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legitimate pastors. But having done this, and finding that no shadow of government or society was possible on the principles they at first set up, they turn round, and with admirable coolness deny and reject those very principles without which they had never existed, and institute in their novel and selfconstituted tribunals the most intolerable tyranny, in the place of the paternal authority they threw off, and which had received the traditions of all Christian nations, and the promise of the Divine protection and guidance. But it was not to be supposed that such tribunals, such supreme judges, would command any respect, or much submission. Dissent breeds dissent. The first dissenters authorize by precept and example the new dissenters. What right had you to dissent from the authority to which you were born subject, which we have not to dissent from you ? Hence, the decisions of these tribunals and judges are followed only so long as force, or selfinterest, money, or social position are present to back them ; when not supported by such or like considerations, they are mere cobwebs. Hence, Protestantism is everywhere cut up into divisions, sects, parties, and factions, too numerous to count, and which serve only to worry and devour each other, and to place in bold contrast the majestic and compact unity of the Catholic Church.

Art. III. – 1. A New Version of the Four Gospels, with

Notes Critical and Explanatory. By a Catholic. London. 1836. 2. The Four Gospels, translated from the Greek, with Preliminary Dissertations and Notes Critical and Explanatory. By George Campbell, D. D., Principal of Marischal College, and one of the Ministers of Aberdeen. From the latest London Edition. Andover. 1837.

The learned work of Dr. Campbell was first published in Scotland long before the appearance of the anonymous work “ by a Catholic.” The object of both writers has been to present a clear and fluent translation of the Gospels, divested of antiquated terms and ungrammatical phrases. It must be acknowledged that the received versions, Catholic as well as

Protestant, * admit of much improvement in phraseology and construction ; on which account we should hail with pleasure any effort directed to this end, which may not endanger the fidelity of the rendering, or shock popular feeling by the appearance of bold innovation.

Dr. Campbell's translation has been in part adopted, but in reality disfigured, by his namesake on this side of the Atlantic, whose edition of the New Testament, made up from different sources, is used as a text-book throughout the numerous congregations in the West that call him master. The anonymous writer has not been so successful, and although he may have escaped censure, which his assumption of the incognito leads us to believe he apprehended, he has not disturbed the possession of the Douay or Rheimish version, which, from long use and hallowed associations, has a strong hold on the affections and reverence of the Catholic community.

The first provincial council of Baltimore, having in view the acts of a preceding ecclesiastical assembly held by the founder of the American hierarchy, decreed that the Douay version should be retained ; which regulation, we suppose, was directed to secure uniformity in quotations from the pulpit or the press. Had the measure which the prelates then contemplated been put in execution, and an accurate edition of that version been issued, we should be slow to favor essays at a new translation ; but although episcopal approbation has been obtained for the several editions since issued in various cities of the Union, these present no evidence of extraordinary diligence on the part of the publishers, so that an accurate edition is still a desideratum. The want of an authorized version is often objected to us by controversial antagonists, who, however, may be well left to indulge self-gratulation on their possession of the translation published by the authority of his Majesty, King James. The Douay version, although not specially approved of by the Holy See, is authoritative, inasmuch as it has the express approval of very many bishops, as well as of the Baltimore council, and is in general use with Catholics throughout the countries in which the English language prevails. This, surely, is enough for all practical purposes, the faithful being thus assured of its soundness and fidelity. It is not desirable that any vernacular version should be solemnly adopted by the Church, so as to preclude improve

* See Campbell, Diss. XI., Part II. VOL. III. NO. IV.


ment, which the changeableness of living languages might render necessary.

The sanction given to the Douay version cannot preclude judicious efforts for its improvement. That it is imperfect may be acknowledged, without detracting from its authority as a safe guide in all that regards the substance of the sacred text, and without disrespect to the eminent men who prepared it, the English language having undergone considerable changes since their time. The Italian version of Martini is acknowledged to be excellent, and it was published with the approbation of Pope Pius the Sixth; yet in Italy no one hesitates to give a new rendering of any passage of the Vulgate, which alone is deemed a standard. În France and Spain, the same freedom is enjoyed, although the Bible de Vence, and the translation of P. Phelipe Scio de S. Michel, are in general use. We know not why the Douay version should enjoy a more exclusive authority. The attempts already made by several editors to modernize the style have, indeed, resulted in throwing doubt on the true reading ; but this only shows the importance of having a revised version published by authority, for which measure the critical labors of learned individuals might be a useful preparation. All unnecessary changes should be avoided, so as to take away the appearance of fluctuation in a matter so grave ; and no change, however advisable it might appear, should be introduced into the public reading of the Scriptures, until approved of by competent authority ; but every respectful suggestion and judicious effort should meet with due consideration.

