscure what the Spirit requires of every man. 

The doctrine of regeneration is shrouded in similar obscurity in the com¬ 
monly received version. “Ye must be born again.” Anothen is rendered 
again to denote a repetition, instead of from above, to indicate the source 
whence our renovation must come. One goes to duties and ordinances 
for a change of heart, another to penance and the crucifix; but the Sa¬ 
viour points to the throne above as the place where we can receive the Holy 
Spirit to renovate our hearts and purify our affections. Another is ren¬ 
dered from above inJohn 3: 31; 19: I 1. James 1: 17; 3: 15—17, but where 
Luke designs to say that he had received a perfect understanding of the 
truths he was about recording from above, or from God, the translators 
compel him to say that he was acquainted with “all things from the first.” 

A correct knowledge concerning heaven and hell, is of vital importance 
to man. To obtain such knowledge, recourse must be had to the Bible. 
Where else can we go ? According to the English version, the Greek 
word Ouranos, heaven, a word which occurs in the New Testament alone 
284 times, means air ten times, sky five times and heaven once. We read 
that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God in 1 Cor. 15: 50: 
yet we find by a mistranslation of zoa —living creatures in Rev. 4: 7, 8, 9; 5: 
6, 8, 11, 14; 6: 1,3, 5, 6, 7; 7: 11; 14: 3; 15: 7; 19: 4, that leasts are 
found in the immediate region of the throne of God. John Wesley wanted 
to crowd the resurrection with beasts and birds, from the language of Paul 
in Rom. 8: 21; but the forty-seven men of the British Universities eleva¬ 
ted beasts into heaven, and placed them before the throne of God. What 
confused ideas must the English reader receive concerning heaven? 

Nor will his idea concerning hell be any nearer the truth. Comparing 
the English Testament with the original we find two Greek words transla¬ 
ted without distinction into English by the term hell. Hades which occurs 
eleven times in the New Testament is rendered hell except in one instance, 

1 Cor. 15: 55. There is no difficulty to understand the import of this 
word; it often occurs in the Septuagint, and in classic authors. It is de¬ 
rived from a negative, and idem to see—obscure, invisible. It denotes 



the abode of departed spirits whether good or bad—no special reference 
being made to their moral character. The regimen in which the word is 
used must decide the condition of the departed. In the English language 
we sometimes speak of the dead in terms which do not indicate their hap¬ 
piness or misery. “They are gone into eternity,” “into the invisible 
world,” “into the judgment,” &c. The term cannot be rendered grave, 
as it is never employed in connection with the verb thapto which signifies 
to bury, a thing almost inevitable in words occurring so frequently, if the 
term ever signifies the grave. The word is never used in the plural num¬ 
ber, which from necessity must be the case with a word signifying the 
place where the body is laid. Hades being frequently used to denote the 
state of the dead in general, it cannot, at least in many instances, be 
properly rendered by the word hell—a term among us which is never used 
in a good sense. In Ps. 9: 17, we read that the wicked shall be turned 
into hell. In Acts 2: 27-31, we read of the soul of Jesus being in hell. 
Such discrepancies arm the caviler with weapons to support error, and arc 
calculated to mislead multitudes of English readers. 

3. Errors respecting words and phrases. 

1. the English reader is misled concerning the nature and character of 
the Arch Apostate. The word Diabolos occurs in the Greek Testament 
thirty-eight times, and wherever it is used as the name of Satan, it is 
found in the singular number. Where by a figure of speech the term is 
applied to men, because of the similarity of their character to that of Sa¬ 
tan, it is used in the plural number, and rendered slanderers or false accu¬ 
sers. In all the instances in which the term is used as the name of the 
Arch Apostate, it is translated Devil in the singular number. The inspi¬ 
red writers speak of the Evil One by other words. Daimon is used five 
times, four times in the plural number. Dairnonion is used sixty times— 
seventeen times in the singular, and forty-three in the plural. In the his¬ 
tory of casting out devils, one of these words is always used—Diabolos 
never. There is no distinction made between these terms in the commonly 
received version, and the English reader has many vague, confused and 
marvelous notions concerning the plurality of Devils <fcc. &c. 

2. The inaccuracies of the English version give an erronious view of many 
of the narrations recorded, in the Sacred Scriptures. We will specify hut a 

In Judges 15: 19, God is said to have made a hollow place in the jaw, 
and that water came out of it. The English reader supposes it was in 
the jaw bone with which Sampson slew the Philistines. The sacred wri¬ 
ter designed to say that God clave a hollow in Lehi, the name of a place, 
and which is so called in the last sentence of the 19th verse. 

In Joshua 6: 4, &c. &c., the English reader is to'd that the Priests 
should blow in trumpets of ram’s horns. No other instance in the Bible 
can be found in which Johel is translated ram. The Hebrew expression is 
trumpets of Jubilee, and the translators in this instance, have shown great¬ 
er respect for the Chaldee paraphrase than for the inspired original. 

In Exo. 3: 22, 11: 2; 12; 32. The Israelites are made to borrow jew¬ 
els of gold and silver from the Egyptians, which they never intended to 
restore. The word translated borrow means to demand, to ask, and should 



have been so rendered. It occurs in Ps. 2: 8; and is translated ask. Ev¬ 
ery ancient and modern version except the English, has rendered shoal 
to ask or demand. It has been rendered to ask in many passages. Oval 
is the Hebrew word for borrowing, and occurs in Deut. 15: 6. In Lev. 
27: £8; Judges 11: 30, the Hebrew prefix vau is translated by the copula¬ 
tive conjunction and, instead of the disjunctive or, thereby making the Bible 
appear as favoring human sacrifices. 

In 2 Sami. 12: 31, the Hebrew prefix leth is translated under instead of 
to —making David the author of the most unparalelled cruelty. He put 
the Amorites to saws and to harrows of iron in the same sense as we put 
a man to the plough, to the anvil or to the factory. Equal injustice is done 
to the character of the King of Israel in 1 Citron. 20: 3, where Vagassen 
is translated cut them with saws, instead of put them to saws. Mr. Horne 
affirms that those passages which contain imprecations inconsistant with 
benign the spirit of Christianity, are mistranslated. Horne’s Introductory 
toI. 1, page 443. 

3. The mistranslation of some words and passages in the English Version 
frequently makes one part of the hook appear inconsistent with another. 

In 1. Chr. 10: 14, we read that Saul inquired of a familiar spirit, and 
‘inquired not of the Lord;’ but in 1 Sam. 28: 6, we read that “when Saul 
inquired of the Lord, the Lord answered him not.” The word translated 
inquire in 1 Sam. is Shoal— to ask; in l Chron. the word Dorash —-to 
search out is used. Saul asked God with a degree of indifference; but he 
earnestly sought the desired information from the familiar spirit. Thus we 
find no actual contradiction between these passages. 

In Gen. 32: 28; 35: 10, it is written “Thy name shall not be called any 
more Jacob, but Israel.” We frequently read of God himself calling the 
patriarch by the appellation Jacob afterwards. The passage should have 
been rendered, as in the Arabic, thus—“Thy name shall not always be 
called Jacob only, but Israel likewise.” 

In Mat. 4: 10, Luke 4: 8, we read “Thou shalt worship the Lord thy 
God and him only shalt thou serve.” By a mis-rendering of the word 
dosa in Luke 14: 10—a word which occurs in the New Testament 167 
times—translated glory 15 times; honor six, praise four, dignities twice—the 
Lord Jesus is made to speak with apparent approbation of human worship. 

In the Old Testament we read of the restoration to life of no less than 
three different persons. In the New Testament we are informed that 
Christ restored to life three individuals. With these facts before us we 
are told by the English version that, “Christ should be the first that should 
rise from the dead.” Acts 26: 23. This passage should have been rendered, 
“That he should be the first from the dead by resurrection,” in the same 
sense as he is “the first fruits of them that slept.” The first to be raised 
from the dead, to die no more. 

In Heb. 11: 13, we read that, “All these (including Abraham, Isaac, 
&c.) died in faith, not having received the promises.” In verse 17 we are 
told that Abraham had received the promises. Such incongruities arm the 
infidel with weapons, which can scarcely fail to mislead the uninformed. 
In the first of these passages the inspired writer used the verb labontes 
the 3d per. plural of the 2 Aorist of lambano which means to apprehend, to 



comprehend so as to realize or to reap the fruits of. See Poly. B. 5: 20. 
It ought not in this connection to have been rendered to receive. In the 
second passage quoted, the Apostle uses another verb—( anadekomai ) 
which is properly translated to receive. 

4. The commonly received version contains many additions. We have al¬ 
ready recorded the charge of God that no man add or diminish a word to, 
or from the sacred volume. Let the following passages be examined in 
the light of that requirement. “ God forbid ” occurs in Rom. 3: 6, 31; 6: 
2, 15; 7: 7, 13; 9: 14; 11: 1, 11; where it should have been rendered, 
May it never be. In none of these instances does the word God occur in the 
original. The same words, “God forbid,” occur in 1 Cor. 6: 15, Gal. 2: 
17; 5: 14, where the word God is added as in the preceding passages. 
Paul in 2 Cor. 11: 1, is made to exclaim, Would to God ye could bear, in¬ 
stead of, I would ye did bear. “God save the King” is an expression used 
in 2 Sam. 16: 76; 2 Kings 11: 12; 2 Chro. 23: 11, where the word God 
is not in the original text. Let the King live is all the import of the ex¬ 
pression. To add the word God seems to us like an unwarrantable bear¬ 
ing towards monarchy. 

4. The omissions of the English Versions are numerous. “Diminish not 
a word” is the law of heaven. Jer. 26: 2. The word or words omitted 
will be found in Italic letters after a dash. Luke 24: 19. Which was a 
prophet— a man, a prophet. John 10: 24. Plow long wilt thou make us 
to doubt?—How long wilt thou keep our soids in suspense? Acts 7: 20. 
And was exceeding fair— Adethiosto Theo —unblemished unto God. Rom. 
3: 12. No not one—no there is not even one. Acts 8: 13. Beholding the 
miracles and signs—the miracles and great signs. 2 Cor. 12: 15. Spent 
and be spent for you—for your souls. Heb. 11: 37. Slain with the sword 
—with the slaughter of the sword. 

Emphatic words are frequently omitted. Acts 7: 1. Are these things 
so ?—Are these thing's indeed so? Acts 12: 18. What has become of Pe- 
ter?—What has indeed become of Peter? 1 Cor. 7: 14, Else were your 
children unclean—else indeed were your children unclean. 2 Cor. 1: 17. 
Did I use lightness?—Did I indeed use lightness? Heb. 9: 19. And 
sprinkled the book ( itself ) and all the people. 

6. In many portions of the English Version one wo r rd is improperly used 
for another. 

The following table exhibits, 1st, the passage referred to, 2nd, the word 
improperly used, 3rd, the word that ought to be used, and which is fre¬ 
quently placed in the margin. 







Mat. 3: 4. 



Mat. 17: 25; 

1 Thes. 4: 15. 



Anticipate or going- 

Mat. 23: 6; 

Luke 14: 7, 8; 

Uppermost rooms. 

First places. 



Mat. 23: 24. 

Strain at. 

Strain out. 

“ 25: 27. 

With usury. 

With interest. 

“ 27: 44. 



Luke 1: 7, 18. 

Stricken in years. 

Advanced in days. 

“ 2: 36. 

Of great age. 

Of many days. 

“ 2: 46. 



“ 7: 4. 



John 1:14. 



“ 10: 16. 

One fold. 

One flock. 

“ 15: 22. 



“ 21: 16. 

Feed my sheep. 

Tend my sheep. 

Acts 1:3. 



“ 7: 45 

With Jesus. 

With Joshua. 

“ 9: 15. 

“ 10: 42; ) 

Chosen vessel. 

Vessel of election. 

2 Tim. 4: 1; V 

Quick and dead. 

Living and dead. 

1 Pet. 4: 5. ) 

Acts 12: 4. 



“ 17: 16. 



“ 19:32. 



“ 19:35. 


Temple keeper. 

“ 19:37. 

Robbers of Churches. 

Dispoilers of Temples. 

,£ 21:15. 



“ 22: 28. 



Ex. 28: 23. 



Lev. 22: 14. 



Jos. 3: 17. 



1 8am. 17: 22. 



2 Kings 4: 43. 



! 2 Chron. 24. 27. 



Isa. 7: 23. 


Pieces of silver. 

“ 29: 3. 



Zep. 1: 15. 



Acts 26: 10. 


Vote or pebble. 

“ 27: 34. 








Acts 28: 8. 

Bloody flux. 

Dy sen ter). 

Rom. 3: 2. 



66 7: 5. 



“ 12: 8. 



2 Cor. 8: 21. 



1 Cor. 13: 1, 4. 



Ep. 3: 6. 


Joint Partakers. 

Col. 2: 23. 



“ 3: 13. 



“ 3: 21. 

Vile body. 

Body of humiliation. 

1 Tim. 1: 4. 



“ 4: 12. 



“ 5: 4. 



“ 6: 13. 



2 Tim. 3: 4. 



Tit. 1: 7. 



“ 1: 12. 

Heb. 4: 8. 

Slow bellies. 


Sluggish gluttons. 

“ 5: 12, 14. 

Strong meat. 

Solid food. 

“ 10: 24. 



James 2: 9. 



“ 3: 4. 



1 Peter 1:13. 

Hope to the end. 

Trust perfectly. 

“ 4: 15. 


Busy Overseer. 

“ 5: 1. 


Fellow Elder. 

Rev. 18: 13. 



7. The English translators have taken unwarrantable liberty with the text, 
sometimes furnishing the reader with a kind of 'paraphrase, or commentary 
upon the original. The following will serve as proof of this fact. We in¬ 
sert the common reading first, and follow it with a literal translation from 
the Greek. 

Luke 1:1. “Which are most surely believed amongst us.” Which 
have been confirmed amongst us by the fullest evidence. Luke 23: 7. At 
that time—in those days. John 18: 22. Struck Jesus;—gave Jesus a 
blow. Acts 4: 36. Of the country of Cyprus;—A Cyprian by nation. 
Acts 11:9. Again;—the second time. Acts 13: 17. When they dwelt as 
strangers in;—when sojourning in. Acts 15: 7. A good while ago;—from 
days of old. Acts 15: 23. He wrote letters by them-, —by their hands. 
Acts 17: 5. Lewd fellows;—frequenters of the market. 19: 38. The law 
is open;—the courts are held. 20: 2. And had exhorted them with much 
exhortation;—and having exhorted them with many words. 27: 3. To 
refresh himself;—to enjoy their care. Rom. 5: 18. As by the offense of 
one; —as by one offense. 1 Cor. 8: 3. While the world standeth;— forever. 
~ Cor. 3: 7. Written and engraven;—in letters engraven. 2 Cor. 8: 19. 
Acts 14: 23. Who was also chosen;—who with the lifting up of hands 
was also chosen. Gal.4: 15. Where then is the blessedness ye spake of ;— 
what then was your blessedness? Heb. 11: 12. Of one, and him as good 
as dead;—of one, and that of one dead. James 2: 18. Show me thy 



faith without thy works, and I will show thee my faith by my works;— 
show me thy faith out of thy works, and I will show thee my faith out of 
my works. 

8. The English Version exhibits a wonderf ul disregard to the grammatical 
construction of the original. The principles of grammar affect all lan¬ 
guages, and the exact idea of a passage may frequently depend upon its 
grammatical construction. In ascertaining the meaning of any given 
passage, regard must be had to the voice, mood, and tense of the verbs 

The English version unnecessarily changes the voice in which a Greek 
verb is found in the original. Rom. 6: 17. Which was delivered you;—' 
into which ye were delivered. 

One word is often used for another. Mat. 26: 45. Sleep on now and take 
your rest;—instead of, Do ye still sleep on and take your rest? Mat. 5: 
23. If thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest—instead of, 
and there remember. Eph. 4: 24. And put on, instead of, and have put on. 

One tense is used for another. John 13: 3. And icent to God;—was 
going to God. Acts 7: 34. I have seen, I have seen; for seeing, I have 
seen. Rom. 5:1. Being justified— having been justified. Rom 6:4. Are 
buried—were buried. Rom. 6: 6. Is crucified— has been crucified. Rom. 
9: 3. For I could wish—for Ic?i«?wish. 1 John 1. 2. We know—we have 
known. 1 John 2: 4. I know—I have known. 1 John 3: 15. Perceived 
we—we have perceived. 1 John 4: 8. Knoweth not— hath not known. 

Sometimes one 'pronoun is used instead of another. Acts 22: 25. They 
bound him— he bound him. 2 Cor. 10: 10. For his letter say they —for 
his letters says he. Singulars are used for plurals, and vice versa. 1 Pet. 
5: 5. Unto the elder- —the elders. 1 Pet. 1:11. Glory, for glories. 2 Pet. 
2: 9. Temptations, for temptation. Almost innumerable instances of a 
similar character miaht be adduced. 


9. The English Version conveys wrong impressions by its want of uniformi¬ 
ty in the spelling of Hebrew and Greek proper names, leading the unlearned er¬ 
roneously to suppose, from a change of orthography, that different persons err 
places are meant. 

Below, we give a list of proper names indicating the same person or 
place; and their orthography ought to be uniform throughout the Bible. 
One text is added to show where the words occur in their different orthog¬ 


Agar. Gal. 4: 24, 25.Hagar. Gen. 16: 1. 

Azotus. Acts 8: 40.Ashdod. 1 Sam. 5: 1. 

Charran. Acts 7: 2, 4.Haran. Gen. 12: 4. 

Cis. Acts 13: 21.Kish. 1 Sam. 10: 21. 

Elias. Mat. 11: 14.Elijah. 1 Kings 17: 1. 

Eliseus. Luke 4: 27.Elisha. 1 Kings 19: 16. 

Esaias. Rom. 9: 27.Isaiah. 2 Kings 20: 1. 

Jeremy. Mat. 2: 17.Jeremiah. Jer. 1: 1. 

Jeremias. Mat. 16: 14.Jeremiah. 2 Chr. 36: 21. 

Jonas. Mat. 12: 39.Jonah, Jon. 1: 3. 

Joram. Mat. 1: 8.Jehoram. 2Kinfi-sl:17. 


Josaphat. Mat. 1: 8.Jehosaphat. 1 Kings 15: 24. 

Messias. John 1: 41...Messiah. Dan. 9: 25. 

Noe. Mat. 24: 37.Noah. Gen. 8: 1. 

Osee. Rom. 9: 25.Hosea. Hos. 1:1. 

Roboam. Mat. 1: 7.Rehoboam. 1 Chr. 3: 10. 

Sem. Luke 3: 36.. Shem. Gen. 5: 32. 

Tyre. Mat. 11:21.Tyrus. Jer. 25:22. 

Urias. Mat, 1:6.Uriah. 2 Sam. 23: 39. 

Zacbarias. Mat. 23: 35 .Zachariah. 2 Chr. 24: 20. 

10. The English Version is marred by numerous obsolete terms which hide 
the mind of the Spirit, and produce unfavorable impressions upon every reader 
of the Bible. The words contained in the following table may have been 
understood 200 years ago; but at the present time there is not one out of 
every five hundred of the common people, that knows what they mean. It 
is doubtful whether some of them were ever current in the English lan¬ 
guage; they give a singular oddity to the Scriptures. 

"We give in the first column the obsolete words; in the second column 
their equivalents in modern words; in the third column one text where the 
term is found; in the fourth column the number of times the word occurs 
in its obsolete sense. 




1 NO. 



1 Chr. 12: 19. 




2 Kings 20: 4. 




Eze. 13: 7. 



Soon, quickly. 

Mat. 13: 20. 



Ill accommodated. 

Isa. 8: 21. 



Betray, expose. 

Mat. 26: 73. 




Ex. 9: 9. 



Rumor, report. 

Nah. 3: 19. 



Hard cakes, biscuits. 

1 Kings. 14: 3. 




Exo. 36: 38. 



Contend, quarrel. 

Gen. 31: 36. 



Bottle, vessel. 

1 Kings 14: 3. 




Job 9: 33. 




Ex. 29: 40. 


Dure th. 


Mat. 13: 21. 



Till, or plough. 

1 Sam. 8: 12. 




1 Cor. 10: 11. 




1 Pet. 3: 11. 



Avoid, shun. 

Job 1:1. 




Zee. 1: 21. 




Deut. 3: 5. 




Jer. 2: 36. 



Mat. 3: 12. 




Rom. 11: 17. 



Breastplate, armor, 

Ex. 28: 32. 




Ex. 13: 18. 




Psa. 83: 8. 







- 1 





Dan. 3: 21. 



Hamstring, disable. 

Jas. 11:9. 


Hungered, (an) 


Mat. 4: 2. 



Caps, head dress. 

Eze. 13: 18. 




Gen. 32: 15, 



Want, deficiency. 

Gen. 18: 28. 




Gen. 21: 12. 



Lies, falsehoods. 

Psa. 4: 2. 




Mat. 17: 12. 




Rom. 1: 13. 


MagnificaL . 

Stately, grand, 

1 Chr. 22: 5. 




Psa. 107:39. 



Their veils. 

Isa. 3: 19. 



Fortress, fortification. 

Neh. 2: 1. 




