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a most delightful portion of God's word. Yesterday we had verses 9, 10— God incarnate Almighty to save. Our next subject is verse 11–God incarnate, the good Shepherd, whose love is Almighty to bless them. Our kindest respects to Mrs. C. and to yourself. Remember us to Mrs. I. Do not, I charge yon, do not cease to pray for
Since the date of this letter, our Sunday Schools have undergone great improvement, their relation to the Church, their operation, and objects are better understood, and now there are few, if any schools in the country wherein a higher purpose than that of teaching secular knowledge is not recognized. And yet with all the additional influence which the Church has gained and exercised through her Sunday Schools, she has still an awful arrear to discharge, still a tremendous power of irreligion and vice to overtake and overcome; thousands of young people to watch over and reclaim; and a fearful flood of infidelity and false teaching to stem and counteract; and this brings us round to the point from which we started, that in the present state of the Church and the country, we cannot afford to part with our Sunday Schools.
But who are they by whom these Schools are conducted? They are working people-earnest young men and young women who have themselves been nurtured under the same sacred influences, and who now labour after a hard week's work in the shop, in the factory, or in the field, to impart to others the few good lessons which others, in days gone by, imparted to them. And they love their work; they come in all weathers, under all trials of health, and season, and circumstance. Some of them, perhaps, are thoughtless, officious, and selfish, but the bulk of them are zealous, and earnest even to self-denial and sacrifice. All honour to their warm hearts, their willing hands, and
faithful feet! But they are, as was said, working people; and, therefore, though not wanting in intelligence, are deficient in information. They have few or no opportunities of improvement. There are Parochial libraries, and lectures, and associations for mutual improvement, in most large towns, but between long hours of work and excessive fatigue, few are able to avail themselves of them. On these grounds, at least, if on no other, a legislative provision for reducing the hours of labour would be a valuable boon to the operatives of the Factory districts, and a moral benefit to the productive classes.
Amongst other efforts after improvement it is thought that a periodical like the one thus introduced, may prove of especial service to earnest teachers, by bringing within an accessible price and a readable compass, the most valuable subjects to which their attention could be turned. To impress and to inform are the objects of this work, and the Teacher who carefully peruses it will not lose his labour. It is not intended to produce much that is new, but rather to collect together, from all proper sources, whatever is likely to prove a help to those who devote their time to Sunday School Teaching. The Bible and the Church are the two tests by which all that is published is to be tried, for they are the foundation of Divine truth. The teaching of the Church will not be lost sight of in interpreting the Bible; the supreme authority of the Bible will ever be maintained when following the Church. With these two guides, each exerting their proper influence, the reader cannot
be led wrong.
But lest any should misunderstand, let it be clearly stated that this Manual is essentially a CHURCH MANUAL; that nothing will be admitted into its pages which is not in rigid accordance with
the strict letter of the Doctrine and Discipline of the Church of England. Keeping this object in view, whatever tends to laxity and separation, properly called Dissent, will here find no home; and on the other hand, whatever is calculated to lead to Rome, or in any way palliate the errors of that guilty church, will be with equal watchfulness excluded. The Editors are themselves deeply convinced of the truth, integrity, and vitality of the English Church : and it will be the aim of their labours to establish, strengthen, and settle the readers of this Manual in the same convictions. Some may deem the line thus drawn too stringent; should such be the case the Editors may regret it, but cannot alter their determination. They can afford to see their MANUAL fail of acceptance, but they cannot afford to compromise their principles. Evangelical truth and Apostolical order is the motto on the colours by which they stand or fall.
The Clergy are respectfully asked to co-operate with the Editors, both by contributing articles and promoting the circulation. Teachers themselves are invited to forward hints and suggestions, and to state their difficulties. Statistical information, and any communications on practical school-keeping will be gladly received.
And so they commend their work to their readers, hoping it may do good to all, but expecting fruit only from the earnest and the holy: to most others it will be more or less unacceptable.
