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best friends could wish for; having by her own exertions or by aiding others, particularly by the translation of the Scripture into the languages of the nations which were converted to Christianity, promoted the great work with sincerely apostolic zeal. That church herself was among the first to be benefited by the particular and natural measure specified, scriptural-aye, and a vernacular-translation; and, if Augustine be right, this was done by different private individuals. And what self-condemnation does this very first important and well-attested act of the Roman church inflict upon the discouragements, the interdictions, the punishments, with which in her latter days she closed the avenues of heavenly truth! These she shall not deny; and we will see in time how she colours them. Versions in the language of Syria might be expected to be about equally early; and high antiquity is claimed for the Peschito. The two versions of Upper and Lower Egypt, the Sahidic and Coptic, appear to have issued before the close of the third century. The fourth is illuminated by the Gothic version of Ulphilas, to the honour of the Greek section of the church. The Ethiopic followed; and Chrysostom uses expressions, which, if strictly understood, assert the translation of St. John's Gospel into several new languages. The elaborate and instructive Illustrations of Biblical Literature by Townley, and the extensively known and highly because justly valued Introduction to the Scriptures by Horne, will supply the inquisitive reader with all the information, which would be out of place or proportion here. Suffice it to observe, that the sixth century is fixed upon by Usher as the period when the pontifical church began to make its own error conspicuous and mischievous, and that particularly, by adopting the practice and policy of her heathen progenitor-the imposition of her own language, (the sacred Latin,) on the nations whom she had subjugated by her degenerated religion, as the other had done by her arms, a badge, as well as an engine, of spiritual slavery. Charlemagne played a part in the unworthy game of pandering to papal ambition by enforcing the use of the Latin language in the national offices of religion. There occurred not, however, much intermission in the production of biblical translations; the common sense and common piety of individuals, touched with even the feeblest sense of religion, effecting or demanding it. This state of toleration was not invaded by the spiritual sovereign of Rome till the reign of Gregory VII. of not very tolerant celebrity, to whom an application was made by Wratislaus, Duke of Bohemia, to be allowed the use of the vernacular Sclavonic language in the celebration of Divine service in his dominions. The request was peremptorily refused, on the alleged ground, that the Almighty thought it best that the holy Scripture should

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in some places be obscure, or hidden (occultam), lest it should be despised or misunderstood. Olaus Magnus, a papal prelate, expressly asserts, that the pontiff prohibited the version of the Scripture into the vulgar tongue. This is more than the epistle of Gregory will warrant, unless he had other authority.* Henry, (Hist. Eccles. Ixviii. 7,) deserves to be referred to, because he states this distinctly as the first prohibition of the reading the Scriptures and performing Divine service in the vernacular tongue. “ On peut donc marquer sous Gregoire VII. le commencement de ces sortes de défenses.”

We proceed to a very important act, a decree of the Council of Toulouse, assembled in 1229, by authority of the legate of the Roman see.

The particular decree which concerns the present subject is in cap. xiv. “ Prohibemus etiam, ne libros Veteris Testamenti aut Novi, laici permittantur habere: nisi forte psalterium, vel breviarium pro Divinis officiis, aut horas beatæ Mariæ, aliquis ex devotione habere velit. Sed ne premissos libros habeant in vulgari translatos, arctissime inhibemus.” The last statute provides that the foregoing shall be diligently expounded by the parish priests [of the diocese) four times in the year. Toulouse was a principal city of southern France, where the Crusaders of the papacy had committed such atrocious barbarities, as recorded by a monk and witness, in several ininstances, with the profession, on behalf of the perpetrators, of incredible joy, (ingenti gaudio.) This council is recognised by subsequent one at Narbonne, 1235; by another at Bezeires, 1246; and more especially by one at Albi, 1254, which professes to renew (innovare) the whole, and does actually repeat a great part, of the Council of Toulouse. It is remarkable, however, that the above statute is omitted, though the immediately preceding and following are repeated. It might be thought best not to stir the subject afresh; and there was authority enough for any coercive purpose in the hands which desired it.t It is not easy to understand what Wharton means by calling this council a private one. It was not indeed general or national, but sufficiently accordant with papal principles, and sufficiently authoritative in the extensive province for whose regulation it was convened, to give it all the application to our subject, and all the force, which are required for its establishment or eluci. dation. In the celebrated letter of the poor enslaved Fenelon to the Bishop of Arras, relative to scriptural prohibition, the arch

* See the epistle in Labbé and Cossart, Concil. X. col. 234. It is quoted by Usher, 135, who has likewise the extract from Olaus Magnus, Hist. xvi. 39.

See Labbé Concil. under the respective years, and particularly for Albi, XI. col. 720, et seqq. On this subject the public has been benefited by an interesting and able correspondence in the Salopian Journal, 1836.

bishop admits that, up to the time when the presumption of the Albigeois called for the exercise of ecclesiastic authority, no restriction was exercised as to the reading of the Scriptures; and Father Simon, alluding to the same supposed necessity, writes, that since some seditious spirits have abused this reading to bring in innovations into religion, it was necessary to use some precautions in this matter, and not to allow it indifferently to all sorts of persons.*

Our own country enjoyed the illumination of Wicliff. Light and popery, however, could not co-exist in peace; and in 1409 a council was assembled at Oxford, where Arundel archbishop of Canterbury presided; and there a formal condemnation was passed upon all vernacular translations of the Scripture by private authority, and particularly upon that of Wicliff.+ Sir Thomas More endeavours to infer from Lindwood's interpretation of the constitution, that previous translations existed and were tolerated, -against all probability and immediately subsequent practice, as Usher triumphantly urges, and proves. By a law of Henry V., 1415, all who possessed or read Wicliff's books were declared guilty of treason. This law was considered as particularly directed against the translation of the New Testament.