Eze. 24: 11. 



Polished, Smoothed. 

Isa. 18: 2. 



Cut or dress the hair. 

Eze. 44: 20. 




Ex. 12: 9. 




Acts 10: 42. 



Prey, plunder. 

Gen. 49: 27. 



Bake, boil. 

2 Kings 4: 38. 




1 Pet. 5: 10. 




Gen. 43: 7. 




Mat. 25: 26. 




Gen. 25: 29. 



Buttons, hooks, 

Ex. 26: 6. 




Ex. 5: 8. 




Luke 17:9. 




1 Sam. 18: 21. 




Ex. 35: 22. 




2 Chr. 9: 11. 




Isa. 51: 6. 



Servant maid, 

2 Sam. 17: 17. 



Betide, befall. 

Eze. 30: 2. 




Ex. 16: 15. 


Besides these obsolete terms, there are many antiquated phrases. Space 
will permit us to name the following only: “Good man of the house,” for 
master of the family, or householder/ Mat. 20: 10. “Hunger bitten,” for 
weakened with hunger. Job 18: 12. “Take no thought,” for be not anx¬ 
ious. Mat. 6: 25. “Laughed him to scorn,” for derided him. Mat. 6: 24, 
‘•'Cast the same in his teeth,” for reproved him. Mat. 27: 44. “Know 
nothing by myself,” for I know nothing against myself. 1 Cor. 4: 4. 


The English version was intended to promote the interest of the church of 
England as the translators avow in the preface, and the volume itself gives 
abundant internal evidence of that fact. The translation of doxa in Luke 
14: 10, by the word worship can only be accounted for by its improper use 

5 10 


in the marriage ceremony of that church—‘with my body, I thee worship,’ 
The Liturgy was made in the days of Henry VIII; its use of terms must 
receive a sanction in the Sacred Writings. For a similar reason we read 
of the “time of visitation and of robbers of churches ”—as if the Bible had 
been conversant with bishops, and sanctioned the application of the word 
church to the edifice in which worshipers convene. To justify the prac¬ 
tice of the Universities, the term didaskaloi —teachers, is rendered Doc¬ 
tors, as if the primitive Christians were accustomed to gratify the ambition 
of men by conferring ecclesiastical titles of superiority and honor. To pro¬ 
duce the impression upon the common reader that the Galileans had es¬ 
tates similar to the Glebes of England, the word estates is supplied in Mark 
6: 21, where the original simply speaks of the chiefs or principal men in 
Galilee in the plural number. To render sacred a feast celebrated by the 
ancient Saxons to a Tutonic goddess, the word pascha is translated Easter, 
instead of Passover, in Acts 12: 4. For sectarian purposes, the word 
episcopos is translated bishop whenever it implies honor, as in 1 Pet. 2: 
25, Tit. 1:7; overseer when it involves the idea of labor, as in Acts 20; 
28; and busy body in connection with alio trio in Pet. 4: 15, where it im¬ 
plies the idea of censure. 

Nor are the high pretensions of the British monarch less favorably con¬ 
sulted. Both fear and policy might have dictated this course. Hence the 
expression, “God save the King” is inserted to import peculiar sacredness 
to monarchy. The prophet affirmed that Israel had sinned in asking for a 
King; the people confessed the fact. 1 Sam. 12: 19, 20. To indicate that 
there are no heaven-appointed rulers but Kings, the words ho basileus ton 
basileuon ton are translated “King of Kings,” in 1 Tim. 6: 15, instead of 
King of them that reign. To awe the people into servile submission to 
the monarch’s mandates, they are told in Rom. 13: 2, that “they who re¬ 
sist shall receive to themselves damnation— a term among Christians which 
always applies to the punishment of the soul in hell, The original word 
h'ima is frequently translated condemnation, and in that text it means no 
more than the condemnation of the power which is resisted, or the gov¬ 
ernment which the rebels attempt to overthrow. 


The English version contains an unnecessary and injurious number of 
supplied words, for which nothing stands in the original. If all the added 
or Italic words in the English Scriptures were arranged together, they 
would form as many words as there are in the 1st Epistle of Peter!— 
Sometimes a command, for which there is no inspired voucher, is given in 
these words, 1 Tim. 1: 14. They frequently convey erroneous ideas. Take 
as an example Mat. 20: 22, “But it shall be given to them, for whom it is 
prepared of my Father.” The Italic words are added by the translators. 
They not only render dubious our Lord’s exclusive authority as the Judge 
of all; but they insinuate that some other person than the Son will distri¬ 
bute rewards at the day of Judgment. In other passages they assign rea¬ 
sons which weakens the force of the original expression. 1 Cor. 1: 8. 

In about 28 years after the first edition of King James’ version, the 
translation was submitted to a more rigid scrutiny. More than 10,000 
added words which the translators failed to mark by Italic letters were 



properly designated. This fact is proved by the American Bible Society, 
whose recent committee report 24,000 corrections of different kind as still 
needed. The Society which circulates the King’s version, cannot in truth 
add the words—“The Bible without notes or comments.” 

We have with more pain than pleasure adverted to some of the defects 
of the English version. Necessity has imposed this task upon us. The 
opposers of revision commend the English version in general terms, and 
secretly attribute improper motives to those who seek to remove its de¬ 
fects. We love the Bible too well to sanction its erroneous and inadequate 
renderings; its'grammatical inaccuracies; its numerous expressions which 
are wanting in delicacy, purity and perspicuity. We find no fault with the 
expressions or sentiments of the sacred writers; but with the English ha- 
bilaments in which the translators have clothed these inspired sentiments. 
Let our opponents, who have lately directed their virulence against the 
workmen rather than the work, attempt to prove that the glaring devia¬ 
tions from the original should not be removed from the English Scriptures. 
The inspired copy is full, clear and beautiful, and the English Bible ought 
to reflect the same characteristics. 


The necessity of translating and circulating the Sacred Scriptures was 
early felt by the primitive Christians. It is probable that Matthew’s Gos¬ 
pel, and the Epistle to the Hebrews were written first in the Hebrew lan¬ 
guage, and translated into the Greek by the Apostles themselves. Cer¬ 
tain it is, that in the ages immediately following that of the Apostles, the 
Bible was translated into various languages. During the time of the gen- 
eral apostacy, called the Dark Ages, priests and monks took the key of 
knowledge from the people. In the days of Wyckliffe, a brighter era 
dawned upon Christendom, and prepared the way for the age of transla¬ 
tions in the 16th century. The invention of the art of printing greatly 
contributed to multiply copies of the Scriptures, and the organization of 
Bible Societies gave numerous facilities for their circulation. 

The British and Foreign Bible Society was formed in 1804, at the very 
period when the Baptist Missionaries in India, were zealously engaged in 
translating God’s word into the languages of the Asiatics. Mr. Hughes 
wrote to Dr. Carey inquiring how he had translated the word baptizo'( 
The venerable translator promptly replied that he had translated baptizo by 
words signifying to immerse, and episcopos by a word signifying an over¬ 
seer. In 1832, nineteen years after the inquiry was made, owing to the 
bigotry" of three Pedo-Baptist Missionaries who prompted the inquiry, and 
who died before the reply was received, the Society resolved, “Not to 
sanction any version in which baptizo and its cognates are translated to im¬ 
merse.” In April 1833, the Society concluded “not to grant aid to any 
translations that do not conform to the English version.” This principle 
was adopted by the American Bible Society in 1836, making the English 
version with all its errors the standard of foreign translations. To this 
principle the Baptists neither could nor would agree, as it offered the high¬ 
est indignity to the original, and contravened the instructions which the 
Missionary Board of the Triennial Convention, in 1833, had given to their 
Missionaries; “Endeavor by earnest prayer and diligent study to ascertain 



die precise meaning of the original text, and express that meaning as ex¬ 
actly as the nature of the languages, into which the translation of the Bi¬ 
ble is made, will permit, transferring no words which are capable of being 
translated.” The action of the American Bible Society in this matter, 
compelled the Baptists to withdraw, leaving about $100,000 of their 
funds in the Treasury of that Society. 

In 1837, the American and Foreign Bible Society was fully organized 
upon the avowed principles expressed by the Missionary Board of the Tri¬ 
ennial Convention. The province and duty of the Society are unequivo¬ 
cally set forth in the Annual Address and Report for the year 1837, its 
views relative to the principle of the transfer, or making the English ver¬ 
sion the standard of translation, may be seen in the reported speeches de¬ 
livered at its organization, when the American Bible Society is represented 
as a railroad carrying contraband goods in the name of religion. Let any 
candid man take into consideration the circumstances under which this So¬ 
ciety was formed, its avowed principles, the often repeated views of its Of¬ 
ficers and Agents, and.if he will not conclude that the American and For¬ 
eign Bible Society has betrayed and abandoned the very platform upon 
which it was formed, evidence must have lost its power. By a public vote 
in 1850, it rejected the very sentiments it avowed in 1837. The follow¬ 
ing resolution was rejected by a vote of the Society in 1850: Resolved, 
“That it is the duty of the American and Foreign Bible Society to circu¬ 
late the Scriptures in the most faithful versions that can be procured.” 
This Baptistic principle being rejected, let the advocates of the Society de¬ 
fine what kind of version it becomes them to circulate. At the same 
meeting, the following resolution was adopted: Resolved, “That this So¬ 
ciety in its issues and circulation of the English Scriptures, be restricted 
to the commonly received version, without note or comment.” The So¬ 
ciety, being not yet satisfied, passed the following: Resolved, “That it is 
not the province and duty of the American and Foreign Bible Society on 
their own part, or to procure from others, a revision of the commonly re¬ 
ceived English version of the Sacred Scriptures.” The British and For¬ 
eign Bible Society, and the American Bible Society, made the English ver¬ 
sion the standard of foreign translations; the American and Foreign Bible 
Society endorsed its fidelity so far as to declare revision unnecessary ! If 
it be not the “province and duty” of that Society “on their own part, 
or to seek from others a revision of the English Scriptures,” can it be 
their “province and duty” to seek the revision of the Scriptures in any 
language ? Are they not prepared to circulate the Spanish version in 
which Jacob is made to worship the top of his staff; or the Russian ver¬ 
sion in which haptizo is translated to cross; or the version of one of the 
American Indian tribes, where baptize is rendered sprinkle. 

The revision movements have met with more violent opposition from the 
professed friends of the American and Foreign Bible Society than from 
all other sources besides. Pulpits have been closed, newspapers are de¬ 
clining our appeals, and our plans and motives have been sadly misrepre¬ 
sented. This compels us in self-defense to make known facts and dwell 
on themes which are not pleasing to ourselves. Many of us are Life Mem¬ 
bers of that Society, and more than once in our lives we have prayed and 



contributed to advance its interest. Had that Society preserved its origi¬ 
nal pledges, it would have still received our cordial co-operation. 

Early in the history of the American and Foreign Bible Society, an ap¬ 
plication came from Boston, desiring an appropriation for the circulation 
of the French version. It was referred to a sub-committee, who reported 
adversely, as the French version transferred all words relative to baptism. 
The committee called attention to the necessity of revising that version. 
The Board unanimously adopted the report. Means were used to revise 
the French version, and some corrections have been made, and some copies 
circulated, before the meeting of the American and Foreign Bible Society, 
when the officers were changed. The new officers and Board rejected the 
corrections, and are now .contentedly circulating the old transfer version of 
France. Actions speak louder than words, and frequently contradict them. 

The Baptist Missionaries in India translated baptizo by words signifying 
to immerse; the Board of the American and Foreign Bible Society recently 
pronounced the English version more faithful than the translations made 
by our Missionaries. If true, for consistency’s sake cease to circulate 
them until they are revised. Call Judson and Yates back from another 
world, that they may perform a work which we supposed they had done. 

On the 10th of June, 1850, the friends of pure versions, including the 
former President, Corresponding and Recording Secretaries, and Treasurer 
of the American and Foreign Bible Society, formed the American Bible 
Union. Its object is “to procure and circulate the most faithful versions 
jjf the Sacred Scriptures in all languages throughout the world.” It de¬ 
signs to have the Bible speak with one voice among all nations. How im¬ 
portant is the object to this and all coming ages ? This Institution is es¬ 
tablished upon principles dear to every true lover of God’s word, and the 
existence of the. Society is identified with the vindication of truth at home, 
and abroad. 


No great work has ever been undertaken and accomplished in any age, 
without having to contend with violent opposition. It is not to be expected 
that the work of revising the English Scriptures should be an exception. 
No translation or revision of the English Bible designed for general circu¬ 
lation was ever introduced without prejudice and superstition being directed 
against it. The supposed sanctity of the existing version; the desire of 
teachers and pastors to gain pre-eminence over their people; the love of 
applause and the dread of a sectarian frown; the selfishness of Agents 
who are moved by personal interest, are sufficient to give existence to the 
most unwarrantable opposition. 

The most common objections urged against revision are the following: 

1. The commonly received version tends, to preserve the purity of the En¬ 
glish Language 

In this objection it is assumed that the Bible is the standard of the En¬ 
glish language. Is it true ? Who goes to the English Bible to ascertain 
the laws of language or the meaning of words ? A school teacher, who 
is known in common conversation to use the obsolete terms we have en- 
numerated or follows the grammatical inaccuracies interspersed through¬ 
out the volume, would soon cease to be employed. With reference to 




language, the English version presents a singular compound. Occasion¬ 
ally we find an unwarrantable aversion to the use of words of Roman 
origin, hence keep back is used for suppress; call upon for invoke; bow down 
for incline; lift up for exalt; stretch out for extend; put out for extinguish, 
cry out for exclaim; put away for divorce; put asunder for separate; cut 
off for reject; let go for dismiss. 

From these and similar instances the uninformed reader may suppose 
that the translators have preferred plain and simple terms, and rejected 
all learned expressions and words hard to be understood. He will soon 
find, however, that his impressions were premature, for among others he 
will meet the following:—Tetrarch, for a Governor over the fourth part of 
a province; proselyte for convert; centurion for an officer over four sol¬ 
diers; legion for myriads, or a body of soldiers; scribe for writer; infidel for 
unbeliever; matrix for womb; occurrest for incident; vocation for calling; 
omnipotent for Almighty; illuminated for enlightened; delectable for de¬ 
lightful: immutable for unchangeable; celestial for heavenly; terrestrial 
for earthly; partition for division; diversity for variety; importunity for 
earnest entreaty; inquisition for inquiry; prognosticator for foreteller; am¬ 
bassador for embassy; cogitation for thought; exact for demand; exaction 
for tribute; inordinate for irregular, laud for praise; abjure for put on 
oath; implead for going to law; disannul for make void; consort for part¬ 
ner; amerce for fine; incensed for enraged; mollified for softened; exorcise 
for one who drives away evil spirits. These facts are a sufficient answer 
to the first objection. 

2. The agitation of the necessity of revision has been represented as pro - * i 
mating the cause of infidelity. 

When Christians in past ages demanded a translation of the Sacred Wri¬ 
tings, priests and monks affirmed that infidelity would be promoted by 
such act. As early as the days of Jerome, the same note of alarm was 
sounded by persons of no less distinction than Ruffinus and Augusttne. 
Jerome, however, proceeded with his work of translating the Sacred Scrip¬ 
tures into Latin in spite of the dissuasions of friends and the invectives of 
enemies. After the work appeared, no hideous consequences were reali¬ 
zed, and the cries of alarm were heard no more. Jerome’s translation, 
without any royal edict, or the sanction of Council until the 16th century, 
superceded the Italic version. 

About the time of the Reformation, the era of translations, the same 
tocsin of alarm was heard throughout Europe. What was the actual re¬ 
sult ? The Bible was more generally read, knowledge increased and the 
cause of Christianity was promoted. Dr. Whitby, a man of distinguished 
learning and abilities, was alarmed at Mill’s publication concerning the dif¬ 
ferent Greek readings, as dangerous to the cause of Christianity. Has 
the lapse of 145 years confirmed the correctness of these forebodings, or 
has not the various readings of 30,000 manuscripts placed the integrity of 
the Scriptures in stronger light than ever, and setting at defiance all cavil 
and suspicions ? The Historian is as much indebted to oriental languages 
for a knowledge of Ancient History, as the Divine is indebted to the me¬ 
dium of the Hebrew and the Greek for his knowledge of theology. Does 
this consideration unhinge the confidence of mankind in the facts of his¬ 
tory ? 



Why raise the “hue and cry,” about promoting infidelity by showing 
the defects of the English Version? Is it not true that nineteen twentieths 
of all the caviling’s of infidels, are based upon some misrendering of the 
sacred text. To admit the errors of the English Version, and to oppose 
their removal, gives infidelity its most effective handle. Lev God speak 
for himself in his own way, and the cause of truth has nothing to fear. 
Ho writer against infidelity, from the days of King James until now, has 
ever succeeded in his work without correcting the errors of the common 
version; and no student leaves any theological school in this country with¬ 
out having spent much of his time in detecting and being able to remove 
the mistranslations of the English Scriptures. 

3. The commonly received version is good enough for me, and for my chil¬ 

So cries the advocate for sprinkling. To be satisfied with the acknowl¬ 
edged errors in preference to truth, betrays indifference or superstition. 
Doubtless, the multitude made a similar statement when the present Eng¬ 
lish Scriptures were yet in the hands of the translators. If they did not, 
all history is false. One person may be satisfied with less than the truth, 
another may want more than the truth, the desires of both are anti-chris- 
itan—were never planted by the Holy Spirit, 

What imparts such sacredness to the English Version, with its admitted 
defects, as to render it good enough for us and for our children ? Is it an- 
tiquity? There are other versions more ancient . Is it its fidelity ? Where 
it is a true representative of the original, we do not propose to alter it. 
Are not the Genevan and other English Versions, which the present has 
superceded, better transcripts of the Original Scriptures ? 

But one claims it as the means of his conversion. Admit all this, and 
will the inaccuracies, and defects of the English Version be any less? 
These errors converted no man to God. It is the law of the Lord which 
is powerful converting the soul:—not obsoletes, antiquated phrases and in¬ 
correct renderings. Other versions had been instrumental in the conver- 
sion of our forefathers; but that did not parahze the hands of the British 
Monarch, in Hampton Court when he ordered a new translation to be made. 

Had the objector lived 28 years after the first edition of the commonly 
received version, perhaps he would have objected to the revision which 
took place about that time. By consulting any edition issued before the 
year 1639, the reader will be satisfied that several emendations were made 
at that period. Aliant in Job 19: 15, was changed into alien; chaws into 
jaws in Eze. 29: 4; fet into fetched in Acts 28: 13; leese into lose 1 Kings 
18: 15; marishes into marshes in Eze. 47: 11; mo into more in Deut, 1: 11; 
sith into since in Jer. 25: 17; mids into midst in Luke 23: 45; oweth into 
oioneth in Acts 21: 11, <fcc. &c. Can it be praiseworthy to revise a version 
without the knowledge of the people, and yet be censurable to do the work 
under the scrutinizing eye of the learned world ? 

4. The want of universal co-operation has been alledged against revision. 

Had Jesus and his Apostles delayed the work of spreading the Gospel 

until general co-operation had been secured even among the professed 
friends of truth, the work of the world’s conversion would never have 
been commenced. Had Luther waited until the note of opposition had 
been hushed, the man of sin would have cannonized him. If Baptists 



will never immerse—practice open communion—or preach the doctrine of 
the Saints’ perseverance until they secure the sanction of their opponents, 
the work will never be done. To demand the co-operation of the various 
sects into which the Christian world is divided, is to require what has nev¬ 
er characterized any English Version, or any other version in Christendom. 
The objection implies the most violent opposition to the work, and betrays 
the cowardice of the man that offers it. He is unwilling; to trust the sub- 
ject to the necessity of the work—to the ability of the present age to per¬ 
form it, and to the protection of God to defend his own truth. 

5. A revised version may lead to the translation of baptizo by the word im¬ 
merse. The Greek word baptizo and its cognates occur in the New Testa¬ 
ment 123 times. These words are not without a meaning. Baptist Mis¬ 
sionaries in. foreign lands have rendered them by terms signifying to im¬ 
merse, and in their translation they have received the sanction of the Bap¬ 
tist denomination. The most ancient versions and many modern ones 
have done the same. Do these words mean immerse in Burmah, and 
mean something else in the English language ? Baptist pulpitsaffirm their 
signification to immerse. Baptist Editors, professors, and ministers, in 
their opposition to a revised version, contradict their pulpit ministrations, 
and give more efficient service to the cause of sprinkling than its advo¬ 
cates are able to impart. In words, baptizo signifies to immerse; in print 
it means to baptize. ‘Fifteen persons were baptized in Zanesville.’ Who 
can tell by English dictionaries what was done to those persons ? Were 
they immersed, had water sprinkled or poured upon them, or were they 
merely named? All Yankeedom cannot tell. When the Grecian used 
baptizo, was there any difficulty to know what action was performed? Is 
the English language capable of expressing that action ? If so let it be 
done; if not, who can express the idea to the English people, or what Lexi¬ 
con can define the Greek word ? If it cannot be expressed in the Bible, 
it cannot be in the Lexicons. 

