« PreviousContinue »
in his See, with golden bosses and precious stones, as well as very curious illuminations. An interlined Anglo-Saxon version was, at some subsequent period, added by a priest named Aldred. The date of this interlineal version was probably about the reign of Alfred, the MS. is known by the name of the DURHAM BOOK.
About the same time another interlined version of the four Gospels was published. The Version or “Gloss," as it is called, appears to have been the work of two individuals, Farmen and Owen; the former having made the translation of St. Matthew's Gospel, the latter the rest of the work; this is clear from the subscriptions at the end of each Gospel. To St. Matthew's Gospel there is subjoined “Farmen presbyter thas boc thus gleosode.” At the end of the book there is added, “ The min bruche gebidde fore Owun the thas boc gloesede Faermen, them preoste æt Harawade.”* After this the transcriber of the MS. has added his own subscription, in Saxon characters. This valuable Manuscript is in the Bodeian Library, and is called the “RUSHWORTH Gloss."
Alfred the Great translated the Ten Commandments, and several chapters from Exodus. These were prefixed to the "Body of Laws” which he promulgated. He undertook a version of the Psalter but did not live to execute it.
In the tenth century, there was a partial gloss of the Book of Proverbs executed, the version being inserted between the lines of a Latin copy. No part of this is a finished translation. In the later part of the same century, were executed, Ælfric's versions and paraphrases of the historical Books of the Old Testament. He seems to have undertaking this for the especial work of enabling his countrymen to read for themselves. It is, therefore, decidedly popular in its character. The Books translated are the Pentateuch, Joshua, Judges, part of the History of Kings, as found in the six books, Samuel, Kings, and Chronicles; Esther, Job, and Maccabees. Of these books, the Pentateuch, Joshua, Judges, Job and part of Judith have been published in print.
There exists a third Anglo-Saxon version of the four Evangelists, which was made probably a little before the Norman Conquest. The translator is unknown, but it is clear that he translated from the Latin Version in use before the time of Jerome. This Version has been several times printed, first of all in 1571, with a preface, by John Fox, author of the “ Acts and Monuments.”
*“He that of mine profiteth, hede (pray) he for Owen, that this book glossed, (i. e. interpreted) and Farmen the priest at Harewood."
Besides this translation of the Gospels, a few MSS. containing the Psalter, are mentioned as having been written shortly before the Conquest. After this there was a Version of the Gospels into the Anglo-Norman dialect, which was fast displacing the Saxon. One is ascribed to the time of the Conqueror, and two others to that of Henry II.
With these Gospels ends the series of Anglo-Saxon translations of parts of Scripture; it will be plainly seen that no attempt was made to form a complete version of the Bible, or even of the New Testament; the histories of the Old Testament, the Psalms, so much used in the public services of the Church, and the narratives of the four Evangelists, seem to have been the only parts completed. It may be that other portions of Scripture may have been translated, which have not come down to us. The following is a catalogue of the Anglo-Saxon translations and paraphrases:PENTATEUCH, JOSHUA, JUDGES, AND ESTHER; paraphrased by
Elfric, in the latter part of the tenth century. Some of the HISTORY OF THE KINGs and perhaps JOB; by the same. THE TEN COMMANDMENTS in Exodus xx, and part of the three
following Chapters; by King ALFRED, in the latter part of
the ninth century. THE BOOK OF PSALMS; two Versions in the eighth century, by
Aldhelm and Guthlac. The same book as found in MS., of the eleventh century. PART OF THE PROVERBS; about the close of the ninth century. THE APOCRYPHAL BOOKS OF JUDITH AND THE MACCABEES; by
Elfric, in the ninth century. THE GOSPEL OF St. John; by the Ven. Bede, in the eighth
century. THE FOUR GOSPELS; by Aldred, end of the ninth century. THE GOSPEL OF ST. MATTHEW ; by Farmen, in the tenth century. THE GOSPELS OF MARK, LUKE, AND John; by Owen, about the
the same period. THE FOUR GOSPELS some what later,—and the four Gospels in
the Anglo-Norman Dialect. To what extent the above books were circulated, cannot of course be in any way ascertained. The Priests knew their Bible in Latin, the translations, therefore, could not have been for their use; but still it is very likely that very few of the people could read their own tongue; it is therefore most probable that the interlined versions, were made for the purpose of assisting the education of the Priests. However this may be, there does
not appear to have been any restraint imposed upon the translation or reading of the Scriptures in the vulgar tongue; and in the possession of a large portion of the word of God thus translated, the inhabitants of this country were much better off than they were at a later period, when the Anglo-Saxon Dialect had become obsolete. It is not too much to conclude that, two centuries after the Norman Conquest, there was far less knowledge of the Scriptures in England, than had been the case in Saxon days.
