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Full text of "The American Bible society and the Baptists; or, The question discussed, Shall the whole word of God be given to the heathen?... With a preface, by Rev. R. Babcock, jr."

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With a Preface, by Rev. R. Babcock, Jr., D.D. 

I. The Proceedings of tho American Bible Society in relation to 
the Baptists, drawn from Official Documents by one of the Corres- 
ponding Secretaries. 

II. The Circular of the American Bible Society, giving their 
reasons for rejecting the Baptist versions of the Scriptures in India. 

III. An Examination of the Circular. 

IV. Appendix — A Summary account of Ancient and. Modern 
Versions of Scripture, with reference to their treatment of fiaTrrtfui 
and it» Cognates. 







Ii another publication needed on thin vexed question, 
— the controversy between the American Bible Society and 
the Baptists ? Thin will naturally enough be the inquiry, 
of friends and enemies — and we proceed very briefly to 
answer it. For three distinct classes of the community, 
namely — the advocates of the Bible Society as now con- 
ducted, — the impartial public, — and the Baptists them- 
selves, some farther exhibition of the principal points of 
this controversy is needful. 

When the moments of excitement incident to the par- 
tisan nature of this movement have passed away and cool 
retrospection hag exerted its purifying influence, it can 
scarce fail to occasion regret at least, that a large deno- 
mination of Christians — the early and steadfast friends of 
the Bible cause — have been driven from the Society by 
a new and unexpected measure, adapted and intended to 
restrain them from the conscientious discharge of an im- 
perative and most important duty, or cut them oft' from 
accustomed participation in the benefits of the Associa- 
tion. If there be a tithe of the genuine liberality and real 
brotherliness among Pedo-baptists which is professed, if 
' exclusiveness," and " barriers to a more perfect union," 
be aught with them but party watch-words, used against 
Others for a sectarian and sinister purpose, then assuredly 
there will come a time when those who have done this 
thing, and those who are responsible for its continuance, 


will feel constrained with anxious solicitude to review the 
whole ground of this procedure. Then at least will all 
the material facts in the case, and the arguments on both 
sides of the question be in requisition by the present domi- 
nant party. 

The disinterested public will also be disposed to learn 
something of the manner in which important trusts of a 
very delicate and sacred character are discharged by those 
to whose hands they had been confided. Our great bene- 
volent institutions are deservedly attracting a lai-ge share 
of public attention, and they require to be watched, if not 
with suspicion, at least with sleepless vigilance. But 
they cannot be watched without light. The amplest in- 
formation is requisite. That colossal form of religious 
perversion and despotism, the pontifical power of the Ro- 
mish church, grew up gradually, and from small begin- 
nings. The first wrong step may have been regarded as 
insignificant, certainly not more alarming, than forbidding 
to translate a few words of the Bible into the language 
of the people. But it went on — and why should it not 
by the same principle — to a practical denial of the whole 
word of God to the people. The only safe course is, to 
resist evil in the beginning, — at the very threshold. 

Furthermore, the public will naturally inquire whether 
engaging in this holy work has been productive of the 
pure, expansive, unselfish spirit, which the founders of the 
American Bible Society exulted in contemplating ns its 
sure result. Whether in its management, all practical mea- 
sures have been resorted to, for preventing a rupture in 
au enterprise which ought to concentrate upon itself the 
Love and activity of all who prize the Bible. They will 
wish to hear the Managers' defence of a course of pro- 
ceedings so untoward in its influence, and they will also, 


it if hoped, evince the commendable candour to examine 
that defence, and adjust its merits by the scale of facts 
and sound arguments. 

But a work like this ia certainly needed among the 
Baptists th< They have" a right and claim to be 

put in possession of all the facts which have a bearing so 
direct and aattensive on their own vital interests. To a 
very wide extent they yet remain uninformed on this subject. 
This may Been a direct contradiction of the implication 
by the Managers in their sneer at us, as "the professed 
sons of peace/' while in reality engaged in raising an un- 
common amount of opposition to them and their institu- 
So far is this from being true, that instances aio 
constantly occurring, where decided Baptists, unconscious 
of the obnoxious resolutions which cut us off from an 
r-pial participation in the societies' appropriations, are 
still giving large sums to its treasury.* 

Under these circumstances, Baptist pastors, not defi- 
cient in zeal for their own institutions, have been so truly 
as well as " professedly sons of peace," as to have entire- 
ly abstained from all public exhibition or discussion of 
what they regard as the flagrant wrong inflicted on them 
by the American Bible Society. This volume will there- 

* One case of this kind recently occurred not a hundred miles 
from New-Y r ork city, where a venerable and generous Baptist bro- 
ther ga\e $1000 dollars tojthe American Bible Society, fully sup- 
posing that bia own brethren were allowed to share, as formerly, 
its appropriations in aid of their endeavours to give the Bible 

fully and faithfully translated to heathen nations. He intended 

to follow tins >um with another <>f twice the amount. Whether 
the Managers' circular haiyet reached him, and opened his eyes, is 
uncertain; but assured]] this volume ought to he put into his 
hands. Can Baptists ho blamed for thus protecting their owii 


fore be to them a desideratum, and ought to be circulated 
so widely as to reach every intelligent family and indivi- 
dual among the millions of Baptists in this country. 

Another important service will be indirectly accom- 
plished by it, in assisting to disabuse the minds of our 
neighbours with respect to the real intention and opera- 
tion of the American and Foreign Bible Society. With 
almost unprecedented unanimity the voice of the denomi- 
nation called for the formation of this institution, when the 
American Bible Society made itself sectarian by changing 
its original policy. In every part of the country they have 
responded to the call made upon them to aid the Ameri- 
can and Foreign Bible Society, to give the Bible translat- 
ed to the world. 

In four or five years they have thus accomplished four 
times as much for this great enterprise, as they had re- 
ceived from the American Bible Society, during the whole 
period of their connexion with it. But while thus lauda- 
bly and with singleness of purpose, engaged in this great 
work, (in order to accomplish which, be it remembered, 
they had been driven into this separate organization) they 
have been constantly assailed and grossly misrepresented, 
as having entered into some foul conspiracy against the 
integrity of the Scriptures. Thousands of the less intel- 
ligent among our neighbours, the Pedo-baptists, seem to 
believe, (it is presumed, as they have been taught by those 
who ought to know better) that the Baptists are endea- 
vouring to introduce anew Bible, and to corrupt the word 
of God. This volume will help to undeceive them, by 
showing the necessity laid upon us for originating another 

Having shown the desirableness of the present publica- 
tion, it only remains to consider the manner in which the 


service of preparing it has been porformed. This volume 
will be found to combine the following excellencies : 

1. It presents in a convenient and cheap form for easy 
r.frrince and wide distribution, all the material facts and 
arguments in this controversy; not garbled and misrepre- 
sented, but otlicial and unmutilated. The commendable 
candour of furnishing entire the defence put forth by the 
American Bible Society's Managers, furnishes an example 
which ought to be imitated on the other side. 

2. The examination of this defence, while thorough, 
searching and conclusive, is throughout conducted with a 
decorum and Christian urbanity that cannot fail to produce 
a happy effect on the reader. In this respect it may be 
regarded as an uncommonly faultless specimen of the pro- 
per manner of conducting a religious controversy. 

3. The learned reader will find in the Appendix an 
array of facts from unquestionable sources which will 
greatly facilitate the wise, faithful, and we hope, speedy 
adjustment of this controversy. Had the facts there im- 
bodied been present to the minds of the Managers, could 
they in 1S36 have passed these restrictive resolutions, and 
in 1841, attempted to defend them ? We commend the 
Appendix as well as the examination of their defence, to 
the special consideration of the Managers. 

4. It may be reasonably hoped, that so far as contro- 
ls concerned, this volume will be final. The Mana- 
gers have chosen their own ground after a long time for 
preparation ; and their full defence is here given to those 
who have not before had opportunity to read it, accom- 
panied with such a rejoinder as will probably satisfy those 
whom it defends. May it not be reasonably hoped that 
strife and contention will henceforth cease ? That buth 


parties in this controversy will turn their thoughts to some 
feasible plan of adjusting this painful difficulty ? Or if 
that cannot be secured, that like Abraham and Lot, with 
their respective servants, the two institutions may hence- 
forth choose their respective spheres, and prosecute their 
high purposes with no strife between them. 

R. B. 
Poughkeepsie, 2d October, 1841. 

Note.— A portion of the Third Part of this volume has been 
published in consecutive numbers of the periodical edited by the 
author. This circumstance is mentioned to account for peculiari- 
ties of phraseology, which may be deemed more suitable to a pe- 
riodical than to a book. We would also mention that we are in- 
debted to Mr. John F. Trow, Printer, of this city, for the Syriac, 
Arabic, Persic aDd Ethiopic type used in the Appendix. 



The following brief sketch of the proceedings of tho 
Board of Managers of the American Bible Society, rela- 
tive to the Baptist versions of the Scriptures in Asia, may 
be regarded as official. It was prepared by the Rev. 
Spencer H. Cone, who at the time was one of the Cor- 
responding Secretaries of the institution, and the docu- 
ments which it embraces were copied from the records 
of the Society. 

Am. Bib. Society's House, New-York, Aug. Gth, 1835. 

At the regular meeting of the Board of Managers, Mr. 
Brigham presented a letter from F. A. Packard, dated 
Philadelphia, July 28, 1835, sending an extract from a 
letter addressed to him by Mr. Pearce, of Calcutta, Bap- 
tist Missionary, asking whether aid could be had from the 
American Bible Society, in printing the Bengalee Scrip- 
tures, translated on the principle adopted by the Ameri- 
can Baptist Missionaries in Burmah. 

The letter was referred to the Committee on distribution. 


Bible Society's House, September 3, 1£3j. 

The Committee on distribution reported the following 
resolution, as the result of their deliberations upon the 
subject referred to them at the last meeting of the Board, 
viz : 

" Resolved, That the Committee do not deem it expe- 
dient to recommend an appropriation, until the Board 
settle a principle in relation to the translation of the Greek 
word Baptizo." 

After discussion, the resolution was passed, and the 
subject referred to a special committee of seven, one from 
each denomination represented in the Board of Mana- 
gers, viz : 

Spencer H. Cone, Francis Hall, 

James Milnor, Wm. H. Van Vleck, 

Thos. Dewitt, Thomas Cock. 

Bible Society's House, October 1, 1835. 

The Special Committee presented the following Re- 
jKirt : 

The Committee to whom was referred the report of the 
Distributing Committee on the application of Messrs. 
Pearce and Yates, of Calcutta, for aid to print the New 
Testament in the Bengalee language, beg leave to report, 
that they have attended to the important subject commit- 
ted to them, and that in the investigation of it, the follow- 
ing facts have come before them. 

1. The Rev. -Messrs. Pcarcc and Yates, Baptist. Mis- 
sionaries in or near Calcutta, have made application to 
this Board, for aid in publishing the New Testament in the 
: which version the Greek words 


JBaptizo, Baptisma, and their cognates, arc translated by 
word-; signifying immt 

2. In the Burmese version of the New Testament, and 
in oti. - and dialects of India, 

these words are translated in like manner. 

r;. Application has been made to the Calcutta Bible 

Society. ;iad to the British and Foreign Bible Society, for 
aid to print and circulate the Bengalee New Testament, 
trans! resaid, which aid has been refused on the 

ground of its containing said translations; and 

4. Your Committee were not aware until now, that 
such translations were made and approved by any deno- 
mination of Christians i:i India, or other heathen countries. 

.!• Committee would therefore most respectful 
mit, whether it is not highly inexpedient to aid in pri 
or ( irculating any version of the Scriptures containing the 
above or any similar translations, differing from the 
of the authorized versions, for the following reasons : 

1. The words Baptizo and Baptisma, and the':: 
nates, being left untranslated, as in the English and I 
other excellent versions, imposes no difficulty on any de- 
nomination of Christians, as it leaves every minister, or 
missionary, at perfect liberty to explain them according 
to the peculiar views of his particular denomination. 

2. The words Bajidzo, Baptisma, &c., being translated 
immci •will rily embarrass, it' 
not wholly exclude the operations of .Missionaries of [be 
Methodist, Moravian, Reformed Dutch, Episcopalian, 
l'rcsb; itional, or other Christian denomi- 
nations, who maj jpej in 
India, or where the saiil translation may obtain. And 

'.). It i- nol competent for the American Bible S 

Larian attitude by favouring the deoomi- 


national views of any particular church either at home or 

With these views of the subject, your Committee most 
respectfully submit tbe following- resolutions : 

1. Resolved, That the Board of Managers deem it in- 
expedient to appropriate any funds belonging to the So- 
ciety, in aid of translating or distributing tbe aforesaid 
Bengalee New Testament, or any other version containing 
the aforesaid translations, or any similar translations. 

2. Resolved, That the Board of Managers on receiving 
satisfactory evidence of such corrections having been made 
in the aforesaid translation of the Bengalee New Testa- 
ment, or other versions in other languages, or dialects, as 
will comport with the known views of other Christian de- 
nominations ; or, in other words, with the obvious inten- 
tion of the authorized English version, will most cheer- 
fully aid in the printing and circulation of said version or 
versions as heretofore. 

3. Resolved, That all persons interested in the fore- 
going resolutions be informed of their purport forthwith. 

All which is most respectfully submitted. 

James Milnor, Thomas Dewitt, 

Thomas Cock, Francis Hall, 

Wm. H. Van Vleck. 


The Committee to whom was referred the application 
of Messrs. Pearce and Yates, of Calcutta, for aid to print 
and circulate the New Testament in the Bengalee lan- 
guage, have not been so happy as to unite in their views 


upon the subject; and the subscriber deems it a duty he 
owes both to the American Bible Society, and to the Bap- 
tist denomination, briefly to state some of the considera- 
tions which have constrained him to dissent from the re- 
port presented by the majority of the Committee. 

At the anniversary in May, 1834, the American Bible 
Society resolved to distribute the Bible among all the ac- 
rte population of the globe, within the shortest prac- 
ticable period ; and by direction of the Board of Mana- 
gers, a circular was addressed to missionaries and mis- 
sionary societies of different religious denominations, en- 
iging them to expect, that whenever the Old Testa- 
ment or the New, or any one entire Gospel or other book of 
the Bible, should be correctly translated and ready (with- 
out note or comment) for the press, they should receive 
the aid requisite for the publication of the same. The 
application of Messrs. 1'earce and Yates is but a response 
to this circular, and it is manifestly unjust to refuse their 
request, on the ground of their having rendered the words 
-o, Baptism a, and their cognates, by words signi- 
fying Immerse, Immersion, <$-c, until it is first proved 
thai the translations are unfaithful and inaccurate ; and 
this it is confidently believed never can be 

"When missionaries are sent among the heathen, it is 
that they may make themselves thoroughly acquainted 
with their I . 1 with as little delay as possible, 

give them the Bible in appropriate vernacular terms, thai 
they may read in their own tongue wherein they were 
bom, the wonderful works of God. They must neither 
obscure, nor bike from, nor add to, the words of the Holy 
Book. The question, therefore, is most respectfully sub- 
mitted, whether it is competent for the American Bible 
Society to control the consciences of well qualified evan 


gelical missionaries in this matter, and decide tchat words 
they shall transfer, and what words they may translate. 
It is conceived that the principle reported by the ma- 
jority of the Committee on this point, is radically wrong ; 
if so, the Board of Managers have no right to forbid the 
translation of Baptizo, or of any other word, the meaning 
of which is satisfactorily ascertained ; but if the principle 
objected to be correct, then their authoritative dictation 
may embrace whatever words to them shall seem good ; 
and the missionary hereafter in the work of translation, 
instead of making it his single aim to please God, must 
consult primarily tbe views and wishes of earthly patrons. 
It is a source of deep regret that the pervading senti- 
ment of the report of the majority, appears to be so entirely 
inconsistent with the spirit of benevolence and brotherly 
kindness which first called into existence the American 
Bible Society. Seven or eight different denominations 
of Christians associated themselves together for the pur- 
pose of supplying not only their own land with the Scrip- 
tures, but of extending their influence to other countries 
whether Christian, Mahommedan or Pagan. In the prose- 
cution of their common object, no one of the constituent 
members was either required or expected to abandon his 
own peculiar tenets. Baptists were received as Baptists, 
and as such have laboured with you from the beginning. 

Must it not occasion surprise as well as grief that now, 
after an harmonious co-operation in the Bible cause of 
more than eighteen years, it is proposed to pass the 
sweeping uncompromising resolution, " that it is hicxpc' 
dicnt to appropriate any funds belonging to the Society 
in aid of translating or distributing any versions of the 
Sacred Scriptures as now made by the Baptist Missiona- 
ries." Arc we by this single vote to be cut off for ever 


from all participation in your funds, a largo portion of 
which haa accrued from the subscriptions and liberal be- 
- of our denomination ? And are Baptist missiona- 
ries of all others to he singled out as unworthy to share in 
the labours and successes of the American Bible Society 
in her noble enterprise to szipply the world with Dibles 7 
to he told in so many words, that the only 
condition upon which you can countenance our eflbrts is 
the preparation of such versions as will comport with the 
known views of other Christian denominations 7 a condi- 
tion which involves in it the impracticable alternative of 
forbearing to do that which in our hearts we believe God 
has required at our hands. 

The idea suggested that versions to be approved must 

not materially differ from the "sense of the authorized 

English version, 11 is most strange. We have been taught 

to believe that the sense of the Holy Ghost is to be inva- 

and most critically preserved. The sentiment may 

be very gratifying in its adaptation to a special case, but 

the majority of the Committee would scarcely advocate it, 

■! principle applicable to Biblical translations. 

The man who should translate mcta to pascha, Acts xii. 

•1. by a phrase signifying after Easter, would give the 

I gljsh version! but, ala-; ! he would not 

convey the sense of the Spirit o&inspiration. 

The words Baptizo, Sac,, h i ndered by words 

signifying to Imn . i ., :, i the Syriac, Arabic, Abyssi- 
nian, Egyptian, Ethiopic, Coptic, German, Dutch, Danish, 
and many other languages. Is it just, is it fair then, to 
stigmatize, our translations as sectarian, when similar 
translations have been long in use in almost all the 
churches of tin' Eastern world, and in most of the churches 
of Northern Europe ? The American Bible Society has 


circulated many copies of the Bible " containing the afore- 
said translations ;" she has circulated many more in the 
versions of Roman Catholic Priests. She has voted 
within two years pa3t a larger sum for the Chinese Scrip- 
tures, than for any other foreign object, and yet Dr. Mor- 
rison has neither transferred Baptizo nor translated it, 
but has introduced into his Chinese version a paraphrase 
signifying " a water Ceremony."* 

In connexion with these facts let it be remembered, that 
the American Christian public expect us speedily to send 
the Bible throughout the earth ; that they are generously 
furnishing us with the means to accomplish this desirable 
object ! that our Treasury is overflowing, and the ma- 
nagers are at a loss to know how their surplus funds may 
be wisely and beneficially expended; that the Baptist mis- 
sionaries have translated the Scriptures into the languages 
-of India, as well as of other Asiatic nations ; that to re- 
fuse them aid, will at least be greatly to retard, if not to 
render impracticable for a long time to come, the supply 
of the reading population of the Globe with the written 
word? and, oh! let it not be forgotten, that millions of 
our fellow men arc perishing for the bread of life, and 
stretching out their hands, are crying, " Come over and 
help us!" In view of these facts let it be asked, is this 
the time, and are these the circumstances, which the 
Board will choose, to announce to the Saints of the Most 
their rejection of the application of those men of 
who for more than twenty years under the burning 

In a letter received, since the presentation of this Counter Re- 
port, from Mr. Dyer, Corresponding Secretary of the English Bap- 
tist Missionary Society, he says, "I have understood that Dr. 
Morrison has rendered Baptizo l>y a word signifying to 7cet, to 
rpoisU >< . " 


rays of an Indian sun, have been praying-, and toiling-, and 
agonizing, for the souls of men ? we hope not ; and under 
the influence of this hope, venture to propose the following 
resolutions, viz: 

1. Resolved, That this Board is impressed with feel- 
ings of devout gratitude to Almighty God, for the signal 
protection he has afforded to Baptist missionaries in hea- 
then lands, and for the ability given them to translate tho 
Bible into the living languages of so large a portion of the 
human family. 

2. As satisfactory evidence has been furnished from tho 
principal professors in the College of Fort William, India, 
and from the mo>t learned Pundits and Teachers in Cal- 
cutta and its vicinity, that the improved version of the 
Bengalee New Testament by Messrs. Pearce and Yates, 
Baptist missionaries, is by far the most intelligible, idio- 
matic, and perfect translation, which has yet appeared in 
that dialect; therefore, 

Resolved, That the sum of $ be appropriated and 

paid to the Baptist General Convention of the United 
for Foreign Missions, to aid in printing and circu- 
lating the Sacred Scriptures in the Bengalee language. 
Respectfully submitted, 


Society's House, November 5, 1S35. 

The Board proceeded to consider the reports of tho 
Committee presented at the last meeting. 

Mr. Brigham read a letter from Dr. Wayland, dated 
Providence, October 2G, 1835, submitting a resolution? 
Dr. Milnor also presented a series of resolutions. After 
some discussion, the letter of Dr. Wayland, the resolutions 


of Dr. Milnor, and the original reports, were all referred 
back to the same Committee for further consideration and 

Society's House, November 19, 1835. 

The following Report and Counter Report were pre- 
sented : 

The Committee to whom was recommitted the deter- 
mining of a principle upon which the American Bible So- 
ciety will aid in printing and distributing the Bible in 
foreign languages, beg leave to report : 

That they are of the opinion, that it is expedient to 
withdraw their former report on the particular case, and 
to present the following one on the general principle. 

By the constitution of the American Bible Society, its 
Managers are, in the circulating of the Holy Scriptures, 
restricted to such copies as are without note or comment, 
and in the English language, to the version in common 
use. The design of these restrictions clearly seems to 
have been to simplify and mark out the duties of the So- 
ciety; so that all the religious denominations, of which it 
is composed, might harmoniously unite in performing those 

As the Managers are now called to aid extensively in 
circulating the Sacred Scriptures in languages other than 
the English, they deem it their duty, in conformity with 
the obvious spirit of their compact, to adopt the following 
resolution as the rule of their conduct in making appropri- 
ations for the circulation of the Scriptures in all foreign 

1. Resolved, That in appropriating money for the 
translating, printing, or distributing, of the Sacred Scrip- 
ture-; in foreign languages, the Managers feel at liberty to 


irage only such versions as conform in the prii 
of their tran common English version ; at 

least so far as that all I itions repre- 

sented in this Socii ty, t< atly use and cir 

. schools rind communil 
2. /', ve preamble unci 

resolution ; the Missionary Boards ac- 

I So iiety, 

with a request that the same may be transmitted to their 

. where the Scriptures arc in 

i •on; and also that the said several Mis- 

i that their application i'ur aid must 

ompanied with a declaration that the versions which 

ircolate, arc executed in accordance with 

the above resolution. 

THOS. MACAULEY, Chairman. 
J oiks MrXMOB, Wm. II. Van Vleck, 

Thos. Dewitt, Francis. Hall, 

Tugs. Cock. 


The subscriber as a member of the Committ- 

ipplicatJon of Messrs. Pearce and 
for aid in the circulation of the Bei tnent, 

iwing consid 

1. The Baptist Board <>f Foreign Mis-ions have not 
been under the impression that tl 

ciety was organizi d upon the neutral principle that Bup- 
lizo and it were never to be translated, but 

always transferred, in of the Scriptures pa- 

tronised by them. Had this principle been candidly stated 


and uniformly acted upon by the Society in the appropria- 
tion of its funds for foreign distribution, the Baptists never 
could have been guilty of the folly or duplicity of soliciting 
aid for translations made by their missionaries. 

2. As there is now a large balance in the treasury of 
the American Bible Society, as many liberal bequests and 
donations have been made by Baptists, and as these were 
made in the full confidence that the Society could consti- 
tutionally assist their own denomination, as well as the 
other evangelical denominations composing the National 
Institution, in giving the Bible to the heathen world ; 

Resolved, That $ be appropriated and paid to the 

Baptist General Convention of the United States for Fo- 
reign Missions, to aid them in the work of supplying the 
perishing millions of the East with the Sacred Scriptures. 

After debate, the further consideration of the subject 
was postponed to the next regular meeting of the Board. 

Society's House, December 3, 1S35. 

The Board proceeded to consider the first resolution 
reported by the Committee ; a motion to lay the resolution 
on the table having prevailed, the Hon. William Jay sub- 
mitted resolutions proposing to give the subject to a new 
Committee. After a long and animated discussion, the 
whole subject was laid upon the table. 

Society's House, February 4, 1836, 

The Report of the Committee presented November 19, 
1335, was taken up, and after debating the first resolu- 


tion, the Board adjourned to February 17, 183G, at four 
o'clock, P. M. 

Society's House, February 17, 183G. 

The Bo:\rd met pursuant to adjournment. 

The Report of the Committee, submitted to the Board 
November 19, 1C35, was again discussed at great length. 
Motions to lay it upon the table, to raise a new committee, 
and to postpone indefinitely, having been successively lost, 

to fourteen ; and the Board adjourned. 



A Brief Statement as to the Principles and Practice of 
the American Bible Society in relation to versions of 
the Scriptures patronized by it, together with a Reply 
to certain complaints against the course pursued. Pub- 
lished by the Managers. 

(1.) The Society above named was organized in 1816, 
by delegates of several denominations from various sec- 
tions of the country. It was a novel spectacle to see so 
many ministers and laymen of different creeds uniting for 
a common religious object, and that so noble as the cir- 
culation of the revealed Word of God. The occasion was 
evidently one of uncommon satisfaction to all concerned. 
The Address of the Convention to the People of the 
United States (drawn up by the late Rev. Dr. John M. 
Mason) is replete with joyful expectation, and breathes 
throughout a spirit of fraternal concord and charity. "If," 
says the Address, " there be a single measure which can 
overrule objection, subdue opposition, and command ex- 
ertion, this is the measure. That all our voices, all our 
affections, all our hands should be joined in the grand 
design of promoting peace on earth and good will to man 
— that they should resist the advance of misery, should 
carry the light of instruction into the dominions of igno- 
rance, and the balm of joy to the soul of anguish, and all 
this by diffusing the oracles of God — addresses to the un- 
derstanding an argument which cannot be encountered, 
and to the heart an appeal which its holiest emotions rise 
up to second." 


" Under such impressions, and with such views, fathers, 
brethren and ftdlow-citizens, the American Bible Society 
has been formed. Local feelings, party prejudices, secta- 
rian jealousies are excluded by its very nature. Its mem- 
bers are leagued in that, and that alone, which calls up 
every hallowed, and puts down every unhallowed princi- 
ple — the dissemination of the Scriptures in the received 
versions, where they exist, and in the most faithful where 
they may be required. In such a work, whatever is dig- 
nified, kind, venerable, true, has ample scope, while sec- 
tarian littleness and virulence can find no avenues of ad- 
mission." Such was the frank, impartial, catholic spirit 
which called this sacred Association into being. 

(2.) In preparing the present statement in relation to 
versions, the Managers have not attempted to settle or 
touch any question as to philology or religious ordinances, 
but simply to inquire what was the design of those who 
founded the Institution as to the character of the Scrip- 
tures which were to be circulated ? In obtaining the an- 
swer to this inquiry, they have the verbal opinions of some 
who were a part of the first Convention ; they have the 
constitution then prepared, the address issued in connex- 
ion with it, and the uniform policy of the Board from the 
beginning down to the present time. From all these 
sources it appears as one of the clearest of truths in rela- 
ion to the Society, that it was to have no sectarian cha- 
racter, and could perform no sectarian work. Whatever 
was to be done by it was evidently that, and that alone, 
which all could unite in doing.* Whatever was denomi- 

* Is it the practice in any Society, where different denomina- 
tions unite, to allow one part of the union to make sectarian books ] 
How is it with the Sunday School or the Tract Society 1 Are any 


national, however important in other circumstances, was 
here to be excluded. The Scriptures to be circulated were 
to be "without note or comment." These all the deno- 
minations brought together could unite in circulating, 
while they could never hope to agree as to the character 
of any explanatory appendages. Those distributed in the 
English tongue were to be of the " version in common 
use." This version all the members of the compact used 
and appealed to as authority. All, therefore, could unite 
in its distribution. The motive of this is apparent, name- 
ly, to perpetuate harmony, and while doing a great united 
work, to avoid the possibility of denominational collision. 
Thus far the wants of our own country are contemplated. 
(3.) But the founders of the Society, after providing for 
these domestic wants, looked abroad to the destitute in 
other countries. They looked first to nominally Christian 
nations, such as France, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Greece, 
Syria, &c, where they saw the great mass of the popula- 
tion without the Scriptures, yet possessing in their 
churches and among their priesthood ancient versions in 
their respective tongues, long since translated, many of 
them from the Latin vulgate. These ancient versions 
were held in high repute, while new versions would be 
viewed with suspicion and rejected. What was to be 
done in such circumstances by the founders in their at- 
tempts to extend their distributions ? Their address to 
the public, already referred to, shows beyond doubt that 
this was a matter of distinct contemplation and provision 
by that venerable body. Distributions were in such cases 
to be made in the "received version." There was no 

of their common funds used to make such books, at home or 
abroad, as only one sect can use ? We believe uo such privilege 
is ask*d or thought of. 


hope that those old, venerated translations could at once 
be laid aside, and new ones introduced by foreigners. Nor 
could new ones be prepared until many years should pass 

As these " received versions" even now can alone be 
circulated in those old Christian communities, as their de- 
fects are not numerous, (not more so, probably, than were 
those of the septuagint translation which the apostles 
used,) as they are of the same character as those which 
opened the eyes of Luther and other reformers, as they 
are still useful in papal countries, the present Managers, 
like their predecessors, have felt it their duty (the Apo- 
crypha and all notes being excluded) to circulate them, 
fully assured that in so doing they carry out the well-stu- 
died designs of those who gave the Society its existence 
and marked out its course of action. They would, at the 
same time, add, that while fully authorized to circulate 
these versions, they would gladly exchange them for those 
of a more perfect character, and shall so exchange them 
as fast and as far as this is found practicable. 

(4.) But the framers of the Society looked further still, 
to a third class of their fellow-men who were to be sup- 
plied with the Scriptures, namely, to the pagan nations. 
Here new versions were to be prepared, for none existed. 
P>nt un what principles were they to be made? The ad- 
dress referred to, in treating of this class of versions which 
•' may be required," — which are yet to be made — modern 
versions, says that they must be " the most faithful." Now, 
what versions, in view of such a body, composed of six or 
eight denominations, can be viewed as "most faithful?" 
They are mainly to be prepared by protestant missiona- 
ries, whose patrons are a part of the Bible compact, and 
the churches to be gathered are to become, in a sense, 

Q * 


branches of churches here at home. Frequently the trans- 
lations are made at the sole expens . of the Bible Society, 
The terms "most faithful," in these circumstances ob- 
viously signify those versions which convey the inspired 
meaning of the originals, in view of those who support 
and direct the great Bible cause. But what is the in- 
spired meaning in their view ? Not that certainly which 
conveys the peculiar tenets of this or that denomination, 
while it misstates the views of others interested, and is in 
their judgment unfaithful. Faithful versions, in view of 
a Bible Association, must be such as all consider faithful 
•*-such as convey, in view of all, the true Divine meaning. 
In the English Bible adopted by the Society, the Divine 
meaning is thus conveyed. It is a faithful version, as all 
admit; and others should be equally faithful when put 
forth by those connected with this Association and so- 
lemnly bound by its pledges. 

These are views and principles which the Managers 
have always understood as belonging to this Society. Nor 
were they aware that any of their fellow labourers could 
entertain different views until the year 1835. In the 
course of that year was an occurrence which has caused 
no little perplexity, and which will now be presented in 

(5.) In July, 1835, a letter was received, through a 
friend in Philadelphia, from the Rev. William H. Pearce, 
an English Baptist missionary at Bengal, in India. In 
this letter information was given that the Writer, together 
with the Rev. Mr. Vates, a brother missionary, had pre- 
pared a new version of the Bengalee Scriptures, which 
they were desirous of having published. With Christian 
frankness it was stated that in this version they had trans- 
lated the Greek terms baptize and baptism by words 


which signify immerge and immersion, and that the Bible 
Society at Calcutta had, on this account, refused to pa- 
tronize it. Had this letter contained nothing- further, the 
Board could easily have dismissed the whole matter, as 
they had no responsibilities connected with that version. 
But it was further stated that this new Bengalee transla- 
tion was made on the same principles as those which ob- 
tained in the Burmese translation, which it was under- 
stood the American Bible Society patronized. Here was 
a new and startling announcement. The Board had, in- 
deed, granted, at different times, many thousand dollars 
towards the publication of this Burmese version, but with- 
out information from any quarter, or the least suspicion 
that it was of the character described by Mr. Pearce.' 
They knew the Rev. Dr. Judson, the translator, to be a 
learned and pious man, and therefore felt a confidence 
that he had made what they considered a faithful ver- 
sion, i. e. one which conveyed the inspired meaning — the 
only point to which they thought of directing attention—* 
presuming every friend of the Bible Society to be aware 
that its Board could not appropriate moneys for any version 
of a marked denominational character. On inquiring of 
the Rev. S. H. Cone, (one of the Standing Committee on 
Distribution,) who had repeatedly solicited funds for the 
Burmese version, whether that version was prepared as 
described by Mr. Pearce, he for the first time informed 
them that such was the fact. Although this letter from 
India had o Committee on Distribution, 

the Hoard at its meeting in August referred it to the same 
again for further consideration. The Committee, after 
frequent meetings, were unable to recommend any course 
which would satisfy all concerned. In order to give this 
subject the most full and impartial investigation, the 


Board now appointed a Special Committee of seven, a 
Presbyterian, an Episcopalian, a Baptist, a Methodist, a 
Moravian, one of the Reformed Dutch Church, and one 
from the Society of Friends. After repeated meetings of 
this Select Committee, and much inquiry, they brought in 
a Report with sundry Resolutions. The R.ev. S. H. Cone, 
one of the number, also presented a minority Report. The 
whole subject was now postponed for a further and careful 
consideration. The Managers were not yet disposed to 
adopt the resolutions submitted, as they hoped, by a pru- 
dent delay, for the adjustment of the difficulty which had 
arisen, in a way satisfactory to all who were interested. 

