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them admirably acquainted with the vernacular idiom of the Hindoos inhabiting Bengal.
Both of these versions are of great and acknowledged merit, each possessing excellencies peculiar to itself. That by Dr. Carey has more of the attractions resulting from Sanscrit stores, and a learned modification of the sacred page. That by Mr. Ellerton excels in many happy renderings of a familiar and idiomatic kind. Whilst capable of improvement in subsequent editions, they are, in their present state, of incalculable value to the Christian teacher in Bengal. They have been of essential service to myself, and are so to every missionary labouring among the Hindoos of that province. They are perused by many hundreds of Hindoo youths in different schools, and by many adult Hindoos, both converted and unconverted; and they are the means of imparting a variety of important and essential benefits, both temporal and eternal, to Bengal; and if the author should insinuate that they are "spurious versions," "ludicrous, vulgar, and almost unintelligible," and looking like "forgeries of some obscure, ignorant, and illiterate individual;" I trust that such insinuation will altogether be deemed unwarranted.
With respect to the various other versions of the Scriptures which have been made in India, I am, as I have already intimated, unable to give
any positive opinion. If I were nevertheless required to state what is my impression as to the probability of the several versions being adequately executed, I should say, that I apprehend all the versions are not of equal merit. The gradations in the experience and skill of the translators, I presume, will naturally lead to gradations in the excellencies and defects of their respective versions. I would add, that I should presume, that in every version in its first stages, there would probably be found many stiff and unidiomatic expressions, and a multitude of renderings capable of much improvement. In this sentiment I am countenanced by one of the Serampore missionaries, the late Mr. Ward, who does not attempt to represent the numerous versions executed by himself and colleagues as having no or few defects. Every first version of such a book as the Bible," says Mr. Ward, "in any language, will require in future editions many improvements, and all the aids possible to carry those versions to perfection." I would add, that I apprehend the worst executed version that can be found in India, contains a sufficiency of what is plain and intelligible, to make the Hindoo reader, acquainted with the dialect in which it is written, wise unto life eternal. If he be of an humble, teachable disposition, he will, I apprehend, discover enough to guide him to honour,
glory, and immortality; and if he be of a proud, supercilious, cavilling turn of mind, then his contempt of an imperfectly executed translation of the word of God, made for his benefit by a benevolent stranger who loves him, and longs for his felicity, is a fault chargeable, not on the version, but on the proud, ungrateful individual who thus spurns it.
A physician deems it his duty to do his best for his patient, and to take care that he be free from the charge of indifference and inattention, lest, upon the patient's death, he justly reproach himself, and be reproached by others, for his negligence. On this principle let every Christian act: he is to love his neighbour as himself; he is to shew this love in deed as well as in word. He is possessed of a medicine which is calculated to heal his neighbour of a direful disease, the disease of sin, which, if not cured, will issue in the pains of everlasting death. He must therefore use every possible means to make his dying neighbour acquainted with the remedy; and he had better make the effort, though in the broken accents of one imperfectly acquainted with the idiomatic vehicle of communication, than not at all.
It is further worthy of observation, that the Hindoos are peculiarly indulgent to strangers who commit colloquial blunders, and they are in the
habit of making very great allowances for the various idiomatic and grammatical errors into which a foreigner is so liable to run this may in great measure be accounted for by their local peculiarities, which lead them to hold much intercourse with strangers, and thereby to become familiarized with great and numerous mistakes in language.
In addition to the principle of philanthropy above advocated, the imperfectly executed version is entitled to preservation on a ground formerly enlarged upon; namely, that a near approach to perfection is not in the first instance to be expected or required, and that such translation will constitute the basis of subsequent emendations, and ultimately issue in a fully approved version of the word of God.
I have now only to add, that I have been among the poor and benighted Hindoos, and beheld and wept over their woes; there is a light beginning to shine upon them in the midst of their darkness; and I would anxiously inquire, Shall this light be extinguished? Shall the Abbé's design be accomplished, and the word of God banished from these poor deluded idolaters for ever? That word, which is able to turn them away from dumb idols to the living God; which is able to make them happy in this world, and blessed for ever in the world to come? I cannot
bear the thought; and I trust every one, who may peruse these pages, will give his vote in unison with my own, and say, Let every attempt to suppress the Sacred Scriptures in India be vigorously opposed, and "let the word of God have free course and be glorified," throughout all the tribes of Hindostan.