صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني

those equally thrifty who are always ready to levy taxes on the living and the dead. Whether divines of this class belong to the State of Ohio or the State of New York, if alluded to at all by us as belonging to the Catholic hierarchy, it is only in the parasitical relation already indicated. If this occasionally puts them in a pious, or rather impious rage, causing them to speak and act more like fishmongers than ministers of the gospel, we are sorry for them, although we confess we are much more amused than annoyed at the grimaces and gesticulations with which they mean to annihilate us. When we commend the Catholic hierarchy for the good it has done and is doing, we commend the enlightened, liberal, and good ecclesiastics of all grades belonging to that church ; and should it be our lot to survive those of them who are living, our heartiest trib utes to their superior worth shall be paid, when even the most mendacious of the opposite class cannot accuse us of flattery.

With these few remarks as an introduction, we proceed to show how much a large class of Protestants stultify themselves by persistently representing that the Catholic church has always been opposed to the rendering of the Scriptures into the vernacular tongue. Although the author of the little book before us does not say so, or mean to convey any such impression, there is nothing which he proves more fully to those capable of looking beyond the surface of things, or of merely comparing facts with each other, than that, instead of the Catholic ecclesiastics having always tried to keep the Bible sealed up in a dead language, they were the first to commence even those English translations upon which our so-called “ Authorized Version," or "King James's Bible," is based.

It is forgotten that even Wyckliffe was a priest; and Islep, archbishop of Canterbury, liked him so well, both as a theologian and scholar, that he appointed him director of Baliol College, Oxford. The archbishop, who was himself a scholar and a man of enlarged views, was so well pleased with the manner in which Wyckliffe performed his duties, that four years later (1365) he made him director of a seminary which he had just founded, called Canterbury College. In this position, also, Wyckliffe gave his patron ample satisfaction. But learned and enlightened archbishops die, and they are sometimes succeeded by those who are neither learned nor enlightened. It was so in this case. Simon Langham, the successor of Islep, was weak-minded and superstitious, and one of his first archiepiscopal acts was to remove Wyckliffe from the directorship of the college, on the ground that his teachings were not orthodox. Wyckliffe appealed to the Pope, Urban V., but his Holiness was induced to confirm the sentence of the archbishop. Then it was that

[ocr errors]

Wyckliffe attacked both the pope and the archbishop, and soon made both regret that they had meddled with the head of Canterbury College. These facts we do not take from the volume before us; they are given from the best authorities.* As for Wyckliffe's translation of the Bible, there is no fact of the time more fully attested than that he had commenced it in compliance with the wish of Archbishop Islep.

We are informed in the volume before us that the first English translation from the Greek was by William Tyndall. But who was William Tyndall ? Let the Rev. Mr. Walden tell us. “ To find Tyndall,” he says,

we must

go back to the year 1477, when he was born, in an obscure village at Gloucestershire. He was brought up from a child at Oxford, and became a priest and a Franciscan friar” (p. 63).

But there had been several translations made in England before Tyndall's time. The Saxon monk Cædmon (680) from whom Milton is said to have taken the basis of his great epic, translated a part, if not the whole, of the Bible into Saxon. The Venerable Bede, another monk, made a complete translation of the Bible, and we could mention several other British and Irish ecclesiastics who had translated portions, if not the whole, of the Scriptures long before Wyckliffe was born.

After many translations had been thus made, it was found that the Greek text had become corrupt. This discovery is said to have been made by Cardinal Wolsey, who pointed out the proof of it to Erasmus, then professor of Greek at Cambridge. Erasmus immediately assumed the task of revising and amending the text; and the result is thus stated in the volume before us (p. 53) : “It was Erasmus who became the founder of the New Testament in printed Greek.” Nor did he mean that none but those acquainted with the language of Aristotle should be able to read the Scriptures. “I long," he says, writing to his friends Sir Thomas More and Dean Colet, " that the husbandman sing portions of them (the Scriptures) to himself as he follows the plough, that the weaver should hum them to the time of his shuttle, that the traveller should beguile with their stories the tedium of his journey.” † But who was Erasmus? Another priest and monk, and one whom neither Henry VIII nor any other Protestant prince could induce to withdraw from the old church. I

Nor was it alone the priests and monks of England and Germany who were busy at this time in revising and translating the Bible. Even those of Spain were equally active in the same cause. Cardi

+ See “Lives of Wicliffe and of his Disciples," by Gilpin. London, 1765. "Wicliffe et sa reforme." Par M. Jæger. Halle, 1854, oto.

+ Paraclesis.
Vide Art. "Erasmus and his Influence," N. Q. R. for March, 1870, No. XL.

nal Ximenes had been at work on the Bible before Erasmus. First the cardinal founded the University of Alcalá de Henares. No sooner is this great institution made available for scholars than he commences the translation of the Bible ; and in due time his celebrated “Complutensian Polyglot” was completed at his own expense. Strictly speaking,” says the Rev. Mr. Walden, “part of the cardinal's New Testament was in print before Erasmus's text went to press” (p. 58). But Mr. Walden forgets to inform his readers that both Ximenes and Erasmus were in advance in this respect of Luther, who had also been a monk, and the pupil from youth only of monks and priests. The Bible of Ximenes wag printed complete in 1517, whereas that of Luther was not printed until 1534, seventeen years later. But as Wyckliffe was protected and advanced by one archbishop, and opposed and persecuted by another, as we have seen, so was Ximenes. The former, however, was merely deprived of his income from the church, whereas, the latter was imprisoned for six years in the dungeons of San-Torcas. Archbishop Alonzo Carilla, who persecuted Ximenes, was a person of exactly the same calibre as Archbishop Simon Langham who persecuted Wyckliffe. The misfortune of the latter was that he did not live long enough to see another enlightened prelate like Islep in Langham's place.