Before the next meeting of the Board, in September, 
several letters were received from Baptist clergymen, in 
whose judgment they had great regard, expressing the 
hope that no hasty measures would be adopted, and sug- 
gested some changes and additions in relation to the pend- 
ing resolutions which they had seen in a Baptist paper. 

These letters were laid before the Board, and the pro- 
posed changes were made. After frequent postponements 
and much deliberation, (more, probably, than they ever 
before bestowed on any one topic,) at a special meeting 
in February, 1836, they adopted the following preamble 
and resolutions which had been prepared, or modified, and 
approved of by some of the most intelligent worthy Bap- 
tist clergymen in America : 

By the Constitution of the American Bible Society, its 
Managers are, in the circulation of the Holy Scriptures, 
restricted to such copies as are "without note or com- 
ment;" and in the English language, to the "version in 
common use." The design of these restrictions clearly 
seems to have been to simplify and mark out the duties of 


the Society, so that all religious denominations of which it 
is composed might harmoniously unite in performing these 

As the Managers are now called to aid extensively in 
circulating the Sacred Scriptures in languages other than 
the English, they deem it their duty, in conformity with 
the ohvious spirit of their compact, to adopt the following 
resolutions as the rule of their conduct in making appro- 
priations for the circulation of the Scriptures in all foreign 

Resolved, That in appropriating money for the trans- 
lating, printing, or distributing the Sacred Scriptures in fo- 
reign languages, the Managers feel at liberty to encourage 
only such versions as conform in the principles of their 
translations to the common English version, at least so far 
as that all the religious denominations represented in this 
Society can consistently use and circulate said versions in 
their several schools and communities. 

Resolved, That a copy of the above preamble and reso- 
lutions be sent to each of the missionary boards accustomed 
lo receive pecuniary grants from this Society, with a re- 
quest that the same may be transmitted to their respec- 
tive mission stations where the Scriptures are in process of 
translation, and also that the said several missionary 
boards be informed that their applications for aid be ac- 
companied with a declaration that the versions which they 
propose to circulate are executed in accordance with the 
above resolution. 

(6.) Such was the course adopted by the Managers after 
more than six months of candid deliberation. No resolu- 
tions, it is believed, were ever adopted with a more con- 
scientious conviction of duty, or with more kind feelings 
towards those who dissented. It was the aim in preparing 


these rules to be impartial, to withhold patronage from all 
versions of a sectarian nature, and to encourage all which 
are faithfully translated, and yet in such a way that the 
different branches of the compact can unite in using them 
as they so cordially unite in using the English version. 

The Managers have now stated what they believe to 
have been the purpose of the founders in relation to ver- 
sions, and also what has been the intentional practice of 
those who have since conducted its affairs. They have 
furthermore given a concise history of their doings in re- 
gard to a denominational version in India which will satisfy 
most of those connected with the Society, that a just and 
constitutional course has been pursued, and that no other 
course could have been adopted, particularly in relation to 
the latter topic, without putting the very existence of the 
Society in jeopardy. But the Managers regret that not- 
withstanding the resolutions in question were prepared in 
their present shape, by wise, conscientious Baptists, who 
viewed and still view them as coincident with the consti- 
tution ; notwithstanding they received the full sanction of 
the Society in May, 1836, and have been approved of by 
all the Auxiliaries, so far as known, they have yet failed to 
satisfy many of the Baptist denomination, and have called 
forth an amount of opposition not very common among the 
professed sons of peace. Charges in various forms have 
been made against the doings of the Board, some of which 
demand a brief reply. 

First. — The Managers are charged icith having changed 
their policy, noxo objecting to and withholding aid from 
versions of such a character as they once 'patronized 
ivithout hesitation. 

The reply of the Board here is, that they never, in a 


single case, granted aid to a version which they knew at 
the time to be of such a character that only a part of their 
associates could consistently use it. Taking it for granted 
that none would ask them to aid denominational versions, 
they now find that in two instances they aided such, though 
in honest ignorance. It appears that a small edition of 
an Indian Gospel was once printed by them, where baptizo 
was translated by a word which signifies to sprinkle, or 
pour ; and that one version in India had been aided where 
the same Greek word has been translated by a term signi- 
fying immerse. Had the peculiarity of these translations 
in either case been known at the time, they would by no 
means have been encouraged. 

Secondly. — The Managers arc charged with partiality, by 
allowing other denominations to make such foreign ver- 
sions as they choose, while Baptists have not this privi- 

This charge can have no foundation, unless other deno- 
minations choose to make versions of such a character that 
all the members of the Bible Society can use them, while 
those who complain make such versions as their denomi- 
nation alone can consistently use. The Managers can have 
no motive to partiality towards any of their associates, and 
are conscious of none, provided all lay aside denomina- 
tional work, and adhere alike to the spirit and rules of this 
Association, when co-operating with it. 

Thirdly. — The Managers are charged with laying down 
rules in regard to versions which Baptist translators 
cannot conscientiously follow. 

The reply is, that the Managers lay down no rules 


which they do not consider as enjoined on them by the 
conditions of their union, by the framers of the Society. 
If these rules bear with undue pressure on any portion of the 
compact, it is for those who appoint the Board, and who 
have control of the constitution, to alter that instrument so 
that men of every creed and sentiment may prepare such 
foreign versions as they please, with the expectation 
that they will be published out of the common Bible fund ! 
At present such license would be deemed a violation of 
what the constitution requires. But the Board (while 
they would not judge for others) are unable to see why 
these rules, which the complainants themselves cheerfully 
observe in relation to the English, French, and other old 
versions, cannot be also followed in preparing new ver- 
sions; that is, by domesticating- in them the Greek word 
baptizo and baptisma, so that other missionaries can use 
them as well as Baptist.* It cannot be affirmed that 
errors will be taught by these transferred words, nor can 
they be more unintelligible to the heathen than any other 
words which it is well known are transferred from the 
originals into the Bengalee and Burmese versions, and 
must be into all versions made in limited pagan tongues. 
Some of these words, it is true, must be explained by the 
dictionary, or the living teacher, before the common reader 
will understand them. So must many, very many words 

* The Rev. Joseph Hughes, a Baptist, and long a Secretary of 
the British and Foreigu Bible Society, had no scruple against 
transferring baptizo ; nor has Rev. Mr. Sutton, now a missionary 
in India. Two able pamphlets, by Baptists in Enjdand, have just 
been published in favour of such a course. The Chippewa New 
Testament, prepared by Dr. James, a Baptist, and printed in 1833 
at Albany, has the word baptizo transferred. 


in the English Bible, and in every other, which the illite- 
rate reader does not comprehend until instructed by some 
foreign aid ? Where is there a modern tongue which does 
not abound in transferred words 1 The very name of most 
religious denominations is derived from the Greek. 

Fourthly. — The Managers are charged with the inconsis- 
tency of patronizing German and, Dutch Bibles, where 
baptizo is translated by words which signify immerse, 
and yet withholding aid from the Bengalee and Bur- 
mese Bibles translated in the same way. 

The reply is, in the first place, that the former versions 
are ancient " received versions," such as the founders of 
the Society promised to patronize. In the next place, 
those translated words alluded to, though they once signi- 
fied immerse, have (like many words in the English Bible) 
lost their first meaning, and are now of as general import 
as the English word Baptize. They are versions which 
both Baptists and Paedo-baptists can and do use continu- 
ally without objection. Should the versions referred to in 
India, as they are in the main good, undergo a similar 
change as to the import of a few words, so that different 
denominations can use them, the Managers will feel no 
scruple in granting them patronage. They will be viewed 
and treated as faithful versions when there is evidence that 
they convey to all the component parts of this Society, like 
the English and German Bibles, the mind of the Spirit. 
Let the Divine meaning be actually conveyed to the various 
readers, and it seems to the Board a matter of little mo- 
ment whether this is effected through one tongue or another, 
or through a combination of several. 


Fifthly. — Another charge is, that the Managers have set 
up the English Bible as a sta?idard to which all trans- 
lations must be conformed, thus abridging the liberty of 
the translator. 

This is a mistake, as any reader of the foregoing reso- 
lutions will see. It is expected that missionaries, or others, 
who prepare new versions, will translate, as they do in 
fact, from the original tongues with great care, imitating 
the English no farther than hy transferring a few words, 
which either cannot be translated or are of disputed mean- 
ing; and even these transfers are not required, provided 
the various members of the Society can unite in using the 
versions as they use the English. This certainly is im- 
posing no severe restraint on the conscience of the trans- 
lator, far less, it is apprehended, than the complainants 
(who have taken the English Bible, and appended to it a 
glossary, telling us precisely what certain Greek words 
signify) will require of their translators. How much liberty 
will the latter have to prepare versions which are not 
thoroughly denominational ? 

Sixthly. — Another grave charge is, that the American 
Bible Society has received a large amount of money 
from Baptists ; particularly that it has received forty 
or fifty thousand dollars in the way of legacies, while it 
has made to the denomination, as such, but very partial 
appropriations, and now refuse to refund what is still 

The reply here is, that while a part, perhaps a large 
part, of the denomination who aid the Bible cause in any 
form, have seceded from the American Bible Society and 


formed one under denominational control, (its Managers 
being necessarily Baptists,) yet a highly respected and 
valuable portion are still coadjutors with the National In- 
stitution. More or less of the latter class are still found 
in the eastern, middle, southern and western states, co- 
operating with the local Auxiliaries. It would be im- 
proper, then, by returning Baptist funds, even if the alleged 
amount were correct, to treat the denomination as if it 
were no longer a part of the Bible compact. But the 
charge as to the amount is not correct. The aggregate 
of legacies received from Baptists, so far as known to the 
Board, is no more than $18,000 ; namely, from the estate 
of John Fleetwood Marsh, deceased, of East Chester, 
New-York, $10,000 ; from? that of John Withington, of 
New-York, $7,000 ; and from that of Josiah Penfield, of 
Georgia, $1,000. 

And how were these legacies expended ? The two first 
were received into the treasury in 1830, the latter in 1S31, 
the very year when the Managers were endeavouring 
to supply the entire United States with the Bible, and 
which funds were wholly expended in that enterprise. 
Yes, they were all used in preparing and circulating 
English, German and French Bibles for the good of our 
own common country ; and a large debt remained after 
they were expended. No portion went to aid the missions 
of other denominations in preparing the Scriptures in any 
form. It cannot be asked, then, of course, that these 
funds should be paid back to the complainants. 

It appears, on examining the Society's books, that while 
no more than $18,000 have been received from Baptist 
legacies, and that these were all expended at home for a 
common object, the Baptist Foreign Mission Society has 


since been furnished (that is, between the years 1831 and 
1338) with no less than $27,000 for the exclusive use of 
that denomination in preparing and circulating the Scrip- 
tures in France, Germany, Bengal and Burmah. In ad- 
dition to these grants of money, the Managers have made 
numerous donations of English and other Scriptures for the 
exclusive use of Baptist missions. During the years 1833 
and 1839 Messrs. Pasco and Love, Baptist missionaries 
in Greece, were furnished by the Society's agent in the 
Levant (and with great pleasure) with no less than 12,933 
portions of the Scriptures, amounting in value to some 
$5,000. It appears, then, that more than $30,000, in 
money and books, have been furnished by the Board to 
aid Baptist missionaries in circulating the Scriptures, 
while little more than half of that sum has been received 
from Baptist legacies; and these were received under 
such circumstances as to pay no part of such grants. 

But it is said that although the $40,000 or $50,000 of 
legacies spoken of as furnished to the Society may not as 
yet be actually paid over, still that sum will be paid from 
the residuum of the estate of Mr. Marsh, according to the 
provisions of his will. The American Bible Society, it is 
true, is one of the residuary legatees of said estate. How 
far there is a prospect of any speedy avails from this quar- 
ter will be seen after reading the following letter from the 
executor. This letter was procured in consequence of a 
statement in the Baptist Advocate in relation to this resi- 
duum, that " a simple legal process is alone necessary to 
transfer it to their (American Bible Society's) coffers — a 
process which the Board can at its own option pursue." 


Hackensack, ISth December, 1840. 

Dear Sir, — In reply to your letter of the 15th instant, 
respecting information of the present condition of the 
legacy lefl by the late Mr, Marsh, the Society, in addition 
to the legacy of $10,000 which has been paid, are resi- 
duary legatees in common with the grand children and 
their children of the eight uncles of the testator, the So- 
ciety to receive one-third — the aforesaid children the other 
two-thirds. These residuary legatees are very numerous, 
and scattered throughout England. We have ascertained 
about one hundred, and, from information received, there 
are at least as many more, whose names we have not been 
able to ascertain. Proceedings have been instituted in 
the Court of Chancery to have the estate settled, but from 
various causes it has not been brought to a close, and when 
it will be, it is impossible for me to say. I am advised 
that I cannot safely pay any of the residuary legatees 
without having them all brought, in some way, into court, 
so as to be bound by a decree, in order to a final settle- 
ment of the estate. 

Very respectfully, yours, &c, 

James Hague. 

It is obvious that a long period must intervene before 
this residuum (if it ever comes) will reach the treasury. 
Should it ere long be received, it can with every propriety 
be employed as was the $10,000 already realized from the 
same estate, in furnishing English, German, and French 
Bibles to the mixed population of our own country. 

But it is contended, that in addition to the legacies in 
question, a large amount has been furnished by Baptists 
in the way of Life Directorships, Life Memberships, &c 


Some have placed the amount of payments of this kind at 
$40,000 or $50,000, equal to that of the legacies received 
and prospective. 

Now, while the Managers are greatly averse to compa- 
risons as to the contributions of different denominations, 
they have been led, by the repeated charges referred to, 
to examine with some care as to their accuracy. They 
find, in the first place, in relation to Life Directors, that 
out of a list of more than 400 belonging to the Society, 
only 13 were of the Baptist denomination. Of these thir- 
teen, two were constituted Directors on account of having 
been members of the Convention which formed the So- 
ciety. Four others were made Directors in consequence 
of having been executors where legacies were left it. Two 
others were made Directors by contributions furnished by 
men of other denominations, and one of the remainder is 
still a friend of the American Bible Society. It does not 
appear, then, that there are, in any view of the matter, 
more than the value of four Directorships to be returned. 

In relation to Life Members, it is not easy to determine 
the precise number belonging to the Baptist persuasion. 
In looking over a list of more than 4,000 names, not more 
than about 100 can be thus identified, while several of 
these were constituted members by those of other creeds, 
and several more are still friendly to the Society. But 
allowing there were 150 Life members, each of which has 
contributed $30, the total would amount to no more than 
$4,500, to be added to the $600 for Life Directorships. 

The Board have next looked over the names of the 120 
citizens in New-York who aided the erection of the So- 
ciety's House, at an expense of more than 22,000 dollars. 
While they find subscriptions from almost every other de- 
nomination, they find but one (Dr. Luke Barker's) be- 


longing to that from which these charges now come. 
This contribution was $30, to be added to the $5,100 
above named. 

They look then at donations made specifically to aid 
distributions in Burmah. Presuming these to have been 
made by Baptists, they find them to amount in all to less 
than $1,000. As to contributions made through Auxilia- 
ries, there are no means for determining definitely what 
amount has been thus received. From the large Auxilia- 
ries in New-England, New-York, and a few at the South, 
whence most of the free donations come, it is clear to the 
Board, from inquiries and statements of agents, that a 
small amount, comparatively, (as in the case of Life Di- 
rectorships, Memberships, and the Building Fund,) has 
ever been furnished by the Baptists — particularly by those 
who have seceded.* 

In the newly settled states, those of that denomination 
have often united with others in procuring and distributing 
Bibles in their respective counties. But here the value 
was returned in books, and in many instances large gra- 
tuitous supplies in addition. Not a few of their number 
continue still to aid in these domestic distributions, both 
to the gratification of the Auxiliaries and the Farent So- 
ciety. Funds thus paid in for books, however, add nothing 
to the capital of the Institution, and can furnish no ground 
for a demand on those which come as free donations. 
While, then, it cannot be determined with minute accu- 
racy what amount of money has been furnished by Bap- 
tists gratuitously, or so that it can be used by other deno- 

* Let any one inquire of the large Societies what portion of 
their free contribution ever came from Baptists who arc not ail! 
with them. 


minations, the Board have no belief that it can surpass or 
equal the more than $30,000 which they as a sect have 
received from the Institution. Aside from the $18,000 
of legacies, (used at home and not to be counted,) there 
is no evidence of their having contributed to the treasury 
one half the amount which they have received from it. 
Under such circumstances, the Managers cannot, of course, 
feel the obligation of making further returns to those who 
have chosen to leave the Society, and to assert in so many 
ways its wrong doings. 



"Such reasoning falls, like an inverted cone, 
Wanting its proper base to stand upon." 

The foregoing document was published anonymously 
sometime in the early part of February of the present 
year. It was republished in the " Extracts from Corres- 
pondence" of the American Bible Society for March, and 
acknowledged as issued by the authority of the Board. It 
has thus become the duly accredited publication of an 
honoured institution, and both in that character and on 
other important accounts, is to be regarded as deserving 
a careful perusal and a most critical examination. This 
is the first public attempt of the American Board to vindi- 
cate their conduct towards the Baptist denomination. 
Their annual reports have alluded in such guarded terms 
to the points at issue, as left those who had no other 
means of intelligence in a state of extreme doubt, if not of 
total ignorance, even of what had been done, aside from 
the arguments in favour of the acts of the Board. 

Mr. Brigham's letter was a private affair, and was 
never acknowledged as official. Four years were per- 
mitted to glide away before the Board were prepared to 
justify a course of conduct which has separated from con- 
nexion with them more than half a million of communi- 
cants, with adherents numbering several millions. Under 
such circumstances, the document preceding must be re- 
garded as exhibiting the calm, well weighed, and penna- 


nently decided opinions of men, -who have not needed 
time for deliberation, or opportunity for acquiring informa- 

To treat such a document with disi'espect — to answer 
argument with ridicule, or statements of fact with conjec- 
ture and surmise, is as far removed from our duty as a 
Christian, as it would be opposed to the character which 
we have ever endeavoured to maintain as the conductor of 
a respectable public journal. Before entering upon the 
examination, we wish to state one or two principles which 
shall guide us. 

If we should be under the necessity of disproving a state- 
ment of fact, we wish not to be understood to imply that 
the Board meant to deceive. If we attempt to refute an 
argument, we attribute no evil purpose to those who have 
advanced it. Should we ever employ the legitimate mode 
of reasoning, called by the schools reductio ad absurdum, 
we here, once for all, abjure every intention to cast ridi- 
cule upon the American Bible Society, and declare our 
purpose merely to expose the weakness of the weapons 
which it has employed in its defence. 

We have, for convenience of reference, numbered cer- 
tain sections, and shall discuss them in the order in which 
they appear. 

1. The first is a narrative of historical fact, and de- 
serves to be read and pondered with deep attention. The 
extract from the Address of the Convention which it con- 
tains, is justly entitled to the encomium bestowed Upon it, 
as all must admit that it breathes a " frank, impartial, 
catholic spirit." In order to connect this history with the 
proceedings regarding our denomination, a few additional 
particulars are necessary. These we will endeavour to 


The Baptist Missions were commenced in 1793, and 
the translation of |3airn£a> and its cognates immediately 
followed. The British and Foreign Bible Society was 
founded in 1804, and the Calcutta Auxiliary was organized 
in 1807. The Baptist missionaries were invited to co-ope- 
rate, and their versions of the Scriptures, with l3airTi^u) 
and its cognates translated, were taken under the pa- 
tronage of the Auxiliary and of the Parent Institution. 
The latter aided the versions without the intimation of 
any objection. 

In 1813 its Corresponding Secretary addressed an offi- 
cial letter to the Corresponding Secretary of the English 
Baptist Missionary Society, to inquire whether fia-KTi& 
and its cognates were transferred or translated. The 
official reply was that they were translated* No action 
was taken thereupon by the British and Foreign Bible So- 
ciety, but it continued to aid the Baptist translations. 
Under these circumstances, the American Bible Society 
was formed in 1816, and Baptists were invited to co-ope- 
rate with the assurance that its only object was, " the dis- 
semination of the Scriptures in the received versions where 
they exist, and in the most faithful where they may be re- 
quired." Some of the Baptist versions had been in ex- 
istence sixteen years, and many thousand copies had been 
received by the benighted heathen. These versions had 
received aid from the British and Foreign Bible Society 
with the full knowledge that j3airrL^cj and its cognates were 
translated. These facts were matters of public record, 
and although now in 1841, a Board of Managers may 

* Hinton's Letter to Lord Bexlcy, President of the British and 
Foreign Bible Society. 


declare, that they did not know them, it will require more 
than their conjecture to convince posterity that a man of 
such intelligence as the Rev. Dr. John M. Mason, who 
drew up the Address of the Convention, was equally igno- 
rant. The question is not what Mr. Brigham and his co- 
managers in 1839 or in 1341 knew. Suppose that they 
should declare themselves ignorant that there were any 
Baptists in the world, that there were any Baptist mission 
in India, or even that there was such an institution as the 
British and Foreign Bible Society which assisted the Bap- 
tist translations. We appeal to any court of law, or of 
equity, or to any man of plain, unsophisticated sense, what 
would be the effect of such a plea of ignorance ? Would 
it affect the facts of the case, or alter in the least the po- 
sition of the Baptists, and their relation to other denomi- 
nations in forming the American Bible Society? Or would 
the plea recoil against a body of men, who were intrusted 
with the interests of such an institution, and when their 
professions and actions had led into error a large denomi- 
nation of Christians, excuse themselves on account of 
their ignorance of recorded and well known facts ? This 
point is one of great importance, and will be examined at 
length when we come to the fifth section. We will there 
endeavour to show the means of acquiring the requisite 
information possessed by the Board of Managers. 

We will not then detract from the reputation of the in- 
telligent and noble-minded men, who, with Dr. Mason at 
their head, prepared and published the Address of the 
Convention, by believing them ignorant of the proceedings 
of the British and Foreign Bible Society, and of the his- 
tory of the Baptist translations in India. But supposing 
them so culpably ignorant, still their professions were per- 
fectly "frank, impartial and catholic." They supposed 



that in the work which they commenced, " sectarian little- 
ness and virulence" could "find no avenue of admission." 
It will be our business to ascertain how unflinchingly their 
successors have maintained these sentiments. 

2. The first sentence of the second section cannot pro- 
perly be considered by itself. It has a most intimate con- 
nexion with two or three sentences in a subsequent sec- 
tion. We will place them in juxtaposition. 

In preparing the present 
statement in relation to ver- 
sions, the Managers have 
not attempted to settle or 
touch any question as to 
philology or religious ordi- 
nances, but simply to in- 
quire what was the design 
of those who founded the 
Institution, as to the charac- 
ter of tbe Scriptures which 
were to be circulated ? 

The terms " most faith- 
ful," in these circumstances 
obviously signify those ver- 
sions which convey the in- 
spired meaning of the ori- 
ginals, in view of those who 
support and direct the great 
Bible cause. But what is 
the inspired meaning in 
their view ? Not that cer- 
tainly which couveys the 
peculiar tenets of this or 
that denomination, while it 
misstates the views of others 
interested, and is in their 

judgment unfaithful. • 

Faithful versions, in view 
of a Bible Association, must 
be such as all consider faith- 
ful — such as convey, in view 
of all, the true Divizie mean- 
ing. In the English Bible 
adopted by the Society, the 
Divine meaning is thus con- 
veyed. It is a faithful ver- 
sion, as all admit; and others 
should be equally faithful 
when put forth by those con- 
nected with this Association 
and solemnly bound by its 


The Managers " have not attempted to settle or touch 
any question as to philology or religious ordinances, " and 
yet decide that the Baptist translations are " in their judg- 
ment unfaithful." 

The discrepancies between deciding that the transla- 
tion of fiaTTTL^oj is unfaithful, and not settling any question 
as to philology; between determining that immersion is 
wrong and not touching any question as to religious ordi- 
nances ; are too glaring to escape the observation of any 
reader. The full consideration of these extracts would 
lead us directly to the true issue between the American 
Bible Society and the Baptists. This we prefer to post- 
pone till we reach the section from which the second ex- 
tract was made. The remainder of the present section is 
designed to show that the Society were bound to avoid 
every thing sectarian in its aspect. This we most readily 
and heartily admit, and our object under the " true issue" 
will be to show that their course has been sectarian, since 
they adopted the resolutions of 1836. Previously to that 
occurrence we acquit them, so far as the present question 
is concerned, of any such charge. 

3. The third section relates to the ancient versions of 
the Scriptures in Europe founded on the Latin Vulgate. 
These the Managers acknowledge that they have pa- 
tronized from their commencement of the work of foreign 
distribution. They justify this procedure on the ground 
that the " defects" of these versions " were not numerous, 
and there was no hope that those old, venerated versions 
could at once be laid aside, and new ones be introduced 
by foreigners. Nor could new ones be prepared until 
many years should pass away." 

With the propriety of this course we are not at present 
concerned. As an individual, we approve it, although we 


know that in this \vc differ from many excellent men, and 
we Jo not form our opinion altogether upon the reasons 
advanced by the Managers of the American Bible Society. 
But we would have been better pleased had the Managers 
alluded more distinctly and more accurately to the cha- 
racter of the defects of which they speak. The Spanish 
Bible, for instance, employs " Hacer penitencia" to ex- 
press the meaning of those passages in which repentance 
is enjoined. The words signify " to do penance," and aro 
so understood by Spaniards themselves. When they wish 
to express our idea of " repent," they use the verb " arre- 
pentirse." So commonly is the idea of doing penance 
attached to " hacer penitencia," that they employ the 
phrase when they invite a friend to dine with them, and 
to submit to meagre diet: " Come and do penance with 
me to day," that is, " Do not expect rich fare, but be con- 
tent with whatever we happen to have." Similar defects 
exist in other versions founded on the Latin Vulgate, and 
therefore the Papal See permits them to be used, while 
it is mortally opposed to Protestant versions of the Holy 

"When Baptists were in 1816 invited to co-operate in 
forming the American Bible Society, with the assurance 
that it would aid "in the dissemination of received ver- 
sions where they do exist," theirs had existed and had 
been extensively received by heathen, and approved by 
Christians generally, for a considerable number of years. 
With some of them no other version did exist to compete. 
The American Bible Society began to extend its benefac- 
tions to foreign versions, and commenced with those 
founded on the Vuljatc. Could Baptists suppose that tho 
most bigoted Paedo-baptist would find in the translation of 
PaiTTifa a greater defect than those acknowledged to exist 


in the Romanist versions ? But, say the Managers, 
'* There was no hope that those old, venerated translations 
could at once be laid aside, and new ones be introduced 
by foreigners. Nor could one be prepared till many years 
had passed away." And did the Board then suppose the 
the Baptists would lay aside their versions and adopt those 
^prepared by Pcedo-haptists ? And did they suppose that 
"new ones could be prepared" before " many years should 
pass away 1" Either supposition indicates far less intelli- 
gence and less judgment than we are ready to accord to 
the Managers of the American Bible Society. But " the 
Managers [first resolution] feel at liberty to encou- 
rage only such versions as conform to the common En- 
glish version, at least so far that all the religious denomi- 
nations represented in this Society can consistently use 
and circulate said versions in their several schools and 

Connecting this resolution with the history of the Ro- 
manist versions, and with the fact that the Baptist ver- 
sions are excluded under this resolution because they 
translate Par-m^u , it becomes an indisputable fact that the 
Managers can " use and circulate" Romanist versions in 
preference to Baptist, can sanction the " doing of penance," 
for repentance, rather than allow a conscientious body of 
Christians, who in no other respects differ from them in 
translating Scripture, to translate the word PanTifa and its 

To obtain a complete view of the case in this light, it 
will be necessary to add, that the Baptists were large 
contributors to the funds of the American Bible Society, 
and zealous co-operators in its cause : that Romanists had 
no connexion with it : that the agents of the American 
Bible Society, when travelling through the country, 


preaching and lecturing in behalf of foreign distribution, 
frequently referred to Carey, and Judson and Yates, and 
others of our translators, and wrought upon the sympa- 
ties of their audiences by the necessity of assisting such 
men in such undertakings. These, with other circum- 
stances which we will hereafter develop, will conduce to 
show the true position of the Board in relation to foreign 

The Managers have softened the character of the Po- 
pish superstitions and will-worship inculcated in the Ro- 
manist versions, by calling them " defects." We have 
mentioned one of these defects that prevail throughout 
them. Our readers will perhaps be gratified to see ano- 
ther to enable them to judge of the meaning of the word 
defect, when applied to a translation of Holy Scripture, 
and also to understand what the Managers of the Ameri- 
can Bible Society believe " all the religious denominations 
represented in this Society can consistently use and circu- 
late in their several schools and communities," while they 
recoil with horror from the idea that a version which trans- 
lates (iavTL^oi should be circulated, though in every other 
respect, even to them, unexceptionable. In the same 
Spanish version of which we spoke, printed and circulated 
by the American Bible Society, the twenty-first verse of 
the eleventh chapter of Hebrews reads thus : 

For fe Jacob, Estando para morir, rendijo a 
cada uno de los hij0s de joseph : y adoro la al- 
tura de su vara. 

" By faith, Jacob being about to die, blessed each one 
of the sons of Joseph: and worshipped the top of his 

The worship of an image on the top of a staff, which is 
the. idea that a common Romanist attaches to such a 


passage, is a venial fault, a mere defect in the view of this 
circular ; but the immersion of a believer in the name of 
the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, ac- 
cording' to the example of Christ and his apostles, is an 
unpardonable crime, and the version of Scripture that in- 
culcates it, is unfaithful. 

Before leaving the third section we must express our 
regret that the Managers have net been more particular in 
this to date their transactions. This defect we shall en- 
deavour to supply. 

From the circular alone, the most of readers would draw 
the inferences, that the Society laboured for some time in 
the distribution of the English Scriptures before they turned 
their attention to existing versions in foreign tongues, and 
that at a more distant period they considered the question 
of assisting in translating into heathen languages. We do 
not say that it was designed to convey erroneous ideas in 
these matters, but we assert that the circular would not 
give the 'impression that, as was really the case, in the very 
first year of the Society's operations, the Managers who 
then had charge of its interests, " directed their attention to 
the translation of the Scriptures into the Indian languages 
of our country, and the publication of the Spanish New Tes- 
tament, and of the Scriptures in the French." First Report, 
page 18. The next year we find them ordering an edition of 
the Bible in the language of the Delaware Indians, andano- 
her in that of the Mohawks. Second Report, pages IS 
and 19. From that time to the present they have been 
engaged in the distribution of foreign versions and the en- 
couragement of new translations, so that from the com- 
mencement of their operations, either their principles in 
relation to such matters were established, or they were 
proceeding in affairs of the utmost importance, and zeal- 


ously employing tho aid of our denomination, without 
fixed principles. This maiter of dates we mention now 
because particularly connected with the second and third 
sections, but the application of tho argument derived from 
them will be felt most forcibly under the fifth. 

4. The Bubstance of the fourth section is, that where 

us did not exist, but were to be made, the most 

faithful were to be patronized, and that a version which 

expressed views in which all the denominations reprc- 

1 in the Society did not coincide, is therefore in tho 

ent of its Managers unfaithful. 

Should these statements be admitted, they do not apply 
to the case of the Bengali version. Although since im~ 
. it existed many years before Hie Ame- 
rican Bible Society, and has undergone no change in 
the particular objected to. It was therefore not a version 
about to be made. We should think that a judicious body 
of men like the Managers of the American Bible Society 
would see this discrepancy in their argument. But leaving 
this, we discover other important points deserving of no- 
tice in these statements. 