Let us examine the import of the English word baptize, as defined by 
the most popular dictionaries of the schools. Worcester says, it means 
“to immerse in water; to administer baptism to; to sprinkle with water; to 
christen.” Webster defines it by the second and fourth of the foregoing 
definitions. Is sprinkling any part of the meaning of baptizo in Greek ? 
Let him who asserts it, prove it. It seems to be a part of the meaning of 
the word baptize according to the usus loquendi of the English people. 
The question is one of fact, not of theory. Popular usage defines the 
meaning of words and we may as well attempt to raise the dead as to re¬ 
sist it. What is baptism according to the definition of Dr. Webster? To 
baptize is to administer the rite of baptism; to administer the rile of bap¬ 
tism is to baptize. To baptize is to christen, to christen is to baptize !! 
What a learned and incorrect definition, equalled only by Dr. Johnson’s 
definition of the term net-work. “Any thing reticuled or decussated with 
interstices at equal distances between the intersections.” What learned 
ingenuity has been employed to blind the multitude respecting an impor¬ 
tant ordinance of the New Testament, no small part of which has arisen 
from the transfer into the English Version of a Greek word well under¬ 
stood. If baptizo means to sprinkle, pour, wet, pop, stain, purify, circum¬ 
cise, <fec &c., let it be so translated. We have no other object but truth in 



its translation, regardless of the denomination, sect or party, which may 
be injuriously affected by the truth. Leo God speak so as to be unequivo¬ 
cally understood. 

6. The Baptists ought not to do this work. 

Why not ? If the work is needed, and who doubts it, why is it not the 
province and duty of the Baptists to engage in it ? They have never been 
known to shrink from the odium resulting from maintaining and vindica¬ 
ting the truth. Who needs to be afraid or ashamed to hear of a ‘Baptist 
Bible ?” If the Book of God sustains our sentiments and practice, then 
of necessity it is a Baptist Bible; if it does not, it is high time for us to 
change our sentiments and rectify our practice. “But such revision will 
injure the Baptist cause.” The pure and unadulterated word will injure 
the Baptist cause! What conscientious Baptist believes it ? If truth will 
injure our cause, then let us be injured. “Let God be true, if every man 
be a liar.” 

“It will shock our opponents and they will demolish us as a denomina¬ 
tion.” Truly it will be the shock of an earthquake, breaking away from 
their unsafe moorings the fabrics of human delusions which have institu- 
ted for doctrines the commandments of men. Can any Baptist believe 
that God’s truth faithfully translated can injure our cause ? Unwavering 
fidelity to truth is our motto, and as soldiers we dare not yield to fear. 
Silly wit and sardonic sneers cannot demolish a people who in different 
ages were able to survive the fires of persecution, imprisonment, the dens 
of the Inquisition, and every instrument of torture which human ingenuity 
could invent. 

Why should not the Baptists be the first in every good work. Tell us 
of an important movement in the work of civil and moral reform, in any 
age, where Baptists were not found in the van. Who was Wyckliffe the 
morning star of the Reformation ? Who w r as Milton, the lord of British 
poets ? What were the religious sentiments of Isaac Newton, the “great¬ 
est and rarest genius England ever produced.” Who first promulgated in 
our own country the “heretical doctrine” that the regulation of the con¬ 
science belongs exclusively to God?—Roger Williams. Where was Thom¬ 
as Jefferson first taught the true idea of Republicanism ? Who originated 
the Monthly Concert of prayer for the conversion of the heathens ? Who 
projected the BritisLi and Foreign Bible Society, organized the first Total 
Abstinence Society in America, and published the first temperance paper 
in the world ? Who was the first to suffer martyrdom under modern Pa¬ 
pacy, and the last, bringing up the rear guard in the days of King James 
I ? Answer Jhese questions and then state the reason why Baptists ought 
not to sustain their usual position in every important enterprise ? 

But is it true that the Baptists are alone in this work ? Are they enti¬ 
tled to all the honors of desiring to revise the English Scriptures ? Did 
John Wesley deem the English Version a faithful transcript of the original 
when he issued a new translation of the New Testament ? Did Robert 
Lowth, Michel Dodson, Benjamin Blayney, Richard Stack, Gilbert Wake¬ 
field, William Newcombe—all Episcopaleans, regard the English Version 
faithful, when they gave the world new translations of the whole, or cer¬ 
tain portions of the Sacred Oracles ? Did Doddridge, George Campbell, 
McKnight, Moses Stuart, Albert Barnes and Dr. Alexander of the Pres- 



byterian or Congregational churches consider the English Version incapa¬ 
ble of improvement when they translated anew various portions of the 
Old and of the Hew Testament? Every new translation made since the 
year 1611, implies that the common version is imperfect. Besides these 
facts there are some denominations, and thousands of men out of every 
sect who earnestly desire a revision of the English Scriptures, and who 
will be among the first to procure the volume when it appears. In the 
list of learned men who are prepared to engage in the work of revision, 
we find those belonging to the various orthodox denominations in Chris¬ 
tendom. In the translation of the common version, no hand was permit¬ 
ted to engage except Episcopalians. Some Baptists may confide 'in Epis- I 
copalians while they distrust their own brethren. We are not of that 

7. The Baptists will lose their name as a denomination if baptizo is translated. \ 

Can we consent to mutilate the Holy Scriptures in the English language, 

and hide the mind of the Spirit in order to retain a name ? The martyrs 
were called heretics , they died with as much triumph as if they had been 
called saints. The man who values his name more than his principles, 
never received his education in the school of Jesus and his Apostles. 

In fact this objection is a sophistry. The word episcopos is translated 
bishop; but are Episcopalians called Bishopites? The Greek word presbu- 
teros is translated elders; but are Presbyterians called Elderites? Pedo 
baptist means infant immersionist; but Rhantizers have retained it not¬ 
withstanding their sprinkling. Strange it is that extremes meet. Pedo- 
baptists tremble for their dogma; Baptists quake for their popularity and 
their name. 

8. The work will involve too much expense. 

Within a few months much has been said, written and insinuated, con¬ 
cerning the expense connected with the enterprize of revising the English 
Scriptures. There is policy in urging such an objection, as an appeal to 
men’s pockets frequently proves more powerful than an appeal to their un¬ 
derstanding and consciences. And indeed, by exaggerating the expendi¬ 
ture of any benevolent society, especially in its infancy, the means to car¬ 
ry on the work may be cut off and the cause itself be forced to cease.— 
Such a course may be adopted too, in order to call off attention from 
other organizations unfriendly to our work. Whatever is spent in circu¬ 
lating the common version in this country, is wholly unnecessary. The 
American Bible Society can and does furnish that version cheaper than 
any denominational society can do it. This is proved by the report of 
a recent Committee of the American and Foreign Bible Society. Af¬ 
ter one year’s deliberation, the Committee state that the American and 
Foreign Bible Society has annually lost 26£ per cent, in the work of home 
distribution. This is unnecessry, the heathens need the benefit of such 
funds, American churches do not. 

Indeed, the labors of the American and Foreign Bible Society,—as the 
institution sustains no great and important principles, and possesses not 
the ‘province nor duty to revise’ incorrect versions, in heathen lands—are 
of a doubtful character. All its labors may be more economically and 
efficiently performed by the Missionary Union, whose Missionaries at the 
present time have to perform all the work of Bible distribution among the 



. heathens. Notwithstanding these self-evident truths, the Agents and or- 
je gans of the American and Foreign Bible Society have attempted in vari- 
lf j ous ways to clog the wheels of the American Bible Union, by insinuations 
i e relative to expenditures, and by reflecting upon the character and motives 
r i of its officers. The officers of the American Bible Union are men of 
known and tried integrity, and business capacity, which their opponents 
may envy but cannot excel. 

It has been estimated that the British Monarch expended one hundred 
. thousand dollars in procuring the commonly received version—a small sum 
for the throne of England; but nearly equal to the amount expended by 
the American Bible Society during the last eight years for the whole hea¬ 
then world. About twenty-five years of the life of the immortal Judson, 
were devoted to the translation of the Bible into the language of Burmah. 
No lover of that holy enterprise complained of the amount of Missionary 
funds expended upon that work. The American Bible Union is economi¬ 
cal and scrupulous in its expenditures both at home and abroad. In the 
course of two years, with the generous aid of the friends of pure versions, 
that Society, in co-operation with your Association, will be enabled to fur¬ 
nish a faithfully revised version of the New Testament to the English peo¬ 
ple. Heaven speed the day. 


Mr. President and Brethren : — I greet you all, most cordially, as¬ 
sembled on this interesting occasion. I thank my God and Father, the 
God of the Bible, that I am permitted to witness your meeting—for a pur¬ 
pose which nearly concerns His glory—for the promotion of an object that 
lies very near to my heart. 

In speaking to you thus assembled on a subject, which it has been my 
privelege to plead before most of you in your several fields of labor, and 
before many of you while enjoying the hospitality of your respective homes, 
I need not say how high a sense I entertain of its importance. I have 
lived and labored for the accomplishment of the cherished hope that the 
Bible, faithfully translated, may be brought within the reach of all men, 
of every tongue, not excepting those who speali the English language. Life 
is but a shadow, which continueth but a little and then vanishes away.— 
This reflection comes home impressively to a man who has passed the nar¬ 
row limit of three score years and ten. I have felt that it became me to 
work, “while it is called day, for behold! the'night cometh when no man can 
work.” Thus laboring, I have earnestly desired, if the will of God be so, 
that I may before I die, put a pure Bible into the hands of my children and 
grand children. I know not if I shall see the great work accomplished, but 
1 am cheered by the confidence, that by the establishment of the American 



Bible Union, the great principle for which we have contended, is secure; 
and that, by the blessing of, God upon the judicious measures adopted by 
the Union, a faithful revision of the English Bible will speedily be accom¬ 
plished. This Convention strengthens my confidence that whether I live to 
see it or no, the work will be done ; and the assured anticipation of it will 
at least be grateful to me in a dying hour. 

The 'principles and intentions of the American Bible Union. 

In introducing the subject itself to your consideration this morning, I 
cannot do better than read to you a portion of a statement, of the princi¬ 
ples and intentions of the American Bible Union, which has been put,in my 
hands since I entered this meeting: 

“The American Bible Union was organized June 10th, 1850, “to pro¬ 
cure and circulate the most faithful versions of the Sacred Scriptures in all 
languages throughout the world.”— Constitution. 

“The Board adopted the following resolution, which was subsequently 
sanctioned by the Union. 

“ ‘That appropriotions made by the Union, shall in no case be employed 
tor the circulation of a version which is not made on the following princi¬ 
ples, viz: The exact meaning of the inspired text, as that text expressed 
it to those who understood the original Scriptures at the time they were 
iirst written, must be translated by corresponding words and phrases, so far 
as they can be found, in the vernacular tongue of those for whom the ver¬ 
sion is designed, with the least possible obscurity or indefitiveness.” 

“In accordance with the object set forth in the Constitution, the Bible 
Union seeks to procure a faithfully revised version of the English Scrip¬ 
tures and similar versions in other European and in heathen languages. 
The design is to have the Bible speak with one voice throughout the world. 

“Missionaries now complain that, as intelligent heathen learn the English 
language, they discover the discrepencies between our version and the 
translations made by the missionaries; and they naturally conclude that 
the latter are wrong , as it is inconceivable that Christiaps in America should 
circulate among their own countrymen known errors, and print the truth 
only for the heathen ! 

“In the version commonly used in this country are many acknowledged 
errors and obscurities, some affecting the essential doctrines of the Chris¬ 
tian faith, and others the rules of Christian conduct. The divinity of Je¬ 
sus Christ, and other truths dear to the heart of the believer, would shine 
out far more clearly and gloriously after a faithful revision. The strongest 
and most effective arguments of infidelity and scepticism among the com¬ 
mon people, are founded upon mistranslations of the words of inspiration. 

“Similar remarks apply also to the versions in common use throughout 
the greater part of the European continent and among the descendants of 
Europeans scattered over the world. These are generally conformed to the 
English version, or the Latin Vulgate, and almost slavishly copy the er¬ 
rors and imperfections of these versions. 

“We believe it to be our duty to do all in our power to correct such evils. 
It is not for us to inquire, how much of God’s truth may be concealed from 
men without material injury to their souls. The infidel distinction between 
essentials and non-essentials in matters of duty is not to be found in Scrip¬ 
ture. GOD says: 



“ ‘Ye shall not add to the word that I command you, neither shall ye 
diminish aught from it.” Deut. 4: 2. 

“ ‘If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the 
plagues that are written in this book. And, if any man shall take away 
from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part 
out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which 
are written in this book.” Rev. 22: 18, 19. 

“Here is no room for the doctrine of expediency, that bane of Christian 
principle, which withers the energies and neutralizes the influence of so 
many who profess the name of Christ! 

“We refer to the Annual Report for the year ending Oct. 3, 1851, for an 
explanation of all that has been done by the Bible Union, particularly in 
respect to the revision of the Spanish, the French, and the English Scrip¬ 
tures. We shall probably have a corrected Spanish Testament in circula¬ 
tion within a year. The arrangements for the French are very favorable, 
but not so mature. In the plan adopted for the English, the following prin¬ 
ciple is embodied : 

“ ‘To give to the ordinary reader, as nearly as possible, the exact mean¬ 
ing of the inspired original, while so far as compatible with this design, 
the general style and phraseology of the commonly received version are 
retained.” The plan includes the employment of Paedobaptist as well as 
Baptist scholarship of the highest character. No compromise of the truth 
in its simplicity, its purity, and its clearness will be made, to gain the co¬ 
operation and sanction of any man or body of men. But while the princi¬ 
ple of the most scrupulous fidelity to God is inflexibly adhered to, no suit¬ 
able means will be neglected to bring forth the book with the greatest 
weight of human authority, which, consistently with that principle, can be 

Such are our principles and intentions, and I am happy to say that they 
are in a fair state of progress towards successful execution. 

Tl\e providence of God has smiled upon us. We believe that the work 
is the Lord’s, and from indications daily received, we are encouraged in 
the assurance that he will bring it to pass. 

Origin of the movement. Baptist Translations—and the British and For¬ 
eign Bible Society. 

You may be interested and instructed in tracing with me in outline, the 
history of the movement from its commencement. Its fundamental princi¬ 
ple—the Bible, and the Bible alone the rule of faith and practice—has al¬ 
ways been dear to Baptists, and this movement might be traced back to 
their suffering, even unto death in its defence. But the circumstances, 
which more immediately led to our movement, took their rise in the Board 
of the American Bible Society upon an application by Messrs Yates and 
Pearce, for aid in the circulation of the Bengalee New Testament. We 
may go back of that action to explain the circumstances in which this ap¬ 
plication was made. 

You all know what distinguished honor God has put upon the Baptists by 
choosing from among them his chief agents in modern times in giving His 
word to the heathen. From the commencement of this work by Dr. Carey, 
our Baptist translators have felt themselves under solemn obligations to God 
and to the souls of men, to make the inspired language of the Bible their only 



standard, and to make faithful translations of it into other languages, with¬ 
out addition, diminution, or concealment. When our common version was 
made, the translators were restrained in the use of all due fidelity by the 
instructions of King James. But our Baptist brethren were not manacled 
by the mandates of any earthly despot. Bowing only to Him, who has all 
authority in Heaven and on the earth, they faithfully translated every word 
of the Divine Oracles. Of course, they uniformly rendered baptizo by a 
word, or words, signifying to immerse. 

In the work of translating and circulating the Scriptures, Dr. Carey and 
his associates received liberal aid from the British and Foreign Bible Socie¬ 
ty. Nor did that Society aid them in ignorance of the character of their 

In 1813, Mr. Hughes, the Secretary, stated to the Baptist Board of Mis¬ 
sions, of which he was a member, that the managers of the Biljle Society 
wished that the Missionaries would transfer the word baptizo instead of 
translating it. The Board unanimously replied, that they could not instruct 
the Missionaries to conceal any part of the truth of-God from the nations 
of the earth. Bro. Hughes reported this consciencious decision to the man¬ 
agers, but it made no difference in the readiness and liberality with which 
the Society aided the translations. Nearly twenty years subsequent to this 
incident, some Pedo-baptist Missionaries in India found themselves embar¬ 
rassed by the conviction of the natives, that sprinkling was not baptism. 
Through the influence of these Missionaries, aid was refused to Messrs 
Yates and Pearce, in the publication of a version of the New Testament 
in the Bengalee language, on the ground that baptizo was rendered by a 
word, signifying to immerse. An American Pedo-baptist in India, at the 
time, advised them to apply for aid to the American Bible Society, urging 
that there was no religious establishment in America—that all denomina¬ 
tions were placed on an equality, and that the partiality and intolerance, 
which had influenced the British Society, would find no sympathy in 
American breasts. This advice led to the application of which I have spo¬ 

The American Bible Society forced the friend.s of faithful translations to a 

You will perceive that the principles and practice of Baptist translators 
were matters of notoriety before the American Bible Society was institu¬ 
ted. The communication of Mr. Hughes with the Baptist Board was from 
1813 to 1816. Our brethren had made twenty-seven versions of the Bible 
which were in extensive circulation. The American Bible Society was not 
organized till 1816. Its declared object was “the dissemination of the 
Scriptures in the received versions where they existed, and the most faithful 
where they may be required.” Upon this basis we united with it. Our 
principles were known. We united as Baptists. Nothing in the terms of 
the compact required or implied a sacrifice of our principles. In 1833, our 
Missionary Board adopted and published a resolution, instructing their 
Missionaries, who might be engaged in translating the Scriptures, “to en¬ 
deavor by earnest prayer and diligent study to ascertain the exact meaning 
of the original text, to express that meaning as exactly as the languages 
into which they shall translate the Bible will permit, and to transfer no 
words which are capable of being literally translated.” I was present 



when copies of this resolution were handed to the officers and managers of 
the American Bible Society. But as it expressed no change of principles 
or practice, on the part of Baptists, it excited no surprise and led to no in- 
ruptions in our relations to the Society. You will perceive that from the 
beginning, it must have been well understood on what terms we formed a 
component part of that body. 

I say it without boasting, that as a denomination, we brought our full 
share of capital and labor to the common enterprise. 

Our Missionaries had translated the Bible into languages spoken by more 
than half of the entire population of the globe. Our bequests, donations, 
and contributions had been liberal. Two of our brethren had bequeathed 
$45,000. The Rev. B. M. Hill, now Secretary of the Home Mision Society, 
has shown good ground for the conclusion, that “during their connection 
with the Society, the Baptists contributed $170,000.” On the other hand, 
I may mention that from first to last, less than $30,000 has been appro¬ 
priated by the Society to aid versions by Baptist translators. But though 
we acted with liberality and in good faith throughout, a time came when 
the choice was presented to us to abandon the American Bible Society, or 
to abandon the truth. 

On the application of Messrs Yates and Pearce for aid, a committee was 
appointed to take the subject into consideration. A majority of the com¬ 
mittee reported, “that it was inexpedient to grant aid for the publication 
of any version, in which baptizo is translated by a word signifying to im¬ 
merse.” Dr. Cone presented a counter report. The matter was referred 
to the same committee, who again reported “that it is inexpedient to grant 
aid to any version except those that conform to the common English Ver¬ 
sion, at least so far as that all religious denominations, represented in this 
Society, can consistently use and circulate them.” After lengthened dis¬ 
cussion, and in the face of our earnest expostulations, this report was 
adopted by a large majority on the 17th of February 1836. On the 17th 
of March following, a resolution was adopted granting to the Baptists 
$5,000 on condition that the versions made by them were in accordance 
with the report of the committee already refered to. In other words, that 
these versions conform to the common English Version, “at least so far as 
that all religious denominations represented in this Society, can consistently 
use and circulate them.” Such an offer requiring the concealment of all 
the words relative to the ordinance of baptism, was unanimously rejected 
by the Baptist Board of Foreign Missions, which assembled at Hartford in 
April 1836. 

The action of the Board of the American Bible Society, of which I have 
spoken, was ratified at the Annual Meeting of the Society, the 10th of May, 

The American and Foreign Bible- Society—its origin, principles and object. 

On the evening of that day, Baptist brethren and delegates from eleven 
States of the Union, assembled in the Oliver Street Lecture Room, in the 
city of Hew York, and proceeded with great unanimity to organize the 
American and Foreign Bible Society—a step which was fully ratified by a 
large convention at Philadelphia, in 1837. I need not dwell upon the re¬ 
membrance of the conflict that awaited us in the infancy of that institution. 
I can recall with grateful delight the love and zeal, the fervent prayers, 



and heavenly communions which animated our first councils. An outcry 
against “Baptist bigotry—‘sectarianism,’—‘shaking the confidence of the 
common people in the Scriptures,”—we might have expected from those 
who drove us to the step they censured. But these reproaches were barbed 
by professed Baptists—in some cases, the same individuals who are promi¬ 
nent in opposing the present movement—and using then the same arguments 
against the American and Foreign Bible Society which they now employ in 
its defence, and against the American Bible Union. Well may they ! For 
the position of the Society then was essentially that of the Union now. 

