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LL.D., Q.C., F.R.A.S., 





[All rights raerved.] 


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The authority of the Authorised Version i 

Legal invalidity of the Revised one 3 

Proposal for liberty to u^e it 4 

We are all invited to judge of it 5 

Greek and English criticism can not be separated .... 6 

Probability of the improbable in Greek MSS 7 

Great number of expulsions from old text 8 

Revisers' principles a;. Translators' 10 

The Translators' Preface 11 

Uniformity and variety 12 

Every perfect Boon, James i. i / 13 

The Greek article . . . . 14 

Aorists and perfect tenses 15 

The real use of the R. V. . . ... . . 16 

Excess of their instructions by Revi&ers 17 

The 36,000 alterations = 4i average per verse .• . . 18 

Modern State prayers 19 

The proper mode of examining R. V 20 

Style and Acairacy 21 

A specimen of R. V. euphony 22 

Work only half done 23 

English idiom disregarded . , 24 

Love and Charity 25 

Bad grammar a;. English idiom 26 

O Jerusalem, which killeth the prophets 27 

Satan fallen from heaven 7.8 

They shall become one flock, one shepherd 29 


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vi Contents. 


The sailors surmised ; and clanging cymbals 30 

Conservative restoration 31 

Verbal inspiration theory — 

Articles and particles and tenses 32 

R. V. is a new version 33 

Dr. Newman on Revision . 34 

The Revisers* contrary theory 35 

Revisionist fallacies 36 

Balancing of merits and defects 37 

How far R. V. is successful 38 

Value of seven- fold revision 39 

New Greek text : 6000 alterations 40 

The * Qjiarterly Review ' thereon 41 

Time occupied thereon 42 

Ought to have been done separately 43 

And published first . . . 44 

Bishop of Lincoln on the R. V 45 

Dr. Malan on seven chapters ....... 46 

R. Y. solar eclipse at full moon 47 


ST. Matthew's gospel. 

I. a to 26. Hebrew names in Greek 48 

18, 20, 21. Espoused and Betrothed 49 

23. A * fortunate inversion ' 50 

II. 2. We saw his star 51 

— English Bishops' titles (note) — 

7, II. Herod learned carefully 52 

15. Out of Egypt did I call my son 53 

18. Rachel weeping for her children 54 

III. 3, 7. Meat and food 55 

12, 13. Jordan and the Jordan — 

IV. 12, John was delivered up . 56 

V. TO. Who have been persecuted 57 

1 5. Lamp under the bushel — 

— Lampstand and candlestick 58 

3 a. The hell of fire 59 


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Contents. St. Matthew. 

VI 1 

V. 34. 

VI. 6. 

































Heaven and the heaven and heavens 

Closet and inner chamber 

Deliver us from Evil controversy 

The Evil one came in with Origen 

Tertullian and Cyprian . 

Western use uniform for * evil ' 

The early Liturgies corrupted . 

Coptic versions doubtful 

Italic and Latin for * evil ' 

Septuagint has no * evil one ' 

The doubtful and certain texts in N. T. 

Interpretation may be undecided . 

But interpretation is not translation 

The word has always been an open one 

Moth and rust consume . 

The birds of the heaven 

Add a cubit to your age . 

Anxiety and taking thought 

10. The swine. Bread and loaf 

17. The straitened way 

9, 13, 22. I have soldiers under myself 

Matthew sitting at the place of toll 

Patching of garments 

Wineskins and leather bottles 

Minstrels and flute-players 

Any way of the Gentiles 

Freely ye received, freely give . 

Get you no gold nor silver . 

Be not anxious what ye shall speak . 

Brother shall deliver brother to death 

Christ and The Christ . . . 

This is Elijah which is to come . 

We piped, and ye did not dance 

Thou, Capernaum, shalt go down to Hades 

So it was well pleasing in thy sight . 