In the first place, the Managers have never b fore 
charged that the Bengali version is unfaithful. A re- 
solution to thru effect was once started in committee, but 
the Rev. Dr. De Witt most solemnly abjured the idea of 
ssing such an opinion, and the resolution was with- 

In the Board, the Baptist. Managers frequently dial- 
lenged any assertion of unfaithfulness, but that point was 
never •/ of debate. Now, when the Bap- 

tists have left the Society, when they have formed another 
Institution, and have continued their separate organization 
for four years ; when there is no one to vindicate their 


cause in the Board of the American Bible Society,, or to 
expose the inconsistency of 6uch a procedure, the Ma- 
nagers gravely conclude that they did not patronize the 
Bengali version because it zoas unfaithful ! 

We will acknowledge that there is a boldness about 
this plea, which, had it been assumed in an earlier part of 
the controversy, would have implied to many minds a 
greater degree of consistency than any before advanced. 
A version is unfaithful, because it expresses views con- 
trary to those entertained by a portion of the Society. It 
must be evident that the question of numbers in such a 
matter cannot be considered. If the principle be correct, 
it would have been equally applicable, had the Baptists 
constituted the larger, and the Paedo-baptists the smaller 
portion of the Society. Let us apply the principle and see 
how it will work. A portion of the Society belong to the 
Old School in doctrine, and another to the New School. 
The missionaries are similarly divided. Some are re- 
garded by those who differ from them as Pelagian, and 
others as Antinomian. Of course each translates certain 
disputed passages of Scripture bearing upon doctrine ac- 
cording to his peculiar views of their meaning, and in these 
expresses views differing from those of many others 
equally interested, in the Society. Will the Managers 
therefore deem such translations unfaithful ? If the prin- 
ciple be correct, surely men of honourable minds will not 
think of restricting its application to Baptists. 
The latter portion of this section thus proceeds: 
" Faithful versions in view of a Bible Association, must 
be such as all consider faithful — such as convey, in view 
of all, the true Divine meaning. In the English Bible 
adopted by the Society, the Divine meaning is thus con. 
veyed. It is a faithful version, as all admit ; and others 


should bo equally faithful when put forth by those con- 
nected with this Association and solemnly bound by its 

In order fully to understand the meaning of these sen- 
borne in mind, that the Bengali version 
ected, became in a Bingieword and its cognates, 
it did not confoftn to the English version : m oth 
its faithfulness i-; not disputed. The Board of Manager* 
not attt'in] ted to settle or touch any question as to 
philology," and yet decide that if a conscientiovs philolo- 
gist translates a word which is not translated in the 
glisfa version, his whole book, though unexceptionable in 
other particular, /, and cannot be pa- 

tronized. Thus the English version is made a Procustean 
bed, to the Length and breadth of which the consciem 

lator must be stretched or contracted as the 
case may require. 

" It is a faithful version, as all admit." Gratuito7is as- 
sumption is not argument or matter of fact. T) 'e do 
admit it to be faithful in the sense which the Managers 
imply by their reasoning'. Nay, we doubt whether in this 
D ten thousand of our countrymen, exclusi 
opalians, will venture, upon deliberation, to declare 
it faithful. We will adduce one instance. In Acts xii. 4, 
the ' Ireek word [Lurga is translated, contrary to all rules 
of"'. y, " Easter." No scholar doubts that it should 
be, as everywhere else in the Testament, translated 
• !' Do the Board of Managers mean to it 

that the E a is faithful in respect to this? 

I t if it be not. what I •• at / It will 

not do for them to say, that they meant not to assert its 
faithfulness in every single word. The Bengali version i 
not charged with unfaithfulness, ' xcept in one word and 


its cognates. Nay, the testimonials to its faithfulness are 
of the most indisputable character, and many of them from 
Peedo-baptists. They have never been disputed by the 
Board, and therefore it would only encumber our argu- 
ment here to introduce them. The only fault ever found 
with the version, is that it has followed the version of 
Martin Luther, and almost every other Protestant version 
of inland Europe and all the ancient Eastern versions, in 
translating Pa-rcTifa, instead of transferring it. Thisis the 
true issue, and to this we shall hereafter lend our atten- 
tion more closely. At present we cannot pass by a ques- 
tion or two suggested by what we have said. The word 
" EASTER" — do our Presbyterian and Congregational 
friends preserve it in their versions, or do they dare to 
translate, Hacr^a " Passover," or by a word of similar im- 
port ? This is an important question. Have our Epis- 
copal friends given it due consideration ? Dr. Milnor was 
exceedingly strenuous against the Baptists, because they 
varied in one word from the English version. Is he 
equally scrupulous, we will not say, conscientious, to- 
wards his Presbyterian friends ? Shall we question our 
Congregational friends about the word "bishop?" "We 
wish not to annoy, we desire only to convince. If the 
Managers will proceed to apply their reasoning, they can- 
not fail to discover its fallaciousness. 

Since, in their opinion, faithfulness requires that every 
word, in the translation of which denominations differ, 
should be conformed to the English version, they certainly 
decide that in these words the English Bible is faithful. 
They cannot, therefore, avoid the conclusion that " Easter," 
and " Bishop," and similar words, are faithful transla- 
tions, and that every version which does not copy them, is 
unfaithful and undeserving of patronage. On this subject, 


thon. we appeal to them as honest, impartial men, and ask 
them whether the; ! ■ due inquiries in these re- 

8 P ect - ds which they patronize. If 

they have 9 acquit them ? 

The Episcopal denomination seldom ohject to immer- 
MOn. In : . Church it is specially prescribed, 

and in this country it is sometimes practised by them. 
1 •'■-' writer in the Churchman spoke in favour of it, 

and denounced sprinkling as unscriptural. Bishop Smith of 
Kentucky, declares immersion to be the only Scriptural 
mode of baptism. The British Critic, the Church organ 
in Great Britain, regards it in the same light, and wishes 
. as the universal practice of the Church. 
But the ilians all reverence " Easter," and prefer 

the term " Bishop" to" Overseer." They have not, itis 
true, a majority in the Board of Managers, butif they had, 
would other denominations submit to have every version 
stigmatized as unfaithful, which in these and similar words 
does not conform to the English ? Surely the Managers will 
not pretend that numbers decide principle : in other words, 
that only that is faithful for which a majority of votes can 
be procured. 

Tlii- subject still presents itself in another aspect. If 
: version convey " the true Divine meaning," 
and if it be " faithful," have the Managers any right to 
h praise has been of late bestowed upon 
the Engli American Biblo 

Society has adopted it as the standard by which to deter- 
mine the faithfulness of other versions, that the patrons of 
that Institution are probably little prepared to learn what 
liberties its Managers are taking with that which conveys 
4< tho true Divine meaning." We might point them to 
.'.thousand instances in which they have varied 


the authorized editions of the English Scriptures, but we 
prefer showing how they disagree even with themselves. 
The length of this article will permit us to adduce only 
on L instance, but it shall be one of no little importance. 
We have before us four editions of the American Bible 
Society, two of the same year. In the octavo edition of 
the Bible for 1829, John x. 28, 29, is thus translated : 
" And I give unto them eternal life ; and they 


" My Father which gave them me, is greater than 
all ; and no man is able to pluck them out of my 
Father's hand." . 

The duodecimo edition of the same year, gives the 
passage thus: 

"And 1 give unto them eternal life'; and they 
shall never perish, neither shall any pluck them 
out of my hand. 

" My Father, which gave them me, is greater 


my Father's hand." 

The octavo edition of the New Testament for 1831, is 
altered from the octavo edition of the Bible for 1829, and 
follows the duodecimo edition of the latter year. 

But the octavo edition of 1839 varies from both, and 
presents the passage thus, placing the word " man" in 
roman characters, as though it were in the original. 

" And I give unto them eternal life ; and they 


"Mi Father, which gave them me, is greater 


mi Father's hand." 


Such then is the mode in which the Managers treat a 
version which they believe to convey " the true Divine 
meaning," and to be "faithful" even to individual words. 
To some readers, the verses which we have quoted, con- 
vey different meanings as they have been varied by the 
Managers. A man who cherished warmly the doctrine 
of the perseverance of the saints, might allege, that when 
"man" is inserted as though in the original, it leaves a 
doubt whether other beings might not pluck the saints 
from the Father's hand. But this is not the question with 
us. Our inquiry is, where is the consistency of thus va- 
rying a version, and then insisting that it conveys " the 
true Divine meaning," and cashiering every version that 
does not conform to it ? 

We shall here endeavour to show the real issue be- 
tween the American Bible Society and the Baptists. We 
say the real issue, for we have already shown that the un- 
fortunate course of the American Bible Society has in- 
volved them in several collateral issues, upon each of 
which a simple statement of facts furnishes an unques- 
tionable verdict against them. In order to come at the 
real issue, we must suppose all these facts to be changed. 
We will then imagine that the Bengali version wa- not in 
existence when the British and Foreign Bible Society 
commenced ; that it was not patronized by that institution; 
that the Secretary of that Institution was not officially re- 
quired to interrogate tho Baptist Missionary Society in 
1813, whether in that version PcurTtfa was translated ; that 
the Missionary Society did not reply that it was ; that the 
British and Foreign Bible Society did not continue to pa- 
tronize the version; that the American Bible Society, when 
it was formed in 1816, did not know of the existence of 
that version ; that this Society diJ not commence patron- 


izing foreign versions in the first years of its existence ; 
that it does not patronize Catholic versions, inculcating 
the doing of penance and the worshipping of the top of 
a staff; that it does not change the English version in 
thousands of instances and sometimes in very important 
cases. These and many other circumstances must be 
imagined to be changed, before we can fairly try the real 
issue, the point, which, though concealed by many other 
matters less important, is the true point of difference be- 
tween the American Bible Society and the Baptists. 

We suppose, then, that the Bengali version was about 
to be prepared, and the Managers of the American Bible 
Society were about to determine the principles on which 
they would commence the patronage of new versions. We 
will suppose further, that other versions were being pre- 
pared in the same language, and that the latter transferred 
panTifa, while the Baptist version translated the word. 
The question then comes legitimately before the Mana- 
gers, which is the more faithful course in making a version 
of the Holy Scriptures into a heathen language, to transfer 
fiavTifa or to translate it. The Managers assume the po- 
sition that it is more faithful to transfer the word ; the 
Baptists believe that it is more faithful to translate it. 

It will be evident upon a little consideration, that the 
question of the English version is not necessarily connected 
with this issue. This version has been in existence about 
two hundred years. It is generally used and is esteemed 
classic in the vernacular tongue. Ideas more or less defi- 
nite are attached to the word '* baptize," which has been 
transferred in it from the Greek. The facilities furnished 
in this country for the study of the original, and the general 
and rapidly increasing diffusion of knowledge, diminish, to 


say the least, the necessity of translating the word. But 
with a heathen nation the case is different. 

A missionary of the cross, imbued with love to God mul 
man, his visited a foreign land to communicate the will of 
Heaven to the ignorant. He bears with bim the precious 
;b reveal that will, and he makes himself ac- 
quainted with the language of the people whom he desires 
to benefit. immences the work of translation. 

A word occurs which expresses a distinct duty. Of tho 
meaning of that word, or the import of that duty, he ha3 
no doubt. To enjoin that anion:: other duties, he has left 
his bome and devoted his life to hardship ami peril. The 
Scripture which he is translating, will be scattered among 
millions of the human race, many of whom may never sco 
a missionary of the Cross. None of the natives of the 
country possess the originals, nor could any of them read 
or understand them if possessed. If he transfers the word, 
no native can understand its meaning without personal in- 
tion; if he translates it, the duty enjoined becomes 
perfectly intelligible.* There is, it is true, in his own land 
a diversity of practice, and some variety of views, regard- 
ing the duty and the word which enjoins it. But the lead- 
ing reformers translated it; the greater part of tin- lan- 

• of Europe, and the ancient versions in the Asiatic 
tongues have it translated. With regard to many other 
part- of Scripture, in his own native laud, there is great 

* F.oth in India and Burmah, many conversions have taken 
place from the rcadinp of tin- Bcripturea ; aud tin- first intelligence 
ofsucli facta baa lometimoa been communicated to our misaiona- 
riea by the applii ation for baptism on tin- part of naiivea who had 
come from a distance and introduced themselves for that special 
purpose. Had the comiir.nd to be baptised been concealed in 
an unknown tongue, what obligation would it have imposed? 


diversity of views. Contests concerning' them at times run 
so high, that the terms Pelagian, Antinomian, and even 
heretic, are freely bandied about among the parties who 
attach different meanings to different passages. Yet he 
has not transferred these. He has conscientiously, in 
the fear of God, expressed what he believes to be, the 
meaning of the inspired volume. He again examines the 
word with the most scrupulous and prayerful anxiety, and 
finding not the least reason to doubt its meaning, he trans- 
lates it. 

Another missionary is similarly situated, but his delibe- 
rations come to a similar result. A society offers him five 
or ten thousand dollars, as the case may be, to be expended 
in publishing his translation, if he will transfer, rather than 
translate the word concerned. He has no more doubt than 
the other of its meaning. He sees that to transfer it, would 
be to conceal that meaning from the heathen. He feels 
that he stands between God and the soul of each native 
who reads his book, and that he is professing to commu- 
nicate to the latter, to the best of his ability, the whole 
revealed will of heaven. If he translates the word, and 
communicates the will of God in this matter, the money 
will not be given ; if he transfers the word, and conceals 
that will, the boon will be forthcoming. It has been 
already voted on that express condition* His brother 

* At the annual meeting- of the Baptist Board of Foreign Mis- 
sions, in Hartford, April 27th, 1836, a letter was presented from 
Rev. John C. Krigham, Corresponding Secretary of the American 
Bible Society, notifying the Board that, " on the 17th instant, at a 
meeting of the Managers, the sum of five thousand dollars was ap- 
propriated to the Baptist Board of Foreign Missions, to promote 
the circulation of the Scriptures in foreign tongues," which money 


missionary has had the same proposition before him, but 
has thrown himself upon the protection of the Author of 
the book, and thus communicated the will of the Author. 
The second missionary remembers that the word in ques- 
tion contains an express command of his beloved Lord. 
He reflects upon all that his Lord did and suffered for 
him, and considers that he is now communicating the will 
of Jehovah Jesus to fallen, sinful man. He trembles 
under the terrible threat accompanying the Apocalypse, 
" if any man shall add," or, " if any man shall take away 
from the words of the prophecy of this book;" and he 
fully believes that what is applicable to a portion of the 
will of God, because it is from God, must be in some 
sense applicable to the whole. He sees that purposely 
to conceal a part from the heathen, while professing to 
give them the whole, is almost identical with taking away 

would be paid over, if our foreign versions were conformed " in 
the principles of tbeir translation to the common English version, 
&c," on which condition the appropriation had been made. The 
grant was conscientiously declined. Similar attempts were made 
by the British and Foreign Bible Society to procure ihe transfer of 
the words in ihe Bengali version. The manner in which the En- 
glish Baptist missionaries reason upon the subject, evinces the 
deep anxiety and perplexity to which propositions of this kind sub- 
jected them. On the one hand was pressing pecuniary necessity ; 
on the other, the utmost facility for the publication and circulation 
of their translations : but witli the former was tho fear of God ; 
with the latter, the patronage of man. 

We do not mean to intimate that the Managers of the American 
Bible Society designed to bribe or tempt the Baptists from their 
integrity. They acted consistently with the erroneous policy which 
they adopted in ]836, and have since continued. But had the Bap- 
tists yielded, and transferred the words in question under such 
circumstances, could the Managers of the American Bible Society 
have regarded the Baptist versions as faithful ? 



a part. He feels deeply upon the subject, but the will of 
the Society is imperious. The five thousand dollars are 
needed for the publication of the book. He yields and 
transfers the word. 

In all this comparison, we have not started the question 
whether the first or the second missionary is a Baptist or 
a Pa?do~baptist. The only question to be kept in view in 
the comparison, is, whether it is dealing faithfully with 
God's word, when making- a version in a foreign tongue, 
to transfer an important part, which a conscientious mis- 
sionai-y believes himself capable of translating. 

The board of Managers are now to consider which of 
these two versions is the most faithful. The one has, in 
the fear of God, communicated the truth according to the 
conscientious convictions of the translator; the other has, 
from the fear of man, concealed a portion of that truth. 
"Which is the more faithful version of the two ? We leave 
each manager to decide this question between himself and 
his God. 

Still we are apprehensive that the Managers do not duly 
consider the difference between a version in the language 
of an intelligent, literary people like ours, and one among 
a comparatively ignorant and heathen nation. Here we 
abound with living teachers as well as written comments 
on every thing which might otherwise be obscure in the 
text of the Scriptures. But to make the case of the hea- 
then our own ; we may fancy a being from another planet, 
who has brought us the oracles of God in his own lan- 
guage, and translated them into ours. Should he leave in 
his vernacular tongue the words directing us wfcat to do 
when we believed, when he had been sent to communi 
cate to us the whole truth, what would we judge of the 
faithfulness of his translation ? And should another, sent 


on a similar errand, to the best of his ability, in the fear 
God, translate the whole, who would doubt which version 
was the more faithful of the two 1 

We may here observe that in our opinion the Managers 
have acted decidedly wrong in arguing upon this as a mere 
denominational question. Previously to the action of the 
Bible Societies upon the subject, more Paxlo-baptist versions 
translated the word/?<i7rrj£w, than transferred it, and nearly 
all these versions gave it the same meaning expressed in 
the Baptist versions.* Among those, also, who use the 
English version, a large number of Ptedo-baptist scholars of 
great note, have given their sanction to the same meaning. 
It is, therefore, not in accordance with the discretion and 
modesty which should characterize a Board of Managers, 
to assume as a fact, that, because many Paedo-baptists 
sprinkle or pour, all other denominations than ours are 
unable to use our versions. The managers, in a part of 
the circular which we shall hereafter examine, admit that 
in the German and Dutch Bibles, the word in question is 
translated, and the translated word once meant to im- 
merse. This once must be referred to the times of Luther, 
who, as well as other contemporaneous scholars, expressly 
declares it. The Managers have thus placed themselves 
in a perplexing dilemma. Either the whole of inland 
Europe must have immersed at the time when these ver- 
sions came into general use, or the versions must have 
been used by those who sprinkled or poured. If the latter 
be admitted, the argument that other denominations can- 
not use the Baptist versions, falls to the ground. If the 
former horn of the dilemma be adopted, then at the time 
of the reformation, all the reformed churches of inland 

* Look at Appendix. 


Europe immersed, and the rite has since been changed to 
sprinkling or pouring, and all the various vernacular words 
in the different languages, having reference to it, have, 
within four hundred years, lost their meaning* 

We are Baptist, both in sentiment and practice, but we 
never desire to claim as authority for our views, more than 
the strict truth of history will yield us. If the Managers 
of the American Bible Society can prove that all who used 
the German, the Dutch and the Danish versions, at the 
time of their publication, that is, at and subsequent to the 
reformation, invariably practised immersion, it may, per- 
haps, have a beneficial effect upon the minds of Pajdo- 
baptists, to publish the proof. Still it would be difficult 
to explain how, under such circumstances, all the words re- 
lating to the subject have new lost their meaning. If such 
a change of meaning were possible, it could not, by any pos- 
sibility, have been instantaneous, and it must have followed 
in consequence of a change of the rite. But when the rite 
was changed in any instance, either the change in the 
meaning of the words took place instantaneously, or those 
who practised sprinkling or pouring, used Bibles in which 
the translated words concerning baptism " signified im- 
merse." The former of the last two propositions, no rea- 
sonable man will maintain ; the latter totally overthrows 
the argument of the Managers of the American Bible So- 

5. It must have been remarked that we have carefully 
abstained from the imputation of any dishonourable mo- 
tive to the Managers of the American Bible Society in 
their treatment of the Baptists. Every candid man will 
acknowledge that it would have comported with trie dig- 
nity of the Managers to have pursued a similar course 
towards our denomination. Our readers are all aware 


that the Rev. S. H. Cone is the President of the American 
and Foreign*Bible Society, a gentleman in whose charac- 
ter, among many other highly estimable traits, stands pre- 
eminent that of candor. No one can read the fifth sec- 
tion without the impression that, while an indirect imputa- 
tion is thrown upon all our denomination, the President of 
our Society is singled out, as having, for the sake of ob- 
taining appropriations for the Burmese version, dishonour- 
ably concealed the fact, that it translated Panrti-o}, immerse. 
We hope that, for the honour of the Board, it will at some 
day appear, that this paragraph was hastily read and ap- 
proved, and its real import was not apprehended at the 
moment, except by the heart of him who penned it. 

To the history of the circumstances connecting our ver- 
sions with the Bi-itish and Foreign Bible Society, the Cal- 
cutta Auxiliary, and the American Bible Society, the fol- 
lowing particulars must here be added in order to under- 
stand how far either Mr. Cone, or the denomination to 
which he belongs, has been guilty of concealment in this 

In the Fourth Report of the American Bible Society, 
(1820) page 51, is the following paragraph: " The Bri- 
tish and Foreign Bible Society having offered five hundred 
pounds sterling for the first thousand copies of every ap- 
proved translation of the New Testament into any dialect 
of India, in which no translation had been previously 
printed, the Seramporc translators are mentioned by the 
Committee of that Society as having satisfactorily com- 
plied with the terms proposed by accomplishing and print- 
ing three versions, the Pushtoo, the Kunkun, and the Te- 
linga or Teloogo ; by which, on the presentation of the 
required number of copies of each, they are entitled to 
£1500 sterling from the Committee." 


This record is made seven years after " the Committee 
of that Society" had been officially informed that the mis- 
sionaries at Serampore always translated Panni-co immerse. 

In the Fifth Report of the American Bible Society 
(1821) on page 44th, is the following record: 

" An interesting communication has recently been re- 
ceived by your Managers from those excellent men who 
are engaged in translating and publishing the Holy Scrip- 
tures at Serampore. Twenty-six years have now elapsed 
since they commenced their work of translating the Scrip- 
tures into the languages of India. They have now pub- 
lished the whole Bible in five of those languages ; the New 
Testament and some parts of the Old in ten more ; in six 
more the New Testament is brought more than half 
through the press ; and in ten more some one of the gos- 
pels is printed ; and in several, all four of the gospels." 

The Bengali version, our readers all know, was the first 
prepared by "those excellent men" (Baptists) at Seram- 
pore. " Twenty-six years," the Report of the American 
Bible Society for 1821 (only the fifth year of its existence) 
says, " have now elapsed" since its commencement, and 
yet in 1835, it is treated by the Managers as aversion 
then to be made. 

On page 45th, of the same Report{1821) the Managers 
say : 

" The Rev. William Ward, of Serampore, having made 
a visit to the United States, in the course of last winter, 
the Managers gladly embraced the opportunity of present- 
ing to him, and through him to his fellow labourers, Doc- 
tors Carey and Marshman, copies of the best edition of 
the Bible published by the American Bible Society, as an 
expression of their esteem, and of their high approbation 


of the long and successful exertions of these servants of 
God, in translating and diffusing the Holy Scriptures." 

On the 6th page of the Ninth Report (1825) appears 
this memorandum : 

" The Society's Library has been enriched by a copy of 
the Bible in the Chinese language (Dr. Marshman's Trans- 
lation) presented by Messrs. Carey, Marshman and Ward, 
of Serampore." 

In the Fourteenth Report (1830) page 53, the Mana- 
gers remark : 

" In ihe last Report it was mentioned that an appro- 
priation of $1200 had been made to the American Board 
of Baptist Missions, for the purpose of publishing the 
Scriptures in the Burman Empire, where this body have 
a promising Mission. This money has been remitted, and 
with fervent prayers to the Author of the Bible that he 
will open a wide and .effectual door for the reception of 
his truth. A far greater sum than the present might be 
advantogeously sent to the same field, were it in the power 
of the Board to furnish it." 

On pages 42 and 43 of the Seventeenth Report (1833) 
they state : 

" From the Baptist Mission stations in Burmah pleas- 
ing evidence continues to be received as to the facilities 
they afford for circulating the Sacred Scriptures. The 
New Testament ha3 there been translated by the Rev. 
Mr. Judson, and also different portions of the Old." 

These are only a portion of the notices of our versions 
by the American Board before 1835. Now, we ask 
whether it is probable, that while such favourable notices 
were published, the Managers never thought of making 
themselves acquainted with the fact, that Pairri^o) was 
translated ? Having their word to the contrary, we do not 


here assert that the fact was officially communicated to 
them. But were they destitute of any of the ordinary 
means of obtaining the information if they wished it ? 
Were there not Baptist members of their Board ? Had 
they not personal intercourse with Mr. Ward, one of 
the translators ? Were they not in constant official inter- 
course with the Committee of the British and Foreign 
Bible Society, who were officially informed of the fact ? 
Had they not direct communication with the English and 
American Baptist missionaries who were themselves the 
translators ? 

The question will hardly be asked, " Was it probable 
that the Baptist missionaries would translate pcnrTi^io ?" 
No man who claims a tithe of the intelligence of any Ma- 
nager of the American Bible Society would suppose, upon 
the least reflection, that Baptist missionaries, in translat- 
ing the Holy Scriptures into a heathen tongue, would 
leave in an unknown language all the words relating to the 
ordinance of baptism. That such an anomaly should take 
place, and that all our translators and our missionary 
boards should agree to it, and that the denomination in 
England and America should quietly acquiesce, is an ima- 
gination too gross for any as much acquainted as the Board 
of Managers must be with Baptist pi'inciples, to dwell 
upon for a moment even as a hypothesis. 

But the Managers of the American Bible Society were 
not in this matter left to inference, however obvious, how- 
ever unavoidable. In April, 1833, the American Baptist 
Board of Foreign Missions unanimously passed the fol- 
lowing resolutions : 

" Resolved, That the Board feel it to be their duty to 
adopt all prudent measures to give to the heathen the pure 
word of God in their own languages ; and to furnish their 



missionaries with all the means in their power, to make 
their translations as exact a representation of the mind of 
the Holy Spirit, as may be possible. 

" Resolved, That all the missionaries of the Board, 
who are, or who shall be, engaged in translating the Scrip- 
tures, be instructed to endeavour, by earnest prayer and 
diligent study, to ascertain the precise meaning of the 
original text ; to express that meaning as exactly as the 
nature of the languages, into which they shall translate the 
Bible, will permit, and to transfer no words which are 
capable of being literally translated." 

['.very proper degree of publicity was immediately given 
to these resolutions. They were printed in our Mis- 
sionary Magazine for the following month, copies of 
which were laid on the table of the Board of the Ameri- 
can Bible Society by S. H. Cone, at that time one of the 
Corresponding Secretaries of the Institution, and were 
furnished to anyone, who wished, of the individual Mana- 
gers. After the publication of these resolutions, how can 
the Managers consistently profess their ignorance that the 
Baptists translated, and did not transfer the words con- 
cerning baptism? Yet at the anniversary in May, 1831, 
the Society resolved to distribute the Bible among all the 
accessible population of the globe within the shortest 
practicable period; and by direction of the Board of Ma- 
nager?, a circular was addressed to missionaries and mis- 
sionary societies of different religious denominations, en- 
couraging them to expect, that whenever the Old Testa- 
ment or the New, or other book of the Bible, should bo 
correctly translated and ready (without note or comment) 
for the press, they should receive the aid requisite for the 
publication of the same. In consequence of this circular, 
the American Baptist Board of Foreign Missions applied 


for aid in behalf of the Burman Scriptures, and in 1835, 
two years after the passage of the resolutions by the 
Baptist Board, seven thousand dollars were granted for 
those Bapiist versions. Nineteenth Report of the Ameri- 
can Bible Society, (1835) pages 52 and 53. 

We do not desire to deduce the slightest inference 
which the facts before us do not most unquestionably war- 
rant. The Managers of the American Bible Society have 
more than once plead ignorance in excuse for their mea- 
sures; but ignorance under the circumstances which we 
have developed, is inexcusable. Shall it be said that a 
body of forty or fifty men, having charge of an institution 
which at the time was second to none in America, re- 
mained twenty years ignorant of -the character of versions 
on what they now regard as a most vital point, and yet 
were from time to time commending them, and sometimes 
making donations to them ? Shall it be said that all this 
time they had every opportunity of informing themselves 
in that of which they were ignorant, and neglected to do 
it ? Shall it be said that every thing in the character, the 
preaching, the writing and the conversation of our denomi- 
nation, was calculated to enlighten them, and they knew 
us not while associated with us ? Shall it be said that 
they grant money from time to time to a Missionary 
Board, and not one among them makes himself acquainted 
with the doings of that Board ? Do the Managers of the 
American Bible Society so conduct their business that they 
do not esteem it necessary to read the reports of mission- 
ary societies, or their religious magazines ? And then shall 
they insinuate that the Baptists have deceived them all 
along, and especially select the President of the American 
and Foreign Bible Society against whom to direct such a 
shaft ? 


Hero it may be asked, why did Messrs. Pearce and 
Yates mention that (3airTL^u was translated 1 The reply 
is obvious. The Bengali version, after having been 
patronized by the British and Foreign Bible Society and 
the Calcutta Auxiliary from the commencement of their 
existence with a knowledge of the fact that /3a7rn£u was 
translated, was eventually rejected, not because any new 
information was communicated concerning it, but because 
some of the missionaries of the Independents found Bap- 
tist views rapidly spreading in India, and wished to check 
them. The influence of the Independents and Churchmen 
caused those Bible Societies to refuse any further support 
to versions that translated /?a7rr«|w. It was very proper 
therefore for the missionaries, in applying to the Ameri- 
can Bible Society to mention on what ground aid was 
withheld by the others. But it was exceedingly hazardous 
for the Managers of the American Bible Society to follow 
a sectarian example, and then to profess that they had 
been nearly twenty years acting in utter ignorance of 
matters which it behooved them to know, and which it 
required scarcely the semblance of exertion to learn. 

To make this subject clear to the most obtuse mind, let 
us take a case strictly analogous. The American Sunday 
School Union is an institution embracing all evangelical 
denominations. The Baptists have co-operated in it with- 
out difficulty, from the period of its organization. Thou- 
sands of Sabbath schools have been established and sus- 
tained by it, and a very fair proportion among our deno- 
mination. In the latter it is constantly taught that there 
is only one faith, one Lord, one baptism, that is, as we 
understand it, that immersion, and only immersion, is 
baptism. No official communication of this fact has ever, 
to our knowledge, been made to the Managers of the 


American Sunday School Union. Yet have we no appre- 
hensions that when that institution is sufficiently strong to 
do without the Baptists, the Managers will decline either 
to establish or sustain any schools, in which the doctrine 
is taught that immersion alone is baptism, because that 
doctrine is not received by all the denominations repre- 
sented in the Union. Least of all do we fear, that if such 
an untoward event should take place, the Managers would 
pretend that we had all along deceived them, or kept them 
in ignorance upon this subject. 

We are informed in this section that, when the Com- 
mittee on Distribution were unable to recommend any 
course to the Board, a Special Committee was appointed, 
consisting of seven members, " a Presbyterian, an Episco- 
palian, a Baptist, a Methodist, a Moravian, one of the Re- 
formed Dutch Church, and one from the Society of Friends." 

It is customary, we believe, in deliberative bodies, when 
a question occurs, on which there is a difference of opi- 
nion, and a special committee is appointed to discuss it 
and report thereon, to constitute that committee so as to 
represent as fairly as possible both sides of the question. 
Thus in Congress when a committee is appointed on a 
matter affecting the Administration, it is usually repro- 
bated as violent party action, if more than four out of 
seven, or five out of nine, be selected from one side. By 
nearly equalizing the representation of interests in the 
committee, a full and free discussion of the point at issue 
is secured, and the nearest approach possible to impar- 
tiality is attained. In the case before us, six Anti-bap- 
tists* were put on committee with one Baptist, and such 

* We use the term " Anti-baptist," not in disrespect or reproach. 
" Pasdo-baptist" is not so appropriate in the present instance, be- 


a selection of member.-; made for that committee as to give 
the whole a denominational aspect. We have before said 
that we considered the Board as decidedly wrong in mak- 
ing a denominational affair of the matter. In the Board 
of a general Bible Society, every thing which is likely to 
awaken denominational jealousy ought to be studiously 
avoided. The general question before the Society grow- 
ing out of the case of the Bengali version, was this. On 
points of Philology, involving doctrines or practice, in 
which evangelical Christians, supporting the American 
Bible Society, differ from each other, what course should 
be followed in the translation of Scripture? Should the 
word-, on the supposed meaning of which the difference 
depends, be translated from the original Scriptures or 
transferred from the English version? The committee to 
examine and report upon the principles involved in such a 
question as the latter, ought, in our apprehension, to have 
numbered at least three out of seven in favour of transla- 
tion, no matter to what denomination they belonged. But 
to appoint six Anti-baptists out of seven, to consider the 
claims of a Baptist version upon the patronage of the So- 
ciety, and to select one from each denomination, as a sort 

cause the Friends or Quakers, represented in the committee, do not 
properly come under that appellation, and the question at issue did 
not n . tptism or the baptism of children. But six of 

the committee represented bodies, whose genera] practice, as re- 
gards the ordinance of baptism is opposed to that of the Baptists. 
In respect to the Frii nd. the selection w;i> peculiarly unfortunate. 
llr represented ;i bod) who denj the present obligation of the or- 
din inces, and of course it might have bei n expected that he would. 
prefer to conceal the injunction relative to oue of them nnder an 
unknown tongue. Wen' the Same CObrse pursued with the ob- 
servance of the Lord's Supper, he could scarcely oppose it from 
couscientious motives. 



of representative, who was to feel, not that he sat upon 
committee as an individual to judge of a general principle 
of abstract right, but that he acted in behalf of the sect or 
body of men to which he belonged, was, in our apprehen- 
sion, the most direct method of arousing a sectarian spirit 
in the minds of all concerned. 