The declared object of the American and Foreign Bible Society, was, ‘to 
promote a wider circulation of the Holy Scriptures, in the most faithful ver¬ 
sions that can be procured, in all lands, whether Christian, Mohammedan, 
or Pagan.’ Such was the language used in its constitution in 1836—lan- 
gunge as Catholic, comprehensive, and unrestricted as that which is used 
in the constitution of the American Bible Union in 1850. “Its object shall 
be to procure and circulate the most faithful versions of the Sacred Scrip¬ 
tures in all languages throughout the world.” Still, it has been made a 
question whether a revision of the English Scriptures came within the 
•scope of the former constitution ! It is true, that the circumstances which 
led to the organization of the American and Foreign Bible Society, directed 
its operations first and prominently to the necessities of the foreign field. 
But tlie application of our principles to the necessities of our own land, was 
not overlooked. Our opponents as well as our friends did not allow us to 
overlook it. 

Before we had separated from the original Society, during the protracted 
discussions which preceded the final adoption of the obnoxious resolution 
in 1836, we were taunted with inconsistency in using the English Version, 
where the word is transferred, and yet ordering our Missionaries to trans¬ 
late it. We felt the force of the objection, but replied, that we had no 
hand in making our English Version—its imperfections we lamented—and 
we did not hesitate to anticipate a time, when we should be called upon to 
give a version of the English Scriptures; and promised, in that event, to 
give the whole truth, that the unlearned, as well as the learned, might know 
the will of G id and their duty. The taunt we thus encountered was re¬ 
peated with greater force and earnestness after a separation had taken place. 

Our duty with reference to the English Version was forced upon our con¬ 
sideration in the outset of our existence as a Society. There was much 
deliberation and extensive correspondence on the subject. Baptists in gen¬ 
eral, I think, had but one opinion as to what would ultimately be our duty. 
The only question seemed to be as to the time when a revision should be 

At the annual meeting of the American and Foreign Bible Society in 
New York in 1838, the venerable and beloved Dr. Nathaniel Kendrick ex¬ 
pressed himself strongly in favor of the Society adopting immediate meas¬ 
ures for procuring a revised version of the English Scriptures. Brethren 
Wm. Colgate, Wm. D. Murphy and others, addressed the meeting in sup¬ 
port of tlie views expressed by Dr. Kendrick. I was present on that occa¬ 
sion, and also advocated the position of Dr. Kendrick on this subject. No 
one, in that numerous assemblage, uttered a word of opposition to a revi¬ 
sed yersion of the English Scriptures, or the propriety of an ultimate move- 



ment to procure one. But a reason for temporary delay was suggested in 
the statement, that the Society was yet in its infancy, and lacked the funds 
requisite for so important an undertaking. 

Brother Wm. Colgate expressed his opposition to a proposition restricting 
the Society for the present, to the existing English Version. The Presi¬ 
dent, Dr. Cone, remarked to him that the restriction was only temporary 
and could be removed by the Society at any future period. 

The result of our deliberations at that time, was the adoption of a reso¬ 
lution which fully recognized the revision of the English Scriptures as 
coming within the scope of the constitution, while it directed, that for the 
time being, that part of our work should be suspended. The resolution 
reads thus: “Resolved, that in the distribution of the Scriptures in the 
English language they will use the commonly received version until other - 
vrise directed.' 1 ' Take this temporary restriction in connection with the 
Catholic terms of the declaration which extended the duty of giving faith¬ 
ful versions to all lands, Christian, Mohammedan, and Pagan, and surely 
the position of the American and Foreign Bible Society was not a dubious 
one. The door was not only kept open for a revision, but it was distinctly 
contemplated that the time would come when that great work would be un¬ 
dertaken. To that time, many of us looked forward with earnest expecta¬ 

The American and Foreign Bible Society assumed no position inconsis¬ 
tent with our principles till 1850. 

There is no act of the Society which even seems to intimate any thing 
else, as its ultimate intention, until the action of the Annual Meeting in 
1850. We have, indeed, from first to last, disclaimed the purpose of ma¬ 
king either at home or abroad, a Baptist Bible in sectarian sense.— 
Such a design has been imputed to us by those who opposed our applica¬ 
tion to the Legislature of the State of New York, for an act of incorpora¬ 
tion, and it was, of course, earnestly and indignantly denied. The oppo¬ 
nents of the American Bible Union have attempted to torture this denial 
of a sectarian object, into a repudiation of the great and sacred duty to pro¬ 
cure and circulate a faithful Bible. But we occupy no different ground 
in this Union from what we maintained in that Society. We are prepared 
now as then to repel the charge of a mere sectarian purpose. Dr. Cone, 
and those associated with him, deny to-day, as emphatically as they did 
before the New York Legislature, the design of making a Baptist Bible. 

Our views and our vindication may be found in the address of a commit¬ 
tee, of which Dr. Elisha Tucker was chairman. That committee declared 
that “the objection to the character of the American and Foreign Bible 
Society on the ground that it is a sectarian institution, is based upon an er¬ 
ror botli in fact and in principle. True catholicity consists in a strict and 
universal adherence to the standard of the Sacred Scriptures—such adhe¬ 
rence constitutes the distinctive feature of the American and Foreign Bi¬ 
ble Society.” 

The friends of revision went on, earnestly devoted tp the promotion of 
the great interests which had called the Society into existence; hoping that 
the time was drawing near when the temporary restrictions might with 
propriety be withdrawn. That time came. At the Annual Meeting in 
1849, Hon. Isaac Davis, of Massachusetts, moved that the resolution which 



restricted the Board to the use of the common English Scriptures, should 
be removed, and his motion, which was seconded by Rev. C. G. Somers, 
was carried by a large majority. I was witness to the delight which that 
act awakened among our Baptist churches, and as agent of the Society, I 
received increased subscriptions in many quarters in consideration of it. 
The Board, however, though thus unfettered, judged it prudent to await 
further instructions from the Society, before undertaking the correction of 
the English Version. 

The whole question was to be presented for the action of the Society at 
its Annual Meeting, in 1850. A more than ordinary effort was put forth 
to form a public sentiment in opposition to the proposed movement, and its 
legitimate results were such as to excite the prejudices and fears of the 
denomination. Wrong inferences were drawn as to the motives and objects 
of Dr. Cone and his friends. Brethren Cone and Wyckoff had prepared 
and printed, not at the expense of the Society, an edition of the New Tes¬ 
tament with many emendations. They expressly state in the preface, 
“This book is designed for the examination of the members of the Ameri¬ 
can and Foreign Bible Society, to convince them that the common version 
can be corrected without injury to its characteristic excellencies and with 
great enhancement of its real value.” Notwithstanding this plain avowal, 
a clamor was raised against these brethren as designing to foist upon the 
denomination their own version. Multitudes came up to the Annual Meet¬ 
ing with their minds inflamed against this apparent assumption of power— 
not to deliberate upon the propriety of undertaking a revision, but to vote 
down a version which was already made. This opposition was not based 
upon any alleged want of faithfulness in the version, for it is not unrea¬ 
sonable to suppose that but few of its opponents bad critically examined 
it, but it was an opposition to what appeared to be a high-handed and un¬ 
authorized attempt to force a version upon the Society. Had the purpose 
of brethren Cone and Wyckoff been, what their opponents represented it to 
be, the denomination would have been right in resisting the attempt. But 
bow unjust the representation was, may be gathered from the preface, 
which, in addition to the statement of their design I have quoted, intima¬ 
ted an intention to submit to the Society a proposition by which “the busi¬ 
ness of rectification should be gradually prosecuted, until the Society is pre¬ 
pared to approve and adopt the book as a standard.” They were indeed 
deeply impressed with the necessity of proceeding with great caution, and 
offered as the great recommendation of the plan proposed, that it “would 
submit the book to the people before its final adoption, and subject every 
emendation to universal criticism before being irretrievably approved and 

I am not now expressing any opinion as to the plan itself, but what I have 
said will show the injustice of representing these brethren, as aiming with 
selfish ambition and rash presumption to force the “Cone and Wyckoff trans¬ 
lation,” as it has been called, upon the Society, as a version to be adopted 
and circulated. These prejudices and fears were excited when there was 
no opportunity for correcting the one and delaying the other, and when 
there was not sufficient time for the people to arrive at “the second sober 
thought.” Under these influences, the Society met in New York, in 1850. 
At that meeting it was resolved, “That this Society, in its issues and cir- 



dilation of the English Scriptures, to be restricted to the commonly received 
version, without note or comment.” But the simple declaration of this re¬ 
striction did not satisfy the opponents of revision, and improving their ad¬ 
vantage, they adopted another resolution, which entirely revolutionized the 

“ Whereas, by the Constitution of this Society its object is to aid in the 
wider circulation of the Scriptures in all lands, therefore 

“Resolved, That it is not the province and duty of the American and 
Foreign Bible Society to attempt on their part, or to procure from others, 
a revision of the commonly received English Yersion of the Sacred Scrip¬ 

It had originally been avowed, as the purpose of the Society, to give 
the most faithful version to all lands, and if that purpose, as regarding our 
own land was, for the time being, held in abeyance, it was done in a man¬ 
ner that unequivocally recognized the ultimate duty—for the Board was 
restricted to the received version only “until otherwise directed.” But by 
the action of 1850, the Society assumes altogether a new ground. It is 
not merely restricted for the present to the use of a confessedly incorrect 
version, but the Society declares that it is not only inexpedient for the 
present, but beyond its province and unconstitutional, to attempt to procure 
and circulate a more faithful version. 

To those of us who were bound in heart and conscience to the originally 
avowed principle of the most faithful translations in all languages—who 
had refused at the bidding of the American Bible Society in 1836, to sup¬ 
press God’s truth—who had cherished the hope of a time coming when we 
should see in the hands of our children and fellow-citizens a faithful, un¬ 
mutilated and unobscured Bible—there remained no choice. We were 
called upon to abandon the American and Foreign Bible Society, or to 
abandon the truth, as formerly we were called upon to abandon the Ameri¬ 
can Bible Society or abandon the truth. We did not hesitate. But I need 
not tell you of the pang it cost us, to seperate from old friends, and to go forth 
from an institution, over whose infancy we had rejoiced, with something 
like paternal joy, and to whose growth and prosperity, we had given, with¬ 
out stint, our means, our labors, and our prayers. For this Society, now 
so decidedly arrayed against our object, and that in part by men who 
would have strangled it in its birth, we have toiled and suffered, as well 
as written and spoken. We have endured reproach and calumny—braved 
the perils of the ocean in winter—suffered shipwreck—traveled thouands 
of miles on either continent, exposed to the winter’s snows and the sum¬ 
mer’s heat in its service. It has been the theme of our most earnest advo¬ 
cacy, the object of our most fervent prayers, and we have cherished many 
aident hopes of what it might accomplish for the glory of God and the 
good of man. And you must not think that men, old men, upon whose path 
the lengthening shadows of declining years are falling, would rashly relin¬ 
quish the labor, love and hope of brighter days. But we had no choice, for 
we must render an account of our stewardship to the God of the Bible: nor 
should we now complain, for we can already see light out of that darkness. 

I do nbt know what may have been the views of some of the supporters 
of the American and Foreign Bible Society regarding the revision of the 
English Scriptures. For my own part, from the first, my principles in this 


respect were decided, and my advocacy of them was undisguised. Under 
a sense of duty, after mature reflection, not unaccompanied with prayer to 
Him who can alone guide our steps aright, I resigned the pastoral charge of 
a church to which I had preached for thirty-two years, for the purpose of 
visiting the churches on behalf of that Society. Wherever I went, I nro- 
claimed as the motto of the Society, “The Bible faithfully translated for all 
nations,’’ and uniformly explained that our design embraced the English 
language. In London, in 1840, I used this language in an address 
which was published at the time: “I cordially approve of sending aid to 
our Missionaries abroad, but shall we give the whole truth to the nations 
of the East, and be contented that a part of it should be given to our home 
population.” Such language I used as the agent and representative of the 
American and Foreign Bible Society. My course was never censured.— 
My sentiments were never repudiated. On the other hand, I know that 
hundreds, I may say thousands of dollars, have been subscribed to the 
funds of the Society on such considerations. 

I crave your indulgence, Mr. President, in dwelling at such length upon 
matters that may seem out of order, if not out of place, in this convention; 
but justice to myself, and still more, justice to honored friends who are ab¬ 
sent, and justice to our Union, stem to demand some public statement of 
the circumstances which led to its formation. Though these circumstances 
in nowise affect your duty, I doubt not the statement may be found useful 
in the prosecution of your object. For it is probable that any opposition 
you may encounter, will be grounded more upon a partial or distorted view 
of such circumstances, than upon any solid objections to your object itself. 

j Revision as intended by the Bible Union. 

I have shown you that the principle of our Union is the same as that 
vowed originally in the American and Foreign Bible Society. That So¬ 
ciety was called into existence by the necessities of the Foreign field, from 
which aid, through accustomed channels, had been unexpectedly and un¬ 
justly withheld. Its first efforts in behalf of “the Bible translated” were 
consequently confined to Foreign languages. The principle of this Union, 
is the same—the Bible translated into all the languages, but the direction 
of our first efforts is modified by the circumstances which have called it into 
existence. Those circumstances point us more particularly to the remedy 
of the acknowledged defects of the commonly received English Version. 
Is this version defective ? Can its defects be remedied ? Is it our duty to 
seek the application of a remedy ? Your answer to these questions must 
be the basis of your present action and of any organization for future 

We have affirmed that the English Version is defective. But when we 
speak of its defects, it must not be thought that we are insensible to its 

We claim that none of the opponents of revision exceed us in an appre¬ 
ciation of its merits. The simple and severe beauty of its nervous language, 
its tine harmony of tone and manner, its general fidelity to the great truths 
which God has given by inspiration for doctrine, reproof, correction and 
instruction in righteousness, to make the man of God perfect, thoroughly 
fitted to every good work—all this we admire and love. I learned to love 
the language of that Bible from the lips of my mother. My ears were at- 



tuned io its melody, in the solemn tones of holy men who instructed my 
youth. It is eixk-ared to me as the vehicle of the gdad tidings of redeem¬ 
ing- love which brought peace to my heart, as well as of the holy light 
which discovered to mb my sin and danger. It sounds to me like the fa- 
millhr voice of the bosom friend of a long life. It has brought consolation 
to me in my sorrow. It has been my meditation all the day, and nay song 
in the watches of the night. When I have been consulted by the awakened 
sinner, I have found there the words which pointed him to the Lamb of 
God. When I have encountered the bitter enemies of our faith. I have 
found there the weapons by which I have put them to flight. When I have 
gone after the wandering sheep of my flock, I have found there the tender 
■expostulations by which I have, won them back to the shepherd and Jrishop 
of our souls. In my study, in my family, in the. circle of my chosen 
friends, in the pulpit, in the solemn silence of the house of mourning, by 
the bedside of expiring saints, it has been constantly with me for more 
than half a century. I cannot but love the Bible, the old English Bible. 
I have not learned to love its blemishes; but I have love it so, 
that I cannot willingly endure that anything should remain which mars 
its beauty or worth, and especially, when I have thought that the truth 
which its defects conceal, pervert, or obscure, is God's truth, and that the 
defects themselves are mans work, I cannot hesitate as to, which demands 
my reverential love. 

Is the received version defective? 

That it has defects many and'momentous, is no recent discovery. Scarce¬ 
ly had it been received, when these defects began to be pointed out and 
acknowledged, nor is it any reflection .upon the competency of the transla¬ 
tors to say so. The control under which they executed their task did not 
permit them to make it perfect up to the measure of their knowledge and 
conviction. When they suggested new and varying translations, they were 
reminded, that “such was not (he object of those who had brought them 
together.” The instructions under which they acted, virtually enjoined 
them to make an imperfect version. Their competency for the work is not 
a question which I here discuss. Their scholarship, if they possessed it, 
they were not allowed to use. They were tied down to previous translations 
which they were to alter as little as possible. And even where they made 
alterations, they were often guided by defective Latin Versions, rather than 
the original text. But without entering upon discussions that do not belong 
to this place, regarding the scholarship of the translators and the means 
and - apparatus within their reach, or the use they made of either, it is 
enough to say that from the time when it was published, to the present 
hour, there is a constant chain of proof of their inaccuracy. Without 
mentioning the precision of new translations which the defects of the 
present have called forth, you cannot open a commentary or an expositor 
without finding" on almost every page, the proof that a full and correct 
knowledge of the Scriptures is not to be obtained from this version.— 
Every minister of the gospel knows that he cannot with comfort or safety 
expound the Scriptures or apply a text without consulting the original. I 
have in the course of my ministrations expounded every book of the New 
Testament and many of the Old to my people, but I never ventured to pre¬ 
pare for the pulpit without having before me the Hebrew of the Old Tes¬ 
tament or the Greek of the Hew Testament. » 




But it is not only those who are called to a more exact and critical study 
of the word of God who become sensible of these defects; every reader of 
the Bible knows how much his understanding of it is hindered by obsolete 
and unintelligible words, and by antiquated and unfamiliar modes of expres¬ 
sion. Every pious father has been pained to find, that from the use of 
expressions which, doubtless, were not offensive to a less refined- age, he 
cannot read some passages in his family without wounding feminine deli¬ 
cacy. Every reader, however, is not aware to what an extent the difficul¬ 
ties which he strives to surmount and the seeming Inconsistencies which he 
vainly strives to reconcile, belong to the translation and not to the text. 
One of my earliest recollections of the Bible inquiry, is of my boyish won¬ 
der and perplexity at finding in the book of Revelations an account of four 
beasts joined with twenty-four elders, in praising God and the Lamb. I 
asked my mother if there were beasts in heaven, and how beasts could 
speak and sing. She told me that many things in that book were sym¬ 
bolical, and I was silenced but not satisfied. Some years afterwards, I 
heard a Presbyterian minister preach from the passage, who remarked, 
with more point than eloquence, that “it is a beastly translation,” and ex¬ 
plained that it meant “living creatures.” 

I will not detain you with multiplied instances of inaccuracy in the ver¬ 
sion. I have, on former occasions, pointed out the more important, and 
doubtless many will be furnished by those who shall follow me. It is 
enough to say, that both in this country and in Great Britain, competent 
scholars of every denomination, and of no denomination, have shown its 
defects to be numberless, and no scholar has had the hardihood to affirm 
to the contrary. 

Candor must at the same time compel the admission, that multitudes of 
these defects are comparatively trivial. Of the 26,000 errors enumerated 
by one critic, and the 24,000 errors, said to have been corrected in a new 
edition by the American Bible Society, a vast number are typographical 
blunders in punctuation, orthograpy and syntax. But no man with a 
proper reverence for the word of God, and a proper sense of the precious¬ 
ness of truth, will tolerate, in the Bible, errors, which in any other hook 
might be regarded as trivial. The flaw which would be overlooked in an 
ordinary household utensil, would be regarded seriously in a costly vessel. 
No good excuse can be offered for neglecting to purge the version of every' 
imperfection. But jjp error is trivial which affects in any degree divine- 

A letter, or a comma, misplaced,. may involve the sacred writers in a 
palpable blunder, and lead the reader into dangerous mistakes.. There 
are also many errors of a much more- flagrant character. Translators 
have furnished the quiver of infidelity with some of its keenest arrows. 
They lay stumbling blocks in the way of the weak—mislead honest inqui¬ 
rers after truth, and sometimes furnish heresy with its most effective argu¬ 
ments. If the defect is nothing more than the transferance of a word 
without translation, it is impossible to calculate the mischief that may fol¬ 
low. Our translators were forbidden to translate the ecclesiastical terms, 
as they were called. Now the religious sects, both of Great Britain and 
America, are divided on questions affected by these terms. And it is im¬ 
possible to say how far these divisions are influenced by the concealment 
of the meaning of these words. 



If the passage, referring to the relations of pastors and churches had 
been fully and fairly rendered, Episcopacy and Presbytery might by this 
time have disappeared, and many abuses of our congregational system 
might never have existed. The whole aspect of Christendom would have 
been very different from rvhat it is to-day, had King James permitted bap- 
tizo to be translated into English. Dr. Babcock, the Secretary of the 
American and Foreign Bible Society, has remarked with great propriety, 
“The collossal form of religious perversion and despotism, the pontifical 
power of the Roman church, grew up gradually and from small begin¬ 
nings. The first wrong step may have been regarded as insignificant— 
certainly not more alarming than forbidding to translate a few words into the 
language of the people. 

Can the defects be remedied? 

You must now regard it a momentous as well as an interesting ques¬ 
tion: “Can the defects of the received version be remedied?” In an¬ 
swering this question, I might contrast the relative advantages of scholars 
then and now, in addressing themselves to such a work. The earnest study 
of the languages and literature of the Sacred Scriptures, and the sound 
and learned interpretation of the Scriptures had only commenced with the 
Reformation; and though the zeal and devotion of English and Continen- 
tal scholars had made surprising advances in the lapse of a century—the 
sciences, upon which accuracy in the text, and correctness in the transla¬ 
tion depend, were but in their infancy when this version was made. 

Throughout the two centuries that have since rolled over the world, a 
prodigious amount of learning and ability have been applied without in¬ 
terruption to the elucidation of the Sacred Oracles. Linguists, historians, 
learned travelers, men of science, as well as theologians—commentators 
and expositors in many lands have laid at the feet of this generation a rich 
accumulation of aids and illustrations of the Scriptures. The last fifty 
years have done wonders for the furtherance of Biblical learning. With 
these advantages, though it would be saying far too much to say that the 
scholarship of this age may furnish a version as much superior to the re¬ 
ceived, as that is to Wycliffe’s, it is not too much to say that the scholarship 
of this age may accomplish a work most glorifying to God, and most 
grateful to all believers who use the English tongue. 

