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able, the best methods of giving to the existing versions superior degrees of correctness, he would have acted in harmony with the procedure which brought our own English translation to its present measure of perfection; but to condemn every fresh version, and suppress it for ever, because it does not in the outset come forth free from faults, would be to have deprived not only India, but England, France, and every Gentile country in the world, of a vernacular edition of the Sacred Scriptures to this very day.
For the yet further satisfaction of those who may have already contributed to the Indian versions of the Sacred Scriptures, and to fortify that confidence which the Abbé has (though, I trust, in vain) endeavoured to destroy, I will quote a paragraph from one of the last Reports of the Calcutta Bible Society, whereby it will appear that great pains are taken to render the various versions connected with the Bible Society's operations in India as accurate as possible.
The following is the paragraph I allude to, and is taken from the Eleventh Report of the Calcutta Auxiliary Bible Society, published at Calcutta in the year 1822.
"It would ill accord with the sentiments your Committee have expressed respecting the recently formed auxiliary society at Madras, not to advert to their proceedings as exhibited in their
first printed report. The advantages which they had anticipated from the new society, will be found amply justified on a perusal of that interesting document. The Committee at Madras have nobly entered upon their work, and by the judicious appointment of a sub-committee from their number, as a Committee for translations, have invested their proceedings with a character of gravity and prudence which cannot but secure the public confidence, and excite the liveliest hopes of the permanent utility of their exertions.
"Whilst your Committee cordially congratulate the Society at large on the union, and zeal, and wisdom, with which the early operations of this new auxiliary are distinguished, they would particularly notice the above-mentioned subcommittee, as a characteristic feature of the institution, and would suggest the importance of adopting a similar measure at this Presidency. The utility of such a body for the examining of translations is obvious. The formation of a similar sub-committee by this Society is recommended with the greater confidence from the following expression of the wishes of the Parent Society, as published in the Madras report, being an extract of a letter from the Rev. J. Owen to the Rev. J. Church.
"Next to the satisfaction received by our Committee from the fact of your Society having
been formed, was that which they derived from the wisdom and efficacy with which it appears to have been constituted. On one feature in its organization, more especially, I must be permitted to express somewhat more in detail, the approbation of our Committee, and the grounds on which that approbation is founded.
"From the commencement of the British and Foreign Bible Society's connexion with India, it has been the object of its Committee to encourage the translation of the Holy Scriptures into the vernacular dialects of the country; and in the prosecution of that object they have expended very liberal sums, and have had the pleasure to witness the good effects of their encouragements, in the appearance of numerous versions, and in the engagements on the part of different translators to add still further to their number. While, however, the Committee rejoiced in these fruits of that zeal, and that industry, which they had exerted themselves so greatly to promote, they could not but feel an anxious desire to see such a tribunal established as might bring these, in many respects, hasty productions, to the test of a sober and impartial criticism, and thereby ensure to the natives of India such versions into their several vernacular dialects, as would enable them to apprehend the truth, and appreciate the majesty of divine revelation. In comprehending
within your plan a committee of revision, you have taken a great step towards forming the desired tribunal; and should the auxiliary societies at the other presidencies be induced to adopt the same measure, and such a correspondence of the several committees be established, as shall secure an unity of operation among them all, nothing would then be wanting to satisfy the most scrupulous critic, and the most conscientious believer, as to the purity and fidelity of the translations encouraged and circulated by the British and Foreign Bible Society, through its auxiliaries in British India. I trust I shall not be considered, in any thing I have said, as depreciating the services of those great and good men, who with so much honour to themselves, and so much advantage to Christianity, have been breaking up the ground in this hitherto uncultivated field. They have prepared the way, by their example, for the declaration of our Lord and Master being fulfilled in those who shall come after them. Others have laboured, ye are entered into their labours.' In so doing, if they should have done no more, they will have deserved to be held in grateful estimation by the Christian church to the latest generation.'
"Your Committee are persuaded, that the sentiments of the Society here, will be in unison with those of the Committee at home on this
interesting point: indeed, they took it into consideration at their last quarterly meeting, when the following resolution was entered on their inproceedings →→→
...“. In reference to the peculiar feature of the Madras Institution, the appointment of a committee for translations, it was unanimously retesolved that measures be taken for the organization of a similar arrangement, if possible, for this Society. It was felt, that nothing would tend inore greatly to secure the confidence of (the tepublic, and to assist the Committee) in the due discharge of their important labours, than the establishing of an efficient body, for the examination of such versions of the Holy Scriptures as may be submitted to the Society. They have the satisfaction to add, that having communicated the idea to several gentlemen highly competent to assist, the readiness with which the proposal was met was such as cannot allow them to anticipate bany difficulty to the measure, which will therefore, no doubt, engage the earliest attention of the new Committee."
By the preceding extract it will appear, that the eyes of the Parent Society at home, as well as of the Auxiliary Societies abroad, are all fixed upon the one great point of using every possible means to render the Indian translations of the Bible accurate representations of the original text.