An illustration from common life may conduce to ren- 
der this principle clear to every understanding. 

In ordinary circumstances two men in private conversa- 
tion have no hesitation in expressing their respective views 
of a matter on which they differ, and, if both are candid, 
the one who has truth on his side, has some prospect of 
convincing the other. But let the latter have two coadju- 
tors to assist him in argument, is it not likely that they will 
keep each other in countenance, and overpower the former 
by the multiplicity, if not by the force of their arguments ? 
If, then, instead of three, there are six on one side, while 
the man who is opposed to them is left without an assist- 
ant in word or counsel, and without the presence even of 
a spectator to express assent to truth and dissent from 
error, is it not in the very nature of the human mind, that 
the six will strengthen each other in their original opinions, 
rather than yield to an individual who is opposed to them ? 

We grant, indeed, that when the six Anti-baptists were 
appointed on committee with one Baptist on a question 
involving the rights of the latter, the former were selected 
as men of surpassing intellect. But the greater the in- 
tellect, the more danger to be apprehended from it when 
swayed by interest or prejudice. In the present case both 
combined their influence. The six acting in behalf of their 
respective denominations, were interested to check the 
propagation of Baptist sentiments, and influenced by the 
manner in which Pa?do-baptists generally allow them- 


a to talk of Baptists as b people «»f little intelligence 
and easily led, were prejudiced against the hotly of the 
denomination. Having therefore secured the assent of 
two or three intelligent men among us, they felt little ap- 
prehension of any Berions Consequences from their deci- 
sion. Under these circumstances they recommended the. 
ifterwards adopted by the Board, 
noble Btand of t ra of an American Bi- 

. should have be< n: " We know no denomina- 
tion in our constitution, and we are determined not to 
By in <>ur pi All who contribute a 

certain amount of funds members of our Society, 

and v. ways to dispense those funds in strict 

accordance with our views of the constitution, and with- 
out any regard to the practices or prejudices of this or 
that denomination." 

The course which the Managers did pursue, produced 
the i i It which might have been anticipated. 

The representatives of the different denominations adopt- 
ed such views as might have been expected to please the 
majority of those whom they respectively represented. 
General principles could no longer be seen. When the 
Committee on Distribution had the matter before them, 
they "were unable to recommend any course which would 
but when a Presbyterian as such 
was appoio scopalian at I a Baptist, 

u tuck, the inability vanished. The six Anti-bap- 
tists brought in an Anti-baptist report, and the Baptist 
ted a minority report. 
The unfortunate position assumed by the Board, is that 
of an ecclesiastical council representing different sects and 
legislating on the points of difference. We have seen that 
the question f a general nature, and might with 


as great propriety be applied to differences of opinion re- 
garding any other portion of Scripture as to the passages 
relating to baptism. It would have been well to have 
taken it in its general aspect rather than to huve seized 
upon a particular feature, in which six denominations 
could have been arrayed against one. On the abstract 
question of translating or transferring all disputed pas- 
sages, the merits of the controversy properly depended, 
and had they been thus examined; we think the decision 
would have been unanimous in favour of translation. But 
now, the Managers have opened a wide door for contro- 
versy. The Presbyterians of the Old and New school 
have separated, and their differences of opinion, and of 
practice, are already greater than those of the Presbyte- 
rians and Dutch Reformed. According to the principles 
of action adopted by the Board, each of the General As- 
semblies will henceforth be entitled to a representation on 
a committee upon translation. We know that there are 
many passages in the Old and New Testaments, espe- 
cially in the Epistle to the Romans, which an Old School 
man understands and must translate, if he translates them 
at all, differently from a New School man. Suppose that 
a missionary connected with one Assembly finds fault with 
the translations made by those connected with the other, 
and insists that his people cannot use them. He is now 
entitled to demand, according to precedent, a committee 
representing denominations. Denominational strife \s 
again excited. The Methodist representative, the Mora- 
vian represent n live, the Quaker representative, and the 
Episcopalian representative, peradventure array them- 
selves with the New School, and insist that the Old School 
shall transfer all the disputed passages, or the patronage 
of the Society will be withdrawn from their versions. The 


latter refuse, nnd they are cat off, as the Baptists have 
been, without a penny. The Board have then to go 
they have in thi that oil the 

translations which they patronize, BhaU transfer the dis- 
puted passages. But, if the principle be fully carried 
out, the case cannot Bl Brian repre- 

sentative and dfe - tive dispute 

with thi- Episcopalian upon other | 1 individual 

words - ime rule thei I. The 

r disputes upon Btill more. They musi 
ferred. We need not pursue the history. If each cs 
which translators conscientiously differ, were 
with tin- Borne denominational jealousy, which commenced 
in India the Opposition to the Baptist \ 
no hesitation in affirming, that the principle which de- 
mantis the \< > and its cO{ lid re- 
quire the transfer of so large a portion of the New Testa- 
ment as to render it almost useless to the heathen. Who, 
with such considerations before him, does not see that the 
principle itself is wrong. We here copy from the Cir- 

"The whole subject was now postponed for a further and can fnl 

ire not yet disposed to adopt tlio 

resolutions submitted, as tbey hoped, by ■ prudent delay, for tliu 

adjustment of the difficulty which bad arisen, in a waj Batisfa< tory 

to all who were intei 

•• Before tl 

men, in whose judgment 
they had great regard, expressing the hope that no hasty measures 
would l>" adopted, i 9 and additions in 

relation to the 
list paper. 
" Tin ■', and the propo 1 <l 

■ • Hiii' 11:. ill.-. After frequent postponements and aiu 
liberation, (more probably than they ever before bestowed on any 


one topic J at a special meeting in February, 1836, they adopted 
the following preamble and resolutions — resolutions which had 
been prepared, or modified, and approved by some of the most 
intelligent and worthy Baptist clergymen in America. 

"By the Constitution of the American Bible Society, its Mana- 
gers are, in the circulating the Holy Scriptures, restricted to such 
copies as are "without note or comment;" and in the English 
language, to the "version in common use." The design of these 
restrictions clearly seems to have been to simplify and mark out 
the duties of the Society, so that all religious denominations of 
which it is composed might harmoniously unite in performing 
these duties. 

"As the Managers are now called to aid extensively in circulat- 
ing the Sacred Scriptures in languages other than the English, they 
deem it their duty, in conformity with the obvious spirit of their 
compact, to adopt the following resolutions as the rule of their 
conduct in making appropriations for the circulation of the Scrip- 
tures in a\\ foreign tongues." 

The most fruitful source of error is the want of preci- 
sion in language. This fault has been more than once 
remarked in the circular before us. The " several letters 
received from Baptist clergymen," in the foregoing ex- 
tract, were letters, as we have been informed by members 
of the Board, from two individuals, and the "some of 
the most intelligent, worthy Baptist clergymen in America" 
who "prepared or modified" the resolutions, were these 
two individuals. That individual Baptists, who were 
not members of the acting Board, should form an erro- 
neous opinion when the matter was first proposed to them, 
is not remarkable, but that the Managers of the American 
Bible Society should mention the hasty opinions of several 
or some Baptists as a vindication of their conduct, cer- 
tainly deserves comment. If the argument be really a 
valid one, should they not have informed those who read 
their vindication of the several hundred thousands of 


Baptist among thorn nearly all "of the most in- 

telligent, worthy Baptist clergymen in America," and 

(in at Britain, and India, who condemn the course of the 
Managers I Should th i tentioned, as of equal 

validity, that aomc (we use the term for two in imitation 
of good example,) of their own number, themselves P 
baptists, disapproved their course ? Should they not have 
mentioned that matty Psedo-baptistS, out of the Board, 
express their decided dissent? Thi3 argument, if, in a 
question regardin l«of translating or trans- 

ferring the word jht to have weight, has cer- 

tainly not been impartially present d by the Managers. 

The first paragraph of me preamble is objectionable on 
account of the fault which we have noticed in all these 
The Society is described as "composed''' 
" of r '' This is an obvious error 

which a reference to its constitution will expose. No 
mention of denominations is made in that instrument. 
Many, we doubt not, have been members of the Society 
who belong to no " religious denomination," and many 
moro who could not be classed with the denominations 
en ted in the committee. 

Th.- tirst line of the second paragraph corroborate 
presume unintentionally) ■ grots error which has deceived 
numb "' NOW called to aid ex- 

tensively in circulating die Scriptures in ether languages 
than the English," 

The Managers bad ' naively" aiding in this 

for many years. J be fact is that thej aided more exten- 
sive/;! rage of the resolu- 
tions than since. In 1 ■ iliey gave for foreign 
distribution $18,000; the next year $27,485; the next 
$37,000. In 18- ame purpose 
|17,000; iii ■ >,465, and in 18 10, $10,549. 


" Resolved, That in appropriating money for ilie translating, 
printing, or distributing the Sacred Scriptures in foreign lan- 
guages, the Managers feel at liberty to encourage only such ver- 
sions as conform in the principles of their translation to the com- 
mon English version, at least so far as that all the religious deno- 
minations represented in this Society can consistently use and 
circulate said versions in their several schools and communities. 

"Resolved, That a copy of the above preamble and resolutions 
be sent to each of the missionary boards accustomed to receive 
pecuniary grants from this Society, with a request that the same 
may be transmitted to their respective mission stations where the 
Scriptures are in process of translation, and also that the said se- 
veral missionary boards be informed that their applications for 
aid be accompanied with a declaration that the versions which they 
propose to circulate are executed in accordance with the above 

The first consideration that strikes a reader, when pe- 
rusing these resolutions, is their indefiniteness. They 
resemble fta-imfa, transferred into a heathen tongue, and 
require that some one should go with them and explain 
their meaning to those who receive them. It must be re- 
membered, that the Managers permitted precisely four 
years to escape after their passage, before issuing the pre- 
sent circular, which in part explains the circumstances 
that called them forth, and thus gives some idea of their 
meaning. Without some accompanying explanation, who 
would suspect that the design, and the sole design, of the 
first resolution was, to compel the translators of the Holy 
Scriptures to transfer ,Ga-Tt$u and its cognates? Of course 
when "a copy" was sent to a Missionary Board, the Se- 
cretary was obliged to accompany it with information to 
that effect: otherwise it would lead to a world of conjec- 
ture. Thus the American Bible Society and the Pfedo- 
baptist jjicblic were kept in ignorance of the doings of the 
Board of Managers, and so great was this ignorance, that 


multitudes who voted for tho resolutions and their pre- 
amble, never knew till they learned from Baptist publica- 
tions that the subject had any tiling to do with our versions 
of the Word of God. 

But when the Managers, on the ground of these reso- 
lutions, reject the Baptist versions, they subject them- 
selves to other charges. They assume to judge of the 
consistency of many Pet do-baptists Nearly one half of 
Protestant Predo-baptists now living, use Scriptures in 
which joann^a) is translated by words signifying immerse. 
They have so done from the commencement of Protest- 
antism. The Managers of the American Bible Society, 
now voluntarily occupy the seats of umpires between the 
sentiments and practices of such men, and gravely deter- 
mine that a large portion of their Predo-baptist constituents 
are inconsistent. We are not called upon to defend the 
consistency of our Piedo-baptist friends, but we are at 
liberty to inquire, who made the Managers of the Ameri- 
can Bible Society judges of such matters ? Would it not 
be more in unison with the business for which they were 
appointed, to examine into their own consistency ? A 
large majority of Pasdo-baptist scholars of all denomina- 
tions who have written upon the subject, and of course all 
Baptists, have expressed the opinion that the proper 
meaning of fiavri^u is immerse. The Managers of the 
American Bible Society have not pretended to advance 
one argument to prove the contrary, and yet have decided 
that such a translation is unfaithful. Is there no incon- 
sistency in I 

" Such was the course adopted by the managers after more thaa 
«ix months of candid deliberation. No resolutions, it is believed, 
•were ever adopted with a more conscientious conviction of duty, 
•ir with mors kind feelings towards those who dissented. It wai 



the aim in preparing these rules to be impartial, to withhold pa- 
tronage from all versions of a sectarian nature, and to encourage all 
which are faithfully translated, and yet in such a way that the dif- 
ferent branches of this compact can unite in using them as they so 
cordially unite in using the English version. 

" The Managers have now stated what they believe to have been 
the purpose of the founders in relation to versious, and also what 
has been the intentional practice of those who have since conducted 
its affairs. They have furthermore given a concise history of their 
doings in regard to a denominational version in India which they 
were requested to patronize. These statements, it is believed, will 
satisfy most of those connected with the society, that a just and 
constitutional course has been pursued, and that no other course 
could have been adopted, particularly in relation to the latter 
topic, without putting the very existence of the society in 
jeopardy. But the Managers regret that notwithstanding the reso- 
lutions m question were prepared in their present shape, by wise, 
conscientious Baptists, who viewed, and still view them as coinci- 
dent with the constitution, notwithstanding they received the full 
sanction of the Society in May, 1836, and have been approved of by 
all the auxiliaries, so far as known, they have yet failed to satisfy 
many of the Baptist denomination, and have called forth an amount 
and style of opposition not very common among the professed sons 
of peace. Charges in various forms have been made against the 
doings of the Board, some of which demand a brief reply." 

We regret that we are compelled, in examining' this ex- 
tract, to express a degree of disapprobation, which may 
seem to ainount to direct censure. The first sentence as- 
sures us that the "course" before described was "adopted 
after more than six months of candid deliberation..'''' 
The whole course of the reasoning, set forth in the present 
circular to justify the Managers in rejecting the Baptist 
versions, is based upon the assumption, that these versions 
are " in their judgment unfaithful." We have before 
alluded to the fact that during the " six months" of deli- 


beration this ground was not, even professedly, maintained 
by the Managers. It was once assumed, and almost im- 
mediately abandoned upon the expressed conviction of a 
Paedo-baptist divine, a distinguished member of the Board, 
that it could not be maintained. The Baptist members of 
the Board often challenged their Piedo-baptist friends, to 
take this ground, and discuss the faithfulness of the ver- 
sions in question. This was uniformly declined. The 
ground assumed was, that, because they were confined to 
the commonly received version in our language, therefore, 
in foreign tongues they should confine themselves to simi- 
lar versions. The question of faithfulness, we repeat, was 
not discussed, and the " course" of the Board was not 
professedly " adopted" in reference to this principle. Yet 
we are now told that our versions were rejected because 
the Managers considered them " unfaithful. " Was tho 
deliberation then "candid?" Did the Managers speak 
freely their real sentiments ? 

Two men, connected in business, differ in their views of 
a certain transaction. The one disapproves of it on the 
score of expediency : the other endeavours to show that 
the ultimate results will be beneficial. They discuss the 
subject for six months, and at last, being unable to agree, 
separate. Four years after, the former of the two, pub- 
lishes a document to show that he all along believed tho 
measure approved by the latter was dishonest, and that 
was his reason for dissenting from it, although he did not 
give that reason at the time. Had he given it, the other 
might easily have proved the honesty of the measure, and 
thus have prevented a separation. Shall we call tho 
former a candid man, and say that ho conducted for six 
months a candid deliberation ? 


The remainder of this paragraph concerns only the mo- 
tives by which the Managers profess to have been actuated- 
On these we have no comment to make. Motives are be- 
tween men and their Maker ; words and actions are pro- 
per subjects of discussion for the public. We have shown 
that the rules are not impartially applied, otherwise they 
would extend to many other points of difference in trans- 
lation, besides fta-ari^o ; and we now design to show that 
they extend patronage to " versions of a sectarian na- 
fure," while they do not " encourage all which are faith- 
fully translated." 

The difference between the great body of Pa?do-bap- 
lists and the Baptists in this country on the m-dinance of 
baptism is fully understood. The Pa?do-baptists profess 
that sprinkling, pouring and immersion, equally constitute 
the act indicated by ffmeri^a ; the Baptists profess that 
immersion is alicays implied by the word. To transfer 
ficnrTifa into a foreign tongue, is a virtual acknowledgment 
that it has not the fixed meaning, immerse. To insist upon 
such a transfer, is directly and openly to favour the Pasdo- 
baptist side of the question. To patronize only such ver- 
sions as make the transfer, is to patronize only Pa?do-bap- 
tist versions. Unless, therefore, the Managers assume 
that the Pscdo-baptists are so indisputably right, that to 
hold their views is not to be sectarian, they must acknow- 
ledge that they extend patronage to sectarian versions. If 
they do insist that Psedo-baptists only are right, and so in- 
disputably right that their views are in no sense sectarian,, 
then the American Bible Society becomes to all intents 
and purposes, Pa?do-baptist. When the contest comes upon 
Yxicko'Koc, which, if the Managers impartially carry out 
their resolutions, must occur with the first version that 


translates the word, they will be obliged to take either 
Episcopal or Presbyterian ground, and thus the sectarian 
character of their new position will be more and more 

The tendency of this new order of things is to direct the 
attention of translators to the views of the majority, and 
not to the meaning of the sacred oracles. They must now 
regard " the principles of the English version," and not 
the indisputable design of the Holy Spirit. They must 
see that other denominations do not find some occasion 
to cavil, or that the representative of one of those denomi- 
nations does not assert that his people cannot consistently 
use the new version. These considerations, no intelligent 
man can suppose, conduce to " encourage faithful transla- 

In the next paragraph the Managers assert that the his- 
tory which they have given " will satisfy most of those 
connected with the Society, that a just and constitutional 
course has been pursued, and that no other course could 
have been adopted" " without putting the very existence 
of the Society in danger." We speak in perfect candour 
and kindness when we assert, that we cannot discover the 
least shadow of fact or argument on which this assump- 
tion is predicated. Who or what had threatened the " ex- 
istence of the Society?" Had any body of men or any 
individual intimated any intention to separate from it 1 
The Edinburgh Bible Society has not adopted any resolu- 
tions similar to those of the American. It still continues 
to aid the Baptist versions. Is its " very existence in 
jeopardy V But the Managers say that they have given 
a history which will satisfy most of their constituents of 
this point with regard to their own Society. In w hat part 



of their circular is it mentioned ? By what course of rea- 
soning is it sustained ? "Where are the facts adduced to 
show the extent of the apprehended danger ? What are 
the illustrations employed to set it forth in all its fearful 
vividness ? We look in vain through every paragraph for 
a reply. This sentence alone informs of the danger, and 
assures the reader, ickose attention had never before been 
called to the matter, that enough has already been said 
to satisfy him, that, had not the Managers at the critical 
moment adopted the measure of cutting oft" the Baptists 
from any participation in their funds, so far as respected 
foreign distribution, the " very existence of the Society" 
would have been put " in jeopardy." 

But since the Managers have themselves omitted to do 
what in this sentence they profess to have done, we will 
endeavour to supply the deficiency. There was danger, 
we admit, — -not in declining, but in adopting the course 
which they have pursued. The immediate and obvious 
result was to separate from them a denomination number- 
ing in this country more than half a million of communi- 
cants, and three or four millions of adherents. The ulti- 
mate results are in futurity. We have seen that the reso- 
lutions adopted, if invariably carried into operation, must 
produce unnumbered difficulties, and possibly divisions 
more extensive than that effected by cutting off the Baptists. 
In addition we may justly lament the occasion given to the 
world to triumph over the dissensions of Christian?, the 
harsh language employed against our denomination, and 
the dishonourable insinuations thrown out from the pulpit 
and the press, that we had for many years deceived our 
coadjutors, but at last had been detected and exposed. It 
cannot be denied that harsh retorts have sometimes beeu 


given by our friends. We do not justify them. The points 
in which we think the Managers have erred, can be dis- 
cussed without the imputation of any unholy motives. 
But the immediate cause of all these subjects of regret, 
has been " the coarse" adopted by the Managers. Should 
the feelings excited and the prejudices cherished by it, 
result in other and worse consequences, we must refer 
them to their proper origin. 

We now come to the replies which the Managers have 
endeavoured to make to six charges which they have enu- 
merated as brought against their proceedings. Should all 
these charges have been irrefutably answered by the Ma- 
nagers, any one who has read our articles must be con- 
vinced, that a tithe of the difficulties would not have been 
removed. Incontrovertible facts have been here adduced 
to prove many of the statements of this circular incorrect, 
and to exhibit the fallacy of the arguments on which the 
course of the American Bible Society is founded. These 
we shall not now repeat, but proceed to examine the 
mode in which the managers attempt to reply to six out 
of the hundred charges brought against them. 

" First. — The Managers are charged with having changed their 
policy, noic objecting to and withholding aid from versions of 
such chat acter as they once patronized without hesitation. 

" The reply of the Board here is, that they never in a single in- 
stance granted aid to a version which they knew at the time to be 
of such a character that only a part of their associates could consist- 
ently use it. Taking it for granted that none would ask them to 
aid denominational versions, they now find that in two instances 
they have aided such, though in honest ignorance. It appears that 
a small edition of an Indian Gospel was once printed by them, 
where baptizo was translated by a word which signifies to sprinkle 


or pour ; that in one version India has been aided where the same 
Greek word has been translated by a term signifying immerse. 
Had the peculiarities of these translations in either case been 
known at the time, they would by no means have been encouraged." 

Any one who carefully examines our articles will see 
that the ground of the charge which we have really brought, 
has been avoided by the Managers, and another substituted 
in its stead. 

We charge that " the Managers have changed their po- 
licy." They originally professed that they would dissemi- 
nate the Scriptures " in the received versions where they 
exist." The Bengali then existed, and had existed for 
many years, was extensively received, and was the only 
version in the language. The British and Foreign Bible 
Society patronized it, the American Bible Society praised 
it. It underwent no change in respect to /?a7rrt£w, but in 
183G, twenty years after the Managers professed their 
design to disseminate the Scriptures "in the received ver- 
sions where they exist," they added a condition before 
unknown, viz : that said version should transfer Panned). 
Was not this a change of policy ? 

That they had in the meanwhile for a number of years 
patronized the Burman Scriptures which translate 
pcnTTifa ; that they had highly commended all the Seram- 
pore translations ; and other similar facts which we have 
adduced, are collateral evidences, but do not constitute 
the strong ground of proof that the former policy of the 
Society was different from that which it now pursues. 
It is a plausible, but not a sound mode of argument to 
attack a collateral evidence as though it was the real and 
sole ground of proof. 

" Had the peculiarity of these translations in either case 


been known at the time, they would by no means have 
been encouraged." 

On this sentence the Managers will permit us to ex- 
press strong doubts. We have before shown that they 
had the most abundant means of knowledge with regard 
to the Baptist versions, and that if they were ignorant, 
their ignorance was wilful and inexcusable- The whole 
course of the American Bible Society, from its foundation 
till the adoption of the present line of policy, indicates a 
strict adherence to the modes of procedure pursued by the 
institution which delights to regard it as a daughter, the 
British and Foreign Bible Society. It would unnecessa- 
rily protract these articles to explain the reasons that in- 
fluenced the latter, in its rejection of the versions which 
it had for many long years patronized, and to show tho 
difference in the position of the two institutions. We do 
not justify the course of the British Society, nor would we 
plead its apology ; but we can discover, in the division of 
parties and die dissensions in it3 midst, the semblance of 
an excuse which is not discernible in the condition or 
previous history of the American Society. 

" Secondly. — The Managers are charged with partiality, by al- 
lowing other denominations to make such foreign versions as 
they choose, while JBaj)tisis have not this privilege. 

" This charge can have no foundation, unless other denominations 
choose to make versions of such a character that all the members 
of the Bible Society can use them, while those who complain make 
such versions as their denomination alone can consistently use. 
The Managers can have no motive to partiality towards any of 
their associates, and are conscious of none, provided all lay aside 
denominational work, and adhere alike to the spirit and rules of 
this association when co-operutirig with it.'' 


It is difficult for us to discover in the course of reason- 
ing adopted by the Managers that careful regard to mat- 
ters of fact which we firmly believe they would not pur- 
posely neglect to maintain. We have never seen it stated 
by Baptists that they "allow other denominations to make 
such foreign versions as they choose." In fact a doubt has 
never entered our mind, that the American Bible Society 
should reject any version which was proved to be unfaithful , 
provided that unfaithfulness was so great that the version 
could not be regarded as evangelical. We insert this pro- 
vision, because bad as some of the Catholic versions are> 
they still communicate the essential truths of the gospel, 
and therefore the Society has, with great reason, circu- 
lated them in countries where they could not disseminate 
more faithful versions. We may still go farther. Where 
new versions were required, the Society* was bound by its 
original pledge to disseminate " the most faithful." Had 
the Bengali been an entirely new version, and had other 
new versions in the same language been presented for the 
patronage of the Society at the same time, if the Baptist 
could have been proved to be less faithful than one of 
the other, we would not have denied that the Society 
acted in consistency with its original pledge in prefer- 
ring to disseminate the most faithful. But this would 
have required no new course of policy, or new princi- 
ple of action. No resolutions, imbodying principles 
never before heard of, and incapable of being carried 
to their full result without ruin, would have been needed* 
In a word, no additional condition would have been in- 
vented to mar the peace and destroy the union of those 
who were labouring for the same Lord on common 


" This charge can have 110 foundation, unless ether denomina- 
tions choose to make versions of such a character that all the 
members of the Bible Society can use them, while those who com- 
plain make such versions as their denomiuation alone can con- 
sistently use." 

We have already shown that Paedo-baptists of all evan- 
gelical denominations, while professing to be consistent, 
do use versions similar to those prepared by the Baptists, 
although at the same time we object to any such neio 
condition being imposed on translators, that they should 
be required to prove that other denominations can use their 
versions. It is not in the constitution, it is not in the ad- 
dress of the convention. It is a novel invention and im- 
practicable in its operation. Suppose that there are 
Hicksites among the supporters of the Bible Society. 
Must each translator ascertain whether they can con- 
sistently use his version ? Suppose that some are Cal- 
vinists and some Arminians. Must each translator ascer- 
tain whether both can consistently use his version ? Who 
has fixed the number of the denominations supporting the 
Bible Society at seven ? We can easily count twenty, 
and believe that there are, or rather were, more. Must 
every translator ascertain whether each of these can con- 
sistently use his translation ? 

" The managers can have no motive to partiality towards any of 
their associates, and are conscious of none, provided all la}' aside 
denominational work, and adhere alike to the spirit and rules of 
this Association, when co-operating with it." 

We wish this sentence to be read with care. If it has 
any application to the case in hand, it is this : The mana- 
gers believe the Baptists to be sectarians : and while our 
missionaries are engaged in Baptist missions, the mana- 


gers must of course regard them as doing denominational 
work. When we translate tha Scriptures and express our 
views of its meaning, this they regard as denominational. 
But if we took Pnedo-baptist ground, and asserted that 
fiaxTifa had no fixed meaning, and in accordance with 
such views transferred the word, then they would at once 
admit that we had laid aside denominational work. In 
other words, to carry out the views of Ptrdo-baptists, is 
not denominational — to carry out those of Baptists, is. 
Should we do the former, the managers could have no 
motive of partiality and would be conscious of none : Let 
us do the latter, and then their partiality is not denied. 
Now who can be so blind, with such facts and such state- 
ments before him, as not to see that the managers in this 
matter stand solely on Predo-baptist ground ? 

" Thirdly— The Managers are charged with laying down rules in 
regard to versions which Baptist translators cannot conscien- 
tiously follow. 

" The reply is, that the managers lay down no rules which they 
do not consider as enjoined on them by the conditions of their 
union by the fraraers of the society. If these rules bear with un- 
due pressure on any portion of the compact, it is for those who ap- 
point the Board, and who have control of the constitution, to alter 
that instrument so that men of every creed and sentiment may 
prepare such foreign versions as they please, with the expectation 
that they will be published out of the common Bible f mid ! At 
present such license would be deemed a violation of what the con- 
stitution requires. But the Board (while they would not judge for 
others,) are unable to see why these rules which the complainants 
themselves cheerfully observe in relation to the English, French, 
and other old versions, cannot be also followed in preparing new 
versions ; that is, by domesticating in them the Greek words 
bapiizo and baptisma, so that other missionaries can use them as 
well as Baptists. It cannot be affirmed that errors will be taught 


by these transferred words, nor can they be more unintelligible to 
the heathen than many other words which it is well known are 
transferred from the original into the Bengalee and Burmese ver- 
sions, and must be into all versions made in limited pagan tongues. 
Some of the words, it is true, must be explained by the dictionary, 
or the living teacher, before the common reader will understand 
them. So must many, very many, w<?rds in his own vernacular be 
thus taught. How many words art there in the English Bible, 
and in every other which the illiterate reader docs not compre- 
hend until instructed by some foreign aid ? Where is there a 
modern tongue which does not abound in transferred words ? The 
very name of most religious denominations is derived from tho 

The reasoning- in this paragraph is far from being of 
that strong, consecutive character, which we might anti- 
cipate from a body of men noted for their intelligence and 
judgment. The discrepancy between the first and second 
sentence, or what schoolmen would call the " non sequi- 
tur" of the second sentence, is almost ludicrous. The 
managers profess that " they lay down no rules which 
they do not consider as enjoined on them by the conditions 
of their union by the framers of the society," and " if 
these rules bear with undue pressure on any portion of 
the compact," the constitution must be altered to permit 
" men of every creed and sentiment to prepare such ver- 
sions as they please." We are not surprised at the mark 
of exclamation and astonishment affixed to such a conclu- 
sion. The simple matter of fact is that the constitution 
has no provision on the subject. The idea of altering or 
modifying the constitution, we have never seen suggested 
except in this circular. What article of the constitution 
the managers propose to change we cannot conjecture. 
The first and second articles embrace the object of the or- 
ganization in the following words : 




This Society shall be known by the name of the AMERICAN 
BIBLE SOCIETY, of which the sole object shall be to encourage 
a wider circulation of the Holy Scriptures without note or com- 
ment. The only copies in the English language, to be circulated 
by the Society, shall be of the versions now in common use. 


All Bible Societies shall be allowed to purchase, at cost, from 
this Society, Bibles for distribution within their own districts, and 
the officers of all such Bible Societies as shall hereafter agree to 
place their surplus revenue, after supplying their own districts 
with the Bible, at the disposal of this society, shall be entitled to 
vote in all meetings of the Society. 

All the remaining articles are confined to the manage- 
ment of the institution and have no relation whatsoever to 
modes of translation, or to the character of the versions 
patronized. What then is necessary to he changed ? 

But the managers imply that the Baptists require " that 
■men of every creed, and sentiment may 'prepare such fo- 
reign versions as they please, with the expectation that 
they will be published out of the common Bible fund." 

If the Baptists have made such a requisition, where is 
it recorded ? In what language is it couched ? Who 
originated, and who advocated the proposition? 

The Baptists resolved to instruct their missionaries" who 
are or who shall he engaged in translating the Scriptures," 
" to endeavour, by earnest prayer, -and diligent study, to 
ascertain the exact meaning of the original text ; to ex- 
press that meaning as exactly as the nature of the lan- 
guage into which they shall translate the Bible, will per- 
mit ; and to transfer no words which are capable of being 
literally translated." 

The managers of the American Bible Society determin- 


ed to patronize no versions which translated jSairTify 
and its cognates. If then the reasoning of the managers 
be just, to allow Pan-t^to and its cognates to be translated, 
is to allow " men of every creed and sentiment" to trans- 
late every part of the Bible just as they please. Tho 
question is not canvassed whether the translation of 
0airTifa be right or wrong. Such a question is not to be 
started : "the managers have not attempted to settle or 
touch any question as to philology or religious ordinances." 
But to translate the word at all, is the fearfully objection- 
able measure. To imitate the boldness of Luther and 
the other great and good men, who, amidst the thunders of 
the, Vatican, dared to translate it, and to translate it in 
precisely the same meaning as such men gave to it, this is 
the utmost stretch of latitudinarianism. It is to per- 
mit "men of every creed and sentiment" to give any 
meaning to Scripture that they please. The Romanist 
may prescribe penance instead of repentance, and may 
teach men to worship images, in his versions of Scripture, 
and the managers can conscientiously circulate these ver- 
sions and call such heresies mere "defects;" but if the 
Baptists translate /?a:rrt£w> there is no longer any measure 
to the enormity — the cup of error is' filled to overflowing — 
" men of every creed and sentiment" then have ample au- 
thority to do as they please. 