One class of errors, the typographical and grammatical, require only ex¬ 
actness joined to attainments, which are now in the possession of whole 
classes of men. Obsolete words and antiquated modes of expression are al¬ 
most as much within reach of a scholarship that is now not rare. The 
transferences instead of translation, enforced by royal mandates or ecclesi¬ 
astical decrees, are surely not beyond our reach in this land of freedom. 

For the rest, it is consolatory to reflect that from the nature of the case 
the detection of errors implies the ability to correct them. In many other 
affairs we might be aware of the existence of errors and imperfections 
only to bewail them as beyond the reach of human power or skill, but in 
a translation from one language into another, an error can be detected 
only by a knowledge of the correction. 

I do not say that we can make a perfect translation, that would be pre¬ 
sumptuous; but we can certainly remedy all known defects; and doubtless 
an earnest devotion to the work will discover many errors yet unobserved, 

1 32 


and suggest hinny improvements which have not yet been hinted. I do 
not say that- we are to produce a version which is to be a standard in all 
time comm ,!. One plea tor the present essay, the progress of human 
leaning, points us to a per tee non beyond our own movement. The con-' 
slant and certain change of a living language, which in part orignates the 
pros' mi call tor revision, will speedily render many current words obsolete, 
and will demand from time to time that revisions be revised. But, we 
shall accomplish a great work for the future as well as for the present if 
wo carry forward the world’s enterprise one,step, and if we break down 
■ false impression of the inviolability of this version, the errors of which, 
now sanctified by age, will, il undisturbed, be growing more sacred and 
inviolable by each succeeding year. It will be the advantage of those 
who succeed us, as it has been our own, that “other men labored, and we 
on entered into their labors.” In reply then to the inquiry, can its de¬ 
fee is be remedied ? I demand, what forbids ? The mandate of the Sover¬ 
eign ot England ! But we have no king but Jesus. A prejudice, a su¬ 
perstition, a cowardly expediency ! But we will not bow the neck to so 
base a yoke. 

Is it our duty to seek the remedy ? 

The defects being’ acknowledged, and the remedy being, within reach, 
it is difficult to understand on what grounds God-fearing' men who admit 
these Scriptures to be given by inspiration of God and to be the only rule 
of faith and practice, can question the duty of seeking to apply the reme¬ 
dy. Is it out duty to do so ? We might as well ask, is it out duty to 
seek the honor and glory of God, the knowledge of his' will, and the Sal¬ 
vation of men. Is it our duty to silence the gainsaying of the infidel, to 
expose the fallacy of heresies, to remove stumbling blocks from the path 
ot the feeble, and snares from the feet of the candid inquirers. - Or, is it 
our duty to perpetuate error—to keep the light of God’s word under a 
bushel, to circulate misrepresentations', or perversions of God’s truth, to 
1 p men in the dark as to portions of God’s truth, if it be distasteful to 
us or unpopular to tell it? Dr. Dowling; of New York, remarked, in 
1848: “To my mind, it-appears like daring impiety to prohibit God from 
saying what He chooses to the world. As weil might Moses have arrested 
the hand that was writing on the tables of stone.” 

No man can deliberately decide that it is better to circulate or to pos¬ 
sess an imperfect than a faithful version—that it is duty to keep an obscure 
and defective translation in the hands of the people and. lock up the actual 
truth of God in the hands of a favored class. A man may decide that 
the former course will better serve -his selfish ends, or better promote the 
interests of a class or a sect. But he-cannot decide that it is for. the glory 
of God t,o give, as the word of God, anything that .originated with the 
translator, or to fail of setting forth in a translation as fully and exactly 
as possible all that God has revealed in the language of inspiration. He 
cannot decide that it is for the good of men, that truth should be obscu¬ 
red or concealed, or that error, or uncertainty, should mar the record 
which God has given us concerning his Son. 

It is the duty of each of us for himself, to know the mind of the Spirit.. 
It is the duty of all of us to spread abroad, as widely as possible, a cor¬ 
rect knowledge of what God has revealed. And what is this but in other 


words to say that it is our duty to have and. to give the Bible faith Lilly 
translated. But this duty is enhanced by the extent to which the influ¬ 
ence of any translation may reach, ihe duty 10 procure anu circulate a 
faithful English Version is. therefore, urgent in the extreme. Christopher 
Anderson in his preface to his Annals of the English, Bible says: “The 
English Bible at this moment, is ti.e only version on which the sun never 
sets. We know full well, that it is in use on the banks of the Ottawa and 
St. Lawrence, as well as at Sidney, Port i lulip, and liobart town; but 
before his evening rays have left the spires of Quebec and Mon leal, his 
morn inf beams have already shone for hours on the shores oi Australia 
and Xew Zealand. And if it be reading by so many of our language in 
Canada while the sun is sinking on Lake Ontario; in the eas.vrn world, 
where he has risen in his glory on the banks of the Ganges, many who are 
no less our countrymen, have already turned to the sell same sacred vol- 
ume—yet are these but branches from our parent stock under whose shade 
this version, corrected and re-corrected, has been reading by myriads for 
three hundred years.” 

To the myriads of the present, add the myriads of the future, who shall, 
with the rapid extension of our great family, receive the impress ot the 
perfections or the defects of the English Version. -And to these dd, that 
so long as the English language is the vernacular of those, who leau :ne van 
in the march of Christian civilization, the received English Version of the 
Scriptures will continue to exert a moulding influence upon every other ver¬ 
sion that shall be made throughout the world, then may you measure the 
sublimity of the undertaking, and the urgency of duty to seek to apply the 
remedy to the defects of the existing \ ersion. 

The question may still be asked, is this the time when the duty shall 
become imperative. What is to determine the time when such a work 
shall become undertaken, but the practicability of it'? It the detects 
can be remedied, now is the time—to-day rather than to-morrow. Time, 
alas! has already been lost. The work itself indeed, requires time fonts 
accomplishment—but our duty is pressing upon us now. 

Let me add, it is our duty—your duty and mine—not indeed to do the 
work, but to adopt the most judicious and efficient measures possible to se¬ 
cure the doing of it. If we to wait till others do it—till Christendom 
unites—till the rulers enjoin—the experience of the past as well as the 
aspect of the present assure us that we shall wait in vain. The conduct 
of* others cannot relieve us from the claims of duty. Under this convic¬ 
tion, the American Bible Union acts, believing, also, that it is the legiti¬ 
mate business of a Bible Society to procure and circulate faithful versions 
in every language within the circle of its operations. 

The American Bible Union, as you will perceive by the statement I 
have read, is not an association of translators or revisors. But it has 
adopted a plan, which includes the employment of the best Pedo Baptist, 
as well as Baptist scholarship, both here and in Europe, with a view to 
give the ordinary reader, as nearly as possible, the exact meaning of the 
inspired original, while, so far as compatible with this design, the general 
style and phraseology of the commonly received version are retained.— 
The judicious arrangement of details, and the correctness of regula¬ 
tion under this general plan, command universal confidence and approval. 



Considerable progress has alread}’- been made towards bringing it into suc¬ 
cessful operation. The purpose and plan will meet with your sympathy 
and concurrence. On our part, we will welcome you as fellow-laborers 
in a great enterprize. It remains that individually we give our hearts to 
the work, and strengthen each others hands and encourage each others 
hearts. I have only to exhort you to put your hands and hearts to it with 
your chararcteristic zeal and devotion. The cause is worthy of your high¬ 
est enthusiasm. You seek a great blessing for yourselves, your children, 
your country, the world, and above all for the Church of Christ. 

I see before me in this company, gathered from so wide a region, many 
familiar faces. I believe also that I know many of your hearts, and you 
are already ardent friends of this cause. 

I cannot hope, in the ordinary course of nature, to enjoy many such 
opportunities of meeting those I love, and pleading this cause. But I 
leave it safe in your attachment, above all safe in the hands of God. And 
may the very God of peace sanctify you wholly, and I pray God your 
whole spirit and soul, and body may be preserved blameless unto the 
coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 

Note, — For any want of correctness iii date, names, Ac., the reporter must he held re¬ 
sponsible, not the speaker. A number of illustrations of the defectiveness of the present 
translation are, with, the consent of Dr. Maclay, omitted to avoid unnecessary repetition in 
the addresses of subsequent speakers. Reporter. 


“God said, Let there be light, and light was. ”—Gen. i. 3, 

Men, Brethren, and Fathers! 

This was the first speech ever made within our universe. It is, 
indeed, the most sublime and potent speech ever made. It is, however, 
but the expression of an intelligent omnipotent volition. It was pregnant 
with all the elements of material creation. It was a beautiful portraiture 
ol its Author, prospective of all the developments of Creation, Providence, 
and Redemption. It was a Bible in minature, and future glory in embryo. 
We, therefore, place it as the motto of an address upon the greatest ques¬ 
tion and work of our age — Shall uie have the light of life as God created it? 

All was chaos before God uttered this oracle. All was order, beauty, 
and life, when lie ended this discourse. Creation was but a sermon — a 
speech. Its exordium was light, and its peroration was man. Redemp¬ 
tion, too, was in perspective, shown in the first ut'erance that broke the 
silence of eternity. Hence its author is called “the word of God” — 
•‘the light and the life of man.’' Hence, too, in its first enunciation, we 
are carried back to this primordial oracle. “In the beginning was the 


word, and the icord was with God, and the word was God . The same was 
in the beo'innino- with God. Al! things were created by him, and without 
him was not anything made that was made. In him was life, and the life 
was the light of men.” True, “ibis light” yet “shines in darkness, and 
the darkness comprehended! it not.” Under the same Divine imagery, 
at the end of the volume, he is called “The Alpha and the Omega, the 
Beginning and the End, the First and the Last.” “All things were crea¬ 
ted bv him, and for him ; and he is before all things, and by him all 
things subsist.” The “word became incarnate and dwelt” amongst men, 
and men “beheld his glory”—the Divine image of the invisible Jehovah 
— “ the glory of an only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” 

The volume emphatically called the Bible, spans the arch of time. In 
its commencement it rests upon an eternity, to us past, and in its termina¬ 
tion upon an eternity, to us future. But God himself, in Hebrew, is called 
“ The Eternities of Israel,” and time is but a continued creation of the 
spiritual tenantry of the Eternities of Israel, commencing in the first and 
terminating in the last. This heaven descended volume is, therefore, the 
chart of the interval that lies between the heaven that is past, and the 
heaven that is to come. It delineates the path of life, and, in harmony 
with “ the divinity that stirs within us,” it points out an hereafter, and in¬ 
timates an eternity to man. How important, then, that we have it in our 
own language, as they had that first received it from the hand of God 1 
As the golden Cherubim that overshadowed the Propitiatory, while guard¬ 
ing the written word of God with one eye directed to the throne of glory, 
and with one immovably fixed on the printed tablets of the Divine con¬ 
stitution, so ought we to guard the sacred Oracles committed to the Church 
of Christ, and preserve them in their primeval purity and integrity. 

In full conviction and assurance of these preliminary statements, and of 
the eternal truth and value of the Divine Oracles, and of the obligations 
therein contained and resting upon the Church of Christ, to translate them 
into all languages, and to give them to the human race, I would very re¬ 
spectfully submit to your consideration and adoption the following res¬ 
olution : 

Resolved, That it is a paramount dutt of the Christian Church 


acles of God, as we find them in the Hebrew and Greek originals 
of inspired Prophets, Apostles, and Evangelists. 

In submitting to your consideration and adoption this resolution, it is as¬ 
sumed that we have not now extant, in our own language, publicly accred¬ 
ited, such a version as that proposed in the resolution which I have at 
present the honor to submit to your most grave and solemn consideration. 
And is not this a generally, nay, a universally conceded fact, throughout 
the length and breadth of Protestant Christendom? Is there a single 
sect, party, or denomination, known to history or to any one of us, that in 
its aggregate, or even in a respectable minority of its most intelligent com¬ 
munion, is fully satisfied that it has in its possession such a translation of 
either the Jewish or Christian Scriptures? Nay, is there a learned Rabbi, 
Doctor, or Minister of any denomination, that can or would, ex animo, af¬ 
firm the conviction, that we have such a version in public use? If any 



one doubt it, let him assume the task—the Herculean task—of examinin'* 
the popular commentaries and versions from that of Luther, Beza, Eras" 
mus, or that 01 Rheims, A. I). 1582, down to Dr. Boothroyd, 1836, na¬ 
tron ized, or occasionally used by our religious denominations, Romanists 
and Protestants; and if be does not find objections to, and emendations 
oi, each and every one of them, proposed by hundreds and by thousands, 
1 will concede the position assumed. 

Dr. George Campbell suggests some four hundred and fifty emenda- 
jons.^in the single testimony or gospel of the Apostle Matthew ; and Dr. 
.Mac&night nearly as many, in his translation of two of Paul’s Epistles— 
V1Z : t0 th . e Romans and that to the Hebrews. And what shall we 

soy of Drs. Whitby Benson, Doddridge, D’Oyly, and Mant, Gill, Pierce, 
H.omas S.mtt, Taylor, of Norwich, Philosopher Locke, Dr. Boothroyd, 
1 rofessor M. Cluart, and Secretary Thompson ? From all these, and oth- 
ers beside, we have imported from Pater Raster Row, London, the Holy 
Bible with its twenty thousand emendations! In the United States, these, 
and many others not named, are found, not only in our public libraries’ 
Init in many of our private libraries. Indeed, these all stand on my own 
shelves, with several others not named, of equal value and importance 

Jn tins country, we are happy to find no by-law established version of 
O.a testament or New. We voluntarily use that introduced by Kino- 
James, merely because it was in fashion, and by law of Protestant Britain 
appointed to he read in all the churches of its establishment.' We have, 
indeed been favored with one volume from the British press, called the 
English Hexapla, exhibiting six important versions of the New Testament 
ocnptures viz : that of Wickhffe, of A. D. 1380; Tindal’s, of 1534; 
Granmer’s, falsely so called, of 1539; the Geneva, of 1557; the Rheims’ 
or the English College of Rheims, 1582; and that of James, of 1611. 
Ihese, with one exception, were made within 77 years — the lifetime of 
one man. 

We have also the Polyglott Biblia Sacra, containing the Greek and He¬ 
ine w originals, with the Latin Vulgate, German, English, French, Spanish 
and Italian versions, under the supervision of Dr. Samuel Lee. Professor 
of the Hebrew Language at Cambridge, England, Doctor of Divinity, and 
honorary member oi all the great literary societies in Britain and on the 
Continent of Europe. This is the greatest and best offering of the press 
ot the 19th century — indeed, of any century since the first of the Chris¬ 
tian age. V r e are, therefore, better furnished with the aids and materials 
tor an improved and correct version, than at any former period in the his¬ 
tory of Christianity. 

If, in the judgment of Paul, the greatest honor and advantage be¬ 
stowed upon the Jews, was that “ to them were committed the Oracles of 
0 < I> j us ^’ as l 16 spoke them, is not our g-reatest privilege and honor to 
ave the Oracles of God, just as he spoke them, committed to us, not only 
foi ourselves, but for our children, and our contemporaries in allt he earth? 

The Jews’ religion possessed no proselyting spirit or precept. “ He 
showed his statutes unto Jacob, and his testimonies to Israel : he has not 
dealt so with any other nation ; and as for his judgments, they have not 
known them.” 

ine Jews sent no missionaries abroad. There was no missionary spirit 


ID t 

infused into their religion. There was no commission given to the Patri¬ 
archs or the Jews ; none to Judah or to Levi, “ to go into all the woild, 
and preach and teach to other nations the statutes and the judgments, the 
precepts and the promises, that God gave to them. 

They needed no translators, nor verbal expositors for themselves. Then- 
dispensation was circumscribed by the flesh, and the language of Abra¬ 
ham had no spirit of extension in it; and therefore, Levi was commis¬ 
sioned “ to teach Jacob Goi’s judgments ; to make Israel know his laws,, 
to place incense before God, and whole burnt offerings upon his altai. 
Beyond this they had no obligation or mission. _ 

But God has been to us much more gracious than to Israel, according to 
the flesh. He has given to us a better constitution of grace a better 
covenant, established on better promises. He has called us to a nobler 
work, and given to us a larger mission. He has committed to us the 
Christian Oracles, with authority to announce them to the whole human race. 

But they have come to us ,in a translation, and in an imperfect transla¬ 
tion, by no means equal, in clearness and force, to the original. lie has, 
however, also given to us the originals ; but only a few can lead them, 
and, of that few, all read them alter having been taught the vernacular 
Scriptures. They read the originals through the spectacles of their \ei- 
nacular versions ; and, superadded to this, through the spectacles < f a 
ready made theology, imparted to them by an early education and high 
authority — parental, or ministerial, or both. It has become part and par¬ 
cel of their individuality. Few can ever divest themselves of it. It is 
harder, far, to unlearn than to learn; to divest ourselves of old errors, than to 
acquire new truths. Still it is our duty, as it is our safety and oui honor, 
to take the Living Oracles, and, with an unveiled face, an unblenching 
eye, and an honest heart, to learn and study what God has spoken to 

To the Christian Church are committed the Oracles of Christ, as to the 
Jewish Church were formerly committed the Oracles of God. I he origi¬ 
nal Scriptures were given in solemn charge to the Jewish people, that noth¬ 
ing, was to be added to them or subtracted irom them. They were to pie- 
serve and teach th m to their children through all generations. 

A similar ordinance in the New Testament, with the most solemn sanc¬ 
tions, gives to the Christian Church the keeping of the Christian Scrip¬ 
tures. If any one add to them, God will inflict upon him all the maledic¬ 
tions found in the Holy Volume. It any one subtract from them, God 
will take away from him all the Christian birth rights promised in them, 
and consign him to perdition. 

But they were committed to both people in their own native language, 
directly from those persons to whom God had given them in charge. 
Were they, then, to translate them into other languages? This question, 
though not propounded in the very words of the book, and consequently 
not formally answered, is, nevertheless, clearly intimated, and most satis¬ 
factorily disposed of in ihe Christian Scriptures, To its consideration and 
disposal we are now, in the providence of God, especially called; and it is 
our special duty, on the present occasion, to investigate the subject, and to 
ascertain our duties and privileges on all the premises exhibited in the 
Christian Records. 




On such questions and occasions as the present, it is essential to success 
that we entertain and cherish clear, enlarged, and lofty conceptions of the 
whole subject and object of Divine revelation, and that we duly appreci¬ 
ate the times and the circumstances in the midst of which our lor has been 

The Bible, in its vast and glorious amplitude and object, is the Book of 
Life — the charter of immortality to man. It is, in its manifold develop¬ 
ments and details, most worthy of God to be both the author and the sub¬ 
ject of it, and of man to be both its theme and its object, in the awful 
grandeur of his origin, relations and destiny. Every thing superlatively 
interesting to man, with respect to the past, the present, and the future of 
his being, and of his well-being, constitutes the all-engrossing theme and 
intention of the volume. It follows, therefore, that its faithful preserva¬ 
tion and transmission from age to age, and from nation to nation, is, and 
ought to be, the paramount duty and concern of every one who believes 
its Divine authenticity and realizes its transcendent value. We shall, 
therefore, endeavor to ascertain our immediate duty with regard to an im¬ 
proved translation of it in our own language and country, at the present 

To this end, it is also essential that we appreciate and comprehend the 
character and the spirit of our own age, and the actual condition of the 
Christian profession in our own country, and, indeed, in our own language, 
wherever spoken, at home or abroad. It is almost as difficult to appre¬ 
ciate our own times—the spirit and the progress of our own age — as it is 
to see ourselves, either as others see us, or as we really are. 

And what is the actual condition of the present church militant? I 
mean of the whole Christian profession — not within the Popedom nor 
in the Patriarehdom — but in European and American Protestandom Is 
it not emphatically in n politico-heretico belligerent state? There is, in¬ 
deed, much said in praise of a catholic spirit, and much said against a nar¬ 
row, contracted, sectarian, bigoted spirit. But alas! how many praise the 
life which they never dare to lead. If all who praise truth, virtue, tem¬ 
perance, charity, practised these virtues, what a happy world — what a 
triumphant church w r e should have ! Too much credit, as well as two 
much credulity, has ruined many a man. It has, alas! too often bank¬ 
rupted and ruined church and State. 

There cannot be an honest league between truth and error. A smiling 

r o o 

race over a frowning heart, is an abomination to earth and heaven. True 
charity “rejoices not in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth.” There can 
be no compromise between God’s truth and man’s error. “Let God be 
true,” as Paul said, “though it should make every man a Iiar”no matter 
on whom the falsehood lies. We never can heal the wounds of sectarian¬ 
ism but by the healing unction of heaven-descended truth. But the truth 
must ever be spoken in its own spirit, which is the spirit of love and of a 
sound mind. 