SHEW THY SERVANTS THY WORK, AND THEIR CHILDREN THY GLORY; AND THE GLORIOUS MAJESTY OF THE
LORD OUR GOD BE UPON US; PROSPER
THE WORK OF OUR HANDS UPON US,
OH PROSPER THOU OUR
AN HISTORICAL ACCOUNT
CHAPTER I. -ANGLO-SAXON VERSIONS.
The writer of the present and succeeding papers on this subject, is chiefly indebted to the learned introduction to Bagster's English Hexapla, Todd's Contributions to the history of the English Bible, Taylor's Transmission of ancient books, Baber's preface to Wiclif's Testament, and several other equally able works. The present is an attempt to place the contents of these valuable treatises in an easy and readable form, in the hands of every Teacher; and this with especial reference to the workings of the hand of God, in introducing the circulation of the Scriptures, and thus bringing about the Reformation in this country, for to the free circulation of the Bible that great event is chiefly attributable.
The Anglo-Saxon and early English versions have first to be noticed, tracing out what appears to have been done prior to the days of Wiclif, then the versions of Wiclif, Tyndall, and Coverdale, with the various versions executed up to the year 1611, when the translations, which we have in daily use, were published.
The outline of the history of the translation and diffusion of the Scriptures in English, is one from which we may learn how much cause we have for thankfulness, that we are permitted the unlimited use of the Word of God in our own tongue. The Scripture, as being the record of the Holy Ghost concerning the love which God has shewn in the gift of His Son, that His blood should be shed for sinners, was not given forth for a few merely, but it is that which is set before the eyes of all; not for them to exercise respecting it any supposed right or ability of forming a judgment of their own, but for them to acknowledge the authority of God to speak, and their responsibility to hear.
The Saxon invasions of Britain about the middle of the fifth century, spread idolatry through the greater part of the land, and drove the christians to the western coast. Still the integrity and authority of the ancient British Church remained entire and unquestioned. Indeed this Church did no little towards the conversion of their Saxon oppressors to the true faith. The
labours of the Scottish Christians, and the mission of Augustine did the rest.
After the establishment of the Christian religion on a permanent footing among the Saxons, they had the Scriptures only in Latin, being either versions anterior to St. Jerome, or the Vulgate.
The translation of the Bible into the vulgar tongue does not seem to have been objected to, but the want of it was not felt. The Scriptures were in the hands of the Bishops and Clergy, and the people were content to receive at their hands the exposition of the Faith without dispute. And indeed they could never be led far wrong while they were protected by the three creuds, which being the unanimous voice of the holy Ecumenical Synods, so recently convened, were looked upon with the utmost reverence, and received with implicit and unquestioning faith.
The first attempt, of which we have certain knowledge, at anything like a paraphrase of the Scripture in the Anglo-Saxon tongue, is the poem of Cædmon, in the seventh century. He is mentioned by the venerable Bede with commendation, who says that he wrote by inspiration.* This poem, although containing Scripture histories, does not pretend to be a translation, nor even a paraphrase, but still it was a commencement, and may have been the precursor, of real and accurate translations. The poem of Cædmon was published by Junius, at Amsterdam, 1665. It opens with the fall of the angels, the creation, the deluge, the history of the children of Israel from Egypt to Canaan, and there is some mention of Nebuchadnezzar and Daniel.
In the eighth century was published a literal translation of the Proper Lessons, read at that time in the daily service of the Church. About the same time two Psalters were translated into Anglo-Saxon, one is attributed to Aldhelm, Bishop of Sherborn; the other to Guthlac, the first Saxon anchorite. It is doubtful whether either of these be yet in existence. The first portion of the New Testament, of which we have any account as being translated into the language of this country, is the Gospel of St. John, by the Ven. Bede.
A MS. of the four Gospels of Jerome's Latin Version was copied by Eadfrid, afterwards Bishop of Lindisfarne, in the year 680. This MS. was greatly adorned by Ethelwold, his successor
*“Cædmonus divinâ gratiâ specialiter insignis carmina religioni et pietate apta facere solebat. ... ..Canebat autem de creatione mundi et origine humani generis et totâ Genesis historiâ, de egressu Israel ex Egypto et ingressu in terram repromissionis, ac de aliis plurimis sacræ Scripturæ nistoriis."