We have no charity for such reasoning. It is hard 
enough to have our versions called unfaithful ; it is hard 
enough to have those of Roman Catholic preferred to 
them; it is hard enough to be stigmatized as deceivers', 
it is hard enough to have our motives misrepresented, our 
reasoning perverted, the facts that sustain our position 
omitted, and others published as constituting the whole 


history of the case: these and many other matters on the 
face of this circular are hard to be borne: but to have it 
represented that to translate /?a:rr<£w, is to admit the quint- 
essence of latitudinarianism, the sum and substance of the 
errors of "men of every creed and sentiment," this is in- 
supportable. We will not believe that the managers of 
the American Bible Society weighed the language which 
they employed. We prefer in charity to suppose, that this 
circular is the production of one man, an individual 
always hostile to the Baptists, and the prime mover of 
the measures which separated them from the American 
Bible Society. As the circular first appeared anony- 
mously, and was extensively distributed long before it was 
acknowledged by the managers, we prefer, when we come 
to reasoning like this before us, to presume that the docu- 
ment was not prepared by the managers, but was after- 
wards adopted by them to shield an efficient but imprudent 
officer of the Society. Under such a presumption, we 
will dwell no longer on language, which, we are convinced, 
no real friend of the managers will attempt to justify. 

" But the Board (while they would not judge for others,) are 
unable to see why these rules, which the complainants themselves 
cheerfully observe in relation to the English, French, and other 
old versions, cannot be also followed in preparing new versions ; 
that is, by domesticating in them the Greek words bnplizo and 
baptisjna, so that other missionaries can use them as well as Bap- 

Were the phraseology of this document to be judged 
by the rules of logical accuracy, the foregoing extract 
would imply that the Baptists had translated the Scriptures 
into English, French, &c, and that in these languages 
they had transferred flarrri^w, Sec, Ridiculous as 6uch 


a statement would appear to any one versed in the history 
of the Bible, it must be remembered that many of the 
friends of the American Bible Society have studiously cir- 
culated the report, that we, as a denomination, have pub- 
lished versions of the Scriptures in English made by our- 
selves. The English Scriptures issued by the American 
and Foreign Bible Society, although a literal transcript of 
King James' version of 1611, have been frequently stigma- 
tized from the press and the pulpit as " the Baptist Bible." 
Such has been the popular cry, and numbers of Predo- 
baptists have believed it. Let such read the foregoing 
sentence, and how can they avoid supposing that th<; Bap- 
tists have an English version of their own, and have been 
guilty of the inconsistency of translating Pairn^co in other 
languages and transferring it in our own ? 

Yet the simple facts are these. We have as yet had 
nothing to do with the " French" version, and with regard 
to the " other old versions" of which the managers speak, 
we knoto not what they mean. Luther's version and 
other European continental versions which we have circu- 
lated, translate Putting). We have not yet seen it to be 
our duty to commence a new translation of the Scriptures 
in English. Such a work, if ever undertaken, will require 
great concentration of talents and piety, and many years of 
labour. When it will be accomplished, we do not trouble 
ourselves even to conjecture. When the Baptists profess 
to translate the Scriptures into any language, and transfer 
"words which are capable of being literally translated," 
then it will be sufficiently early to inquire why they can- 
not do the same with the Bengali and other new versions. 
But it seems that individuals have been guilty of inconsis- 
tency in such matters. 



" The Rev. Joseph Hughes, a Baptist, and long a Secretary of 
the British and Foreign Bible Society, had no scruple against 
transferring baptizo ; nor has Ilcv. Mr. Sutton, now a missionary 
in India. Two able pamphlets, by Baptists in England, have just 
been published in favour of such a course. The Chippewa New- 
Testament, prepared by Dr. James, a Papist, and printed in 
1833, at Albany, hab the word baptizo transferred." 

The managers, in our estimation, lose their dignity in 
thus arguing about the opinions and actions of two or three 
individuals. If they count a hundred men, professedly 
Baptist, who thought that, to secure the continuance of the 
patronage of certain Societies, it might be admissible to 
yield a conscientious scruple and conceal a portion of 
God's truth from those to whom we profess to communi- 
cate the whole, would their opinion affect the principle of 
the matter? If so, then all the Baptists on the other 
side of the question would present an overwhelming body 
of incontrovertible and indisputable argument against the 

Here wo cannot avoid mentioning what has forcibly 
struck us, not only in this, but in another part of the cir- 
cular which we have examined. The managers do not 
appear to rely upon the inherent strength of their argu- 
ment, but if they can only assert that this or that Baptist 
thought so, or did so, no matter how completely he has 
since become convinced of his error and has abandoned it, 
the fact that a Baptist once happened in part to agree 
with them, is seized upon and held up to the world as 
proof that the board mustbe right. If Baptist authority, 
then, be so excellent, why not give it its due weight and 
yield to that side of the argument which has such an im- 
mense preponderance in its favour. 


The fact that some words, (such as proper names) 
must be transferred from one language to another, is next 
alleged to prove the propriety of transferring /3anTi$oj. 
A brief illustration will show the nature of this argument. 
There are no words in the Bengali corresponding to Gog 
and Magog. Therefore these names must be transferred. 
Therefore the word "murder" in the commandment, 
" Thou shall not murder," may with propriety be transfer- 
red into Bengali. 

" But," says an objector, " the natives have a word 
which means ' murder,' and they will not understand the 
word transferred from the English or the Hebrew." No 
matter. Why, they have no word in their language into 
which we can translate" Calvinist," or "Quaker." What 
impropriety then in transferring the word " murder ?" 
"Pagan tongues" are " limited." They must use "dic- 
tionaries," or be always taught by "the living teacher." 
" It cannot be affirmed that error will be taught by these 
transferred words." 

The analogy between the hypothetical and the real case, 
is perfect. The command in relation to the ordinance of 
baptism, is not less explicit than the prohibition in regard 
to murder. If, because some proper names and other 
words, not inculcating important commands or prohibi- 
tions, must be transferred, therefore a conscientious trans- 
lator is at liberty to conceal under a transferred term, a 
command which he believes himself capable of translating 
intelligibly ; then any other command, injunction or pro- 
hibition of Scripture may upon the same principle, be 
concealed. If the principle be correct, it cannot be con- 
fined to j£fairri£&> ; if it be not correct, the managers of the 


American Bible Society have erred in endeavouring to vin- 
dicate it. 

" Fourthly — „The Managers are charged with the inconsistency of 
patronizing German and Dutch Bibles, where baplizo is trans- 
lated by words which signify immerse, and yet witholding aid 
from the Bengalee and Burmese Bibles translated in the 
same way. 

" The reply is, in tbe first place, that the former versions are an- 
cient ' received versions,' such as the founders of the Society 
promised to patronize. In the next place those translated words 
alluded to, though they once signified immerse, have, like many 
words in the Eflglish Bible, lost their first meaning, and are now of 
as general import as the English word baptize. They ore versions 
which both Baptists and Predo-baptists can and do use continually 
Without objection. Should the versions referred to in India, as 
tlrey are in the main good, undergo a similar change as to the im- 
port of a few words, so that different denominations can use them-, 
the managers will feel no scruple in granting them patronage. 
They will be viewed and treated as faithful versions when there is 
evidence that tbey convey to all the component parts of the So- 
ciety, like the English and German Bibles, the mind of the Spirit. 
Let the Divine meaning be actually conveyed to the various read- 
ers, and it seems to the Board a matter of little moment whether 
this is effected through one tongue or another, or through a com- 
bination of several. n 

The first sentence of this paragraph arrests the atten- 
tion, as furnishing an additional illustration of the peculiar 
mode of reasoning that prevails throughout the circular. 
A document setting forth the reasons of a certain course of 
conduct by a public body, should be plain, perspicuous and 
direct in all its statements and arguments. Nothing 
should be left; to allusion or implication. Yet here, as 
elsewhere, the phraseology implies an argument involving 
a matter of fact which is not presented in direct terms. 


The founders of the Society promised to patronize " the 
received versions where they exist, and the most faith- 
ful where they may be required." The first clause in- 
cluded the Bengali which existed at the time. This fact 
could not be denied by the managers, but its admis- 
sion would at once expose the impropriety of their course. 
Therefore in that part of the circular which refers directly 
to the Bengali version, they omit any allusion to this 
matter of fact. In the part before us, however, where 
the allusion might make its impression upon the common 
reader, without the liability of contradiction from a direct 
statement, the word " ancient" is prefixed to the phra- 
seology of the founders, and the impression is given that 
they agreed to patronize only the ancient received ver- 
sions. A strict construction of the language would 
involve the managers in the charge of a positive misstate- 
ment of fact ; " ancient ' received versions' such as the 
founders of the Society promised to patronize." The 
founders did not promise to patronize "such." They 
promised to patronize " received versions" — not "ancient 
received versions." The restrictive qualification, no man 
has a right to prefix to their words, and when the case in- 
volves such grave considerations, the prefixion is justly 
liable to the severest censure. 

"In the next place, those translated words alluded to, 
though they once signified immerse, have (like many 
words in the English Bible) lost their first meaning, and 
are now of as general import as the English word baptize. 1 '' 

We have already, to some extent, expressed our views 
on this reasoning, and shall therefore only add a few sug- 
gestions. The parenthesis furnishes information, which, 
connected with other parts of the circular, may be regard- 


ed by some readers as no less strange than new. " The 
English Bible," the managers assure us, is " a faithful 
version," and it conveys " in view of all, the true Divine 
meaning." But here they inform us that " many of its 
words have lost their first meaning." If language have 
any significancy, we are here informed that the English 
Bible was originally an unfaithful translation, but that 
many of its words, having lost their original meaning, it 
now conveys the true Divine meaning, and has thus be- 
come a faithful version. And yet to the principles of this 
translation, which has thus strangely become faithful by 
influences, over which the translators had no control, all 
modern translators are required to conform their versions. 
Criticism on such argument would be supererogatory. 

The managers admit that the German and Dutch Bibles 
are translated as our Bengali ; but the words in question 
have since undergone a change of meaning, therefore they 
can patronize such versions, and otherwise they could not 
have patronized them. What an admission ! Had the 
American Bible Society existed in the time of Luther, it 
could not have patronized his version of the Holy Scrip- 
tures. No, against the torch that set Europe on fire and 
has since illumined the world, the Society must have 
closed its eyes or joined the Tope in endeavouring to 
extinguish it. 

No matter though the translation of the Scriptures into 
the vernacular tongues of Germany, broke down the strong 
holds of superstition and ignorance, and raised on the 
other hand a bulwark, against which all the powers of 
papacy have never been able to make head; no matter 
how good, how useful, or faithful was the version ; it 
translated 0airri£(o f and therefore could not be patronized ? 


Thus the Managers of the American Bible Soci- 


We might dwell upon this singular position of the 
American Bible Society, but our space forbids us to detail 
the fearful inferences which every reflecting mind will it- 
self conceive. One idea only we cannot forbear to insert. 
The managers, according to their circular, must have re- 
plied to an application from the great Reformer for aid in 
publishing his version, " We cannot conscientiously aid a 
version which is so unfaithful as to translate j3aTCTL^(o im- 
merse, but if you will publish a version founded on the 
Latin Vulgate, although it may inculcate 'penance, 1 in- 
stead of ' repentance,'' and the worship of an image on 
the top of a staff, we will freely communicate of our means 
to circulate a version which has such mere ' defects.' " 

But the inconsistencies of this statement of the mana- 
gers appear in other respects. They assert that the Ger- 
man and Dutch tongues have undergone an important 
change, while they furnish no account of the mode by 
which it has been effected, or any authority on which 
their assertion is founded. It would be easy to show 
from the use of the disputed words in German and Dutch 
writers, and from the letters of Mr. Oncken, whose ac- 
quaintance with the language of the common people, and 
whose uncorrupt integrity have never been disputed, that 
the assertion of the managers is totally incorrect and 
unfounded. We acquit them however of any design to 
misstate. They have probably taken the word of the in^ 
dividual who wrote the circular for a fact, of which they 
have neglected to obtain the proofs. 


For other inconsistencies of this statement, and the un- 
pleasant dilemma in which it involves the managers, we 
refer the reader to a former part of this argument in which 
the subject was partially examined.* 

The versions in India are admitted to be " in the main 
good," and if they should " undergo a similar change as 
to the import of a few words," " the managers will pa- 
tronize them." 

This is another most important admission. Our ver- 
sions are in the main good — that is, with the exception of 
these few words, (3airTi& and its cognates, they are good. 
Alas ! can Christians confess this and yet refuse them to 
the perishing heathen ? Are not the Burmans and the Ka- 
rens, and the Bengalese as important in the eye of Jeho- 
vah as the inhabitants of Europe? Can the Managers 
conscientiously bestow as high commendations upon the 
Romanist versions as they can on the Baptist ? Then 
where is the consistency of circulating the former among 
the inhabitants of Europe and withholding the latter from 
the natives of India ? Is the immersion of a believer in 
Jesus a more fearful crime with the Managers of the Ame- 
rican Bible Society than the worship of an image ? We 
know no illustration of such conduct more striking than 
the expression of Scripture, " to strain at a gnat and swal- 
low a camel." 

But the Managers assure us that the objectionable words 
in the German and Dutch tongues have lost their peculiar, 
and acquired a general meaning, and they seem to antici- 
pate that the same may eventually be the case with our In- 
dian versions. If the statement were really true, and the 

* Bee pages 55, 56= 


anticipation g well founded, must the poor heathen die by 
millions in the meanwhile without the word of God, anti- 
cipating' that some distant generation may receive it from 
the patronage of the American Bible Society? If the 
words are to undergo such a change of meaning, why not 
circulate the Scriptures generally, as is the case with Lu- 
ther's version in Germany, and bring about the result as 
soon as possible ? If those who sprinkle, could use Lu- 
ther's version in Germany when, even according to the 
Managers, it did inculcate immersion, cannot Baptists be 
permitted to use a similar version in India ? 

In closing our remarks upon this paragraph, we cannot 
forbear to remark the apparently light manner in which 
the Managers speak of withholding the Scriptures from 
the heathen. No other versions existed in the languages 
of some of the many millions who were ready to receive 
the versions in question. Yet for the sake of " a few 
words," as the Managers inform us, they refuse to circu- 
late our versions. Nay, for the sake of these few words 
they effectually break the bands of union, and give occa- 
sion to bitter feelings and unchristian remarks to hundreds 
of thousands of professing christians whom they have ar- 
rayed against each other. They were not impelled to 
their cuurse by conscientious scruples, for if expediency 
prompted them to circulate the Romanist versions, con- 
science could not have prevented them from circulating 
the Baptist. For " a few words," then, a light matter 
with them not involving conscience, they have adopted a 
line of policy, which, we candidly believe, will be more 
disastrous to them in its ultimate results than any other 
course, which, under the circumstances of the case, they 
could possibly have followed. 


" Fifthly— Another charge is, that the Managers have, set vp the 
English Bible as a standard to which all translations must be 
conformed, thus abridging the liberty of the translator. 

"This is a mistake, as any reader of the foregoing resolution wil' 
see. It is expected that missionaries, or others, who prepare new 
versions, will translate as they do in fact, from the original tongues 
with great care, imitating the English no farther than by transfer- 
ring a few words, which either cannot be translated or are of dis- 
puted meaning; and even these transfers aie not required, provided 
the various members of the Society can unite in using the \ crsions 
as they use the English. This certainly is imposing no severe 
restraint on the conscience of the translator, far less, it is appre- 
hended, than the complainants (who have taken the English Bible, 
and appended to it a glossary, telling us precisely what cer- 
tain Greek words signify) will require of their translators. How 
much liberty will the latter have to prepare versions which are not 
thoroughly denominational V 

The legitimate application of a general rule is not con- 
fined to the particular case which called it into existence. 
In their anxiety to avoid any expression that might give 
the Christian public an explicit idea of the nature of the 
controversy which they had started with the Baptists, the 
Managers of the American Bible Society have adopted a 
rule as general in its extent, as it is perpetual in its opera- 
tion. We admit that their original design was only to 
coerce the Baptist translators, but the foundation which 
they have laid, is far too broad for so narrow a super- 

" Resolved, That in appropriating money for the trans- 
lating, printing or distributing the sacred Scriptures in fo- 
reign languages, the Managers feel at liberty to encourage 
only such versions as conform in the principles of their 
translations to the common English version, at least so far 


a9 that all the religious denominations represented in this 
Society can consistently use and circulate said versions in 
their several schools and communities." 

The versions here explicitly described as henceforth en- 
titled to the patronage of the Society, are, "only such a3 
conform to the principles of the English version." This 
is the general rule by which the Managers design to be 
guided. But as almost every general rule is expected to 
have individual exceptions, the most particular care is 
taken to guard against any expectations of leniency with 
regard to certain translations. " At least" these will bo 
excluded from any hopes of patronage. 

Conformity to " the common English versions," is thus 
made the general rule, to which the Managers seem to 
intimate that some exceptions may possibly be allowed* 
The exceptions, however, they do not specify while they 
establish the rule. Such conformity to this version as to 
meet the views of " all the religious denominations repre- 
sented in the Society," is the universal rule, to which no 
exception under any circumstances is to be admitted. " At 
least" this will be enforced. As though the Managers 
had said, " We are not yet prepared to say how far we 
shall enforce the general rule of conformity to the English 
version, but on this we are decided. If the representative 
of any denomination takes exception to any version which 
is not perfectly conformed to the English, that version we 
will unceremoniously reject. Still as we shall " AT 
LEAST" do this, we may reject for any want of con- 
formity to the English Bible. If then you wish to be safe, 
you will in all your versions conform entirely to the stand- 
ard which we have given you." 

This is, we conceive, the only legitimate construction of 


the resolution which was adopted " after more than six 
months of candid deliberation." To surmise that a body 
of intelligent men could not in six months mature a resolu- 
tion that expressed their design, would be an imputation 
on their wisdom, of which we shall not be guilty. The 
language employed by them is not recondite. Tbe ex- 
pression " at least" is common, and has a definite and 
fixed meaning. It implies that some proposition has been 
stated which is general in its nature, and that a particular 
proposition follows embracing a portion of the ground 
covered by the general one, and assuring us that, to this 
portion there is no exception. Still the minor proposition 
does not in the least invalidate the general one, although 
it implies a possibility of exceptions to it. We, therefore, 
assert that the general rule adopted by the Managers of 
the American Bible Society is, 

" To encourage only such versions as conform in the 
principles of their translations to the common English 

If this is not to " set up the English Bible as a standard 
to which all translations must be conformed, thus abridg- 
ing the liberty of the translator," we would be gratified to 
have the difference of the propositions distinctly explained. 

It may answer a temporary purpose to assert that the 
identity of the purport of these propositions, ''is a mis- 
take," but until some evidence or argument is advanced 
to prove such mistake, reasonable men will probably be 
unable to discriminate between them. 

" It is expected that missionaries, or others, who prepare new ver- 
sions, will translate, as they do in fact, from the original tongues 
with great care, imitating the English no farther than by transfer- 
ring a few words, which either cannot be translated or are of disput- 


ed meaning ; and even these transfers are not required, provided 
the various members of the Society can unite in using the versions 
as they use the English." 

That such expectation is asserted or implied in the re- 
solutions of the Board, we positively deny. No allusion 
is made to the " original tongues ;" no encouragement is 
given to " great care" concerning them ; nothing is said 
about " transferrin?" a few words." 

Tf the Board of Managers have really enforced or im- 
plied any requisitions of the kind, why not quote the words 
in which they are couched? When a law is issued, "it 
is expected" that those whom it concerns will regard it. 
The law issued to translators is, to "conform in the prin- 
ciples of their translations to the common English ver- 
sions ;" and now after it has been four years in force, the 
Managers inform us that "it is expected, that missionaries, 
or others, who prepare new versions, will translate, as 
they do in fact, from the original tongues with great care." 
Surely the law issued regarding the matter, is little adapt- 
ed to encourage such expectations. 

They are also " expected" to imitate " the English no 
farther than by transferring a few words," &c. Either 
then the " missionaries or others who prepare new ver- 
sions" are not " expected" to comply with the wishes of 
the Board, or else, to " conform in the principles of trans- 
lation to the English version," is in the opinion of the Ma- 
nagers, only M to transfer a few words which either cannot 
be translated, or are of a doubtful meaning." We will 
not believe that the Managers after six months delibera- 
tion, adopted a resolution which they did not expect to be 
observed, and we are, therefore, obliged however reluc- 


tantly, to adopt the latter proposition. We say " reluc- 
tantly," for we are reluctant to admit, that wise men. 
after mature deliberation, should, to express such a simple 
idea, employ phraseology which does not convey it, but, 
instead of it, conveys ideas of the utmost magnitude and 

But now let us examine the commentary of the Mana- 
gers on their own resolution. There can be no dispute re- 
garding words, such as proper names, &c, which cannot 
be translated. To deliberate six months before preparing 
a resolution to require translators " to imitate the English 
by transferring a few words which cannot be translated," 
would be below the dignity of the Board of Managers. A 
translator would naturally inquire, " What else did you 
imagine that I would do with such words? If I could 
not translate them, did you fear that I would omit them ?" 
It is perfectly evident, notwithstanding their own com- 
mentary, that the Managers never intended any such tri- 
fling, as to resolve that a man should do that which he 
could not avoid. 

The commentary must then be abbreviated. To con- 
form in the principles of translation to the common En- 
glish version, is, in the opinion of the Managers, to trans- 
fer a few words of disputed meaning. A version founded 
on no other principle (we cannot find a plural in the idea) 
than the transfer of a few words of disputed meaning, is 
certainly not entitled to much commendation, and least of 
all deserves to be made a standard. Still those " few 
words" may be of so great importance, that although the 
transfer of them may not constitute such a prominent ex- 
cellence as to be justly called " the principles" of its trans- 
lation, yet it may possibly constitute a most material de- 


feet. If a chapter of the Bible were left untranslated, 
and printed in a modern version as it appears in the origi- 
nal Hebrew or Greek, this would not properly be regarded 
as " the principles" of the translation of the book, but it 
would constitute in the eyes of a man who conscientiously 
desired to give the whole of divine truth to the people that 
received that version a most lamentable and unpardonable 
blemish in the work. 

But the Managers are sincerely desirous, a3 appears by 
this and the foregoing paragraph, to convince the readers 
of their circular that they require very little of the Bap- 
tists. We as sincerely believe their professions. They 
require what to them appears a very small matter. They 
have always assured us that they regard it as of little im- 
portance whether a man be immersed or sprinkled. On 
the other hand we make of it a matter of conscience. 
They speak of the transfer of a few words as a mere mat- 
ter of expediency. We again regard this as a matter of 
conscience. We cannot question whether we shall or shall 
not give the whole word of God to the heathen so far as 
human ability will permit. Money, union, expediency and 
all other considerations must bow before conscience. Such 
being the state of the question, is it right, is it Christian, 
is it expedient, for those who regard the matter as light 
and small, to press their views to the cutting off of those 
who attach to it the highest importance ? This view of 
the subject opens a field of inferences, to which, without 
too far extending this examination, we cannot even allude. 
In justification of their conduct, the Managers at the 
close of this paragraph allude to a measure of the Ameri- 
can and Foreign Bible Society, and from that infer posi- 
tively and explicitly the course which that Society " will 


require of their translators." They further assume that 
the Society alluded to, are " the complainants." In all 
this there is a want of dignity and propriety which must 
strike every unbiassed mind. Let us for a moment ima- 
gine that the inference of the Managers is well founded ; 
to what will it amount ? A Board to whom are intrusted 
the interests of a large and respectable Society, is ex- 
plaining to its constituents its reasons for adopting a line 
of policy which involves numerous inconsistencies, and re- 
pelling certain charges in relation to that policy. Instead 


; • 

of disproving these charges by a manly course of 
the Board infers, or imagines that another society will dp 
as badly or worse in similar matters. And then to bind 
this strange reasoning to the case in hand, the Board al- 
leges, that this Society, of which it has not even given the 
name, constitutes " the complainants." 

To such reasoning we are almost at a loss for an an- 
swer. What in the name of logic has the American and 
Foreign Bible Society to do with the question whether the 
American Bible Society has done right or wrong ? 

The Managers of" the American cannot have founded 
their action on that of the American and Foreign as 
the former had acted before the latter was called into ex- 

Again, to call the latter " the complainants," when the 
" charges" which the Managers are endeavouring to re 1 * 
buke, have been put forth in almost every case by indi- 
viduals and on their private authority, is ungenerous as it 
is unjust. 

But the inference or surmise of the Managers, which 
Ave have hitherto treated as well founded, is in reality 
totally destitute of foundation. The English Bibles and 


Testaments issued by the American and Foreign Bible 
Society,, are, as nearly as practicable, an accurate reprint 
of the original edition of the present English ^version. — 
On a fly leaf preceding the New Testament, seven words 
are printed with the Greek corresponding to them, and 
the proper meaning of those words given by a single En- 
glish synonyme. The whole if formed into a sentence, 
would make about the length of a common verse of Scrip- 
ture. This is the important matter which is magnified 
by the Managers of the American Bible Society into a 
GLOSSARY ! Were it not for the great respect which 
we really entertain towards these gentlemen, and the be- 
lief that they have acted in this matter without due con- 
sideration, we would hardly have condescended to notico 
6uch an attack. But what shall we say of the inference 
deduced from this glossary — that the American and Fo- 
reign Bible Society will impose far more severe " restraint 
on the conscience of the translator" than has been imposed 
by the Managers of the American! Those who can dis- 
cern the connexion between the fact and the inference, 
may also discover the proper method of rebutting the lat- 
ter. As we have, after the closest study, found ourself 
incapable of effecting the former we shall not attempt the 
latter enterprise. 

We have now reached the last matter treated in the 
circular of the Managers — the amount of moneys contribut- 
ed by the Baptists to the American Bible Society, and 
the disposition which ought to have been made of such 
funds. It would be in vain for us to attempt to disguise 
the feelings of repugnance with which we enter upon the 
discussion of such a subject. The questions connected 
with it do not properly affect the merits of the controversy 


arising out of the stand taken by the American Bible So- 
ciety relative to Baptist 'versions of the Holy Scriptures. 
If it could be sustained by the Board of Managers, that 
they had pursued an invariable policy regarding foreign 
translations from the foundation of the Society, and that 
this policy is required by their Constitution and the ad- 
dress of the Convention that formed the Society, they 
would not be bound by any principle of law or equity to 
dispose of funds contributed without condition, otherwise 
than as their Constitution prescribed ; of course, not to re- 
turn them to the donors or give them to another Society* 
On the other hand, if the Managers have adopted a new 
line of policy, not required by the Constitution or address, 
but antagonist to principles contained in one of those docu- 
ments, and contrary to their previous course of action — 
a policy which excludes a portion of the donors from the 
justly expected benefits of their donations — the duty of the 
Managers is evidently to retrace their steps, rescind their 
resolutions, abandon their new line of policy, and resume 
harmonious action with those whom they have disaffected. 
If indeed insuperable obstacles to the professed a.nd esta- 
blished constitutional action of a Society occur, it may 
then be proper to disorganize and divide the funds, and 
reorganize upon different principles. Such an emergency 
no one professes to have discovered, and we think that we 
have proved in the preceding articles that the true state 
of the case is one which requires the Managers to return 
to the policy which for twenty years they pursued with 
satisfaction to all their constituents. 

Under these circumstances we should not on the pre- 
sent occasion allude to the amount of funds contributed 
by Baptists to the American Bible Society, had not more 


than one quarter of the circular of the Managers been de- 
voted to an earnest endeavour to show how small a sum 
had really been received from our denomination. We do 
not mean to censure them for this attempt, although we 
do not admire the manner in which it has been prose- 

Where a difference of opinion exists regarding mone- 
tary calculations, we believe that it is not customary for 
one party alone to examine the books, and publish a state- 
ment founded upon them, without extending an invitation 
for some person or persons interested for the other party 
to be present. The propriety of such an invitation we 
imagine to be most manifest, especially when the accuracy 
of the supposed calculations depends upon a knowledge of 
numerous names and persons with whom the second party 
can alone be believed to be acquainted. In the present 
instance, the difficulties attending a contrary course of 
procedure, appear to have been felt by the Managers. 

" In relation to Life Members, it is not easy to determine the pre- 
cise number belonging to the Baptist persuasion. In looking over 
a list of more than 4,000 names, not more thon about 100 can be 
thus identified, while several of these were constituted members by 
those of other creeds, and several more are still friendly to the So- 
ciety. But allowing there were 150 Life Members, each of which 
has contributed $30, the total would amount to no more than 
$4,500, to be added to $600 for Life Directorships." 

On the other hand the Rev. B. M. Hill, a resident of 
this city when the circular of the Managers was published, 
had from personal examination of the Reports from 1329 
to 1336, ascertained that there were " at least" " 46 lay- 
men and female Life Members, by tho payment of $1665 ; 


and 140 clerical Life Members, by the payment of $52G0 
all of whom are Baptists." 

This information has been frequently published and was 
in the possession of the Managers when they issued the 
circular ; yet they have not availed themselves of any op- 
portunity of testing its accuracy, nor that of their own, by 
inviting the aid of persons extensively acquainted with th© 
names and doings of Baptists, while preparing their state- 

We may add, that the list of names of Life Members 
marked by Mr. Hill as Baptists, has been examined by 
several of the oldest and most intelligent Baptist minis- 
ters in the United States, and by them is regarded as cor- 
rect so far as it extends. It would be improper not to 
add, that the apprehended deficiency consists in the omis- 
sion of names of persons, who, from lapse of time and 
other circumstances, cannot be with certainly designated 
as Baptists. A perfect list would probably much increase 
the number of Baptist Life Members. 

The same reasoning applies to Life Directors. The 
Managers can out of 400 find only four from contributions 
by Baptists. Mr. Hill has found at least ten, and adds, 

" While upon this subject it may not be amiss for me 
to remark that, while the above proves the incorrectness 
of the assertion that ' there is only one Baptist minister a 
Life Director,' it is only true in part that the one alluded 
to, was constituted such by a Presbyterian elder. That 
minister was a Life Member by the payment of $30, but 
the Presbyterian elder subsequently made a large donation 
to the Society, and availed himself of the constitutional 
privilege of nominating a number of hi3 personal friends 
as Life Directors and Members \ of this number the minis- 


ter in question was one, by the addition of $120 to the 
previous subscription. Here, also, I think proper to no- 
tice an assertion that one person, at least, has been very 
forward to use as an argument to prove the unprofitable- 
ness of the Baptists as ' partners in the joint concern' of 
the American Bible Society, that is, that they have but 
few names on the list of directors and members. Now, 
those lists are swelled to a great length with names which 
appear there, not always upon the credit of their own sub- 
scriptions, .but of large donations or legacies of other indi- 
viduals. One instance of which I have named, and I could 
name others. Indeed, but few such donations have been 
made by Pa^do-baptists without claiming the utmost privi* 
lege of that sort to which they were entitled ; while on the 
other hand, the Baptists, who either did not understand 
the advantage of such things, or were entirely indifferent 
to them, gave their money readily, without seeking any 
other benefit by it than that of blessing the world with the 
word of God. I know of nearly $20,000 being contribut- 
ed by Baptists in heavy sums, who so far as J Gan learn, 
did not confer the privilege of directorship or membership 
upon a single person. And the church of which the minis- 
ter just alluded to, is pastor,* has contributed to the funds 

* S. II. Cone, Pastor of the Oliver-street Baptist church, New- 
York, is the individual thus distinguished; and the $120 were 
paid by Arthur Tappau, Esq. As the mild and candid correspond- 
ent of the Troy 3Iorning Mail has thought proper to bring this 
subject before the public, we have deemed it due to truth and jus- 
tice to state the following facts : In 1830, a legacy of $7,000, left 
by John Withiugton, a Deacon of Oliver-street church, was paid 
to the treasurer of the American Bible Society. In 1S33, a legacy 
of $300 to tho same Society, was bequeathed by Mrs. Abijob 



of the Society enough to constitute him and many others,. 
Life Directors, if they had chosen to do so. Therefore, 
although I have shown that the Baptists present a respect- 
able number of names whom I recognise as enjoying the 
privilege spoken of, (and I presume thero are many more 
whose names I never heard,) yet, had the liberal benefac- 
tors to whom I have alluded, chosen to avail themselves 
of the constitutional right of nominating, the Baptist list of 
directors and members would have outnumbered those of 
any other denomination." 

We shall not go through with the estimates made by Mr. 
Hill, although from extensive correspondence on the sub- 
ject since the commencement of these articles, we arc con- 
vinced that in placing the sum total of Baptist contribu- 
tions at $100,000, he has confined himself very far within 
the true amount. A strong argument against Baptist li- 
berality has been constructed by the Managers from the 
fact, that only one of our denomination contributed for the 

Marshall, a member of the same church. From 1830 to 1835 in- 
clusive, the Oliver-street Female Bible Society, being a branch of 
l he New -York Female Bible Society, auxiliary to the American Bi- 
ble Society, paid in like manner $786 72. This sum was of cours e 
credited to the New-York Female Bible Society, and Poedo bap- 
tists, at a distance, would never dream that the money had been 
given by Baptists. Tbis is a single instance of Baptist co-opera- 
tion with the American Bible Society in former years. How many 
similar cases exist, we have not the means of ascertaining ; but 
enough is certainly known to convince every unprejudiced mind, 
that the single Baptist minister in question might have enjoyed 
the honour of being Life Director of the American Bible Society, 
without the intervention of foreign aid; and that all insinuations 
about Baptists being " unprofitable partners in the joint con- 
cern," are too vague and unfounded to be safely reiterated. 


cuilding erected by the Bible Society. No allusion is 
made, however, to a fact equally important to this view 
of the case, that Baptists are almost universally opposed 
to this kind of endowment of voluntary societies. Our Fo- 
reign Mission, Home Mission, American and Foreign Bi- 
ble, and our Publication Societies are all destitute of 
such endowments. We design to express no opinion upon 
the propriety or expediency of such views, but we state 
well known facts, that Baptists in this country conduct 
their most efficient Societies without the possession of 
buildings, and tha't they entertain strong objections against 
the endowment of voluntary institutions by the possession 
of any kind of permanent funds. 