But what the bearings of these aphorisms upon the subject of a faithful 
translation of the Christian Scriptures? Much, very much, as we hope 
the sequel may show. We desire — 1 mean the true Church of Christ de¬ 
sires — to know the whole truth — the mind and will of God. 

An apostate church never did, never can, never will, desire such a ver- 



sion. The most apostate church on earth often prays in Latin, and glo¬ 
ries in a Roman service. I would to God that she sinned only in Latin ! 
But she glories in the Roman tongue, and in the Roman city, because of her 
Roman spirit, her Roman head, and her Roman hierarchy. Like the Ro¬ 
man Caesar, she has her pontif 'ex Maximus , her Imperator Universus, and 
her Jupiter Tonans. 

That all men who love truth, and especially Bible truth, desire to come 
to the light, or to have the light brought to them, is as clearly an histori¬ 
cal, as it is a philosophical tact. It is well established in the history of 
translations. Were I dogmatically to assert that truth and light are cog¬ 
nate, I would stake my reputation on the fact, that every lover of truth 
loves light. The Saviour himself suggests to us this idea, in saying, “He 
that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest 
that they are wrought in God.” Error or falsehood, and darkness, are 
also akin. They are of cognate pedigree. Hence said the great Teacher, 
“He that does evil hates the light;” and men whose deeds are evil “ come 
not'to the light, lest their deeds should be reproved,” or made manifest. 

But I have said that this is a historical fact, and amply demonstrated 
and sustained by a reference to the history of Bible translations. From 
the era of Protestantism till now, Protestants, in the ratio of their Protes¬ 
tant sincerity, or true Protestantism, have been active, zealous, and for¬ 
ward in the great work of translating the Hebrew and Greek Scriptures 
into the vulgar tongues. 

The Roman Church has been equally distinguished for her opposition to 
popular versions, or to translations made in the language of the common 
people. So have those Protestants that have borrowed freely from Papal 
Rome. If Protestant Reformers have been well sustained in alleging that 
there is but a paper wall between certain Protestant denominations and 
the Papal institutions, then are we sustained in affirming, that those most 
opposed to popular versions are more akin to the Popedom than those who 
advocate them. Iu proof of these views and facts, I appeal to the history 
of all the versions into the English language, from the Reformation down 
to the present time. 

I will not limit my proofs to the English language. I will challenge an 
investigation of the facts of history from the dark ages of Papal absolu¬ 
tism down to the present day. Of course we begin with Luther and the 
era of Protestantism, A. D. 1534. His version, printed A. D. 1530, made 
directly from the Hebrew and Greek, gave rise to ten other Protestant ver¬ 
sions, viz : the Lower Saxon, in 1553; the Pomeranian, in 1588 ; the 
Danish, in 1550 ; the Icelandic, in 1584 ; the Swedish, in 1541 ; and the 
Dutch in 1560 ; the Finnish, in 1644; the Livonian, in 1689, (sometimes 
called the Lettish version ;) the Sorabic or Wendish, in 1728 ; and the 
Lithuanian, in 1735. During the period in which these eleven Protestant 
versions appeared, the Romanists, to quiet their population, were obliged 
to issue three versions, not one of which was made from the original 
tongues. They were mere translations of the Vulgate, and not of theHe- 
brew or Greek originals. The German laity of the Roman community 
read them with considerable avidity, “ notwithstanding the fulminations 
of the Papal See against them.” 

From Germany and the Continent, we pass over the channel into the 



British Isles. A few partial versions into the Saxon Wuao-e were marie 
before the first English version, which appeared in 1290* Of course none 
ot these were printed. 

^ leklitte’s from the Vulgate, appeared in 1380. But in 1408, the 
Archbishop Arundc m a convocation held at Oxford, decreed “that no 
? n ° thereafter S10u] d translate any text of Holy Scripture inlo Emdhh 
rt v. ay of a book or tract; and that no book of this kind should be°read 

corn posed m the time of Wickliffe, or since his death.” Some 
howevei, read, and were put to death. , 

1 1 50 rS rt n Tinda1 ’ a J out this time, fled to Antwerp, in Flanders, and 
oriJ-fn~al P S d i 18 r "- 8 7™°* ° f tht New Testament, from the Greek 

o - ° i , S p ed T ns ° f i 1 were « in a few years, printed and scattered 
]a[1 j UlL contment ’ anJ not a few of .Item found their way even into Eng- 

nnd U «iunprvkfn 1,0 /p' P ' n edltl °? 7 Tindal’s version, under the direction 
.nd ,.,p .,r IS,on oi l,,s convert. John Rogers, printed abroad, was intro- 

...VIrr r?i a l ; n i j537, aud that ’ t00 ’ with the conse nt of King Hen- 
7] 1 fm d tbat of n,s vicegerent, Cromwell, and that, too, of his'Arch- 
jl , P ’ - b°mas Cranm-r—all of whom had, a short time before, most vi- 
i , n ' opposed it. The history of this change is toalong to tell; but it 
has never ceased to be a wonder to all that know it, and to be regarded as 
a very singular and special Providence. ° 

**rt ed / V r hlin f ive land fourteen years before, and finally mur- 
? " V„ ! : V f h “ transl f Ll0n ’ b y royal authority, that same version is 
0 p . j ^ j ^ p, , 1 i i' J "‘ n ° and ’ under tbe au spices of the Crown and the mitre 

Grafton, who had published the first edition of Tindal’s Bible 
npuitec. mto England, sets about another edition in Paris , and to correct 

VTTp P V S "T 1 r Un C ? verda] e> under the protection, too, of Henry 
, ; ut an oroer from the Inquisition, dated December 17, 1538 un- 

Hnn nf e rt USp, v® S ° f ? Le ^ and lhe French Kin g Francis, seizes a por- 
u °f the edition, almost out of the press, which compelled the publisher 

to flee to England, where under the protection of Henry VIII, it was com- 

i L " ' S - Ued * n A 4pn1 ’ 1539 ‘ Next y ear (1540) another edition, un- 
!. auspices or Cranmer, was issued from the English press. Thus 
tue first English version of Tindal’s Bible was wholly imported into Eng- 
p nd m 1 : 53 J-.-; 1 ^cond redeemed from the Inquisition, mostly printed in 
, ans and fan,shea m London, in 1539, succeeded it. The third edition 
was, wholly printed in England; and after this, the editions of 1540 and 
o4! were issued under the auspices of Cranmer himself. From that 
time.England became the land of Bibles. 

History is philosophy teaching by example. And here we must date 
Pnwi aU Qi of England’s glory amongst the nations of the 

i j 1 ' f ,° Al * be nations or Europe, thus becomes emphatically the 
le nd or moles and or Freedom. So true it is, that where the Spirit of 
tne Lord is there is liberty, and where the Bible, in the Vernacular of any 
! ';° p e ’ ls ™uch read and much pondered upon, there the Spirit of the Lord 
fl^,', Vi' a niIpb influence.. “V here no vision is the people perish,” and 
7 , K ca 'V P le y °f aspiring demagogues and haughty pontiffs. 
iom a caietul review of the history of new versions, in all past time, 


14 1 

we fire compelled to the conclusion, that their authors, friends and advo- 
cates, have 1 ’Cnernl 1 y been the lovers of truth and ot the God ot tiiL.h , 
whereas, their opponents have as uniformly been mere temporizers, carnal, 
and secular—lovers of place, of person, and of office, mo tv than lovers of 
God. I have said generally, but was about to say universally. In this 
view I am sustained by'the judgment and the practice of those we now 
call orthodox. What are generally now' called orthodox versions, were, 
without an exception known to me, got up in dispite of more popular, more 
wordly, and more secular establishments. This is a very instructive fact. 
We may, indeed, concede that some vain, secular errorist, or demagogue, 
may have, from sinister motives, attempted to carry some favored dogma, 
by "an effort at a new version of some passage or book, or even of the 
whole volume ; but how soon have these fallen stillborn from the pen or 
the press, and vanished from the world 1 This or some such concession, 
is essential to a general law ; otherwise we might be in danger of affirming 
it universal, and thereby endanger the cause of truth. 

I am glad, however, to assert with strong emphasis, that I have the con- 
cessions^of all our would-be recognised orthodox partizan cotemporaries, 
in favor of my position. They have recently become unusually eloquent 
in their laudations of the present approved version of King James. I 
wonder if they have read the whole history of that version! Some seem 
to think that King James himself, or his government, or his bishops, have 
made it oui and out. So far from this, it fought its way, every inch, from 
the head, and heart, and conscience of Wickliffe, Tihdal, Luther, Beza, 
Frythe, Barnes, Poyntz, and even Erasmus, the., &c>, and scores of co-op¬ 
erants in contributions of learning, books, money, protection, and piajer, 
before it attracted the smiles and approval of bishops, courtiers an t prin¬ 
ces. Printers, paper manufacturers, and book-binders, are as much enti¬ 
tled to our thanks for King James’ version, as many of those worshipful 
persons who are said and believed, “by the grace ot God, to have given 
to us our English Bible. Instruments they were, willing or unwilling, mer¬ 
itorious or unmeritorious, in this great work. But it originated not with, 
and proceeded not from them. It teas individual piety, learning, zeal, en¬ 
terprise, that gave to v.s our present English Bible. I here is scarcely 
amongst us a living man, who can tell how this sacred volume this King 
James’ Bible, revised and re-revised—has ^ come down to us. I he best 
read living man on this subject, Christopher Anderson, ot Edinburgh, in 
his two octavos on the English Bible, has not told, because he could not 
tell, the whole story. And yet his history of it is, by far, the best ever 
printed. He was conscientiously constrained to affirm the melancholy fact, 
“That -a mighty phalanx of talent, policy and power, has been firmly ar¬ 
rayed against the introduction of Divine truth in our native tongue. 

Vol. 1. p. 7. 

There are now one hundred and fifty versions of the Bible extant in the 
livino- tongues of earth, and yet, strange and wonderful to relate, more co¬ 
pies Tn the English language are called for than in the languages of all 
other nations put together ! This is the glory, the chief glory of England. 
She has colonized America, Africa, Asia. Lew Holland, New Zeland, and 
the bosom of the Pacific. While I speak these words, the English Bible 
is being read from the rising to the setting sun. “Sot one hour of the 



twenty-four, not one round of the minute-hand of the dial, is allowed to 
pass, in which, on some portion of the surface of the globe, the air is not 
filled with accents that are ours. Every English Christian, in this one grand 
fact, may rejoice that his Bible, at this moment, is the only version in ex¬ 
istence on which the sun never sets.” 

This caps the climax of English glory. Her English version is every 
moment being read from the banks of the Thames to the banks of the Ot- 
towa and the St. Lawrence, and thence to the banks of the Ganges, to Sid¬ 
ney, Port Philip, and liobarttown. It girdles the whole earth, and is des¬ 
tined to be the enduring bond of its nations. How important then that 
the English Bible should be a pure, perspicuous, precise, and faithful ex¬ 
pression of every idea, of every precept, of every promise, of every insti¬ 
tution of the inspired originals! It is inevitable from the signs of the 
times, from the openings of Divine Providence—to say nothing of the 
prophecies fulfilled, fulfilling, and yet to be fulfilled—that an English Pro¬ 
testant Bible is to mould, form, and, more or less, to characterize all the 
hew versions in all the missionary fields on the already tenanted earth. 
This is far more probable than some of the events that have actually oc¬ 
curred in the present day; incomparably more probable than that an im¬ 
proved version of the New Testament, got up and published by your hum¬ 
ble speaker, should, in the short period of twenty-five years, have passed 
through six editions, and be now read by persons residing in Asia, Africa, 
Europe and America. This is the Lord’s doing, and wondrous in our 
eyes ! 

The language of a people is not only an index of their intellectual cali- 
bre, but also an exponent of their moral and political power amongst their 
contemporaries. It is, indeed, the vehicle of all their attainments of those 
arts and rciences which have given them a standing and an influence 
amongst their contemporaries at home and abroad, and an elevation in the 
•scale of civilization. Judging from this acknowledged fact, it must he ad¬ 
mitted, that as the English people stand at the top of the ladder of mo¬ 
dem civilization, their mind, their language, and their religion, must have a 
paramount influence upon all the nations and people of the globe. Need I ask. 
then, at this stand-point in the centre of this immense horizon, who can com¬ 
pute the influence of our best efforts to exhibit the true sense and meaning 
of the Hebrew and Greek oracles of God, in that pervading and continu¬ 
ally extending language to which God, in his providence and moral, gov¬ 
ernment, has already vouchsafed such a preponderating influence in the 
world? * 

But it may be asked, What can the “Bible Union ” accomplish in this 
work? So ask our contemporary Baptist and Pedobaptist brethren. How¬ 
ever uncongenial to their taste or to our own, I cannot but associate their 
attitude, and port, and bearing, with those of the too orthodox Jews, in 
the days of Ezra and Nehemiah, which, together, give us the history of 
one century of their nation. In those days they had no Priest, with 
Urim and Thummim.” We have one who has passed into the heavens 
and who has the “ Urim and the Thummim ” in their Divine potency. 
They had also with them, only Zerubbabel and Joshua, as commanders-in- 
chief. And we have the Lord of Hosts. The adversaries of Judah and 
Benjamin proposed to co-operate with them in rebuilding the temple and 



in restoring the ancient order of things. But the paternal chiefs, along 
with Joshua and Zerubbabel, refused their proffered aid. The conse¬ 
quence was, they became the enemies of Israel and their cause. So the 
work was abandoned for some sixteen years, till the second year of Darius, 
King of Persia. 

The Prophets Haggai and Zachariah, were then sent to encourage and 
aid this remnant of Israel. Darius, on searching the records of the gov¬ 
ernment, gave a decree in their favor, and they went to work. Every 
thing then went on prosperously, and the house of the Lord was finished. 
But the walls and palaces of Jerusalem were still in ruins. 

Nekemiah obtains a commission from Artaxerxes, and, with zeal and 
courage, commences their erection and repair. 

But he is opposed and resisted by Sanballai, and Tobiah, the Ammonite, 
who, in mockery, said, “How feeble this band, and how weak their efforts. 
Were a jackal to run against their stone 'walls, he would break them down.” 
Thus were the re-builders of Jerusalem insulted and hindered in their 

Nehemiah, however, and his party, went on with the work of the Lord. 
Their enemies becoming still more chagrined at their success, formed new 
alliances, and brought to their aid Arabians and Ashaodites, and “con¬ 
spired to fight against Jerusalem, and to hinder the work.” But Mehemi- 
ah exhorted them “to fight for their brethren, their sons, their daughters, 
their wives, and their homes.” Thus they prayed, and wrought, and 
fought, and conquered. 

Ezra, meantime, got a copy of the Jewish oracles. He opened the book 
in the sight of all the people, and the Priests and the Levites caused the 
people to understand the law. “So they continued to read in the book of 
the law distinctly, and gave the sense, and caused them to understand the 
reading Thus the Divine law and institutions were restored to Israel, 
and thus were their temple and city rebuilt. 

“ Now the things,” says Paul, “that happened to them, occurred to 
them as types or examples, and are written for our admonition, upon whom 
the end of the world, or the consummation of the Jewish age has come.” 
Let us then profit from their example and sxrccess, and we will achieve all 
that we desire. We will cause the people to understand the law of our 
God, by the reading of his oracles. 

But we have more than the encouragement of example to inspire us with 
zeal and energy in this great work. Other men have labored in this fruit¬ 
ful field, to our unspeakable interest and honor. We have the Christian 
Oracles committed to us, with an injunction to interpret —that is to trans¬ 
late them, with fidelity and perspicuity. The Apostles possessed not only 
a commission to convert the nations, but to teach the converts to observe 
and practice whatsoever the Lord commanded. To qualify them for this 
work, the Lord gave them a splendid education. They had wisdom, 
knowledge, and eloquence bestowed upon them. The had the immediate 
inspiration of the Holy Spirit, to give them a perfect revelation. They had 
the gift of foreign tongues, and the gift of interpreting them. The power 
of translating their own conceptions into the languages of their auditors, 
was gratuitously vouchsafed, not only to the Apostles, hut to other mem¬ 
bers and teachers in the churches which they planted, and which they 



nourished with the pure milk of the word. It was, on two accounts, nec¬ 
essary for the Apostles to receive this power of knowledge and of utterance, 
by immediate inspiration. The mission was extraordinary, and needed a 
seal to authenticate it. The gift of tongues itself, was one of the most 
useful seals of apostleship. 

Time, also, was to them most precious. Their work was great. Their 
lives were short, and the hand of the Lord was necessarily the pledge of 
their mission to the nations of the world ; and his inspiration of ideas, and 
of words to express them, was essential to the ir success. 

A necessity of the same kind, but not of the same degree, still exists. 
The revelations of the'Spirit are complete, but the languages in which 
they were originally given became obsolete. 

The Hebrew of Moses and of the Prophets, and the Greek of the Apos¬ 
tles, after the consummation of the revelations of God committed to them, 
soon began to change, and virtually died. Still, their bodies were em¬ 
balmed, and the means of recognizing them were preserved and transmit¬ 
ted to us, by their immediate legal representatives. Indeed, the living 
tongues of earth, like living men, are continually changing. Dictionaries, 
like histories, transmit the past to the future. Hence, both the necessity 
and the means of substituting correct words and phrases for those that 
have, from the attrition and waste of time, lost their original value, be¬ 
come uncurrent, and passed out of use. Even Shakspeare and his con¬ 
temporary poets, orators and authors, now require glossaries, or the sub¬ 
stitution of modern terms for those which they have used, that are now 
become obsolete and unintelligible. The Common Version of the Scrip¬ 
tures was made and completed six years before the death of the great 
English poet. It, therefore, has also acquired the rust of the Elizabethian 
age, although occasionally since polished by hands we know not of. 

The great science of interpretation, strange to tell, like good wine, im¬ 
proves from age to age. Hot, indeed, the Spiritual gift of interpretation, 
but the literary and acquired gift of exposition and elucidation is matured 
and perfected.from the better means and better learning now possessed — 
the product and growth of a revived and reviving literature. 

A remarkable revival of literature preceded the Protestant Deformation. 
That revival is now regarded by every philosophic historian and student— 
indeed, by every reader, who thinks profoundly upon principles and their 
is ndencies, who weighs the remote and proximate causes of things, or who 
fathoms their legitimate and immediate tendencies—I say the revival of 
literature in Italy and in Western Europe, which occurred in the four¬ 
teenth century, is now regarded by every informed mind as the harbinger, 
or cause, of the Protestant Reformation ; and that reformation may be 
regarded as the pioneer and patron of Bible translation. 

No living man can realize the midnight darkness by which the Papal 
See, in its appalling triumph over the Bible, human reason, and conscience, 
had paralyzed and enfeebled the human understanding. 

During the antagonism of two rival Popes, from A. D. 1380 to A. D. 
1400, the controversy for and against translations in the vulgar tongues 
was very rife. A bill for suppressing Wickliffe’s Bible was proposed to 
be brought into the House of Lords. On that occasion the Duke of Lan¬ 
caster said that “he would maintain the having of this law—the Holy 



Scriptures in our own tongue—whoever they would be that should bring 
in the bill.” 

Still, there was no persecution instituted against the friends of a popular 
version, or to check the Wickliffites, already spreading all over England, 
until the reign of the IVth Henry, when some members of Parliament 
became infected with the heresy of Bible reading in an English version, 
and when the Papal clergy became alarmed, lest they should introduce a 
public reformation. 

The invention of paper at the close of the 13th century, or early in the 
14th, and the invention of printing soon following the revival of learning, 
and the growing taste for reading an English version, gave to the subject 
of translation a rapidly growing importance, which never could be annihi¬ 
lated—indeed, scarcely suppressed—until the seeds of a broader and 
deeper reformation were widely scattered and deeply rooted in the hearts 
of the people. This secretly working spirit prepared the way of Luther, 
who, with a lion-hearted courage and an Herculean vigor, attacked the 
basis of the Papal institution. Since which time I need not tell the story 
of new versions, or of Protestant triumphs. Bible translation soon be¬ 
came the standing order of the day. Luther, Erasmus, Beza, Castalio, 
Junius and Tremellius, Schmidt, Dathe, &c., engaged in it with great 
spirit. From Luther’s version soon sprang up ten others, in other States 
and languages on the Continent. 

In the British Isles we find, in a few years, Wickliffe, Tindal, Miles 
Coverdale. Grafton, alias Thomas Mathew, Cranmer and the Bishops, at 
work. The spirit spread through Ireland, Scotland and Wales, and they 
must severally hear God speak to them in their respective tongues. 

Finally, King James, borne on by the spirit of the age, is engaged in 
making one more acceptable to his peopie, and to issue it under all au¬ 
thority, nolitical and ecclesiastical. 

The version was soon hailed by all the enlightened men in his dominions, 
and appointed to be read in churches. It was in advance of all others at 
that day, yet wanting in some respects. Hence the number of private 
versions of a part, or parts, of the volume, and some of the whole New 
Testament, which have, since tin t time, appeared. From the days of 
King James down to the demise of Professor Stuart, of Andover, in Brit¬ 
ain and America the work of translation has ever since been going on. 
Even Romanists themselves have been compelled, by the spirit of Pro- 
testantdom and of the age, to give sundry versions in different tongues. 
In the Latin tongue we have four Romanist versions of the whole Bible. 
That of Paginus, that of Montanus, Chat of Malvenda and Cardinal Caje- 
tan, and that of Iioubigant. The Scriptures, in Europe alone, are now 
read in some fifty languages. 