The ancient Latin version, called the Vulgate, was declared authentic by the Council of Trent. The New Testament not having been translated by St. Jerome, who contented himself with retouching the work of the ancient interpreter, the version of the Gospels is, in the main, that which was made, probably, in the first century, and which, by its own excellence, gained the ascendency over all other Latin translations, and maintained its sway until the revolutionary struggle miscalled the Reformation. The fathers assembled at Trent did not invest the Vulgate with any adventitious authority ; they declared that which it was entitled to from its intrinsic worth, and which immemorial and universal usage had given it. Latin translations of the Bible which were circulated at that period, and which were daily on the increase, in consequence of the doctrinal disputes which then raged, determined the prelates to point to the Vulgate as a faithful representation of

The many

it was

the original, made when no controversy had arisen, and commended by the approbation of the learned, and by general use during a long series of ages. The wisdom of this decree is acknowledged by Dr. Campbell, who observes, — “ If, instead of this measure, that council had ordered a translation to be made by men nominated by them, in opposition to those published by Protestants, the case would have been very different ; for we may justly say, that, amidst such a ferment as was then excited, there should have appeared in a version so prepared any thing like impartiality, candor, or discernment, would have been morally impossible.” * This remark applies to the Protestant translations with double force, since the Catholic interpreters, if under bias, could have been only in. fluenced by doctrines received from immemorial antiquity, whilst the Protestant was seeking Scriptural support for new opinions broached in the midst of excitement and revolution. The Vulgate was declared authentic, that is, an authoritative standard, to which appeal could be safely made in all religious investigations. It was not declared faultless ; but, as it had been in general use for more than a thousand years, pronounced a faithful guide, on which full reliance might be placed in all that regards faith, and morals, and historic truth.

The prejudices of learned Protestants are in no respect more manifest than in the interpretation of this decree, since they infer from it that the slightest error cannot be admitted to exist in the Vulgate without derogating from its authority, and they triumph in the discrepancies observable in the authorized editions of Clement the Eighth and of Sixtus the Fifth. In attesting the general fidelity of the translation, the fathers of

Trent had no idea of claiming inspiration for its author, much less of affirming that its editions were free from typographical errors. In John xxi. 22, the common reading is, “ Sic eum volo manere," although some manuscripts have “ Si,” which is conformable to the Greek manuscripts generally. The Cambridge and some Latin manuscripts unite both readings. Maldonat, a learned Jesuit commentator of Scripture, prefers the common Greek reading to that of the Vulgate ; and Dr. Campbell is surprised at this instance of mental independence, not considering that the preference of a reading found in some Latin manuscripts, and adopted even in the public offices of the Church, does not militate against the decree by which the Vulgate generally was sanctioned.

* Dissertation, X. 7. Vol. I., p. 355.

« Not one passage in the Vulgate," he remarks, “can claim the authority of popes and councils, if this cannot.' We beg to dispute this assertion. The sanction of the council, although embracing all the portions of that translation, could not be supposed to determine the genuine reading of passages which were different in various manuscripts. The popes, in sanctioning the several editions, meant only to give public authority to them, and prevent alterations being made by private individuals ; but they did not affirm that they were free from imperfection, and consequently they did not preclude ulterior corrections, which learned men might suggest, after further collation of manuscripts. It was for this reason that Clement the Eighth did not hesitate to issue a new edition, in which several errors of the Sixtine edition were corrected. All the ridicule cast on Papal infallibility in consequence of these discrepancies is void of foundation.

The testimony which learned Protestants have borne to the fidelity and general excellence of the Vulgate is in the highest degree corroborative of the Tridentine declaration. Mill, the famous editor of the Greek text, speaking of the Gospel of St. John, remarks : “ In this, as well as in the other three Gospels, the Greek manuscript used by the Vulgate interpreter was very excellent and accurate. After noting a few passages in which he thinks that the manuscript was inexact, he observes : -" The remaining passages generally present the genuine reading, which differs from almost all our manuscripts and editions." * He says that not less than two hundred readings could be restored by aid of this ancient version. Bengel, a learned Lutheran critic of the last century, shows its value, as representing a manuscript seven, eight, or nine centuries, nay a thousand years, more ancient than any manuscript now extant.f A version of itself is not preferable to the text; but an ancient manuscript, as reflected in the version, is plainly of higher authority than a manuscript of a much later period.

The harmony of the Alexandrian manuscript, which dates from the fourth century, with the Vulgate adds no small weight to this version ; and the occasional discrepancy does not lessen its authority. Impartial judges often award the prize of accuracy to the Latin interpreter, who is acknowledg

* Prolegomena XLIV. f Introductio in Crisin N. T., p. 393.

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