In short, long before Luther was born the Bible had been translated by ecclesiastics into Italian, Spanish, French, German, English, Saxon, Dutch, Sclavonian, Bohemian, etc. Nay, so early as the third century (200–300 A.D.) there was a Coptic translation ; half a century later an Ethiopic translation. The Gothic version of Ulphilas, also a priest, was made about the middle of the fourth century (360 A.D.). The Latin Vulgate was commenced by St. Jerome in 385, and completed in 404. It was called “the Vulgate,” because the Latin was then used as the vernacular in all the principal nations of Europe. Here is a translation made more than fourteen centuries ago, and, taking it in all its characteristics, it has never been equalled since, much less surpassed.

How absurd it is, then, to persist in the statement that the Bible was a sealed book before the Reformation! We expose the absurdity in the same spirit as we would any other of equal importance, because, let injustice and misrepresentation come whence they may, we are opposed to them. In a word, it is idle to deny that the Protestants are vastly indebted to the Catholics even in regard to the Bible. At the same time there is much which the latter might learn to their profit from the former. Thus, for example, the most ignorant and bigoted of the Protestants do not regard the bad grammar of the highest of their ecclesiastical dignitaries as the Hindoos regard the holy Gates of Somnauth, whose flaws, however unsightly they are, it is impious even to hint at. To this we have only space to add that bigots of all sects may learn a useful lesson in Christian charity from the perusal of the unpretending little volume which has suggested these remarks.

Speeches and Resolutions, Marches and Counter-marches, in favor of

« Strikes."

SCARCELY any subject is less understood than “the rights of labor," especially by those who have to depend on those rights for their daily bread. It is natural enough they should think that the less of their time they occupy for their employer each day, for a certain amount, the better they are off. Nothing is clearer to them than that those who give them five dollars for eight hours' labor promote their interests, and are more their friends than those who give them the same amount for ten or twelve hours.

As one error produces another, so in this case the working-man, whether a common laborer or a mechanic, likes or dislikes those who employ labor according as they are favorable or unfavorable to his pet theory, and he judges the clergyman, the editor, and the politician, in the habit of discussing the subject, by the same test. This is so well understood that all wishing to be “popular” readily accept the theory, “little work and much pay,” as sound and righteous, especially if they are ambitious to become public functionaries, and, therefore, want votes. No doubt some who encourage the workingman to do as little, and exact as much for that little as he can, honestly think they are for his good. But there are very few of this class among the intelligent, and the best that can be said of them is that they are blind leaders of the blind.

For the same reason nothing is more offensive to the striker" than to be told that those who refuse to comply with his demands are really more his friends than those who say at once,“ Certainly; your claims are just, and they shall be granted.” As for saying that those who openly persist in refusing, and call on their neighbors to do the same, are friends, or anything better than mortal enemies, it would be a rash proceeding, as not a few could testify to-day from recent personal experience. If any of our readers differ from our views, we shall only ask them to exercise their memory a little, assuming that they paid some attention to the present “strikes,” their causes and results. They need only bear in mind the conduct of the employers alone. Is it not true that it is those that confessedly have always been most liberal and most kind to their working-men, who have proved least disposed to comply with their demands? But we have a stronger illustration than even this of the principle we maintain. It requires but little research and discrimination to ascertain that it is those who best understand the value of labor, those who have contributed at least as much as any of their fellow-citizens to bring skilled labor to perfection, and elevate it to the dignity of a science, that have evinced least willingness to allow the “strikers” to have their own way. This is true, for example, of the Steinways. It is precisely because they understand the philosophy of labor in all its relations that they have attained eminence, and princely wealth at the same time, by the superiority of their instruments, thus placing themselves in the first rank among the great manufacturers of the world.

But why is it not better for the working-man to get five dollars for eight hours' work than to get the same amount for ten or twelve hours' work? It doubtless would be better for some individuals, but for the large majority it would be the reverse, although there is nothing which this large majority are more unwilling to believenothing which they deem more absurd. Supposing the provisiondealer says to Pat or Franz, “I will give you five dollars for eight hours' work in future, the same as I used to give you formerly for ten or twelve hours' work; but mind that for the same amount of flour, corn, potatoes, and vegetables, I formerly charged you five dollars, I shall in future have to charge you seven dollars, and perhaps more.” Let us suppose the coal-dealer, the butcher, the tailor, and the drygoods-man hold similar language; but if they do not, the same causes produce in their case the same results, but slightly modified, which they produce in the case of the provision-dealer. There is no more obvious principle in political economy than that if a furniture-dealer has to pay twenty per cent. more for a set of chairs than he has been in the habit of paying, he must raise the price of the set in the same ratio, and his customer must either pay the increased amount, be content with an inferior set, or do without any until prices are down again. If the architect is called upon to bụild a house, of course he has to increase his estimate in proportion as the price of labor is increased. If the party requiring the house is unable or unwilling to

« السابقةمتابعة »