While, as we have stated, there is sufficient evidence 
that the contributions of Baptists have amounted to more 
than $100,000, it must be borne in mind that in many 
parts of the country, the Baptists constituted one third, 
and in some, as in Chenango county, of this state, and in 
Beaufort District, S. C, more than one half of the sup- 
porters of the American Bible Society ; yet it was a prin- 
ciple invariably observed by them, to denominate no aux- 
iliary even when, as in some instances, composed wholly of 
Baptists, by a denominational title. 

It must be obvious to all who reflect upon the matter, 
that sufficient information concerning the contributions of 
Baptists, to enable a person to form correct estimates, 
could not be procured from Psedo-baptists alone. If the 
question were asked, how much have Presbyterians con- 
tributed to the American Bible Society, there would be a 
manifest impropriety in requesting Baptists alone to point 
out who among the contributors were Presbyterians, and 
what proportion they gave in certain districts, and then 


to publish the result to the world as the sum of Pre Eq 
terian benefactions. Yet in the present instance, from all 
our inquiries upon the subject, we cannot ascertain that a 
single Baptist has been applied to for information which 
never could bave been procured from Pa?do-baptists. 

Of the $100,000 supposed by Mr. Hill to have beer, 
contributed by Baptists, from forty to fifty thousand were 
included in legacies. The Managers admit $18,000 in the 
following words : 

" The aggregate of legacies received from Baptists, m I 
known to the Board, is no more than $18,000; namely, from the 
estate of John Fleetwood Marsh, deceased, of Eastcliester, New- 
York, $10,000; from that of John Withington, of New-York, 
$7,000; and from that of Josiah Penfield, of Georgia, $1,000. 

Of the rest of the sum they thus dispose. 

"But it is said that although the $40,000 or 50,000 of legacies 
spoken of as furnished to the Society may not as yet be actually 
paid over, still that sum will be paidfrom the residuum of the estate 
of Mr. Marsh, according to the provisions of his will. The Ameri- 
can Bible Society, it is true, is one of the residuary legatees of said 
estate. How far there is a prospect of any speedy avails from this 
quarter will be seen after reading the following letter from the ex- 
ecutor. This letter was procured in consequence of a statement hi 
the Baptist Advocate in relation to this residuum, that "a simple le- 
gal process is alone necessary to transfer it to their (American Bi- 
ble Society's) coffers— a process which the Board can at its own 
option pursue.' 8 

" Hackensack, 18th Jan. 1840; 
" Dear Sip.,— In reply to your letter of the 15th instant, re- 
specting information of the present condition of the legacy left by 
the late Mr- Marsh to the American Bible Society, I bave to state 
that by the will of Mr. Marsh, the Society, in addition to the lega- 


ey of $10,000 which has been paid, are residuary legatees in com- 
mon with the grand-children and their children of the eight uncles 
of the testator, the Society to receive one-third — the aforesaid 
children the other two-thirds. The residuary legatees are very 
numerous, and scattered throughout England. We have ascer- 
tained about one hundred, and, from information received, there 
are at least as many more whose names we have not been able to 
ascertain. Proceedings have been instituted in the Court of Chan- 
cery to have the estate settled, but from various causes it has not 
been brought to a close, and when it wdl be, it is impossible for 
me to say. I am advised that I canuot safely pay any of the resi- 
duary legatees without having tliem all brought, in some way, into 
court, so as to be bound by a decree, in order to a final settlement 
of the estate. 

Very respectfully, yours, &c . 

James Hague." 

We have the testimony of Mr. Hague to different indi- 
viduals, that the portion of the residuum thus coming to 
the American Bible Society was, several years ago, not 
less than $25,000, and we know that at the compound in- 
terest which by skilful management it draws, the present 
amount is more than $30,000. Here, so far as it can 
affect the argument, the matter might be left, since the 
legacy is as much a bequest of a Baptist to the American 
Bible Society as though the money had been actually re- 
ceived and were already expended. But as the Managers 
make an important point of the fact that the money has 
not yet been paid over, it becomes us to look at Mr. 
Hague's note. The first part of it is founded upon the 
will. One third of the residuum of the property is to be 
paid to the Society. The specific legacies have been paid 
and the residuum is in the executor's hands. No clause 
in the will prevents him from paying the residuary lega- 


tees so soon as he can ascertain the amount to which thej 
are legally entitled. It must be evident at a glance that 
the share of the Society is not in the least affected by the 
number of the other residuary legatees. There may be 
one or there may be ten thousand of the latter, and still 
the Society's share would be in either case precisely one 
third of the whole amount now in the executor's hands. 
It is true that he may require a bond of indemnity from the 
Society before paying over the money, but it is equally 
true that in the case of John Withington a similar bond 
was demanded and freely given. It is also true that Mr. 
Hague has said on more than one occasion, as we have 
been informed, that he is prepared to pay over the money 
whenever such bond is given. 

We here leave this painful subject, and with it we ter- 
minate our remarks upon the cicular. 

It was our original design to sum up the facts and ar- 
guments which we have adduced to disprove the state- 
ments and confute the reasoning of the Managers, but we 
fear to trespass so much on the patience of our readers. 
Enough has been said to convince every candid person 
that the late policy of the American Bible Society towards 
the Baptists is unjustifiable, and that the course of rea- 
soning by which the Managers have endeavoured to sus- 
tain it, is unsound in argument and incorrect in matters of 

Such is the history of the events which produced the 
separation between the American Bible Society and the 
Baptists. The latter had for nearly twenty years cor- 
dially co-operated with other evangelical denominations 
in the dissemination of the lively oracles of God. They 
wished no separation ; they sought it iv>t. They adopted 


no new line of policy ; they propagated no novel doctrine ; 
they changed no existing relation. Yet in the midst of ap- 
parent prosperity, when the coffers of the American Bible 
Society were overflowing, and new fields of usefulness were 
eagerly sought for the disbursement of rapidly increasing 
means, the Baptists were cut off from participation in the 
funds. The measure was adopted in a season of profound 
peace, when, more than at any preceding period, evangeli- 
cal denominations in this country were united in benevo- 
lent action. It was adopted, not only without provocation 
on our part, but against our most earnest protestations. 
It was adopted in view of the heathen perishing for lack 
of knowledge, and in the face of an infidel world ready to 
rejoice at dissension among professing christiansi 

The American Bible Society is no longer what it was. It 
once towered majestically, a pyramid of christian benevo- 
lence. Firm in the strength of its impartiality and its dis- 
interestedness, it bid fair to withstand for centuries the 
varying winds of denominational feeling, or even the fierce 
storms of sectarian persecution. It feared no danger from 

But in a moment of profound calm, its professed friends, 
the very guard entrusted with its defence, have loosed 
and thrown out from the base one of the massive stones 
that sustained the immense superstructure ; and it now 
stands — a still towering fabric — but mutilated, disfigured, 
and weakened. 


Ik preparing the present volume for the press, we had. 
designed to compile a tabular view of the rendering of 
0anTi<;u) in ancient and modern versions of the Scriptures, 
and had secured the promise of friends to assist in the un- 
dertaking. In the mean while the pamphlet, the title 
page of which is given below has made its appearance, 
and covers nearly the whole ground. It is written by an 
Episcopalian, and therefore cannot be suspected of an un- 
due bias towards Baptist views. 

A Critical examination of the rendering of the word 
Pclitti^w in the ancient and many of the modern ver. 
sions of the New Testament, with especial reference to 
Dr. Henderso?i , s animadversions upon Mr. Green' 
field's statements on the subject. By F. W. Gotch, 
A. B., Trinity College, Dublin. London: Thomas 
Ward fy Co. Paternoster Row. 


In laying before the Public this little work, the author 
is well aware that he exposes himself to the charge of 
having spent more labour upon a matter of verbal criti- 
cism, and that too relating to a ritual observance, than 
was warranted by the importance of the subject. 

To anticipate such a charge may not prevent its being 
made : yet, as it is not likely that the writer will have any 
other opportunity of justifying himself, he maybe allowed 


to observe, that whilst fully admitting the small import-* 
ance of his subject, compared with those which involve 
the very spirit and life of the gospel, he yet cannot regard 
it an unimportant thing to ascertain the truth in any mat- 
ter connected with the standing laws of Christ's kingdom. 

The translations of the New Testament now made for 
infant churches will probably exercise a powerful and en- 
during influence on the future developement of Christianity 
in heathen lands. No effort, therefore, to render these 
versions as perfect as the limits of human knowledge will 
permit, even in respect to subjects of secondary import- 
ance, can properly be looked upon as superfluous labour. 

Those who are most aware of the difficulty of attaining 
perfect accuracy where various languages are used, will, 
he feels assured, not only be most ready to pai'don ble* 
mishes, but to give credit to the printer for the beauty of 
the foreign type, and the correctness with which it is em- 

Boxmoor, Herts, January, 1341. 


In the course of the controversy which has for the last 
few years been carried on respecting the mode of trans- 
lating the words which designate the ordinance of Christian 
Baptism, appeals have been confidently made, by both 
parties, to the general practice of former, and especially 
of ancient translators. It has been affirmed, on the one 
hand, that the method adopted by the Baptist Missionaries 
is altogether an innovation ; and, on the other, that it is 
sanctioned by a great majority of the ancient, and by many 
of the modern versions. 

In order to ascertain the truth between these conflict- 
ing statements, it seems desirable that the question should 
be taken up simply as one of criticism, and that we should 
examine de novo the versions which have been appealed 
to. The following pages contain an attempt at such an 


examination. It has been undertaken from no love of con- 
troversy, nor from any desire to support or vindicate, by 
an ex-parte statement, the movements of any particular 
sectjpn of the Christian church. It has originated in the 
de'sire of the author, first of all to ascertain for himself the 
truth ; and then, as far as he is able, to give to others the 
means of farming a correct judgment on a subject of no 
small importance in itself; but of much more in its conse- 
quence's, as it bears upon the general question of the man- 
ner in which translations should be made 

It should be distinctly understood, that it forms no 
part of the present design to inquire into the meaning of 
the Greek word Pa-imfa : the only point to which the au- 
thor's attention is directed, is, How is this word rendered 
by translators. 

The results to which this investigation leads will be 
more properly stated at the close of it. To refer to them 
now, would only be 'to prejudice the minds of readers for 
or against the statements made, according to their previ- 
ous predilections. It seems desirable, however, before we 
enter on the examination of particular versions, that we 
should glance at the critical inquiries which have »been al- 
ready made on the subject. 

Robinson, in his History of Baptism, appeals frequently 
to the authority of versions. His notices, however, are 
not only scattered, but, in general, very cursory. The first 
occasion of any thing like a critical examination of the 
words employed in the versions appears to have been the 
attack made upon the Serampore Mahratta Version of the 
New Testament, in the Asiatic Journal for September, 
1329. It was there brought as a charge against Dr. Ca- 
rey and his colleagues, that they had " rendered to ' bap- 
tize' by a phrase compounded contrary to the idiom of the 


language, but which can signify nothing else than to give 
a dipping or immersion. 1 '' The late amiable and la- 
mented Mr. Greenfield, in his defence of that version, met 
this charge on the grounds that the phrase was idiomatic ; 
that it was a correct rendering of the word (iaiin^w ; and 
that to render it by a term signifying immerse, was in ac- 
cordance with established usage. It is to this last point 
only that our attention is now directed. " It may be safely 
affirmed," says Mr. Greenfield, " that many of the most 
accurate and valuable versions, both ancient and modern, 
are involved in the same accusation, and that there is no 
one which is directly hostile to that interpretation." (p. 40.) 
And he adds : " In consistency, if that aid" {i. e. of the 
British and Foreign Bible Society) " be withdrawn from 
the Serampore Missionaries because they have rendered 
Pcnrrifa to immerse, then must it also be withdrawn from 
the Churches of Syria, of Arabia, of Abyssinia, of Egypt, 
of Germany, of Holland, of Denmark, &c. ; and the ve- 
nerable PeshitoSyriac Version, the Arabic Versions of tho 
Propaganda, of Sabat, &c, the Ethiopian, the Coptic, and 
other versions must all be suppressed" (p. 44). These 
statements were supported by an examination of the terms 
employed in the versions referred to. 

The account Mr. Greenfield gave of the versions met an 
immediate denial, in a critique originally published in the 
Congregational Magazine for March, 1830. This critique 
has, owing to recent controversy, been acknowledged, and 
the part relating to this question reprinted, by Dr. Hen- 
derson, in" a Letter to the Rev. A. Brandram, M. A., on 
the meaning of the word (la-xTi^u, and the manner in which 
it has been rendered in versions sanctioned by the Bible 
Society." Dr. Henderson undertakes to prove, that in 
none of the versions mentioned by Mr. Greenfield, except 

120 A P P E N D I X . 

perhaps the Gothic, does the term used for fiazTifa signify 
to immerse. "In his appeal to the versions," says Dr. 
Henderson, " we cannot but deem Mr Greenfield pecu- 
liarly unfortunate" (p. 10;) and he proceeds to support 
his view by a re-examination of several of the versions un- 
der consideration. 

An examination of three of the Eastern Versions (viz. 
Syiiac, Ethiopian, and Coptic) is also contained in a 
pamphlet relating to the present discussion, entitled " The 
Bible Translation Society of the Baptists uncalled for and 
injurious. By a Baptist. London, 1840." 

The only other work in English,* bearing upon the sub- 
ject, with which the author is acquainted, is, "A Review 
of Professor Stuart on Christian Baptism, by the Rev. Wil- 
lard Judd : New-York, 1836;" where, in an Appendix of 
sixteen closely-printed pages, the results of an examination 
of a very extensive list of versions, ancient and modern, 
are given. 

None of these examinations appear to the author satis- 
factory. The last mentioned is the most extensive ; but 
Mr. Judd's statements are very brief, and not always cor- 
rect as to the facts. Mr. Greenfield's examination was 
undertaken with a particular object in view, to which he 
has closely confined himself; and he therefore is altogether 
silent respecting several of the ancient versions. The 
same remark applies to Dr. Henderson, who wrote in an- 
swer merely to Greenfield. The authorities adduced by 
both Greenfield and Judd are almost entirely the Lexi- 
cons: in quoting from which, it should be remarked, how- 
ever, the former gives many passages in which the words 

* Augusti has some remarks on the versions of Pazri^co, i" h' 3 
" Handbuch dtr ckristlicken Archvologie," to which subsequent 
reference will be made. 


occur. Dr. Henderson, on the other hand, distrusts the 
authority of the Lexicons; but he seldom gives other au- 
thority, by distinctly quoting- the passages in which the 
words occur in the senses which he affixes to them. 

It will be seen, in the course of the ensuing pages, that 
the author refers to Dr. Henderson's pamphlet more fre- 
quently than to any other of those mentioned, and that he 
ha"s the misfortune to differ from him in many of his state- 
ments ; yet he has not thought it needful directly to reply 
to all that he conceives to be erroneous in Dr. Henderson's 
remarks, much less to confine himself to those versions 
which have been the subject of controversy between him 
and Mr. Greenfield. His object is, throughout, a general 
and, if possible, and impartial examination of the question ; 
assuming as little the air of controversy as is practicable 
on a subject that has been so long a matter of debate. 

The New Testament was very early translated into the 
Syriac language. The Peshito Syriac Version is generally 
referred to the beginning of the second century : by some 
critics, even to the close of the first. The Philoxenian 
Version, made under the authority of Philoxenus, orXena- 
yas, bishop of Hierapolis, is to be referred to the beginning 
of the sixth century. Fragments of another version, which 
has been called Pahestino-Syriac, have been discovered in 
the Library of the Vatican ; and the manuscript containing 
them has been partially collated, but not printed. 

Our examination properly commences with the venera- 
ble Peshito Version. It is considered to be the earliest 
version extant : the lamnjuge differs, probably, very little 

122 A P P E X D I X . 

from that spoken by our Lord and his disciples ;* and be- 
sides, with regard to the particular point in question, it 
may be considered the parent of many other Eastern Ver- 

The root which it employs to translate Pairrtfa and its 
" v 
derivatives is uniformly | V?S {amad.) Now, in order to 

ascertain the meaning- of this term, which has been the 
subject of much discussion, we have to consider, in the first 
place, its etymology, and then its use. It is almost super- 
fluous to say that etymology alone will not suffice. In 
every language we may find innumerable examples of an 
entire departure from etymological meaning; and in lan- 
guages where we have but few works to refer to, we shall 
find it difficult, frequently impossible, to trace the grad<> 
tions of meaning, or form any probable conjecture of the 
process by which the secondary signification was pro- 


The word .-^ has been generally, and perhaps cor- 
rectly referred to the same root as the Hebrew '"J^^ 
(found also in the Arabic and Ethiopic;) the general 

* Dr. Henderson, with singular infelicity, refers, in a note, to this 
fact; — "When our Lord," lie says, "gave the commission to his 
disciples to baptize all nations, there is every reason to believe 
that he employed the identical word found in the Peshito Syriac 
Version" (p. 11 ;) the meaning of which he affirms to be, ' to stand 
up,' ' stand erect.' Yet this word is translated (for it must be 
deemed translation, if the Syriac be the original term) intoGr&ek 
°y PaTTTifa. Does the Greek term, then, ever mean ' to stand 
up,' or 'stand erect ?' or, were the writers of the New Testament 
so little acquainted with Greek as uniformly to substitute ficnrTitcj 
for a word with this signification? Unless Dr. Henderson is willing 
to acknowledge a mistranslation, in this instance, on the part of 
inspired men, he must acknowledge that the meaning he has given 
to the word is not its true one. It is not that which they gave it. 

A P P E N D I X . 123 

meaning of which is, undoubtedly, ' to stand,." 1 In the Sy- 
riac, however, I am not aware of any instance in which 
the verb has such a meaning, or any of the words which 
are apparently derived from it, except J9P V?,^* a pillar 
or column* Dr. Henderson indeed asserts, that the verb, 
"like its cognate ^^^ * n Hebrew, signifies, l to stand 
up? ' stand erect ;'t but he gives no quotation to authorize 
such a meaning ; and Michaelisf expressly states that he 
does not find in the Syriac the signification of standing 
which is common to the other Oriental languages, unless it 
be in the derivative above mentioned. 

Another derivation therefore, as is well known, has 
been proposed by Michaelis, and certainly not without 
plausibility. He derived the Syriac word from the Arabic 

'£ ( ghamata,) which signifies to immerse, instead of 

/VTX {amada. ) The changes of the letters would furnish 
but little difficulty. The Arabic alphabet is so much more 

* The writer of the Letters on the "Bible Translation Society 
of the Baptists" speaks of " derivatives of the Syriac |.V?\ 
occurring "in two places, 1 Tim. iii. 15. and Gal. ii. 9., both mean- 
ing columns or pillars." It is somewhat unusual to speak of the 
singular and plural of a noun (as is the case here) as two deriva- 
tives of the same root. This noun also occurs in Rev. iii. 12. and 
x. 1. 

t P. 10. The signification of the Hebrew is not emphatically 
stand up or erect, as Dr. Henderson's statement implies. That it 
may occasionally be so rendered with propriety, is not denied ; but 
it cannot be always, nor indeed frequently. A reference to any 
Lexicon will show that the idea of erectness of posture is no part 
of the radical meaning of the word. See 2 Chron. vi. 13, where it 
is said that Solomon " stood, and kneeled down upon his knees." 

| Lexicon Syriac um sub voce. 


copious than the Hebrew or the Syriac, that roots which in 
that language are distinct arc frequently confounded in the 
others. As an example of this amalgamation of two root?, 
in respect to the letters £ ( Ain) and £ (Ghain,) the root 

WjQ^r Heb.,^>-0. Syr-, maybe mentioned. The verb 

\\,^ i mpiinsto immerse: thenoun^S. (Heb. 3/^1j£5^) 

a finger, especially the first or index finger. Where is 
the connexion between the two 1 The Arabic makes it 

clear, by referring the two words to different roots «-y0 
(tsabaa) " intendit digitum," whence * <AJ o| (atsba) 

"digitus;" and '"' (tsabagha) " tinxit, immersit."* 

Indeed, there could be no distinction in Syriac between 
and • The change of the ^ into the Syriac 9 

is not so easy ; yet we know that letters of the same organ 
are interchangeable ; and it seems to have been on this 
general principle that Michaelis rested, since he gives no 
example of such a change. Hoffman, in his Syriac Gram- 
mar, gives an instance of a precisely similar change in a 

x . f * . * 

proper name, " Artageram j * ^ ?*[ 1 j-A^93fll et 

j.AA^-5fll scribunt.' , t The difficulty of the hypothesis, 
however, is this, that the very word exists in Arabic ; and 
is used (as we shall afterwards see) in precisely the same 
sense as it is in the Syriac, as well as with the meaning of 

* Freytag Lex. Arab, sub voce. 
f Hoffmanni Grammat. Syr. p. 123. 


causing to stand, or supporting. On this account, a de- 
rivation from another root seems forced. If it be at all ad- 
missible, it must be explained on the supposition of the 
word already in use among- the Syrians having been adopted 
from them by the Arabian Christians, to express the ordi- 
nance of baptism without reference to their own word? 
from which it had been originally derived. Freytag, in 
his larger Lexicon, expressly refers to the Syriac as the 

source from which aTX has acquired the meaning bap- 
tize. But the fact, if admitted, proves nothing as to the 

Augusti, Professor Stuart, and Dr. Lee agree in taking 
the primary signification to be ' to stand,;'* and deduce the 
meaning '■baptize' from it, through the intervention of 
' confirm? the rite of confirmation being in the Eastern 
Church connected with baptism. A Rabbinical use of the 
Hebrew word seems to favour this account. Buxtorf 
gives, as one meaning of the Hiphil of ""J)^' constituere; 
and quotes from the Rabbinical treatise, Pirke avoth, c. 1. 
■nWfi n^Ti uTTftbft i( constitute dis- 
cipulos multos."* — This, however, furnishes at best a very 
precarious ground on which to rest the argument. No in- 
stance is adduced of the Syriac word ever meaning to con- 
firm or to initiate. Augusti's method of explaining why 
a word signifying ' confirmation,' rather than one whose 
proper meaning was the same as the Greek term, should 
be used, is ingenious. " We may," he says, "regard as 
the especial ground of choice of this word, the fact, that 
the Syrian Church could not well take the word*'za£a' 
for this purpose, since this had come into misuse and bad 
report through the Zabians and Hemerobaptists. Thev 

51 Buxtorf. Lex. Rabbin, et Talmud, col. 1622. 

126 A P V K X D I X . 

hesitated, in particular, to call John the Baptist, accord- 
ing to the custom of his false followers, Zabo ; but they 
chose the apparently fit word Maamdono (/fajmorfo,) 
Which we find Matt. iii. 1. xi. 11. They chose also the 
word MaamudUo ; by which could be expressed, not in- 
deed the nature and manner of the rite, but yet the design 
and effect of the sacred act, in opposition to the antichris- 
tian and heretical lustrations."" No proof, however, is 
offered by Augusti that the Mendai Jahia, or disciples of 
John, were in existence at so early a period as that of the 
Syriac Translation"^ and even if this were established, 
proof would still be required that they had then assumed 
the designation Zabians.\ 

* Augusti Handbuch der christlichen Archaologic,\'o\. II. pp 
311,312. Leipzig, 183G. 

t The whole history of this sect is very obscure. It was a cur- 
rent opinion amongst German critics, fifty years ago, that their ori- 
gin was to be traced to gome disciples of John the Baptist who did 
not admit the divine mission of Jesus, and that the Gospel of John 
was directed against their errors. See Michaells Introd. Vol. III. 
ch. 7. § 4, 5. The opinion of their early origin is still maintained, 
not only by Augusti, but also by Neander, in his AUgenuine Ges- 
chichle der christl. Kiiche, 1 B. p. 646. On the other hand, Knapp 
(Scripta Varii Argumenti, T.I. p. 159,) Tittman (Melemata Sacra, 
p. 15 seqq.,) and other critics, deny that there was any sect of 
John's disciples in the Apostolic age ; and many consider them a 
Mahometan rather than a Christian sect (Adelung's Mithridates, 
T. I. p. 339.) For authorities relating to them, see Kuinoel Proleg. 
in Evang. Joh. § 5. De Wettc Lehrbuch der hist.-crit Einlettuvg 
in d. N. T. § 107. b. Credner Einleitung in d. N. T. § 100. 

% Dr. Henderson refers to this sect, under the name Mendai Ja- 
hia, in a note (p. 11 ;) and asserts that they now perform baptism 
by pouring ; using the formula, " I renew thy baptism, in the name 
of our Father and Saviour John, who in this manner baptized the 
Jews in Jordan, &c." Dr. Henderson does not give his authority 
for this statement; and 1 have in vain sought for confirmation of it- 


On the whole, it appears that we can gain little from the 
etymology of the word; for, first, there is not only no proof 
that the Syriac word is connected etymologically with the 
same form existing in cognate languages, and having the 
signification ' to stand,'' but there are some grounds for 
suspecting a different origin ; and, secondly, if there were 
such a connexion, it is plain that it is not in that sense that 
it could be employed as an equivalent for Patrrifa, and 
consequently must have acquired a secondary meaning. 

We must therefore appeal to the use of the word. On 
this point the Lexicons are decided. Castel and his edi- 
tor Michaelis, Buxtorf, and Schaaf,. are all unanimous. 
The first gives the following meanings : " Ablutus est, bap- 
tizatus est. Aphel, immersit, baptizavit." Buxtorf gives, 
" Baptizari,intingi, ablui, abluere se. Ethp. Idem. Aphel, 
baptizare." Schaaf; " Abluit se, ablutus, intinctus, im- 

Robinson (History ofBaptism, p. 496) says, al! are agreed that they 
administer baptism in rivers by immersion. The German autho- 
rities referred to above, though they state nothing precisely as to 
their mode of performing baptism, all agree in representing them 
as designated by a word which signifies ' dippers.' Their assump- 
tion of the name Zabians, at whatever period, invalidates Dr. Hen- 
derson's argument, drawn from what he states to be their present 
practice It seems highly improbable that the} should at first pour, 
then immerse, and now again pour. It was indeed formerly said 
that the name Zabians or Sabaeans was given them from their wor- 
shipping the host of heaven, £$^2^[. (Sale's Koran, Prelim. 
Diss p. 20.) But it would seem that different sects were confound- 
ed, owing to the similarity of their designations: and all recent au- 
thorities agree in deriving the designation of the Mendai Jahia 

v ■ 
from the Syriac word ^^Q. 5 the meaning of which Dr. Hender- 

son gives, " to sink, dip, or put under water." See, in addition to 

the authors already referred to, Michaelis Lex. Syr. sub voce 


mersus in aquam, bapti/atus est. Ethpeel, Idem quod 
Peal. Aphel, immersit, baptizavit." Gutbier, in the 
small Lexicon affixed to his addition of the Syriac Testa- 
ment, gives the meanings, " Baptizavit, baptizatus est. It. 
sustentavit;" but without any reference to support the last 
meaning, and it is apparently introduced simply for the 

.o > v 
purpose of deducing from the verb the noun fcriVnV 

columna. With this exception, the authority of the Lexi- 
cons referred to is altogether against any such meaning as 
" to stand." Schaaf compares the word with the Hebrew 
*]*ft$ stetit, and the Arabic iV f.C- Re alliore, col- 
timna,palo, sustimrit, fulsit, stabilavit, erexit, &c, but 
does not give the slightest hint that any of these meanings 
are extant in the Syriac verb. 

The authority of Lexicons, however, is of small account, 
unless it can be confirmed by the use of the word. We 
therefore proceed to an examination of the Syriac Version, 
and Syrian Authors, on the point in question. 


In the Syriac New Testament, the verb . V^V occurs 

eighty times, answering in seventy-nine instances to the 
verb Pa-rrri^w, in one (Matt. iii. 7) to the noun tSaTTTiajia ' 

the noun f ^ V^ Wa occurs fifteen times, answering in 
fourteen instances to fiaimarlii and in one to the partici- 

c > =r > y 

pie PcurTifav : the noun | A A.«n Vo Wo occurs thirty- 
one times, answering to /?a7rr«cr^a in twenty-one instances, 
to PaxTicuds in four, to (poriaOivres in two (Heb. vi. 4. and 
x. 32. where 'being enlightened/ is manifestly taken by 
the translator as a figurative expression for having been 
baptized in accordance with the well-known usage of the 


Fathers;*) and to Ko^v^Bfidpa in four, viz. John v. 2, 4,7. 

and ix. 7. The root thus is used, in all, in 126 instances. 

The Greek verb /Janri^o occurs eighty times, the noun 

fiaizTiGTns fourteen, Panna/to. twenty-two, and ffairricudi 

four; in all, 120. From this comparison it will be seen, 

that in every instance where the word fiairrtfa or any of 

its derivatives, is employed in the Greek, some form of 

the root . Vn V j s used in the Syriac, and that the noun 

J A a ^VnX^n (wVnVb signifies both baptism and bap- 
tistery) is used where no derivative of 0<iitti$oi> is em- 
ployed ; twice as a figurative designation of ' baptism,' and 
four times in a sense connected with the meaning ' bap- 
tistery,' as the translation of Ko\vfxPfidpa, a pool or bathing 
place; a use which the noun, signifying the place where, 
baptism was perform d, could scarcely have acquired, un- 
less the verb designating the act of baptism had been un- 
derstood to mean bathe or immerse. We are, moreover, 
warranted in concluding, that though the term was pecu- 
liarly approp iated to th - ri e of Christian baptism, as is 
manifest from its being used as the translation of (pcjTiadeureg, 
it was nevertheless regarded by the Syriac translator as 
synonymous with 0aim(w in all the senses in which that 
word is used in the New Testament, and not as simply ex- 
pressive of the Christian rite: see, e. g., Mark vii. 4. 
Luke xi. 38. where the word is used in reference to Jewish 
ablutions. These examples preclude the idea of taking 

* Vid. Fuiceri Thesaurus Eccles. sub. voce <f>c.m£a). To obviate 
the possible objection, which this interpretation may be supposed 
to furnish to the antiquity of the Syriac Version, it may be re- 
marked, that Michaelis on other grounds supposes that the transla- 
tion of the Epistle to the Hebrews is of later date than the other 
parts of the Peshito Version. 


one's station at or in the water, which, according to Dr 
Henderson, is its meaning; and that of confirming, which 
Augusti and Dr. Lee maintain. The meaning which the 
translator designed to convey in these passages, was neither 
of these, but ablution. Dr. Henderson's view, or Augus- 
tus may explain how the word came to have this meaning; 
and many other hypotheses may do the same ; but the fact 
seems clear, that it had acquired in the time of the Syriac 
translator the meaning which the Lexicons give, " abluit 


In the Syriac Translation of the Old Testament, which 

was made about the same time as that of the New, the 

word flfl.^ is used in one instance, and signifies 'im- 
mersion,' or 'passing through water' (Num. xxxi. 23.) 
" All that abideth not the fire, ye shall make go through 
the water." . ^^VnV] |i^^ "Ye shall im- 
merse in water." 

Ephraim Syrus, who lived in the fourth century, uses 
the word frequently, and, as far as I have been able to 
discover, always in reference to Christian baptism. In 
many cases, the connexion in which it stands, implies 
that he understood by it 'immersion;' as, for example, in 
a hymn in which he speaks of the spirit and fire visible in 
different parts of the life of Christ: " Behold the fire and 
the spirit (7L ^^ jjoLiS A ^ffi^V in the ri- 
ver in which thou wast baptized * !" This however might 
be explained, according to Dr. Henderson's hypothesis, of 
a "person's taking his station at or in the water." The 
following instance, however, is explicit, and seems liable 
to no such exception. Speaking again of Christ, he says, 

* Assomanni Bibliotheca Orientalie, T. I. p. 101. 


" How wonderful is it that thy footsteps were planted on 
the waters; that the great sea should subject itself 
_*"* t S ""^ *■■ ) to thy feet; and that yet at a small 
river that same head of thine should be subjected to be 
bowed dozen and baptized xnitV > y A O Offl wS| 

)i^| |?<tl1^ ova t VrSo ^s?? . joci 

l *"> \A a. J .* In this example, not only is the manner 

of the baptism expressed by the word ■!-.'">? (which is 
found in John xix. 20. "he bowed his head,") united with 
B.Lfl-^ but there is a contrast drawn between the sea be- 
ing subjected to the feet of Christ, and his head being 
subjected to a small river ; which seems to admit of no 
other sense, than that, as the sea was placed under his 
feet, so his head was placed under the|river. 

