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judgment, this and not that. They will be thankful for any honest effort to make the language of Inspiration more real to them, and certainly neither the preacher nor the hearer will feel the less admiration or the less thankfulness for that " form of sound words ” which has been familiar to them from childhood in the English Version of the Bible.
No one can be more conscious of the incomparable force and beauty of that Translation than one who makes the attempt to vary it. The gain of an authorized Revision of it could scarcely equal the loss. Beyond a very few passages, in which all scholars would agree in sanctioning the correction, it may be doubted whether an ordinary reader would be benefited by change, whether indeed the meaning of the change itself would be readily intelligible to him.
Yet, while leaving the Authorized Version almost or altogether intact, as substantially correct, as uniformly grave and simple, as eminently graceful, harmonious, and beautiful, as invested by the associations of two centuries and a half with a sanctity scarcely inferior to that of the original itself, we may still hail with gratitude any subsidiary elucidations, whether in the more fragmentary form of expositions from the Pulpit, or in the more systematic and elaborate shape of a retranslation of the whole.
I have prefaced each of the following Sermons with a careful Version of the whole passage in which the text is found. In so doing, I have aimed at nothing but exactness. I have introduced expressions, not only far less beautiful than those of the Authorized Version, but, in some cases, quite inconsistent with its style. My one object has been faithfulness to the original text. And, in the hope that my purpose would not be misconceived, that, at all events, this protest against such misconception would be received as sincere, I have aimed only at the
1 The text which I have usually followed is that of Tischendorf's second edition.
benefit of those who may be willing to accept a, very careful and anxious effort of this naturehow careful and anxious none can know without making the experiment—as a help, slight and inadequate, I know, but not, I trust, quite superfluous, in the patient study of the revealed mind of God.
Perhaps a similar translation (with brief explanatory notes) of continuous portions, or of the whole, of the New Testament, might not be without its use, if it were distinctly understood to be designed only as the companion of the Authorized English Version, not as a substitute for it. To those who are unacquainted with the language of the original, it might be a satisfaction to have in their possession as close and accurate a rendering of the text of the Greek Testament as the English idiom, with some sacrifice of taste and beauty, could be made to bear. The portions of Scripture here presented may be regarded as specimens of such a work. But the labour of the undertaking would be far beyond anything that an inexperienced person could suppose. To do it as, if done at all, it ought to be and must be done, would be a task not of weeks or months, but of some devoted years. And at last it would disappoint those who might expect in it such a result as cannot be produced by man for his brother. The Bible, to be understood, must be searched, pondered, and prayed over : with this, an imperfect translation will suffice for illumination; without this, no version can give it.