BIRD'S EYE VIEW OF AN AMERICAN COUNTRY
Although the American Church is now in full communion with our own, and in its ritual and ceremonial nearly the same as ours, there is yet a considerable difference in the circumstances and detail of its Parochial system. “ The title Parish in America has a widely different meaning from that which it bears with us. It is not a certain district of a Diocese committed by its Bishop to the spiritual care of a Presbyter, who is to regard all within it as his charge, for whom he is to care now, and to give an account hereafter, whether they will hear or whether they will forbear; it is merely a set of persons who associate together and agree to act and worship in a certain place and under certain rules, because they prefer the Episcopal form to any other."* My object is not now to shew the disadvantages of such a system, but to enable my readers to form some idea of a country Parish in the Far West.
It was about the pleasant month of June, that I set out to pay my annual visit to a friend, who had been brought up with me in childhood, and was as dear to me as a brother.
The day after my arrival was Sunday, but he did not allow the presence of a visitor to break in upon the usual customs. The duties of the sabbath were strictly adhered to, and at the proper time we were all on our way to church. My friend's residence was at least three miles from church ; but this presented no obstacle to him. With the pious Psalmist, he could say, glad when they said unto me, we will go unto the house of the
« I was
* Wilberforce's History of the American Church.
Lord.” As we drew near the church, the villagers were to be seen leaving their several abodes, and turning their steps towards the sanctuary of God with a gravity and seriousness well becoming the day. On taking my seat, I was pleased to observe so many of the congregation kneeling before the eternal throne, to beseech Almighty God to direct them in all their doings by His most gracious and ready help.
The clergyman was already in his place, and soon began morning prayers. He was a venerable old man, whose few and scattered locks “proclaimed his lengthened years," yet his voice still retained its natural strength and melody, which gradually increased in volume as he proceeded with the service. I was gratified to observe, that the most reverent custom of bowing at the name of Jesus had not been forgotten by the pastor or neglected by his flock. The service ended : the aged servant of the cross ascended the pulpit from which he had so often proclaimed his Master's messages of love : but his feeble step and faltering gait told too plainly that his earthly course was nearly run. Looking round upon the congregation, I saw many looking sorrowfully at him, as if convinced that he would not be long amongst them; for it was evident that he must, at no distant day, be gathered to his fathers.
“ The portion of scripture to which I would now invite your attention,” said the old man, as he gazed with parental affection on his flock, “is recorded in the third chapter of the prophecy of Isaiah, and at the tenth verse, "Say ye to the righteous that it shall be well with him.' "
Would that it were in my power to give the reader any adequate idea of this discourse. Let it not be supposed that it would be considered by the world as a “fine sermon;" or call forth from the profound theologian encomiums on the depth of thought and the extent of learning therein displayed. Oh! no. It was the simple, unpretending effort of an old-fashioned divine, holding up to his people the cross of his crucified Lord. “For a period of more than thirty years," said the venerable preacher at the conclusion of his discourse, “God, in his providence, has permitted me to minister among you, to preach to you the gospel of peace, and offer the bread of life and the cup of salvation. On the one hand, I have much cause for rejoicing, when I reflect that I have been, however unworthy, the humble means of bringing some to a knowledge of the truth. Yet on the other hand, I am overwhelmed with sorrow to see so many refusing to accept the offers of salvation, which the Saviour has so long been extending to
them. May the Lord pardon their ingratitude and convince them of their sin. And may He not be extreme to mark the imperfections of His unworthy servant, but grant that he may render bis account with joy, and not with grief. My daily increasing infirmities convince me, brethren, that the time of my departure is at hand: bearing this in mind, while I call upon the wicked to forsake his way, I must not forget to convey to the righteous, the joyful message that 'It shall be well with him.' You have taken refuge, dear brethren, in the ark of safety—the church of the living God. Continue faithful unto death, and your reward will be a crown of life. And all of you who have been so often warned in vain, consider now the things which belong to your everlasting peace. Reverently Hear the Church. Hear her calls to repentance.* Hear her command to “Believe, and be baptized.'+ Kneel, as directed, before the altar of the Lord. I Follow her in her seasons of humiliation and prayer. Celebrate the festivals which she has ordained. Abound in good works. || Be clothed with humility : $ and by your life and conversation adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things. I May the great Head of the Church guide you unto all truth. May the Lord preserve you and keep you ; cause his face to shine upon you and bless you ; and grant that it may be 'well with you’ in life, in the hour of death, and day of judgement. *
As we rode home from Church, my friend favoured me with many particulars of the life of their venerable Clergyman; and even the children told several little stories, which shewed his care for the lambs of the flock. The next morning, my friend invited me to accompany him to the village, where he had some business to transact, promising to give me an account of his neighbours, whose Farms we passed on the way. The houses were scattered along the roads, at a considerable distance apart, and ample opportunity was thus afforded for becoming acquainted with the inmates of each. "This,” said my companion, pointing to an humble Cottage on our right, “ belongs to a poor Widow, who, in former days, was in far different circumstances from what you now see.
Her husband had been a merchant, in the city of -, where he was so successful in business, that he was able in a few years to retire, with a handsome property. But how uncertain are all earthly possessions! By some unforeseen event, he lost his fortune, which had such an effect upon his mind, that
* Joel ii. 13. and Mat. iii. 2. + Acts ii. 38. #1 Cor. xi. 25.-Heb. xiii. 10,
11 James ii. 17. 8 1 Peter v. 5 Titus ii, 10.