In the Ritual of the Nestorians, which is recorded to 
have been compiled by Jesujabus Adjabenus,t Patriarch 
of this section of the Syriac Church from the year 650 to 
660. + there occur the following directions, respecting the 
administration of baptism : — " The deacons, properly at- 
tired, lead the children covered with a veil, lest the holy 
oil should touch their garments ; and bring them to the 
priest, who, standing on the western side of Jordan, [i. e. 
the font or baptistery] turns the face of the child to the 

* Ephraim Syri Opera Gr. Syr. et Lat. studio Assemanni. Rom. 
1732—4G. T. III. p. 24 It is much to be lamented that there is no 
index to this splendid edition of the works of Ephraim ; doubt- 
less, with such aid, other passages might be found. As it is, this, 
which is the fruit of a somewhat laborious search, must suffice. 

t Assemanni Bibliothcca Orientalis, T. III. Pt. 2. p, ccxli. 

+ Ibid. T. III.Pt.1. p. 113. 

132 a P P B n nix. 

east, and dips him in water, JaJsCLO 01^ \j£i^t±£> 
and lays his hand upon his head and says, Such a on 

A- O 

baptized ^ r IsO^ in the name of the Father, 

&c." * Here . V) V is evidently considered to be syno- 

nymous with ^ *-» I t ne meaning of which is T unques- 
tionably, to be immersed. 

This examination leads us to a very different conclusion 
from that of Dr. Henderson, who asserts that " - 
sense (viz. of immersing) cannot be proved to attach 
either to the etymology of the word or to its actual use in 
any part of the New Testament" (p. 10;) and after- 
wards, that the reader of the Syriac New Testament hai 
only to consult the passages in which baptism is 9] 
of, and he will find that this ancient, and venerable ver- 
sion, so far from yielding any support to the hypotl 
that immersion of the body in water is th<- mode in which 
John and our Lord's disciples performed that rite, goes, 
on the contrary, to establish the opinion that it was per- 
formed by the application of waier to the body in a stand- 
ing posture, such as we lind in the ancient reprei 
tions" (p. 11.) Now, with regard to the etymolo 
the word, it is readily conceded, that from that, im 
cannot be proved to be its meaning. But as respects its 
use, it has been shown to be absolutely necessary to give 
some other meaning than that of li standing ;" and that 
the meaning which actually is given in the version of the 
Bible, as well as by Syriac writers, is immersion or ablu- 

It is no answer to this statement, to say, with Dr. lien- 

* Aseeraanni Bibliotheca Orientalis, It. III. Ft 2. p ccxliii. 


derson, that "where a word signifying 'to dip 1 is requir- 

ed, the verb employed is not g^fl^ the verb uniformly 

used in reference to baptism, but"\^ .," if it has been 

shown that the meaning of the former word is immerse. 

No one doubts that ^>£>» has that meaning, but it does 

not therefore follow that VqV^ has not. 

The PhilOxenian Syriac Version does not require a 
special examination. The same word is used there as in 
the Peshito, and of course with the same meaning. 


The Arabic Versions next claim our attention, not on 
account of their antiquity or critical authority, but be- 
cause they are, particularly as regards the question under 
consideration, connected with the Syriac. The history of 
the early Arabian Versions is very obscure. The first 
printed edition of the Gospels is that published at Rome 
in 1590; and the same impression, with another title- 
page, bearing the date 1C19. Michaelis considers that 
this version must have been long and generally known in 
Asia ; and Marsh refers it to a period not later than the 
eleventh century. How much earlier it may be, there is 
no evidence to decide. No Arabic Version, however, it 
is generally supposed, can be .referred to an earlier pei'iod 
than the seventh century. • From this edition, the Arabic 
Gospels in the Paris Polyglott (1645,) and the London 
Polyglott (1657,) were, with some alteration, taken. 
Erpenius published the New Testament in Arabic at Ley- 
den in 1616, from a manuscript of the thirteenth or four- 
teenth century. His edition is very much esteemed, but, 


unfortunately, very rare. With regard to the Gospel?, it 
is said to present the same version substantially as the 
edition at Rome. The remaining books of the New Tes- 
tament in the Paris Polyglott were printed from a manu- 
script of the fourteenth century, and from it reprinted in 
the London Polyglott.* Besides these ancient versions, 
there are, the Version of the Propaganda^ Rome (1671,) 
and of the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, 
London, 1727 ; both of which have for their basis the 
Polyglott Version, but have been altered by their respec- 
tive editors ; the one to accord with the Vulgate, the other 
with the Greek Text. A new translation of the whole 
Bible in Arabic was undertaken about thirty years ago, 
by Sabat, then an apparently sincere and zealous convert 
from the Mohammedan religion; and his version of the 
New Testament was published at Calcutta inl816, at the 
expense of the British and Foreign Bible Society. 

From this sketch, it will be seen that the ancient Ara- 
bic Versions are not to be considered as independent wit- 
nesses ; and it will suffice to examine at length the Arabic 
of Walton's Polyglott, which is most accessible. 

The Arabic of the Polyglott employs two different 

words to designate Christian baptism, ATf (amada) 

and Aj^jq (tsabagha:) the former of these verbs oc- 
curs, as the translation of (3a7rri^u, forty-seven times; 
the latter, thirty-one. The meaning of the first may be 
fairly considered to be determined from its use in the Sy- 
riac, on account of the priority of the Syriac translation. 

* A splendid reprint of the Arabic Bible of the London Poly- 
glott was executed at Newcastle, 1811, under the superintendence 
of the late Professor of Arabic, the Rev. J. D. Carlyle, B. D., 


The usual meaning of X/& is, undoubtedly, ''to make 

to stand, support, establish, purpose," &c. ; and it is 
possible that it may be used in one of these senses in the 
New Testament : but in a careful examination of the pas- 
sages in which it might be expected to occur, I have not 

been able to find it. The noun ,\ & (amudon) occurs, 
in the sense of 'pillar,' in the passages in which the cor- 
responding Syriac word is found. It has already been 
noticed, that Freytag refers the meaning ' baptize' to the 
Syriac, as its source. The meaning of. the other word, 

ZjJg which is not noticed at all by Dr. Henderson, is 

thus given by Golius : " I. Tinxit pannum. Imbuit. Im- 
mersit manum in aqua. Baptizavit. Indicium fecit 
oculi nutu. VII. et VIII. Pass .rfc Conj. I.": and by 
Freytag, "Tinxit pannum; immersit manum in aqua, 
&c."* It is the same root as the Syriac word, which is 
considered by Dr. Henderson decisive as to the meaning 
of the Syriac, and which he says signifies " to sink, dip, 
or put into water for the purpose of wetting." There 
seems, therefore, to be no room for controversy, as to its 
signification. But ftot only do we thus find a word the 
acknowledged meaning of which is ' immerse' used fre- 
quently in the Arabic to designate the ordinance of bap- 
tism, but it is so used as to show in what sense the other 

word employed \^1 was understood by the translator. 

The two words occur, in many instances interchangeably. 
The effect of this interchange will perhaps be best seen 

* The quotation is from his smaller Lexicon ; the other mean- 
ings which he gives have no relation to the subject, and it is there- 
fore needless to insert them. 


by giving two o three of the passages in English, retain- 
ing the word baptize as the representative of A Tpy 

and rendering 'J^Jq by immerse. Thus Acts viii. 12 & 

13 : " When they believed Philip preaching the things 
concerning the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus 
Christ, they were immersed, both men and women. Then 
Simon himself believed also; and when he ua< bap ■ 
&c." Acts viii. 36 & 38 : " The eunuch said, See here 
is water; what doth hinder me to be immersed? — And 
they went down both into the water, both Philip and the 
eunuch; and he baptized him."' Acts xix. 3, 4,5: "He 
said, With what baptism were ye immersed ? And they 
said, With John's baptism. Then said Paul, John verily 
baptized the people with the baptism of repontance, say- 
ing unto them that they should believe on Him who should 
come after him, that is on Christ Jesus When they 
heard this, they were immersed in the name of the Lord 
Jesus." Compare also Mark i. 8 & 9 ;* Acts x. 47 & 

48; 1 Cor. i. 13 & 14. This use of the word j^ 
in Arabic confirms what has been already said of its mean- 
ing in the Syriac ; although., from the long interval be* 
tween the two versions, no argument could rest solely on 
this later use of the word. 

Another word, A^£. (ghasala,) is used to translate 
PuTtTifa in two instances, and its corresponding noun, 

G o^ 

Ljuui twice for /?a7rrj<7/*6s : but it is not used in the 

Polyglott with the meaning Dr. Henderson gives it; viz. 

* The Roman edition of the Arabic Gospels, 1619, accords with 
the Polyglott in this instance, and probably in the others. 


" to deiiote the performance of the act of Baptism," but 
to denote Jewish purifications: Mark vii. 4. 8. Lukexi, 
38. The meanings which Golius gives are in accordance 
with this use: "I. Lavit, abluit. V. Diligenter lavit per- 
luitque membra. VII. Ablutus fuit. VIII. Semet lavit et 
abluit aqua. Sudore maduit ac perfusus fuit eqlius."* 
Dr. Hendprson partially quotes the se definitions: " Lavit; 
abluit. VII. Ablutus fuit. VIII. Sudor [sudore] per* 
fusus fuit." It is difficuit to discover for what purpose 
thi* last meaning, Conj. VIII., is given, except it be to 
indicate by the word perfusus that there may be some* 
thing like sprinkling intended: but the Lexicons only re* 
fer this meaning to a horse bathed in sweat ; and give as 
the general signification of Conj. VIII. " Semet lavit et 
abluit aqua," which Dr. Henderson omits. 

As regards modern versions, there is the same diversity 

as in the ancient. In Sabat*s Version,, jujq (tsabag- 

ha,) the word not noticed by Dr. Henderson, (nor indeed 
referred to by Greenfield,) the meaning of which has been 
already shown to be immerse, is used quite as frequently 
as it is in the Polyglot** — See, e. g., Matt. iii. 13, 14, 16* 
Mark vi. 14. &c. The Version of the Propaganda, like* 
wise, which has been reprinted, and is now circulated by 
the Bible Society in England, uses the word ^T^ 

in almost every instance where it is employed in the Poly- 
glott. In neither of these versions does the verb l ** < ' 

occur, to denote the act of Christian baptism. It is used 
in the same instances as in the Polyglott ; and the noun 

* Golius gives two or three other meanings, which have no re- 
ference to the matter in hand. 



occurs in one additional passage, Heb. ix. 10, as the 
translation of (la-ana fide. 


Of the age of the Persic Versions of the Gospels (for 
there is no ancient version extant of the other parts of the 
New Testament) little is known. The Version of the 
Polyglott, which is considered to be the most ancient, is 
taken from the Syriac ; and, according to Hug, bears evi- 
dent traces of the influence of Mohammedanism. It can- 
not therefore be referred to an earlier period than the 8th 
century. Several words are employed in the Polyglott 
Version to translate /?arrrt£aj. The most frequent is 
^jwX^wwCw (shustan,) the meaning of which, according to 

Golius* and Richardson, Ms, to wash: ^«lXaJ»-w 
(shuyidan,) a verb of the same signification, is used not 
unfrequently. Some form of the Syriac word ., V^ , \ 
is occasionally employed, or rather untranslated; one of 
the two preceding words being generally appended by way 
of explanation, as Matt. xxi. 25. John i. 33. &c. In 

Matt, xxviii. 19- ***" r?. (tarsa,) a Christian, is given 

as the explanation of joL*£. (amadeh;) and in Mark 
xvi. 16. the same word is employed to designate one bap- 
tized. The meaning of the two words »Juw*Cw an d 
..♦tX'Ofc.w i 3 clear, from the use of them both in the 
account of Jesus washing the disciples' feet, John xiii. 

* Oostelli Lexicon HoptaglottoD. 


5 — 12-, The former is used to translate (3anTi^u, Mark 
vii. 4. Luke xi. 38. where Jewish ablutions are intend- 
ed, and where the word AJ^£ is used in the Arabic as 

has been already stated. This word (J^ww-C- is not used 
at all in the Polyglott Persic : it is however employed in 
the modern Persian of Martyn. 


The Ethiopic Version of the whole Bible is generally 
attributed to Frumentius, who, about the year 330, intro- 
duced Christianity into Abyssinia, and became Bishop of 
Axum. In the New Testament, the root £f\.(P*fe \ 
(tamaka) is uniformly employed as the translation of 
0aTTTi$a> and its derivatives ; except in one instance, 
Luke xi. 33, where ablution before dinner is rendered by 
the phrase washing the hands ; the word employed on 
this occasion being the same as is used in the account of 
Jesus washing the disciples' feet, John xiii. 5 — 12. and in 
other places. In respect to this version, as well as the 
Coptic (which will next come under our consideration,) 
Dr. Henderson disputes the authority of the Lexicons. 
" The definitions," he says, "produced from the Lexicons 
of Ludolf and Woide are altogether insufficient to prove 
that in the Ethiopic and Coptic Versions the words em- 
ployed for (SazTTi^u signify to 'immerse.' It does not ap- 
pear that, in application to Christian baptism, they ever 
have this signification" (p. 12.) Now, with regard to the 
Ethiopic, not only does Ludolf distinctly state that the 
word employed is equivalent with (3<nrTi$siv, and that its 
meaning is to wash, to immerse, but supports his state- 
ments by a very important reference to the Old Testa- 


merit, which completely decides the question of the m 
ing immerse belonging to the word, whatever may be its* 
meaning, in reference to Christian baptism. The passage 
JsJos.iii.15: "When the feet of the priests 'l\fll c P<I> " 
were dipped in the brim of the water." Though Dr. 
Henderson professes to quote Ludolf's definition of the 
word, he omits any reference to that form of the word 
which occurs in this passage. This is the more surpris- 
ing, as Greenfield had already given a passage including 
this form, and even the passage cited, though without the 
verse being named, from Ludolf's first edition. The fol- 
lowing is Ludolf's statement in the second edition, a few 
lin?s below the part which Dr. H. quotes:—* 

" 'FiM^ '. Mark xvi. 16. In genere, tinctus, in- 
tinctus, immersus fuit, et sic convenit cum r t , iIl C PU ' 
ut, Dum pedes sacerdotum *£($),<$?$> \ tingerentur in 
parte aqua, Jos. iii. 15. (2.) In specie baptizatus sive 
immersus fuit in aquarn, Luc. iii. 21. &c." 

Dr. Henderson also omits all reference to the noun 
^PI^cJ* ," (metemake,) which is used in John v. 2, 
4. and ix. 7. in the sense of a pool or bathing-place* 
The meaning is thus given by Ludolf : — 

" TT i "T*P ■ Bapti^terium sive stagnum aut pis- 
cina, ubi homines baptizari vtl scsr, immergere solent. 
Vit .Barb. — P/Mr.^P^^tp^ ' Baptisteria, qv.v olim 
foris extra templa in vestibulis constiluta erant, quia non- 
baplizatis templa ingredi non liccbat. Forma hac plu- 
ralis singulariter accipitur pro Piscina Joh. v. 2. et 
ix. 7." 

It may further be observed, that the word is used Mark 
vii. 4. in reference to Jewish purifications, which undoubt- 
edly were ablution*. 


Surely here is sufficient to justify Ludolf's definition of 
the word, and to prove that it has the meaning immerse. 
Besides being used to express ablution, the verb, as we 
have seen, is employed to express the dipping of the feet 
of the priests in the Jordan, and the noun for a bathing- 
place. The general meaning of the word being thus shown, 
it is for Dr. H. to prove that "it does not appear that in 
application to Christian baptism it ever has this significa- 
tion." To affirm this without proof is simply begging the 
question, by precluding the production of the most availa- 
ble evidence. What other method is there of determin- 
ing the signification in disputed passages, than by refer- 
ence to passages not in dispute ? If the meaning in the 
latter is ' immerse,' some reason surely must be given why 
that meaning should be denied in the former ? None, 
however- is offered by Dr. Henderson ; nor is there, either 
by Dr. Henderson or any one else, as far as I am aware, 
any evidence adduced to show that in instances not rela- 
ting to Christian baptism any other meaning than ' im- 
merse' or ' wash' is attached to the word. There is, 
therefore, no balancing of conflicting evidence ; the whole 
force of what has been broughi forward is applicable to the 
determination of the question. The word clearly had 
some meaning before it was used as the designation of the 
Christian rite ; the only meanings, of which there is evi- 
dence, are, immersion and ablution : what further proof 
can be required that such is its meaning in reference to 
Christian baptism ? We might, then, fairly consider the 
matter to be determined already. It will be satisfactory, 
however, to add to what has been said, the evidence of the 
Abyssinian Ritual, which was published in Latin at Rome 
in 1549, from a translation by Peter Abbot of that Church. 
The directions for baptism, as far as they are applicable 


to our present purpose, are as follows ; the formula ad- 
dressed to those who are baptized being given in the ori- 
ginal Ethiopic as well as the Latin ; — " Sacerdos autem 
eos suscipit et ter mergit, dicens ; ^Xll^P^ 1 !! I 
Ego baptizo te &c. ;*" plainly showing that the term 
used to express the rite performed (which is the same as 
that employed in the Ethiopic Version) was esteemed to 
be equivalent with mergo, ' immerse. The modern Am- 
karic Version, executed under the superintendence of M. 
Asselin, French Consul at Cairo, by Abu-Rumi, a native 
of Abyssinia, employs the same term as the Ethiopic. This 
version into the vernacular language of Abyssinia, as well 
as the ancient Ethiopic, has been beautifully printed in 
London, under the editorial care of T. P. Piatt, Esq., at 
the expense of the British and Foreign Bible Society. 


There are three different dialects of the Egyptian lan- 
guage, in all of which versions of the New Testament have 
been made. They are, the dialect of Lower Egypt, called 
the Coptic or Memphitic; that of Upper Egypt, the Sa- 
hidic or Thebaic ; and the Basmuric, the seat of which is 
generally placed in the Delta, though Hug conjectures that 
it is a dialect of Middle Egypt ; it differs little from the 
Sahidic. The first of these is most generally known, 
and the term Coptic has therefore been sometimes applied 
to them all indiscriminately. The whole of the New Testa- 

* Modus Baptizandi, &c. quibus Ecclesia Ethiopum utitur. 
Rom. 1549. p. xix.— Peter, the translator of this Ritual, is ho doubt 
the same person as edited the first printed Ethiopic New Testa- 
ment, published at Rome in 1543 ; which is reprinted in Walton's 


ment in this dialect was published at Oxford, with atrans- 
latian by Wilkins, in 1716. Of the other two dialects, 
fragments only have been printed. The Sahidic is gene- 
rally esteemed the most ancient. of the three, and is refer- 
red to the second century ; the Coptic, and the fragments 
of the Basmuric, are supposed to belong to the third. 

The word generally employed in the Coptic is (JDJULC. 
Two other forms, which are plainly referable to the same 
root, Oj?JLC and £JLfLC 9 are occasionally used The 

word seems to be the same as the Arabic iy*jQ£- " demersit 
rem, submersit in aquam rem, intinxit."* Tattam,t after 
LaCroze and Woide, defines the word thus '• (JJ&j^C? Y15> 
KaTa-KovTiafids, Vulg. pnecipitatio, Ps. li. 4. fiaTTTHTjids, bap- 
tismus, Matt. iii. 7. kcltciwovti^eiv, submergere, Ps. liv. 9. 
KaraSijvciv, descendere in profundum. Exod. xv. 5. Kara- 
■KLveaQai, devorari, Ps. cvi. 27. fiaxTityaQai,* submergi, 
Lev. xi. 32. Panri^siv, baptizare, Matt iii. 11. KaraXveiv, 
dissolvere, 2 Pet. iii. 6. Sah.§ cum £(^}0*<flti com P°" 
situm hSvveiv, irrepere, penetrare in locum, 2 Tim. iii. 6. 
nOJ&.Xe JUUXOJJUIC, nuga scurrilia, MS. Borg. 
cc. "^"COJULCj ftairrtfyiv, baptizare, Joh. i. 25. — 

* Freytag Lex. Aral). 

t Lexicon iEgyptiaco-Latinum ab Henrico Tattam, A. [M. Oxon 

J This is an error for fi&TTTeaOai copied apparently from Woide. 

§ There is an error here, whieh I have no means of correcting 
with certainty, the reference being to the Sahidic, The word 
Karakvuv does not occur at all in the Epistles of Feter ; 


CTllOJULC, (lanTifaQai, baptizari, Matt. iii. 6. Arab. 

These definitions are almost identical with those given 
by Greenfield from Woide's Lexicon; which Dr. Hender- 
son has not thought it worth while to examine at all, but 
has dismissed with the remark already quoted, that the de- 
finitions adduced from the Lexicon of Woide are altogether 
insufficient to prove that the word employed for /?a:n-t£cd 
signifies 'to immerse.' Yet it is difficult to conceive what 
use of the word could suffice to pr^ve this, if its use as the 
translation of the Greek words fiairrw, Ka-ativw, Karairov- 
ri^w, Karairivco, will not. What can it mean, but dip, 
sink, overwhelm, swallow up?* All the examples, how- 
ever, adduced by the Lexicons are from the Old Testa- 
ment; let us see how it is used in the New, in passages 
not relating to baptism. It occurs as the translation of 
Ka-airovTi^o) in the only two passages in which that word is 
found, Matt. xiv. 30. and xviii. 6. It is also used as the 
translation of fivQi^w in the two instances in which it oc- 
curs, Luke v. 7. 1 Tim. vi. 9. ; and it is once used to 

probably KdraKXi^etv, which occurs in the verse quoted, is the 
word iutendcd ; but then the Latin should be inundare, not dissol- 
ve™. (JOJULC is not usod in tae Coptic as the translation either 
of KaraXvetv or of naraKXi^Eiv, a word which occurs only in this 

* The use of the phrase CQ5JLC Cj^CHf it , as the trans- 
lation of evSivoi, " t0 creep into," is very easily explained, when 
we remember the composition of the Greek term—i Vf in, within, 
and iiv<t>, to go under, sink, dive: hence svSvpo), to enter into. 
The Coptic is a literal translation of this. 


translate Karavivw, Heb. xi. 29. — This last is a remark- 
able instance : it relates to the Egyptians being drowned 
in the Red Sea.* The word is never used as the trans- 
lation of any term signifying wash, nor even of P&ttto) or 
c/j/Jdrrcd. Could any evidence more conclusively prove 
that the word means to ' immerse,' ' plunge/ and even 
' sink V 

Fragments of the Sahidic Version have been published 
by several critics. The largest collection is that under- 
taken by Woide, and published after his death, at Oxford, 
in 1799. The only fragments which have been discovered of 
the Basmuric Version were published, together with some 
additional ones of the Sahidic and the corresponding pas- 
sages of the Coptic, by Engelbreth, in 1811. t As the two 
versions are nearly identical, they may be treated of to- 

* In two other of the instances quoted, Matt, xviii. 6. and 1 Tim. 
vi.9. our translation has drown ; but the sense does not necessarily 
require a stronger meaning thau sink; though drowning is implied 
in the first case, since there could be no emersion. This use of the 
Coptic word may suggest an answer to a remark of Dr. Henderson's 
(which, however, does not fall within the design of the present 
pamphlet,) that fta-nnfa, when it signifies the submersion of the 
whole body, conveys the idea " tbat the body thus submerged sunk 
to rise no more." Ba^r^w when applied to ships sinking, un- 
doubtedly gives this idea : so does COJULC when applied to the 
sinking of a person in the sea with a millstone about his neck ; or t° 
Pharaoh and his host being submerged in the Red Sea ; but neither 
of the words mean more than sink ; the rising again not being part 
of the idea, in either case. Whether it is drowning, or dipping 
merely, must depend upon the context. 

t Fragmenta Basmurico-Coptica Vetcris et Novi Testamenti, 
quae in MusscoBorgiano Velitris asservantur, cum reliquis versioni- 
.bus jEgyptiis contulit, latine vertit, necnon criticis et philologicis 
adnotationibus illu^travit W. F. Engelbreth. Haunia, 1811. 



gether. In the Sahidic fragments edited by Woide, there* 
are about thirty passages containing the verb /?anr<£a>. 
In the fragments edited by Engelbreth, the only instances 
in which baptism is mentioned, are 1 Cor. xv. 29. where 
the verb twice occurs ; and Heb. vi. 2. (not in the Sahidic.) 
ix. 10; in both of which the noun fiajmcrnds is found in 
the Greek. The words employed in all these passages, 
in both dialects, are from the Greek ; the verb being 

fidJVf^e, and the noun .SAITfCJUA. Itwill 

not appear surprising that the Greek words are used in 
these versions, when we remember that the Greek influence 
in Egypt, under the rule of the Ptolemies, had introduced 
multitudes of Greek words into the language ; so that in 
the Coptic Version one cannot open a page without meet- 
ing with several. In rive pages of Wilkins's edition, taken 
at random, in the Gospels, Acts, and Epistles, containing 
altogether fifty-nine verses, I have counted forty-eight 
Greek words, thirty-three of them different (exclusive of 

particles, such as XIGH, V^Jp, &*^J &C, 

which are found continually ;) thus giving, on an average, 
four Greek words to every five vfcrses. These words do 
not seem to have been retained, as was done in the Latin, 
from any supposed sacredness in the terms, but merely 
because they expressed to the Egyptian reader the idea to 
be conveyed. The following is the list of words in the last 
page of the five which were examined : 1 Thess. v. 1 — 13: 

yer. 1. XP°«OC, KGpOC, XP*&- v. 2. 

ijqpiflujc. v. 9. aipHitn. e£<uuru.. v . c . 
ax&tik, nepiKe^Xe^ &eXmc. 

v. 13. 4.TMUTH, ^SpnUK, In the Sahidic dialect 


Greek words are far more numerous than they are in the 
Coptic. In twenty-five verses which I have examined in 
Woide's Sahidic fragments (Acts viii. 1 — 25) there are 
thirty-eight Greek words (exclusive of particles,) twenty- 
five of them different ; giving, on an average, three Greek 
words to every two verses. 


The Armenian Version of the whole Bihle was made 
ahout the beginning or middle of the fifth century, by Mies- 
rob, the inventor of the Armenian Alphabet, assisted by 
other learned men ; and amongst them, Moses Chorenen- 
sis, who wrote a History of Armenia which has come 
down to us, in which he gives an account of the translation. 

The word which it employs for the translation of fianrifa 
is d!jptnh-t (inogredil;) except in one instance, 1 Cor. i. 

16. where the phrase (dal gnik,) ' to give a seal,' occurs. 
The meaning of the word is thus given in the Armenian 
Lexicon of Brand and Aucher, the most recent Lexicon 
that has been published : " (mogredil ;) v. a. to baptize, 
to wash by plunging into water." No examples are given 
to this or any other word throughout the Dictionary. Jn 
a language so little known to English scholars, it might, be 
deemed sufficient to rest on the authority of the learned 
Father Paschal Aucher, of the Armenian Academy of St. 
Lazarus at Venice, who is acquainted with the English 
language ; but it will be more satisfactory to find other in- 
stances of the use of the word. 

The word is used in the New Testament to translate 
Pann^o), where the reference is to Jewish ablutions, Mark 
vii. 4. Luke xi. 38. It is also used in the Old Testament 
(where Gann^oi is used in the Lxx.) 2 Kings v. 14: Naa- 


man " dipped himself in the Jordan seven times: and in 
the Apocrypha, Judith xii. 7.* and Ecclus. xxxiv. 30. in 
both of which passages (lair-rifa occurs. Thus we see 
that it is a word applicable to all the meanings of (ia-xri^oi ; 
and undoubtedly signifies, in one instance, dip ; in others, 
at least, bathe, perform ablution. 

The modern Armenian Version employs the same term ; 
and it is still the current word in the language to designate 


The Slavonic Version of the New Testament, and of 
parts at least of the Old, was made by Cyril, the inventor 
of the Slavonic Alphabet, and Methodius, his brother, who, 
about the middle of the ninth century, introduced Chris- 
tianity amongst several of the Slavic tribes. It is not cer- 
tain for what particular district the translation was made ; 
but the language " has long since become the common pro- 
perty of all the Slavic nations."! 

The term by which it uniformly renders (ia-imfy, when 
that word is applied to the Christian rite, is krestili; 
the meaning of which is " to cross," a term which has 
manifestly been derived from the use of the sign of the 
cross in baptism. The word is thus, in strictness, inap- 
plicable to any other than the technical meaning of 
Pa-jri^co : yet it is curious to notice, both as showing how 
little dependence can be placed on etymology alone in de- 
ciding the actual meaning of a word, and as indicating 

* It is used also in the following verse, where the Greek has 

I See an elaborate article on the Slavic Languages and Litera- 
ture, by Dr. E. Robinson, in the Bibical Repository, Vol. IV. Nos. 
14 and 15. 


the manner in which they practised baptism, that so com- 
pletely had the word, at the time when the translation was 
made, lost its etymological meaning when applied to bap- 
tism, and obtained the signification of ablution, as to be 
employed for Jewish purifications. Thus in Luke xi. 38. 
we meet with the following translation : " The Pharisee 
wondered that he had not, krestisia, crossed himself be- 
fore dinner ;" where the margin reads, ymusia, washed : 
and in like manner the noun, krestshenia, is used Mark 
vii. 8. " the crossing of pots and cups :" — omovenia is 
found in the margin, the same word as is used to translate 
fiaxTiafios, Heb. xi. 10. 

Many modern versions in languages belonging to the 
Slavic family adopt the same term as the Slavonic employs. 
Amongst these, are the Russian, Polish, Bohemian, Lithu- 
anian, and Lettish or Livonian. 


The whole of the Scriptures was translated into that 
dialect of the Gothic which was spoken by the inhabitants 
of Mcesia, by Ulphilas, Bishop of the Mcesians, in the 
fourth century. The greater part of this version has been 
lost ; and the only remaining portion of any considerable 
extent is preserved in the Cordex Argenteus, now deposit- 
ed in the University of Upsal. From this manuscript the 
Gospels (as far as they are extant) have been several times 
printed. The edition most accessible in this country is 
that published at Oxford, in 1750, by Lye, with a Latin 
translation and notes by Benzel. 

The word usually employed in this version to translate 

PaxTifa is ci/\X1IIQJ\]Sr (dauj>jan,) which, it is 



on all hands agreed, signifies immerse. If proof were 
■wanting, the meaning would seem to be determined by the 
preposition with which the word is used, where a preposition 
is employed ; e. g. Mark i. S. IK & fcTWlQ /V 
1XV 1 - " l ' M VATIN", 'I baptize you f»wa- 
ter.' Dr. Henderson admits that the word means to im- 
merse, but seems to concede this meaning somewhat un- 
willingly. "That the Gothic daupjan" he says, " may 
signify to immerse, is not denied ; though this action is 
more properly expressed in that language by uj 'daupjan ." 
It will be immediately seen that this latter word is a com- 
pound of the former, with the preposition T\\Z v f> wm °k 
signifies under; and it seems quite clear, that if vf daup- 
jan means to dip under, daupjan must mean dip : it is 
just the difference between mcrgo and submergo. There 
need, however, be no hesitation as to the meaning 
Ulphilas attached to daupjan, or at least none as to the 
mode in which he translated (SairTL^o : for in two instances 
he employs the very word by which immersion is, ac- 
cording to Dr. Henderson, "more properly expressed," 
Tl'tcX.nilG AlT as tlic translation of ^?ot7rrt^oj, Luke 

iH.2i: lAisn n^&Anni&AMMA, 

" Jesus being immersed; 1 ' and vii. 29 : 

n£a.Anni&.Ai aMineiN^i 

'LClliVNl'TtS) " being immersed with the baptism 
of John." In this last instance it will be seen that both 
words occur together; and no doubt can remain that Ul- 
philas understood by John's baptism, immersion. 

A P P F. V D I X . 151 

We qi i i nut thou inquire further respecting the Gothic 
Version; hut it is of great importance to ascertain the con 
nexionofthis word with the terms of similar application in 
other Teutonic dialects. On this subject, Dr. Hendi 

•lie dialects, which have ro- 
ily been appealed to with great confidence <>n this 
ttled point, with all those who are ac- 
quainted with them, that the reference ia totally irrelevant. 
That the M laupian, the Anglo-Saxon iyppen, 

the Dutch doopen, the Swedish dopa, the Danish dobc, 
and the German taufen, all correspond in sound toour En- 
glish word dip, does not admit of dispute, any more than 
the fact, that daft, <Zatt&, and tfcfthavethe same correspond* 
but nothing would he mure erroneous than to con- 
clude,that, with the exception of the Anglo-Saxon, they must 
aification." In these remarks, Dr. Hen- 
ems toconfound two very distinct questions 
— the etymology of the words, and their signification. Their 
correspondence in sound will certainly prove nothing of it- 
self, as to sameness <>f meaning ; nor am I awan: that, with 
: to tli- se particular words, such an assertion has 
'•:i made; but this correspondence affords evidence 
of etymological identity, whatever diversity of meaning the 
words may at present bave. Now, that all these word.? 
tymologically connected, and are, in (act, hut varied 
forms of the same original word, admits of as little dispute 
as th lir trrespondence in sound; and it cannot be neces- 
sary to inform Dr. Henderson that this is " a settled point 
with all who are acquainted with these dialects." Every 
philologist knows that tin- rootdavpjan (taking th£ Gothic 
as the most ancient form) is to he traced in almost all the 
Teutonic dialects. It would be tedious to produce numer- 
ous authorities in proof of this assertion. It will he sutli- 


cient to quote the etymological dictionary of Mcidinger : 
and the reader who wishes lor further confirmation of the 
fact may consult the works mentioned in the note, where he 
will find similar lists, more or less extensive : — 

" Dippen, cintauchen, enj . Aug. S. 

dippan. dyppan, : dyfan, dufian, gedu 

fian, plonger. Eng. to dip, to dive, plonger. Holl. 
::. Swed. doepa. Dan. dyppe. It. tufiare. 
•• Tauten. bapHser. Ang. S. dyppan, dippan, depan, 
dyfan. Swed. doepa. Dan. doebe. Holl. doopen. Alt. 
D. doufau. Alt. G. daupian, plonger, se laver. 