Thomas Hartwell Horne has borne testimony, ample and striking, in 
favor of our Common Version, both from the orthodox and heterodox Pro¬ 
testants in Britain. Still he has the candor to admit its defects and im¬ 
perfections, After summoning his cloud of witnesses to attest its superior 
claims, he candidly adds these words : “Notwithstanding these decisive 
testimonies to the superior excellence of our authorized version, it is read¬ 
ily admitted that it is not immaculate, and that a complete correction of 
it is an object of desire to the friends of religion, were it only to silence 



the perpetually repeated cavils of the oppo^ers of Divine revelation ; who, 
studiously disregarding the various satisfactory answers which have been 
given to their unfounded objections, persevere in repeating them, so long 
as they find a few mistranslated passages in the authorized version.” But 
he did not think, some quarter of a century ago, “that sacred criticism”— 
(I presume lie meant literary criticism)—“was yet so far advanced as to 
furnish all the means that may be expected.” If we wait till “all the 
means,” real or imaginary, that mau hereafter he expected , be actually pos¬ 
sessed by any individual, or assembly of individuals, the work will not be 
commenced till about the end of the millennium! 

Since Mr. Horne wrote these words, there have been issued in Europe 
and in America at least an hundred volumes, containing alleged errors, 
with their corrections. Some of these are, indeed, very minute; and while 
they occasionally render the obscure more perspicuous, the defective more 
complete, the indefinite more precise, the ambiguous more certain, and 
the complicated more simple, we cannot say that any one of them is abso¬ 
lutely faultless in every particular. We are truly thankful that there is no 
version so wholly defective that an honest reader, learned or unlearned, 
may not understand the great scheme of salvation, and believe and obey 
it to the salvation of his soul. 

I have never seen any English version, Romanist or Protestant, ortho¬ 
dox or heterodox, however imperfect, from which a man of sense and in¬ 
dustry might not learn the way to heaven. Hor have I ever seen a coun¬ 
try, however bleak or sterile, in which an industrious, laborious, and 
persevering husbandman, might not dig out of it the means of living. But 
what does this prove? That there is little or no difference between 
countries—between temperate or intemperate zones! 

Who, having seen the fertile hills and valleys of the fairest portions of 
our much favored and beloved land, would think of locating himself in 
the barren heaths of Siberia, or in the sandy or slimy deserts of Lvbia? 
As little he, that has a taste for the treasures of wisdom and knowledge, 
who desires the bread and the water of life that came down from heaven, 
who thirsts after the knowledge of God and of Christ, who prays for the 
full assurance of understanding the whole counsel of God, revealed in 
God’s own book—I say, as little can he be satisfied with a mere glimpse 
of light—with a dim, imperfect, or ambiguous version of God’s own book 
of life, health, and salvation to man. Still they are severally and collec¬ 
tively useful, and some of them contain many valuable emendations ; but 
not any one of them meets the wants of this age, or would, in the aggre¬ 
gate, be a proper or satisfactory substitute for the Common Version, not¬ 
withstanding all its obscurities and errors. 

o _ t 

The labors bestowed upon the original text, in ascertaining the genuine 
readings of passages of doubtful interpretation, and the great advances 
made in the whole science of hermeneutics—the established laws of trans¬ 
lation—since the commencement of the present century, fully justify the 
conclusion that we are, or may be, much better furnished for the work of 
interpretation, than any one, however gifted by nature and by education, 
could have been, not merely fifty, but almost two hundred and fifty years 
ago The living critics and translators of the present day, in Europe 
and America, are like Saul amongst the people—head and shoulders above 
them of the early part of the 17th century. 



As for honesty, w'e ought not, perhaps, to say anything. But we may 
presume to say, without the charge of arrogance or invidious comparison, 
that we are not greatly inferior to them. And if in talent and education, 
compared with the moderns, they were giants and we but pigmies, still, 
as pigmies standing upon the shoulders of giants, we ought to see farther 
than those upon whose shoulders we place ourselves. Biblical criticism 
is now much more a science than it was in A. D. 1600, so soon after the 
revival of literature. A far greater number of Biblical critics has suc¬ 
ceeded than preceded the Protestant reformation, and of a much higher 
order. Before that era there was not one good Greek or Plebrew critic 
for one hundred at the present day. The Papal Romans were merely 
Roman scholars, and yet inferior to the Pagan Romans. These are facts 
so generally known and conceded, that it is not necessary to dwell upon 
them. The art of printing, with the increased number of th ological sem¬ 
inaries, and the competition between Romanists and Protestants, and be¬ 
tween the leading Protestant parties themselves, with the facilities of a 
more enlarged intercourse amongst learned men, could not otherwise than 
elevate the standard of Biblical scholarship, and afford greater facilities 
for acquiring Biblical learning. 

Corresponding with this, the vigorous impulse given to the human mind 
by the rapid progress in the sciences and in the arts, merely physical and 
intellectual; the great increase of new discoveries and general improve¬ 
ment in the social system, sustained by the facilities of the press, have all 
contributed to a higher intellectual development, and a more thorough 
scholarship, than were ever attained by the Greek or Roman schisms, or 
by any Protestant denomination anterior to the era of the Common Ver¬ 
sion. Indeed, one may affirm, without the fear of successful contradiction, 
that during the last hundred years, on the Continent of Europe, in Great 
Britain, and in the United States of America, Biblical criticism, Biblical 
learning, and Biblical translation, have advanced in every essential char¬ 
acteristic and accompaniment, much more in what is usually called Chris¬ 
tendom, than was practicable or possible anterior to that date. 

A more suitable time, therefore, has never been since the era of the 
Anglo-Saxon language, since the rise of the Papal defection, than the pre¬ 
sent, for a corrected and improved version of the Jewish and Christian 
Oracles, in the living Anglo-Saxon language of the present day. 

A concerted movement of all, or any of the Protestant parties, in such 
an undertaking, we cannot expect. It is not in living experience, nor is 
it any where inscribed on the pages of ecclesiastical history, that a plural¬ 
ity of denominations have ever agreed to make a common version, for 
common use. Romanists and Protestants, Episcopalians and Presbyteri¬ 
ans, Congregationalists and Methodists, Baptists and Pedobaptists, never 
have agreed, and, I presume, never will agree, to make in common a new 

Indeed, the first version in our language, as also the second—which is 
virtually the present commonly used version—in the main, were made by 
individual enterprise and on individual responsibility. Their merit, and 
the course of events, providentially gave them whatever popularity and 
influence they have possessed. 

King James’ version is, at most, but a correction, not, indeed, always 



an amended correction, of the version of Wm. Tindal. No assembly ever 
made a new version of the New Testament. Conventions have met and 
read, have approbated or condemned, have amended or altered, as the 
case may have been, versions made by individual men; but no convention 
has yet made a new or original translation. 

We have already shown, that those in power with the people uniformly 
opposed new versions, until they had already, by alleged intrinsic merit, 
gained an authority with the people. Those in power have always op¬ 
posed innovation, for the most obvious reasons in the world. They could 
gain nothing earthly, in public favor, by any improvement, and might lose 
much by innovations of a new version, if a correct one. And this is the 
reason why both Romanists and Protestants have uniformly opposed new 

None but pure, enlightened, conscientious, spiritually-minded men, could 
attempt, advocate, or execute an exact, faithful', perspicuous, and intelligi¬ 
ble version of God’s oracles. These seldom, more probably never, have 
constituted a majority in any nominally Christian communion. 

Majorities, in the affairs of mammon, are worthy of all respect and con¬ 
fidence, because, in such matters, ihey have a single eye, a clear head, 
and a sincere heart. But in Christ’s Kingdom, minorities are much more 
likely to be, and most generally have been, most worthy of public confi¬ 
dence, ever since the almost unanimous spiritual court of Israel delivered 
up the Lord Jesus Christ to be crucified. The history of mankind is full 
of admonition and warning on this subject. Ever since the days of Noah, 
Lot, and Abraham, majorities are not famous—rather infamous—in sacred 
story. Still, we flatter ourselves, and will present the flattering unction 
to the souls of our contemporaries, that we all are exceptions to a univer¬ 
sal rule. Si ill, I confess 1 am not without fear in this matter, while I look 
narrowly into the volumes of church history. One thing is certain, we 
have as yet no version of the Christian Scriptures made by a convention. 

“History,” I repeat, “is but philosophy speaking by example.” If 
history exemplifies any principle, it is that good men love light, and wick¬ 
ed men hate light, in all matters spiritual and eternal. Hence, as already 
shown, every valuable effort to give, in the vernacular of any people, an 
exact, faithful, and perspicuous version of God’s own book, has been con¬ 
fined or doomed to individual enterprise, or to that which most nearly 
approaches it. “In the muliiiude of counsellors,” Solomon says, “there 
is safety.” But he did no! say in the multitude of translators there is 
safety. In giving counsel on meum and tuum, on “miney and thiney,” 
there is much more facility, and much more safety, than in making faithful 
versions of the doctrine of self-denial, and of taking up the cross. Si ill, a 
company of select men, not selected by a King, a court, a metropolitan, 
or an archbishop, but by a spiritually and heavenly-minded community, 
selected out of a Christian community, may be found capable and honest, 
single-minded and single-eyed enough, to guaranty a version true to the 
original, as they are competent to understand and express it. Learned in 
their own language, they must be, as well as in the original tongues. 

But it has been often asked, What may be the destiny of such a version- 
In other words, Who will receive it, and what will he its influence? Thi° 
is a question which, however dogmatically propounded, cannot be so dog 



matically answered. We are neither apostles nor prophets ; yet w r e can 
freely express our opinion, and give some reasons for it. 

In the first place, then, much will dtpend upon the reputed orthodoxy 
and piety of those who execute it. The Society under whose patronage, 
and by whose instrumentality it is proposed, is properly called the “ Bible 
Union.” Not the Baptist Union. 

Already it has been opposed and misrepresented as a Baptist Union, for 
Baptist principles. A new measure to carry out immersionist views t f the 
action of baptism, by translating baptism, immersion, and all its family, 
root and branches, by immerse, immersing, immersed, immersion !! This 
is about all the logic and all the rhetoric that has appeared in one hundred 
and forty-four paragraphs, written, printed, and circulated against it, from 
“Dan even unto Beersbeba,” from Boston to San Francisco, from Mul¬ 
berry street, New York, to Old Jewry, London 1 

Truly, immersionists have been hardly pressed. They are now the 
largest community in the Union, and annually gaining more than any 
denomination in the number of its membership; fully equaling in popula¬ 
tion, wealth, and resources, one-fifth of the political and moral force of 
this great nation ! 

What need have they of a new version, for the sake of translating this 
family of baptizo? Have not all, or nearly all, the learned Rabbis and 
Doctors of the Pedobaptist communities, affirmed not only that baptism 
means immersion, but also, that it was so administered in the Apostles’ 
days? Ask Brenner, of the Church of Rome, what was the ancient apos¬ 
tolic baptism? He responds, that “immersion was practiced for thirteen 
centuries almost universally, and from the beginning till nOw,” in the Gre; k 
Church. Ask the English Episcopal Church how long did the church 
practice immersion as the representative of baptism.? and Dr. Wall re¬ 
sponds, for 1600 years. Ask Luther what his judgment on the premises? 
he answers, “I could wish that such as are to be baptized, should be care¬ 
fully immersed into water, according to the meaning of the word and the 
signification of the ordinance; as also, without doubt, it was instituted by 
Christ.” Ask the great American critic, the late Professor Stuart, what 
is the English of baptize, and he affirms, “that it meens to dip, plunge, or 
immerse in water, and that all lexicographers and critics of any note are 
agreed in this.” And does not ancient history aver, that both Wickliffe 
and Tindal were in their views immersionists ? With all these venerated 
names—a mere cluster, culled from the orthodox Pedobaptist vine—what 
n.ed have Baptists themselves to form a Baptist Bible Union, to inculcate 
their views of immersion 11 

But it will be whispered that other views than these—heretical and 
false—are cherished by the Bible Union, and that the version will be color¬ 
ed by these. This has been insinuated; nay, printed and published by 
Baptists themselves opposed to it! And what is the proof, or the basis of 
such suspicion? Have not the leading movers of this Bible translation, as 
now digested and exhibited by the Bible Union, been always regarded as 
sound and orthodox on every vital doctrine of Christianity? Do not they 
believe in the Fall of man; in the contamination and guilt of sin, which, as 
a leprosy, has infected every child born into the world? Do they not be¬ 
lieve and teach the equal Divine nature and glory of the Father, and of 


1 qO 

the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, as developed in the great work of re¬ 
demption, in and through the death, the sacrifice, or vicarious sufferings 
of the Lord Jesus Christ? Do not they believe and teach that the Father 
works, the Son works, and the Holy Spirit works, in the redemption, illu¬ 
mination, regeneration, sanctification, resurrection, and glorification of 
man, through the grace of the Father, the sacrifice of the Son, and the 
re-creative, renovating, regenerating influence of the Holy Guest of the 
Christian temple, the mystic house of God, erected for an habitation of 
God through the Spirit? 

Can, then, our heterodoxy be alledged as an objection to any version 
that we may make? Then there is no vital orthodoxj r , no real orthodoxy, 
in Protestant Christendom. My own individual orthodoxy is too orthodox 
for the orthodox prelates of a secterian world. I thank God, as Paul once 
said to himself, in his own foolish way of boasting, I am more orthodox 
than any of them. I have all their orthodoxy, and a little more besides. 
And i know that the next generation—or, at the farthest, the one after 
that—will acknowledge it. But if I know what orthodoxy means, and I 
presume to think and to say that I do, there is nothing either catholic or scrip¬ 
tural in the Greek, Roman, or Protestant Church that I do not believe and 
teach. There ismore than a sprinkling of heterodoxy in every sect in Chris¬ 
tendom. But that heterodoxy consits not in what are called the essential 
doctrines of the Evangelical Remedial system. It consists much more in not 
keeping the commandments of the Divine Redeemer, and in not scripturally 
observing his ordinances of worship, than in any theory of the Fall of man, 
or the necessity of sovereign and free grace, or of a Divinely ordained reme¬ 
dial system. A corect translation of the Christian Scriptures will do more 
to unite, harmonize, and purify the Baptists, and to make them one great 
evangelical co-operation for God’s glory and man’s salvation, than any 
event since the Protestant Reformation. It will cause them to arise and 
shine in the light of God and in the beauty of holiness, fair as the moon, 
bright as the sun, and terrible as an army with triumphant banners. 

We reason, then, from all our premises—and they are both large and 
liberal—that any version consummated by the Bible Union can never be 
objected to by any—the most orthodox party in Protestant Christendom.— 
because of any theoretic or practical error held or propagated by any of 
those who participate in its consummation. I am fully aware that the 
wiles of the Devil will all be in requisition, ready to strangle it as soon as 
born. But the Lord has always taken and subdued the Devil’s wise men 
m their own craftiness, and shown that the weakness of God is stronger 
than man or the Devil; and therefore, the preaching of old, stale, quaint, 
spectacle-bestrid orthodoxy, will be as impotent now as was Herod's decree 
to kill the new-born king of the Jews, by the slaughter of the innocents of 

But seeing that the Bible Union is not a Baptist Union, nor is it an hete¬ 
rodox Union, but a Unioo for a pure, chaste, exact, faithful, and perspicu¬ 
ous version of the Christian Oracles, and ultimately of the whole volume 
ot Divinely inspired truth, what is likely to be its fortunes, its future his¬ 
tory, or its destiny? 

An answer to this question, though somewhat in the spirit of prophecy, 
is not so very difficult as at the first presentation might be assumed or 



imagined. If it be faithful and true to the original, and we assume that 
such it will be, in the judgment of all truly enlightened men, it must, then, 
in harmony with the history of man and the progress of the age, gain a 
glorious triumph over its apponents. Their batteries will be silent, be¬ 
cause they will have b en silenced by the wory itself. It may be condem¬ 
ned and reprobated, indeed it will be, by a mere sectary, who has taken 
the oath of allegiance to his present prejudices, for better or for worse, and 
who, in advance of its appearance, has not only thought, but said, “no 
good thing can come out of Nazareth,” and therefore never will. Such 
was the fate and the fortune of Tyndal’s version. He was persecuted and 
driven from England. He was persecuted in Flanders. He was put to 
death by the orthodox of that day. His translation was inhibited in Eng¬ 
land; and yet, in a few years after, it was virtually the English Bibje, en¬ 
acted and ordained by the ecclesiastic and political potentates of England. 

The present version was not, on its first appearance, a universal favorite. 
Some preferred the Bishop’s Bible; others disliked both. One age burns 
heretics; the next makes them saints and martyrs, and erects monuments 
to their memory. No wise man, well read in civil or ecclesiastical his¬ 
tory, can expect a different state of things. The censure of one age, is 
sometimes all praise in the judgment of the next; as the praise of one gen¬ 
eration is the shame and the reproach of the following. Christians live 
for immortality, for eterniiy, and, therefore, to them it is a matter of little 
or no account how their contemporaries may think or speak of them. The 
only happy man is he whom the Lord approveth. 

But what will be the fortunes of such a version, as we contemplate may 
be rationally anticipated? It will, ultimately, be received by all the Im- 
mersionists. Some of the elders, some of the scribes, some of the popular 
doctors, some of the man-worshippers, will, no doubt, say of it when issu¬ 
ed, what they said of it before it appeared. This they will do to justify 
the false position which, in a fitful mood, they unfortunately took on the 
whole premises. This we expect, and shall not be disappointed. Human 
nature, in the absence of Divine grace, runs in these channels. Yet we 
say it will be ultimately received by all the immersionists, and by a por¬ 
tion of the non-immersionists. But in some instances, it will be read with 
more interest to find out its faults, than to perceive its fidelity or its gen¬ 
eral excellency. All who plead for perspicuous and faithful versions, into 
foreign tongues abroad, will be compelled to receive a perspicuous and 
faithful version in their own Anglo-Saxon at home. We who are now ac¬ 
tors in the drama will soon die, and the prominent opponents of the work will 
soon die. Our prepossessions and antipathies will die with us, and our la¬ 
bors will fall into more impartial hands. In one life-time, despite of all op¬ 
position, it will be generally read by enlightened Christians of our language, 
probably in some points improved; but in those points to which special re¬ 
ference is had, just as we give it. Many may renounce it whose children 
will only wish, “as duteous sons, their fathers had been more wise.” 

But in saying so much of a new version to be made in the present day, 
we are likely to be misunderstood. We do not really intend or wish for a 
literally new version. We much prefer, in all cases, the common Anglo- 
Saxon style and idiom, and never will capriciously change the verbiage, 
unless when defective or unfaithful to the original, or otherwise in bad taste. 



I am one, and have long been one, of the admirers of the Anglo-Saxon, of 
the Common Version. And although often corrected and improved in its 
defects, by such men as Campbell, Macknight, Doddridge, Ac., neither the 
more sonorous and elegant Latinites of the former, nor the pure, and some¬ 
times too complaisant Grecisms of the latter, nor the combination of them 
both, with less taste and vigor, by Doddridge, and other modern revision¬ 
ists, win my admiration, nor command my respect and affection, so much 
as the pure Anglo-Saxon of the seventeenth century; as it mainly appears 
in the revision of King James, and his forty-seven translators and revisers. 
With Macaulay, and other distinguished writers of the present day, I believe 
that much of the power and effect of the common Bible, and Bunyan’s Pil¬ 
grims’ Progress, are owing to the fact, that they are the only two good speci¬ 
mens of that style extant among us, and have, thereby, an easier and more 
direct passport to the understanding, the conscience, and the heart of Eng¬ 
lish, Scotch, Irish and Americans than any other books in our language. 