Took their food with gladness 

Waterless places, xiii. 2, Beach 

7. Seed fell upon the thorns 

24. A parable set before them . 

Summary of parable of sower 



















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Contents, St, Matthew, 


Sons of the devil. The boy Jesus, Luke ii. 3 . 88 

57. Joses or Joseph. Srumbling blocks . .89 

He did not many powers — 

8. She danced in the midst 90 

24. Boat distressed by waves 91 

& XV. 38. Fragments and broken pieces . . — 

It is his apparition 92 

Peter saw the wind — 

Curseth father or mother: hia not * by ' . . . 93 

Precepts of men — 

Blind guide the blind 94 

3. The heaven is red — 

7. When they came, they forgot to take bread . . 95 
Life and Soul, "^xh' Offence . . . 96 

Epilepsy is demoniacal possession — 

Stumbling tax gatherers 97 

It is good for sinners to be killed 98 

II. It is not expedient to marry — 

One there is who is good 99 

and I John v. 21 : Guard yourselves from idols . 100 

A real improvement in R. V. — 

It is my will to give ....... loi 

The cup that I am about to drink . . . . — 

and Luke xx. 37 : Moses in the Bash . . 102 

This is come to pass that it might be fulfilled . .103 

We know not «i;. We cannot tell .104 

Repent yourselves — 

As angels in heaven 105 

Travail and sorrows — 

The fig tree and her parable 106 

Servant and bond-servant (i Pet. ii. 16) . . . .107 

40. Ye have done it unto me 108 

The passover cometh after two days . . 109 

Exceeding precious ointment no 

She did it to prepare me for burial . . . . — 

Wheresoever this gospel shall be preached . . .111 

Is it I, Lord ? Is it I, Rabbi ? — 

46, 49. That is he: tike him 112 

Do that for which thou art come 113 

Never a word — 
















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XXVII. 38. Thieves or robbers 114 

50. Yielded up his spirit 115 

53. Rose, or were raised — 

66. The guard being with them 116 

XXVIII. 14. We will rid you of care 117 















Authorship of the Epistle 
R. V. of first verses 
I . Effulgence of his glory 
— . Image of his substance 

6. Again he bringeth in the first-born 
The author of their salvation . 
Partakers of a heavenly calling 
II. The day of the temptation in the wilderness 
10, 12. If ye shall hear my voice. A sabbath rest 
V. I. Receive and obtain 
13. Partaketh of milk ; and i Pet. ii. 2 
First principles of Christ 

7, II, 13. Earth and land, &c. 
1 6. The oath final for confirmation 

*> 3> ^> 9* Melchisedec's genealogy, &c. 

20, Surety of a better covenant 
27, 28. Priests many in number . 
The chief point is, K€(f>aKaiov . 
Moses is warned .... 

13. IX. I. 16, r7. The testator 
IX. 17, 18. When there has been death . 

21, 27. But after this, judgment 
X. I, 6. Lo, I am come 

16, 20. I will put my laws on their hearts 

22, 23, 25. Assembling, as the manner of some 
28. Dieth without compassion 
38. He that shall come will come 
— If my righteous one shrink back 












, 136 

• m 
, 138 
. 139 
. 140 
. 141 
. 142 

• 143 
. 144 


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Contents. Hebrews, 











Y7rooTa<rtff, substance . 
5. Ages made by word of God 
Tents and tabernacles . 
17. Architect or builder . 
Received back in a parable . 
and James 11. Faith without works 
Xfi>ptff. Shuddering devils . 
2. Despising shame 
7. Gainsaying against themselves . 
Palsied knees .... 
21. Follow the sanctification 
Brotherly love and hospitality . 
7. Conversation .... 
We have not here an abiding city 















8. The Alpha and the Omega . 

1 5. Burnished brass, refined in a furnace 
ao. The seven candlesticks 
2. 4, 8. Absurd variations of tenses 
ID, 13, 21, 26. Will and shall 

2, I have found no works of thine fulfilled . 

3, 4, 5, 10. Thou has»t received, and did^t hear 
12, 17; IV. I. Specimens of English 

4, 6. Beasts and living creatures 

10 ; V. I. Book close-sealed with seven seals . 
7. He came and he taketh it . . . 

10. O Master, the holy and true 

12. The whole moon became as blood 

9, 13, 14. Tribes and kindreds, &c. 

I, 9. There died the third part of the creatures 
12 ; IX. 4, 10. In their tails is their power . 

1 . The rainbow was upon his head . 

2, 3. The court that is without, leave without 

11, 15. River and flood .... 