" Taufe. I Alt. D. tauii. toufe, toufa, daufi, 

doufa, touft. Alt. G. daupein(s). Holl. doop, dooping, 
doopsel. Swed. dop. doepelse. Dan. daab. It. tuflfo 
V action de plonger."* 

It cannot then for a moment be supposed, that when 
Dr. Henderson asserted that it was a settled point that the 
reference to the Teutonic dialects was altogether irrele- 
vant, he meant to deny the etymological identity of the 
words ; though his remark, ' that they correspond in 
sound,' naturally suggests to the mind of the reader the 

' Mcidinger Dictionuaire Etymologique et comparatif des Lea- 
gues Teutogothiques. Framkfart, ls33, p. -100. It will be seen, 
that the first list of verbs contains those whose ordinary significa- 
tion is dip : whilst the second gives such as are more immediately 
connected with Urn/en in the sense baptize. A comparison of the 
two lists, however, will show that the same words of the Anglo- 
Sazon, Dutch, and Swedish, are included in both. It therefore 
seemed proper to insert the whole : though the second sufficiently 
establishes the etymological connexion of all the words mentioned 
by Dr. Henderson as the translation of penm^a. See also Junius 
Gothicum Glossarium and his Etymologicum Anglicanum, Spell- 
man, Wachter Glossarium Germanicum, Hire Glossarium Suio- 
Gethicuiu (quoted below,) and Adelung's Worterbucb. 


Heathat th-'-ir etymology was the point he had in • 
It must surely have been, rather, that he might not puzzle 
the u: .ler with questions of philology, that be 

i.parison of them with the remark that 
>tb, and daub have the sanv I -nee. Had 

• at, though similar, not in sound 
•nology, n<>- . be more errone- 

ous than to cone! I dl must have the 

same signification, every one at all acquainted with t:. 

- must immediately hare admitted the 
truth of the remark. Their etymology proves nothing as 
yet it must be allowed, on the other 
hand, that whilst it does not by any means determine the 
matter, it is to be regarded as prima-facie evidence of 
their meaning. It will, however, be needful in tbis case 
to enter on a more extended examination of the separate 
versions than we have hitherto bestowed on modern trans- 

German. — The Germans trans! . by taufen. 

It is certain, that not this word, but tauchen, eintauchen, 
are now in use to express dip or immerse ; and that tau- 
fen is, in its ordinary use, confined to the ecclesiastical 
meaning, baptize. But it is plain, that it must have had, if 
it does not now retain, some meaning besides the morere- 
1 one which it at present generally bears; unless. 
indeed, it had been a word coined f<>r the so'e purpose of 
expressing the Christian rite. Now, we have shown that 
y connected with the Gothic daupjan. 
which means to immerse ; and which is employed in the 
-^>n, as taufen is in the German, to designate 
Christian baptism. Moreover, the word is found in the 
German language, with but slight variation of form, as 
early as the ninth century. In the metrical Version of the 


Gospels by Ottfried, about the year 870, the word is dou- 
fan ;* and in the Version of Tatian's Harmony, also in the 
German of the ninth century, toufan.\ In the fifteenth 
century, thirty-four years before Luther's Version appeared, 
the word taufen, precisely in the same form in which he 
employed it, is used in a German Version of the Gospels 
and Epistles of the Roman Catholic Serviced Thus the 
word is clearly traced from the Gothic of the fourth century 
to the time of Luther. The question then seems to re- 
solve itself into this ; Was the meaning immerse, which 
belonged to the Gothic, retained in the later German ; or 
had it wholly lost that meaning when it became a German 
word ? To answer this question, we need go no further 
back than the age of Luther. We find indisputable evi- 
dence that at that time it had another meaning than the 
technical one, and that that meaning was its etymological 
one, immerse or dip. Luther translates the Hebrew 
jitD (immergo) by this word, 2 Kings v. 14: " Naa- 
man went down and (taufie) dipped himself seven times 
in the Jordan." Besides this, Luther, in his sermon on 
the sacrament of Baptism, expressly declares, that though 
it is no longer the general practice to immerse children 
in baptism, it is nevertheless right that the child, or other 
person to be baptized, should according to the meaning 
of the word (Tmife,) be sunk and dipped (taufte) all 
over in the water, and again raised up.§ In this passage, 

* Adelung's Worterbuch. 

| Das Evangelium des h. Matlhseus im Hocbfleutsch des neunten 
Jahrhunderts aus dem St. Galler Codex der Tatianischen Evan-- 
gelienharnionie von J. A. Schmeller. Stuttg. 1827. 

% Ewangelia und cpistel init der gloss auch anfang der iness Sec. 
durch Thoma Annshelm von Bade Getruckt. und vollendet zu 
Strassburg, 14S8. 

§ " So sollt' es doch so seyn und ware recht, dass man nach 


Luther not only assorts that the meaning of the word is 
p rop er l y dip, bat himself iimi it in this sense; for what 
othei meaning can be affixed to it herel Knapp, speaking 
of the meanin r of the word (?«rrf£<Mr says it" properly sig- 
to <li|) (like the ' ,) to immerse, to 

wash by immersion."" ' the German name 

unquestionably derived from Tiefe (depth;") 
and refers to Lather's sermon, i[M<it". 1 shore. It will be 
imm< lhat this derivation is the same as that 


well • depth' ami 'deep, 1 being all 

tip' davpjan. August! adds, '' It 
is altogether an extraordinary thing {Bios einc iOflder- 
t$) that many would derive it from the Hebrew 
letter Tau, or from Tav or Taf "]£) signum, and so com- 
pare it with the Greek term a<ppayi<. See Henr. Alsted 
. Theol. c. 12 p. 315. According to others, it must 
he derived from n^lZtD finmilus obsignatorius : Ger- 
T. i\. p. 69." — Lastly, Adelung, the highest philo- 
'. authority thus gives the meaning of the word, and 
plea of it-» use, in his Dictionary : — " Taufen, verb, 
regul. act. 1. Properly to dip (tnuchen) in water, where 
it has the same meaning as tauchen, and differs from it 
only in the sutlix. ' A wooden lire-ball dipped (getauft) 
in pitch and rosin,' Fronsh. ' A caldron in which to dip 
-work,' Id. ' Nsaman dipped (tavftc) 
himself intrj >ven times,' 2 Kin^s v. 11. where 

Lant ilus Wortleim (Taufe) das Kind, oder jcglichen, der getauft 
wir.l, L'an/. Iiiii.iii in lite and taufte, und wieder he- 

J8." — l.uihtr's If'crkc von If'aleh, T. x. p. 2j93; quoted from 
AofOSti'a -lrrhao!ogie,T. ii. p. 399. 

■ Usungrn uher die rhristliehe Glavhenshhre, 
T. ii. p. 1 17. 

' llandbuck der ckriltlichen Archaolo^ it, T. i;. p. 312. 


it is used for bathe. ' The Strymon, in which the host of 
cranes dip (tauft) their crumpled feathers :' Opitz. In 
German, this meaning is antiquated ; and it is, 2. only 
used in a special sense, to dip (tauchen) in water, in a 
religious manner, &c."* 

The evidence now adduced, amply shows that Dr. Hen- 
derson's bold assertion is not warranted in respect to the 
meaning of the German word, any more than it is in re- 
spect to its etymology. 

dutch. — The word employed for (Sa-n^oi in the 
Dutch Version is doopen : the word generally used for dip 
is indoopen. No one can doubt that the radical meaning 
of both words is the same, the difference being merely the 
addition to the latter of the preposition in. This prepo- 
sition, however, is not always prefixed when the meaning 
is to dip; and it is most surprising thai Dr. Henderson 
should venture the assertion, that ' no Dutchman, &c. 
would for a moment suppose the word meant any thing else 
than baptism, by the application of water to the body of 
the person baptized' ; when, if we turn to Luke xvi. 24, 
we find that Lazarus' dipping his finger in water is ex- 
pressed by this very word, " That he may dip the tip of 
his finger in water (in het water doope." ) If it be said, 

* " Taufen, verb, regul. act. 1. Eigentlich, in das Wasser tauchen, 
wo es mit tauchen gleich bedeutend und von demselben nur im 
Suffixo verschbden ist. Eine holzerne Feuerkugel in Bech und 
Harz gctauj "t, Fronsb, Kestel, das Feuerwerk dareinzu taufen, 
eben ders. Naeman taufte sich im Jordan sieben Maid, 2 Kon. v. 
14. wo es fur hadcn stehet. 

Der Strymon, 

In den der Kranchc Hecr die krummen Federn tauft. Opitz. 
I in Hochdeutschen ist es in dieser Bedeutung veraltet ; wo man es, 
2. nur im cngern Verstande braucht, auf eine gottesdienstliche Art 
in das Wasser tauchen, &.c." Adelung's " orterbuch, T. iv. p. 924. 


the prcpositson being- expressed before the noun, there 
was no nerd to repeat it with the verb, but that neverthe- 
less it is to be understood with it, reference may be made 
to other passages in which the compound verb is used 
notwithstanding the preposition in before the noun ; e. g- 
Matt. xwi. 23: '■ He that dippeth his hand in the dish 
with me (in de schotel nuloopt:") and the argument 
would prove too much, since it would include such a pas- 
aa the following, Matt. iii. 6: " And were baptized 
by him in the Jordan (gedoopt mdc Jordaen.") 

In addition to this, the following examples of the use of 
the word doopen for dip may be quoted from Sewel's 
Dutch and English Dictionary enlarged by Buys, Amst. 
1766 : " Brood in wijn doopen, to dip bread into wine. 
Zyn brood in de sans doopen, to dip one's bread into the 
sauce." The meanings which he gives to the word are, 
" To dip, plunge, baptize, christen." 

In the Old Testament, neither doopen nor indoopen is 
used for dip, but the form is varied to doppen and indop- 
pcn. The latter word, however, is used, as far as I have 
been ahle to ascertain, in only thi'ee instances; viz. Lev. 
iv. 17. xiv. 16. Josh. iii. 15: whilst the simple word 
doppen, without the preposition, is used in four times as 
many; c. g. Lev. iv. G. xiv. G, 51. 2 Kings v. 14. Sec. 
It is thus clearly shown that the radical meaning of the 
word doopen or doppen is not to apply water in any way, 
and the preposition in therefore necessary to restrict the 
signification to dipping ; but the primary meaning is dip, 
and the preposition is merely intensive. 

SWEDISH and Danish. — After this extended examina- 
tion of the German and Dutch, it will not be necessary to 
in the rcadi jthened account of the other 


Danish are almost identical ; the former being dopa, the 
latter dobc. Of the Swedish, Ihre gives the following 
account: '•' Dopa, mergere, Ulph. daupjan. A. S. dufian, 
depart, dyppan, dopettan. Al. toufen. Belg. dippen, 
doppen. Est vere propria vocis dopa significatio, uti dixi, 
aquis submergere. Inde Uplandi, ubi puteis parum aqua? 
inest, dicunt, ' Ther war ej sa mycket wattn at man kunde 
dopa rembaret.' (There was not so much water that one 
could dip a bucket.) II. Aquae lustrali immergere, bap- 
tizare. Veteres tamen hujus loco ssepe christna aut shir a 
usurparunt ; unde skim baptismus, skirdur baptizatus, 

skimarbrun baptisterium, fons sacer 

Doppa : frequentivum ejusdem radicis. A. S. dyppan. 
Germ, doppen, duppen. Ital. tuffare. Angl. dipp. 

Gr. CV1TTSIV."* 

The word skira, noticed by Hire in the preceding quo- 
tation, is that which Dr. Henderson mentions as employed 
in the Icelandic Version ; and is synonymous with the 
fullian of the Anglo-Saxon Version, which will next come 
under our notice. It will be seen that Ihre distinctly re- 
fers doppa, the ordinary Swedish word for dip, to the 
same root as dopa (baptize,) and calls it a frequentative ; 
whilst he not only gives the meaning immerse to do pa, 
but cites an example of its use in this sense. A refer- 
ence to the quotation from Meidinger already given will 
show that he also affirms the same thing, by mentioning 
this form of the word in both his lists. I have not ascer- 
tained how far the meaning dip belonged to the Danish 
word dole ; the ordinary term in that language to express 
this idea being dyppe. The close approximation of the 
Danish word to that employed by the Swedes sufficiently 

* Ihre Glossarium Suio Gothicum. Ups. 1769. 


shows that its radical meaning is the same ; and it seem- 
ed unnecessary to trouble the reader with any further in- 

One general observation with regard to all these ver- 
sions must be made. Dr. Henderson lays great stress on 
the (act, thai the prepositions employed with all these 
words correspond with the English with, not in; as the 
German mit wasser taufen, &c. : and he hence concludes 
that " neither Luther, nor the authors of the Dutch, Da- 
nish, and Swedish Versions, had any intention of convey- 
ing tha idea of immersion as applied in ffairTifa." It 
might be deemed a sufficient answer, to adduce instances 
of these same versions using the verb in connexion with 
the preposition in, as Matt. iii. 6. Germ. Und liessen 
sich taufen von ihm im Jordan. Dutch, Ende wierden 
van hem gedoopt in de Jordaen. So also Mark i. 9. 
The people could scarcely be getavft or gedoopt in the 
Jordan without immersion : and if the authors did not in- 
tend immersion, why did they not say zum Jordan, or tot 
de Jordaen, at the Jordan, instead of in it ? Still, this 
does not explain the use of the preposition mit or met, 
where it is employed. The passage already quoted from 
Luther seems directly applicable to the point. The gene- 
ral practice at the time when these versions were made 
was not immersion, but the application of water to the 
body of the person. In accordance with this practice 
the translators join the verb with a preposition not appli- 
cable to immersion; still, however, in the case of Luther 
protesting that taufen is properly to dip, and in the other 
- not in the least interfering with the original mean- 
ing of the word. All that can be said, is, that the word 
being retained, though the form of administering the or- 
dinance was changed, was in some measure accommodated 


to this change by means of the preposition with which it 
was connected. 

In concluding these remarks on the Gothic dialects, the 
author begs to observe, that he has not the presumption to 
place his knowledge of them on an equality with that of 
Dr. Henderson ; who informs us, in a note, that what he 
has stated is " founded nn a familiar acquaintance with 
these languages, which he has been in the habit of speak- 
ing or reading for upwards of thirty years." But surely 
Dr. Henderson's authority, high as it may be in these 
matters, is not to be placed above that of the most emi- 
nent German scholars and philologists, in respect to their 
own language, and the others closely connected with it. 
Their testimony has been cited ; and, did it not seem un- 
necessary to accumulate evidence, much more might have 
been adduced to the same effect. Examples, moreover, 
as far as my acquaintance with the languages would per- 
mit, have been produced, of the actual use of the words 
in the sense which Dr. Henderson disputes ; and these 
plainly cannot be overset by the negative evidence even of 
thirty years' acquaintance with the languages. The fact 
seems to be, that Dr. Henderson has treated the question 
as though it were asserted that the words for baptize were 
used in the language of ordinary life for immerse or dip ; 
whereas it is acknowledged by all who have any acquaint- 
ance with the subject, that this is not the case : and he 
has overlooked the gist of the argument, which is, that 
the words not only are etymologically connected with dip, 
but in the languages themselves were originally used with 
this meaning, — a meaning which they still retain, though 
this use of them has become antiquated, in consequence 
of their special application to a religious ordinance, and 
their being thereby taken from the language of familiar 


Intercourse. That this iathe case, especially with regard 
to the ( rerman and Dutch, the author cannot but think has 
been abundantly proved l»y the evidence adduced. 

A N Q L O - 3 A X O N . 

The '•! Version of the Now Testament i- t" 

: rred to about the eighth century. It is not of much 

authority in general rritiei-m, having hern made from the 

Latin. The Gospels only have been printed. The edi- 

hich I have examined is that of Marshall; printed, 

ler with the Gothic Gospels by Junius, Dord. i 

and Amst. 1684. The verb usually employed to translate 

{ is pulliail <>i')!ulll5nn.aiisweringtoourEngIish 

word " full," in the sense of ' cleanse :' pulltthc is used 

for " baptism," except in one instance, Lukeiii. 12, where 

a }>pe5 ene, " washing" is employed ; and Fulluliuei* e 

Lceptin Lukeix. ID, where the Latin word 
Baptittam is retained. In Mark vii. 4, and Lukeix. 38, 
tin- \ . • used in reference to Jewish ablutions, 

is translated by <x\\ ean > " to wash," the same root as the 
noun already quoted, a]?pe3ene. With regard to this 
in, Dr. Henderson says: "In giving dyppan as the 
i word for dip, Junius, as quoted by Mr. Green- 
field. U perfectly correct; but the reader must not suffer 
himself to be misled into the belief that it is used in refer- 
ence to baptism. It is never thus used in the New Testa- 
ment." Dr. Henderson's desire to make a strong asser- 
tion seems to have led him into an error in this instance, 
which a reference to Lye's Anglo-Saxon Dictionary might 
have prevented. The statement is certainly true in respect 
to Marshall's edition; and may probably be correct as re- 


gards those of Parker and Lisle, the only other editors of 
ihe Anglo-Saxon Gospels. But it is not to be received in 
the unqualified manner in which Dr. Henderson makes it. 
The verb dyppan, as well as depan, a varied form of the 
same word, is used in reference to baptism in Anglo-Saxon 
MSS of the Gospels ; as the following extracts from 
Lye's Dictionary* will show : — 

" Depan, To dip, Baptizare ; R. Matt. iii. 11. C. Luc. 
xvi. 24. Vid. Dyppan." 

" Dyppan, To dip. Immergere, baptizare ; R. Matt, 
iii. 11. xxviii. 19. Tingere; Lev. iv. 19." 

The letters R. and C. refer to the MSS from which the 
quotations are made : the first being a manuscript copy of 
the Gospels preserved in the Bodleian Library, " exemplar 
Rushworthianum ;" the other, one in the Public Library 
at Cambridge, " exemplar Cantab ligiense." 

We find, then, that the word dyppan was used in the 
Anglo-Saxon translation of the New Testament : and we 
need not inquire further respecting the meaning of the 
word, since it is on all hands admitted that it is the same 
word as our modern English dip, and bore the same mean- 
ing. Even Dr. Henderson agrees that to give dyppan, 
as the Anglo-Saxon word for dip, is " perfectly correct.'' 

We have evidence of the existence of Latin translations 
of the New Testament as early as the close of the second 
century, from the fact that Tertullian speaks of such ver- 
sions in a manner which shows that they were in common 

* Dictionarium Saxonico et Gothico-Latinum ; auctorc Ed. Lye, 
A. M. Edidit Owen Manning, 2 torn. fol. Loud. 1772. 

A P P F. N D I X . 

Vfarcion (A. D. 207 ). ' Tt ha ! 
moreover been proved by Semlert, thai Tertullian q 
not from the Greek, l>ui from :i Latin translation. No La- 
tin V' t, however, can be traced to so early o 
!; and with regard t<> the point in question, there is 
a remarkable difference between the versions employed by 
early Fathers and nil which are ;it present known, 
inly the authorised Vulgate, but nil the Lain MSS 
which have been published, unit. irmly, as rar as I have 
been able to ascertain, employ the latinised Greek word 
li all the passages, however, quoted by Tertul- 
ihevorb tin go i- used as the translation 
xception is 1 Cor. xv. 29; which i-; 
occasion,} nn-1 distinctly quoted on ano- 
ther$, with the word baptizo. Tertullian wrol 

iptism wait the title De Baplismof but it is remark- 
able that the verb baptizo does not once occur in it : tin go 
is the verb constantly employed; and not only in this 
it throughout his writings, tingo, occnsionnlly 
tnera verbs generally used: the 

common designations of baptism, on the other hand, ore 
ind bapdsma, occasionally intinctio;\\ and the 
Izator. The treatises in which the 
mtaining the word baptizo occurs are probably 
. iter date than that Dc Baptismo. These farm 

Adv. Mar sioo. Iil». iL c.9. ".quidam de Gresco imterprt t antes.'' 
Lib. v. c. 4. " -i' nt invenimus interpretation." Munog 

c 1 1, and Adi . P 

-fcmenu, quoted by Marsh; and 
the Dissertation in hit Terwlian, Hal 1773 I". 5. p. 230, 
. D r Bsrais, C. 43. 

§ Adv. Man ion. lib. v.c. 10. 
II Dejxi aitentia, c . 


show that the nouns were in use, as Latin words, through- 
out the period of Tertullian's writings, whilst it was only 
during the course of that time that the verb was latinized. 
It is to a later period still that we must refer the general 
acceptance of this verb as the recognised equivalent for 
the Greek word. Cyprian wrote about forty years after 
Tertullian : in his quotations, the word generally employed 
is baptizo : tingo is used four or five times in quoting two 
passages, Matt, xxviii. 19,* and Gal. iii. 27. t Inhisown 
writing, the verb baptizo is of very frequent occurrence. 
From this period (about A. D. 250) down to the present, 
the latinized word, which thus gradually supplanted the 
native term, has continued to be the recognised ecclesias- 
tical verb to express the Christian rite; and has not only 
been employed in all Church translations into the Latin, 
but is the word most frequently found in the writings of 
the Latin Fathers. Still, such words as tingo, mergo, 
mcrgito, demergo occur as synonyms of baptizo, as late, 
at least, as the fifth century. f. 

We see, then, that the nouns became Latin words at a 
considerably earlier period than the verb did ; but that, 
still, no very long time elapsed before the verb also was 
transplanted in the Latin language, as the peculiar desig- 
nation of the Christian rite, in conformity with the con- 
stant tendency of the Roman Church to regard as sacred 

* Ep. xxvii. 3. and xxviii. 2. Adv. Jud. lib. ii. c. 27: baptizo ia 
used in quoting the same passage. Ep. lxxiii. 5 (var. led. tingo ,) 
lxxiii. 15. lxxiv. 2. 

t Ep. lxxv. 11 ; baptizo lxii. 2. 

I Suiceri Thesaurus Eccles. sub voce, dvacvw et pa-n^co- He 
gives quotations from Tertullian (adv. Prax. c. 20. tingo ;) Ambrose 
(De Sacramcntis, lib. ii. c. 7. mergo ;) Jerome (adv. Lucif. mcrgito p 
Augustine (as cited by Gratianus in the 12th century, demergo.) 


arms i>> wh lesignated. 

ng of tin- ■• ■ - " • "■ :i ' ' well 

lin. 1. r ti ymoua with the 

words inei re, which unquestionably mean 

bow inquiring, let if be remembered, 
whether thi word 

to the Christian ordinance, but merely 
lin p hat ia the meaning 
firom the Greek; and we find, if the Latin 
Fathers are to be 1 that tins meaning 

was • 1 ; "- Latin Version 

•i all fairness, be added to the number of those 
ri£ > by a word signifying imm«r»e 
It will be quite apparent, firom what has been already 
that tin- employment of tin- word baptizo, 
translation, is ;i very different thing from what has 
<>f late been culled transference. — Transference, accord- 
use of the term, as distinguished from, is giving tin' sound of the original word, iu- 
coaveyed by It. Instead of giving a 
rs, in the one language, cor- 
<:a with a. certain combination ii 
ether, the identical combination, with Borne terminal or 
other modification to -suit th • genius of the new lang 
i < d into it, hut without conveying amy ■ 
■ . he who t: the w ord. If tin- woi i 

in both languages, and convey tu 
the mind of the reader the same idea, tin- use of the 
word is to i as translation, not transference. 

■ ir> I i- common to both languages; ami it is plainly 
of no importance to inquire how it rune t.> be so, if only 
such i> tii'' fact when the translation is made. Thus wu 
should mslation uf the invk words J-. 


iiyyeXog, eiri(TTo\fi f by the corresponding Latin words 
apostolus, angelus, epistola; and so of innumerable 
others. If, however, we were to render JfLvpiaKov Stixvov } 
the phrase by which Paul designates " the Lord's Sup- 
per," by Cyriacum deipnum, we should transfer, not 
translate. In this way, baptizo was a translation of the 
Greek word when used in the Latin translation, having at 
that time acquired a definite meaning, and conveying an 
idea to the mind of the Latin reader. Whether it were 
the correct idea or not, is a point with which we have at 
present no concern. It is true, this may still be termed 
transference, the word having been originally Greek ; but 
it is not transference in the sense in which that word has 
of late been employed, where the very object proposed is 
to convey no idea. 

We should fully expect to find the Latin word baptizo 
in the languages which were derived from the Latin ; and, 
accordingly, the French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, and 
other modern versions in the languages of Europe, employ 
this term. 

There is not precisely the same reason to expect the 
employment of the word in English, because the language 
is but in part derived from this source. And in point of 
fact, we find, that though the word baptize has now be- 
come as completely the English word for the Christian 
rite as baptizo is the Latin term, yet in the earliest trans- 
lations it was not so. In the Anglo-Saxon period we have 
seen that the words fullian and dyppan were used. 
Wicklif, three or four centuries later, translates /?ajrn£w, 
in several instances, by wash*, once by christen]. The 
following example will moreover show, that he uses the 

* Matt. iii. 6, 11 ; Mark vii. 4. x. 38, 39 ; Luke xi. 33. 
I Actsxviii.." 3 . 

A P P E N IUX. 167 

two words, wash and baptize, in such n way as to show 
that he considered then t<> be synonymous ; — Mark x. 38, 
i ye drinke the cuppe whiche I scnal dryinke 
hen with the baptym in which I am ha] 

and • to him we moon: and Jhesus seide to 

• o schslea drinke the cuppe that I drinke and yc 
ben with the baptym in which I am bap- 
tisid. n 
This us.- of the word by Wicklif is valuable for our 
inasmuch as it furnishes, with respect to 
word, the same kind ut' evidence which has 
already a. hi ird to the Latin, of its being, 

when it was used in a translation, a recognised English 
word with a known definite meaning. It cannot then 
fairly bo accounted a transferred term when it was thus 
Though derived in English from the Latin and 
primarily from the Greek, it clearly was an English word 
equivalent to tcash. Since the time of Wicklif it has 
as fat as I am aware, the only term employed for 
< iiristian rite in authorised translations of the New 
The versions in other languages of the British Isles de- 
.i few words; though no satisfactory result can per- 
haps be attained from an examination of them. The 
bedyddio, the Irish by bait- 
dim, and t i branch of the Gaelic by a word 
similar to the Iri.-h. The words are now used Bolely for 
baptism. We might imagine that all the words had been 
formed from the Greek; though the resemblance certainly 
i- not such as to lead to more than a very uncertain con- 
e, should anj one be disposed to adopt it. The 
Webb seems, however, to be connected with the word 


Bad, " a bath." Bullet gives the following account off 
the word, which I translate from the French :* — 

" Bedydd, Baptism. We see from the following article 
that it signifies ' bath' in general. See Bad. 

" Bedyddfa, Bath, place where persons wash them- 

" Bedyddio, to Baptize. 

" Bad, Bath, pi. ha don. itad Teuton. Iceland. Ru- 
nic, Flemish. Bath. Eng. Baeth A. S. Baden Germ. 
Bata Chald. bath. Baa, bath in Iceland and Swed. ac- 
cording to Rudbeck. See Bad water. It is the same 
word as Bodd ; a and o being interchangeable." 

In Irish there seems to be the same connexion as in the 
Welsh between the word for ' baptism' and the noun sig- 
nifying ' water :' — 

" Bais, River-water. 

'* Baisde, Baptism, to baptize. "t 
Shaw, in his Gaelic Dictionary, gives, 

" Baisdadh, Baptism, rain. 

" Baisdeam, to baptize, to dip." 

We have now gone through all the ancient versions 
which have been published ; and noticed many modern 
ones in the course of our examination. 

The conclusions to which the investigation leads us, 

1. With regard to the ancient version?, in all of them, 
with three exceptions (viz. the Latin from the third cen- 

* Bullet Memoires sur la Langue Celtique, 3 toiu. fol. 1759. Die - 
tionnaire Celtique, sub voce. 

APT B N D I X . 169 

ind Basrauric,) the word fiamifa is 
tied bywords purely native j and the three excepted 

as adopted the Greek word, not l>y way of transfer- 
but in consequence of the term having become cur- 
rent in the I 
Of native words employed, the Syriac, Arabic, Ethi- 
Gothic, and earliest Latin, all sig- 
nify to immertt ; the Anglo-Saxon, both to immerse and 
P rsic, to wash; and the Slavonic to 
cross. The meaning of the word adopted from the (ireek, 
;ric, and Latin, being also to immerse. 
I to the modern versiona examined, the 
.11 generally adhere to the ancient Eastern Versions, 
and translate by words signifying to immerse. Most of 
the Gothic dialects, viz. the German, Swedish, Dutch, 
. Sue., employ altered forms of the Gothic word sig- 
nifying to dip. The Icelandic uses a word meaning cleanse 
Slavic dialects follow the ancient .Slavonic ; and the 
irmed from the Latin, including the English, 
adopt the word baptizo; though, with respect to the En- 
glish, the words wash and christen were formerly used, as 

will as baptize. 

It may perhaps be acceptable to place these results to- 
r in a tabular form, as follows : — 






2d cent. 
6th ceut. 







7th cent.(?) 

S+£) i*-** 



Modern (Martyn) 



ethiopic ; 

4th cent. 





•I it 



3d cent. 




2d cent. 
3d cent. 

} fi^irfi^e 


5th cent. 




9th cent. 










( the same root. 


Livonian,or Lettish 



Dorpat Esthouian, 


&c. &c. 


4th cent. 



















&c. &c. 






8th cent. 

dypp an,fullian 

dip, cleanse. 


The Early Fathers 

2d cent. 




3d cent. 



4th cent. 











&c. &c. 

English :WicMif 


C wash, christen, 
I baptize 
















Our investigation, then, shows, that it 1ms not been the 
practice of translators, until quite recent times, to adopt 
the plan of " transference" in respect to the word fia-rifa. 
The word has been translated, in most instances, by a 
terra strictly native ; or where the term has been derived 
from the Greek, it appears to have become naturalized in 
the respective languages before the translation was made. 
There is no instance, until of late years, in which it can be 
shown that the translators m<nie the word ; and it well 
deration of all who are engaged in trans- 
lating, or disseminating translations of the word of God, 
how far such a plan is justifiable. It may indeed be said, 
that though the word /?<»rr<£a) has not been thus transfer- 
red, other words have ; and that thereby the principle of 
transference is countenanced by former translator-. It is 
certain that such words, as proper names, and designa- 
tions of things which are not known, and therefore have 
no word by which they can be expressed, must be so ren- 
; but what proof is there of translators, in general, 
carrying transference further than this? Let it beremem- 
., that the Greek language was closely united to the 
Latin, to which the appeal has been frequently made ; and 
that on this account Greek words were continually natu- 
ralize. 1 in it. Such words we may expect to meet with; 
but to prove that translators transferred words in the 
mod. ■ the term, it must be shown that words, 

the meaning of which might have been expressed in the 
language, were given, not only by terms derived from the 
Greek, but without meaning; — being made for the occa- 
sion, and purposely left without definition. It will not 
BUrely be said that the word Sa-ri^u has no meaning, — 
that a command, involving, as most Christians believe, a 
thing to be done by or for every disciple, yet conveys no 


definite idea of what is to be done. We are not now in- 
quiring what that meaning is : every one who attempts to 
translate the word of God is bound to judge for himself on 
that point. Let him so judge, and give the result of his 

The author may be allowed, in parting with those who 
have thought worth while to give him a hearing, to repeat 
what he said at the commencement, — that his object has, 
been to ascertain the truth, not to further the views of any 
party. If his statements (which he has with great care 
endeavoured to make correct) should in any particulars be 
found to be erroneous, he will thankfully receive better 
information. Until, however, such errors are shown, he 
feels warranted in requesting those readers, who have not 
the means or information to attempt an examination of the 
versions, to receive as correct the statement of facts which 
he makes, and to judge fairly of the inferences deduced 
from them. 

Finally, he must protest against its being supposed, 
that in adducing the authority of the different versions, his 
object is to make them the ultimate standard of appeal, 
either on this or on any other subject. His intention, in pre- 
senting their evidence in what he conceives to be a correct 
light, is rather, to bring these human authorities to bear 
testimony to the supreme regard which should be paid to 
the truth of God irrespective of the opinions and practices 
of men. And if the result of his labours should be to 
create in any instance a more profound reverence for God's 
word, and less reliance on human authority and opinion, 
he will feel that many toilsome hours of research have 
been amply repaid. 




Santa Barbara