Ch ange, for the sake of change, in the Oracles of God, in any language, 
is, in my judgment, bad taste and worse philosophy, and ought to be es¬ 
chewed, rather than cultivated or adopted, by each and every one who de¬ 
sires the word of God to run and be glorified in our day and generation. 
Change without improvement is, in most cases, and, most of all, in Bible 
translation, mere pedantry—more worthy of reprobation than of commen¬ 
dation, on the part of every lover of the Bible and of mankind. I love the 
phrases and forms of speech in which our venerable and venerated fore¬ 
fathers were accustomed to clothe their conceptions of God, of Christ, and 
of the great salvation, when they aimed their hearts to the praises of God, 
or prostrated themselves before his mercy seat. I love, too, the forms of 
speech in which they expressed their conceptions of his grace and of his 
great salvation, when, in their ecstacies, they celebrated the wonders of 
his grace and extolled his condescension to our lost and ruined world. 
Magniloquence is the index of a weak and visionary mind; and a too pre¬ 
cise and formal style, in complaisance to the verbal livery of the times, 
savors more of pedantry than of piety, more of the flesh than of ihe spirit, 
more of the wisdom of men than of the power of God. Much learning, 
real substantial learning, good common sense, much piety and spirituality 
of mind, and a profound humility and reverence, are essential qualifica¬ 
tions of a good translator of the Oracles of God. We are therefore, more 
disposed to ask, who is fit for such a work, rather than to hasten, rashly 
or presumptuously upon it, as a matter of common concern or of ephemeral 
duration. It is a good work, a great work, a solemn work, and must be ap¬ 
proached with great solemnity and self-examination. It is not a task to be 
hastily assumed, and despatched with expedition. It is as solemn as death, 
and as awful as eternity. If God commanded his servant Moses, when he 
presented himself to him at Horeb, saying, “Draw not nigh hither; put off 
thy shoes from off thy^ feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy 
ground;” and if the Captain of the Lord’s host said to Joshua, when stand¬ 
ing in his presence, “Loose thy shoes from of thy feet, for the place on which 
thou standest is holy,” with what solemnity and reverence should we pre¬ 
sume to touch “the ark of the covenant” of mercy, and to open its 
contents to our contemporaries and to posterity? Should not, then, 
such a work as is proposed, be undertaken, prosecuted, and consummated; 



i in the spirit of a piety the most sincere, and of a reverence the most pro¬ 

There yet remains, my Christian brethren, another consideration, to 
which I would especially solicit your concentrated attention. We live in 
a sectarian, and, consequently, in a controversial age. Christianity, as it 
I is called, has degenerated into a speculative science, and, therefore, in¬ 
to innumerable forms of opinionisms. Theories, instead of facts, specula- 
’ tions instead of faith, forms and ceremonies instead of a new life, and a 
profession of godliness without its vitality and poiver, are now, and long- 
have been, the characteristics of the Christian profession. Asa necessary 
consequence, we have been, as Paul predicted, “turned away from the 
truth of Christ unto fables.” 

When we survey the motley theatre of Christendom, it resembles a bad¬ 
ly colored map of the Eastern or Western Continent. Shade mingles into 
shade, and color into color, until all the primary colors are lost, and one 
immense variegated field of vision spreads before us full of mystery and 
of wonder. The natural and the artificial lines, rectilinear and curvilinear, 
which bound them and separate them, are the shades of each of the pri¬ 
mary colors, so numerous and so faint that no mortal ej e can separate 
them, or mark where one commences and another ends. 

The metaphysics of the new birth, or the speculative difference between 
kneeling and standing in prayer, down to the ribbons on a bonnet, or the 
corners of a collar, are sometimes made the badges of a holy brotherhood, 
more important than faith, hope, or charity. A good sectary may violate, 
with more impunity, five of the ten commandments, than any one of the 
idol peculiarities of his denomination. This, too, unfortunately, has occa¬ 
sioned a characteristic difference in the pulpit exhibitions of the age, and 
has given a fastidious importance to the theories and customs which other¬ 
wise would have occupied little or no part in public teaching or in public 

In our country and in our generation, there are delivered, in the course 
of the year, ten sermons on the new- birth for one upon the new life; as if 
ten times more important to be born right than to live right; and yet, in 
the former, the subject is entirely passive, and in the latter, wholly active. 

In the w-hole New Testament we have but one paragraph on the new 
birth, for a hundred on the new life. We have had, too, a thousand ser¬ 
mons in behalf of sprinkling a babe, and a thousand on immersing a be¬ 
liever, which all depended upon the non-translation or the mere transfer¬ 
ence of a word, witn the difference betw-een blood and faith, or flesh and 

For all these, arid many such aberrations, there is but one sovereign and 
grand specific—a pure, exact, a definite, and perspicuous translation of 
the Christian Scriptures. This is, in my humble conception, the great 
want of Christendom, the great want of the age, and the unanswerable ar¬ 
gument in favor of the Bible Union. 

The very name Bible Union, has a charm in the ear of every friend of 
truth, of every friend of God and of man. The Bible is God’s own foun¬ 
dation for the greatest Empire in creation. It is the constitution of the 
Empire of Redeemed Humanity! We have had every other sort of union 
but an union for a perfect English Bible. The Christian world, so called. 

I 54 


may co-operate in the great work which it proposes. And tin: a perfect 
English Bible, for an English people, is needed for three great purposes, 
will, I presume, on a proper exposition of the premises, be very generally 
conceded. I he first., for the union of true Christians; the second, for the 
conversion of the world; the third, for the perfection of the church. To 
illustrate what we mean in such a broad affirmation, take an example or 
two: 1. Let all Englishmen read immerse for baptize, and then would not 
the baptismal controversy cease upon the action of baptism ? 2. Let 

tnem lead congregation for church , overseer for bishop , and servant for cleueon , 
and where the basis for the patriarchy, for the papacy, or for the prelacy? 

Love for charity, and where that spurious tolerance of error, as a sub¬ 
stitute for brotherly kindness and love ? 

tu.-T, we say, for the union of true Christians. The most insuperable 
barrier to this are the three prevailing- baptisms—baptism in water, with 
faith ; baptism with water, without faith ; and baptism with the Spirit, 
without either faith or water. There are, therefore, three meanings at¬ 
tached to Christian baptism. The first is, the immersion of a professed 
believer in water. . The second is, the aspersion of water upon a person, 
n iih or without faith. The third is, the affusion or effusion of the Spirit 
of God upon a spirit, antecedent to, and independent of, either knowledge 
or faith.. Thus the word baptize becomes a perfect enigma. 

Baptize is neither Hebrew nor Greek, neither Latin nor English. It is a 
modification of the Greek baptizo, the Roman form of which is identical 
with the Greek. Hence the Greek and Roman Church practised immer¬ 
sion down to A. D. 1311 ; and the Greek Church, still older than the Ro¬ 
man, and vast in its territory, still practices it. 

I he English Church, too, practised immersion down to the reign of Het,- 
1 } \ III., and it was so ordained by statute of said Henry, in his Holy 
Manuel or Guide of A. D. 1530. The statute of Henry Vlll., 21st, thus 
speaks, ‘ Let the Priest take the child, and, having asked the name, baptize 
him, by dipgnng him in water thrice 

Indulgences were given, in after reign, to pour water upon weak babies ; 
anu, very soon after, all the babies became weak, and could not even stand 
the shock of pouring. . Then John Calvin mercifully interposed, and com¬ 
muted pouring for sprinkling. The Priests, English and Scotch, immedi¬ 
ate^ commenced a new kind of oratory, under the shield and the star of 
the rhetorical, figures of a synecdoche, which puts a part for a whole, and 
of a metalepsis, which authorizes old names to be applied to new things. 
And so Presbyterians, Congregationalists, Episcopalians and Methodists, 
liberal spirits all, in general have availed themselves of the tolerant indul¬ 
gence of the falsely styled “ intolerant Calvin.” 

The Edinburgh Encyclopaedia is high authority in this case. Hear the 
aiticle on baptism, in the words following, to-wit: 

In this country, [Scotland,] however, sprinkling was never practised in 
ordinary cases, till after the Reformation ; and in England, even in the 
reign of Edward VI., trine immersion, dipping first the right side, secondly 
* ie j _ s 'd e > a nd lastly the face of the infant, was commonly observed. 
j>ut during the persecution of Mary, many persons, most of whom were 
Scotchmen, fled from England to Geneva, and there greedily imbibed the 
opinions ot that church. In 1556 a book was published at that Diace, con- 


1 55 

taming ‘ the form of prayers, and ministration of the sacraments, approved 
by the famous and godly learned man, John Calvin,’ in which the adminis¬ 
trator is enjoined to take water in his hand and lay it upon the child’s fore¬ 
head. These Scottish exiles who had renounced the authority of the Pope, 
implicitly acknowledged the authority of Calvin; and returning to their 
own country, with Knox at their head, in 1559, established sprinkling in 
Scotland. From Scotland this practice made its way into England, in the 
reign of Elizabeth.” 

Baptism and baptize were, by the order of King James, under the cap¬ 
tion of “ ecclesiastical words,” enjoined upon the translators, and w^ere 
transferred into his version representing the ideas then current. Thus 
the action first indicated by the adopted word baptize, was immmerse, but 
now it is made to mean no specific action, and, therefore, it must be trans¬ 
lated by one specific word, to represent, in our ears, the precept of Christ . 

I say, then, that in order to the union of Christians, we must have a defi¬ 
nite and unmistakeable term, in indicating one and the same conception to 
every mind. If, then, the Christian Church ever become really and visibly 
one, she must have one immersion, or one baptism ; and, if she become not 
one. where is the hope of a millennium ? It is a dream! 

Now, on observing the tendency of the two great bodies of Christian 
professors—immersionists and non-immersionists—let me emphatically 
ask, What does it show? What does it teach? Is not the manifest ten¬ 
dency of the past and present century towards immersion ? For every one 
that lias renounced immersion and been sprinkled, are there not ten thousand 
that have renounced sprinkling and been immersed? I speak in bounds, 
probably far within the limits of truth. The immersionists in America 
vary not much from one million. I mean not in theory, for the theorists 
and the realists are more than a mere plurality to one; but I mean those 
actually immersed! 

Of this million of immersed persons, how many had been sprinkled in 
infancy? -From having’been a feeble, despised, and persecuted band, in 
less than a century, in these United States, how stand they now? Has 
ant oue in this assembly ever seen one immersed professor renounce it, 
and receive sprinkling at the hand of a Protestant minister? I have never, 
to my knowledge, seen such a case. Has any one present ever seen such 
a case? If he have we wish to know it. 

Now, then, is it not contrary to theory, to faith, to experience, to history, 
to think of a millennium—of a union of all Christians—on Pedobapiist 
principles? In order, then, to pray, or to preach, or to labor for a millen¬ 
nium, we must have a Bible that is most explicit on this great subject. 
There cannot be a millennium—a united church—without acknowledging 
one Lord, one faith, and one baptism ! Hence, my zeal is not for water, 
much or little water—for dipping, pouring, or sprinkling; but for one im¬ 
mersion, for the sake of one Lord, one faith, and one church. I wish I 
could, by any form of utterance, repeat these words that might insure them 
a safe and a sure passport into every good heart. 

The baptismal question, with me, is as much for the union pf Christians 
as it is for the union of our hearts to the Lord, in order to the peace that 
passes understanding, and the joy unspeakable and full of glory. Pardon 
the emphasis I place on this topic. If it be not the main topic of this age. 



it certainly will be of the next. The Bible Union, for anew, and true, and 
faithful version of the Christian Scriptures, is, therefore, the greatest ec¬ 
clesiastic event of this our day, because the most pregnant of union, peace, 
prosperity, and triumph to the Church of Christ. 

But it may be asked, Why should an English version do more to effect 
these great objects than a version in any other living tongue? Because, 
we answer, of the people that speak this language. If not more in num¬ 
ber, they are more powerful than any other people. Their science and 
arts, their religion and their general civilization, their Protestant energy of 
character, their great and all-pervading commercial enterprise, and espe¬ 
cially their missionary spirit and their missionary success, give them the 
vantage ground amidst all the languages and people of earth. But, better 
still, the Almighty Ruler of the destinies of nations has hitherto counte¬ 
nanced and blessed England and America, more than any other people in 
the world, and their English Bible is more generally read all over the earth, 
than that of any other people or language in the word. 

Regarding the past as the best omen for the future—viewing what God 
has accomplished by English men, by English enterprise, by English Pro¬ 
testantism, by English Bibles—have we not in these premises enough to in¬ 
spire us with a vigorous hope, and with bright anticipations that the Bible 
Union, organized for giving free course to the Divine Oracles, faithfully 
and perspicuously translated into our vernacular, is, in its grand object and 
aim, co-operating with God, and, consequently, under his guidance and 
blessing, in the great work of redeeming man from ignorance, guilt, and 

The second gi-eat object of a new version is the conversion of the world. 
Our Redeemer, in his intercessory prayer, as reported by John, the belov¬ 
ed Apostle, has declared that the union of his friends and followers is es¬ 
sential to the conversion of the world. “I pray, Holy Father,” says he, 
not for the Apostles only, nor for those only that now believe on me, that 
they may le one as we are; but “ I pray for those, also, who shall believe on 
me through their word, [or teaching,] that they all may be one —that as 
thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, they also may be one in us, that the 
world may believe that thou hast sent me, and that I have given them the 
glory which thou gavest me, that they may be one even as we are one: I in 
them and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one ; and that the 
world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them as thou hast lov¬ 
ed me Though we had a thousand arguments to offer in the advocacy 
of the necessity of the union of Christians, in order to the conversion of 
the world of unbelieving Jews and Gentiles, we would not, on such an oc¬ 
casion, adduce one of them in corroboration of this one. They are all as 
the twinklings of innumerable stars in a cloudless heaven, compared with 
the splendors of a meridian sun, blazing in all his noon-day majesty and 
effulgence on our world. The simple declaration of the fact, that the 
union of Christians is necessary to the conversion of the word, by such a 
person, on such an occasion, is as strong as the strongest mathematical de¬ 
monstration of physical truth, subjected alike to the senses and the under¬ 
standing of men. 

So long as the Lord Jesus Christ—the Founder of the Christian Church 
or Kingdom—has made its union, and spiritual communion in one God, 



s through one Redeemer, and by one Holy Spirit, a means of the conversion 
of the world, it could not be made more essential to that end by any enact¬ 
ment, ordinance, or oracle in earth or heaven. It is, therefore, now, and 
for forty years past has been, with me, a fixed principle, that if a hundred 
sects or schisms in Christ’s Kingdom were to send out their respective myr- 
j iads of missionaries into all the nations of earth, the world , in our Saviour’s 
sense, could not be converted, or made to believe that Jesus of Nazareth 
is the true Messiah, the only Saviour of the world. I might show, in vol¬ 
umes, the evils of schisms, and so might another, and another, as conver- 
; sant with these themes as any of us ; but the simple utterance of this 
i prayer, for the union of all believers in the Divine person, and mission, and 
work of Jesus, in order to the conversion of the world, eclipses, and will eter- 
i nally eclipse them all. It is an end, a consummation most devoutly to be 
! wished, but which never can be gained, while the Christian profession is 
! severed and divided into innumerable parties, in perpetual conflict with one 
another. The sword of ecclesiastic strife must be sheathed, and the hal¬ 
cyon flag of Zion must wave its peaceful folds on every Christian altar, 
from one extremity of Christendom to the other. 

Whatever, then, tends to the true interpretation or translation of the 
Living Oracles into the languages of our Christendom, is an object of 
transcendent, nay, of paramount importance, to the answer and accomplish¬ 
ment of our Redeemer’s prayer; to the health,peace, prosperity, and ulti- 
j mate triumph of our most holy faith, over all the supersti ions and idola- 
1 tries of earth. How much, then, need I ask, depends upon such a version 
of the Holy Oracles as will give an exact and perspicuous interpretation 
of every passage connected with each and every one of those unhappy 
sources of error that have occasioned, or given any countenance to, those 
: paralyzing schisms, which have, more or less, frustrated our missionary 
i enterprises since the establishment of the first domestic or foreign mission 
in Christendom ? 

The third great object to be gained is the perfection of the church. 

“ That they may be made perfect in one,” is a portion of the burthen of 

our Lord’s intercessory prayer. Perfection is, therefore, the glory and fe¬ 
licity of man. 

The perfectibility of human nature, by human instrumentality, has long 
been the fascinating dream of visionary philosophers. A true philosopher, 
or a true Christian, never cherished such an Utopian vision. But there is 
a true, a real perfectibility 7- of human character and of human nature, 
through the soul-redeeming mediation and holy spiritual influence of the 
great Philanthropist—the Hero, the Author and Perfector of the Christian 
faith. And there is a transforming power—a spiritual, a divine energy, 

adequate to this end, in the gospel of Christ, as now dispensed by the Ho¬ 

ly Guest of the Christian temple. 

It is first a spiritual, and finally a physical transformation of man, in his 
whole physical, intellectual, and moral constitution. It is, in the measure 
of his spiritual capacity, a perfect conformity to the perfect image of the 
spiritual beauty and loveliness of the Divine Father himself. This is the 

I glorious destiny of man under a remedial economy of means and influen¬ 
ces, expressed or suggested in the teachings of the Messiah, and fully de¬ 
veloped in the writings of his ambassadors to the nations. Our Divine 



Master had tliis in his eye, when he prayed for the perfection of Chris¬ 
tians in and through himself. 

Now, in order to this Divine scheme of redemption and transformation 
of a fallen and ruined world, the whole volume of the Christian Scriptures 
is, in the wisdom of God, inspired and fashioned as happily, as wisely, and 
as benevolently, as light is to the eye, or harmony and melody to the ear. 
To have the full-orbed sun of righteousness, mercy, and life, shining in all 
his moral and spiritual splendors upon our souls, in the light of a life di¬ 
vine and everlasting, is the choicest boon of heaven, and the richest treas¬ 
ure almighty love ever imparted to any portion of God’s intellectual and 
spiritual universe. Ought not, then, these animating and cheering rays of 
Divine light be permitted to shine into our souls, in the clear and cloud¬ 
less atmosphere of a pure and transparent interpretation or translation of 
the Divine originals of our most precious and holy faith ! And what con¬ 
science purified from guilt, what heart touched with the magnet of ever¬ 
lasting love, and sanctified by faith, does not pant after the full fruition of 
the light of God’s countenance, reflected upon us in the mirror of Divine 

If, then, there be an object that supremely claims our concentrated ener¬ 
gies and our most vigorous efforts; if there be happiness, honor, and glo¬ 
ry, in our assimilation to the Divine image ; if the union of all the chil¬ 
dren of God in one holy brotherhood ; if the conversion of the world to 
the obedience of faiih ; if the perfection of Christian character through 
faith, hope, and love—through an ardent zeal and devotion, be objects of 
paramount value and importance—be pre-eminently desirable, ought not 
all the talents, and learning, and grace, which God has vouchsafed to his 
church of the present day, be consecrated and devoted to the consum¬ 
mation of this transcendent work ! 

But again: none but Baptists can do this great work. I do not mean 
Old School or New School Baptists. Many of both are unfit for it; not 
merely for the want of learning, but because they are mere Baptists—no 
more than Baptists. The mere Jew gloried in circumcision, and the mere 
Baptist, in the same spirit, glories in immersion. But there are myriads 
of Chiistian Baptists, of regenerated, enlarged, ennobled Baptists, who 
glory in truth and in the God of truth ; men of large minds, of liberal 
hearts, of expanded and expanding souls, zealous for truth and for the God 
of truth. These are all moved and moving in the direction, and under the 
guidance of the Spirit of truth and of a sound discriminating mind. They 
never were all Israel who were of Israel. Neither are they all baptized 
into Christ who are baptized in water. But a portion of the Jews returned 
from the Babylonian Captivity. None but Baptists of enlightened under¬ 
standings, of large and liberal hearts, of pure conscience, and of faith un¬ 
feigned, can cordially, zealously, and perseveringly participate in an enter¬ 
prise so grand and sublime. 

Still, none but immersionists do discern the spirituality of the Kingdom 
of Christ. In reason’s ear, in reason’s name, how can that man appre¬ 
hend the spirituality of Christianity, and the spirituality of Christ’s King¬ 
dom, who will, in virtue of his being flesh and blood, carry in his arms all 
born of his flesh, to the bason, and into the church, and enroll them as 
baptized into Christ? Because wet with only one drop of rose water, 



gravely affirm, that one drop is as good as an ocean ! And true it is, that 
neither a drop nor an ocean can sprinkle or immerse man, woman or child, 
into a faith which he has not, and into a Christ which he knows not of. 
I could as soon believe that Louis Napoleon is a pure democrat, and the 
Pope a genuine republican, as that a sprinkled or dipped babe has been 
christianized by one drop or one ocean, without the knowledge and the 
faith of Christ. But why argue this case farther"? 

Shall we not, then, brethren, not merely propose, approve, and adopt the 
resolution offered, or some one to the same effect, but, wi h one heart 
and soul, co-operate with our brethren everywhere like minded, in the pros¬ 
ecution and consummation of this great work, and, through good report or 
bad r port, cleave to it. and prosecute it, until we shall have, in our own 
living tongue as now spoken, the words of eternal truth and love, circulat¬ 
ing from East to West, from North to South, wherever our language is 
spoken, to the last domicil of man ; and this, too, in the firm conviction and 
assurance that time, the most potent revolutionist, will make it a grand 
auxiliary in the great work of uniting, harmonizing, and purifying the 
Church of Christ, and of converting, sanctifying, and saving the w r orld ! 


, ° n P ' ,Se : ’ 1 — ClosiD 3 of second paragraph, read “though just and inevitable, has often 
been, at the time, unforeseen.” 

Same Page—First line of third paragraph, read “their responsibility.” instead of “this 

Page 56 First line, read “powerful antagonist ,” instead of “ antagonism 
taunc I age— 1 ifteenth line from bottom, read ‘It is therefore vain,” instead of 'Isit,” &c. 
Page' 59—Fourth line of first paragraph, read, “Church of England version,” instead of 
“Church of English version.” 

I' 1 ' 6 f ' 11 thirteenth line from bottom, read “these several conditions,” instead of 

“ the ' &c. 

Page 71—Eighth line from bottom, read “ zayin ,»» instead of “ zazin .” 

lage 101—For ‘ metamdomai ” read “ metumelomai ” 

t’age 115—Read “and being hade able,” instead of “being able.” 

Page IIS—Read “presbuteroi instead of "presbuteros^'