Passing over much to the present purpose, we come to a period the most extraordinary, the most important, and the most providential, we may say, in the history of man, when the two simultaneous events occurred, the capture of Constantinople and the invention of printing. Humanly speaking, no other coincidence could have saved the world from an universal and eternal deluge of ignorance, superstition and depravity. By the first of these two events, Greek literature, and general literature besides, in the science and the material, were at once transported into a soil fitted for the benefit, as a large portion of the population was concerned ; and, by the latter, the benefit was perpetuated and diffused before its nature was well understood even by those so employed, and before any strong temptation existed to impede or corrupt it. Hence were sown, and sprang up, the seeds of truth, not only human but divine, to such an extent, with such increase, and spread over so large and comprehensive a surface, as to set at defiance all or any future attempts, which might be made to arrest or withdraw the providential boon. Volumes were printed, and made public property, which the very promoters of such publication, multiplication, and dispersion, might exert themselves, by every aid of public power, to recal or even mitigate with perfect impo

Crit. Hist. of the Text of the New Test. Versions, Part II.


377. † Wilkins, Concil. Mag. Brit. iii. 317.

See his Testimonies which follow, p. 164, &c. $ Townley, ii. 79.

tence. The matter and weapons of knowledge had got into hands which would not, and could not be made to, surrender. The blessing had gone abroad without remedy. Quod semel emissum est volat irrevocabile verbum. It was in such a state of things, that, in a little more than the second half of the century, human wickedness at the height, opposed by, yet combined with, human integrity inspired from above, caused such a violation of moral decency and prudence on the part of the great idol of the world—the supreme pontiff-that christian patience, (such as Christianity was then,) could endure it no longer; and the heroic spirit of Luther burst asunder the chains, and bid defiance to the power and resentment of Leo. Up to this crisis, and even a little beyond it, the same voluptuous pontiff could tolerate and even patronize the holy Scriptures. A cardinal was encouraged to edit a princely collection of them in four different languages. The man whose learning brought every power to pay court to him, might dedicate the first published Greek Testament to Leo. The collision had not yet begun, or at least was not sensibly felt. But no sooner did the authors (under God) of the Reformation feel, and begin on a large scale to exercise the strength, which that revolution put into their hands, than the powers of the papacy were shaken to their centre; she trembled for her authority if not for her existence, and began to look to her resources, both of defence and offence, against the new and unexpected assailants. No weapon came wrong to her; and brute violence, the secular arm of princes, was among the foremost. She knew the virtues of the newlyerected Inquisition, and was nothing loth to accept their service. But with these we are not so directly concerned. It was the Word of the living God made free to the people which gave the first Reformers their strength and success. Rome knew it, and directed her chief efforts against that citadel. In what manner she proceeded in this country, the blood-stained pages of the reign of Mary sufficiently attest. We

We propose, however, in the present article, to confine ourselves to less sanguinary exertions, those of the pen or press--the literary operations of Rome against the Scriptures in particular. But before we proceed to this part of our undertaking, it may be right and fair to attend to the plea advanced by the accused, or her advocates.

Charles Butler, Esq., at the end of his Confessions of Faith, followed by Dr. Wiseman, in his Second Lecture, appeal, with no slight air of triumph over the assumed ignorance or misrepresentation of Protestants, to the extended and apparently correct catalogue of vernacular translations of Scripture by Romanists in the Bibliotheca Sacra of Le Long, as a proof of the love of the Church of Rome to the Scriptures. She grounds all her authority upon the Scriptures-certainly no very decisive proof of disinterested affection. She has preserved them through

successive ages, and conveyed them to the modern generation,perhaps to the time of the Reformation,-in part only, and as a letter may be conveyed to another which may condemn the bearer. I'he assertion that this church permits a perusal of the vernacular Scriptures quite indiscriminate, is palpably and tremendously false. We are, however, quite willing to admit, that translations of Scripture were made and published in France, Spain, Italy, Germany and other nations—but not in England—by professed_members of the Roman Church, long before Luther and the Reformers did the same; and for a good reason-because the latter did not exist. With no compromise of our Protestant views, we likewise admit, that during the darkest

ages of the Roman superstition there were those numbered among its subjects, in whose heads and hearts a divine purity was generated, powerful enough to make them nauseate the corruption which surrounded them, and to use all those means, except open opposition, which were calculated to remove or destroy it. Circulation of intelligible Scripture was the most likely to produce this effect. We have as much charity as Hooker had respecting our forefathers, who lived under such disadvantageous circumstances; and we honour the hereditary bondmen, who were thus far willing to be and make others free, although they had not the courage, like Luther and others, to strike the blow. But as long as they went no further, they neither disturbed the genius of popery, nor would the genius of popery disturb them—it might turn their labours to some personal profit. There were few of the pious Papists living before the Reformation, who would not have become Protestants, had they lived after it. Of those versions which sprang

out from so pure a source, it may rationally and fairly be believed that some at least were produced for the purpose of superseding or counteracting the heretical translations in existence; as was notoriously the plan after the Reformation, and as the Rhemish editors in the preface to their translation simply inform us respecting the French version in the time of Charles V.: it was intended (they say) to shake out of the people's hands the Waldensian translation. It will not be necessary to go much into detail as to Roman translations after the Reformation. The efforts of Rheims and Douay, whether in the first or last edition, will afford no great assistance to the cause of Romish exculpation. It is necessary, according to Roman Catholic discipline, that when the Scriptures are allowed to go abroad in an intelligible language, they should be guarded from the propensity (it should almost seem) to do mischief by a strong body of notes. And yet the elaborate notes of our countrymen

appear to have been written for no purpose more conspicuous, at least, than to afford their degenerate descendants an opportunity of making a show of disclaiming and condemning a material portion of

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