I. Crowns or diadems 









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Contents. Revelation. 




3. 5. His death-stroke was healed . 

6. Blaspheme them that dwell in the sky . 
10. He that is for captivity 
13. Signs and wonders .... 

16. The rich and the poor, and the free, &c. 

6. The Revisers' use of* even' : mid-heaven 

8. Fallen, fallen is Babylon 

6. Angels clothed in stone 
— Greek revision principles . 

2, 17, 18; XVII. I. The great whore, &c. 
Burn her utterly with fire 

XVIII. ao. God hath judged your judgment . 
XIX. 3. A second time they say Hallelujah 

10, 20. They twain were cast into the lake . 
XXI. 3,6. They shall be his peoples 

12. Portals and gates 

17. The measure of an angel . 
XXII. 8. I John, am he that heard and saw . 
10. He that is unjust, &c. 
15. The dogs and the sorcerers and the murderers 
17, 19. The holy city which is written in this book 
20. Surely I come quickly 









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Introduction — The legal position — The revision that was ordered 'U. 
the revision made — The Revisers* preface and principles *i;. the 
Translators' — What is fidelity of translation ? — Idiom and style — 
A few specimens — The revision useful as a commentary — ^Thc 
6000 alterations of the Greek version. 

As soon as the Revised New Testament came out, some 
of that class of persons who always assume that the law is 
what they want, if they can make out any plausible argument 
for it, announced that the New Version is as lawful to read 
in church as the ' Authorised,' because there is no surviving 
proof that it ever was authorised, except by the King's 
printer, Robert Barker, who, in or soon after 161 1, when 
that came out, took to printing on the title page, ' Ap- 
pointed to be read in Churches/ Soon after that announce- 
ment, and the publication of an answer to the contrary elFect 
from the Lord Chancellor to a question from the Bishop of 
Lincoln, I met with a King's printer's Bible of 16 13, having 
' Appointed to be read in Churches' on the title-page, and I 
mentioned it in a letter to The Times, I have since seep 
another. In consequence of that I heard from the pos»* 
sessor of a Bible of 16 12, that it has those words, though 
another of that date has not. Two 161 1 Bibles in the 
. British Museum, of difierent editions, have them. So it 


Digitized by CjOOQ IC 

The Legal Position of the 

is clear that the A. V. was from the first ' appointed to be 
' read in churches/ by somebody. Lord Selborne said, in 
his letter to the Bishop, that the records of the Privy 
Council from 1600 to 16 13 inclusive had been burnt; so 
that we cannot tell what was done to authorise the A. V, 
in the way which was then sufficient, though nothing 
under an Act of Parliament would be so now. The pro- 
digious improbability of a king's printer daring in those days 
to put such words in his title-pages without real authority, 
makes them good evidence that it was given ; and the absence 
of other evidence is accounted for by the fire. 

But all that is immaterial in a legal view now. For all 
lawyers know, though some people think they know other- 
wise, that Lord Selborne was only enuntiating a doctrine 
that had been laid down and acted on by Lord Eldon and 
other great judges before, that long unbroken usage proves 
its own legal origin unless no legal origin was possible. 
It may be interesting historically to speculate what steps 
were probably taken to bring the A. V. into exclusive use, 
which manifestly took some time ; but it is quite impossible 
to ascertain it now. Nor would it do these hasty adopters 
of the R. V. any good if they could prove that the earlier 
' Great Bible,' or * Bishops' Bible,' were never legally put 
out of use ; for that would not help to put their new one 
in. The Table of Lessons of 1662 for the first time re- 
ferred to them by verses, as the new one of 1870 
does ; and not by the final or initial words when a lesson 
was not conterminous with a chapter. Both these were an 
express recognition by Act of Parliament of a known Bible 
so divided ; which division was first made here in 1557 
according to Dr. Eadie's book on the English Bible. And 
what is better than all arguments, the point was decided 
by Sir John Nichol, Dean of Arches, in Newbery v. God- 


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Authorised and Revised Versions. 

win (i Phill. 282), where a clergyman was 'monished* 
against reading the Lessons with amendments of his own. 
Perhaps it is lawful to read the marginal alternatives, of 
which two at least seem to be generally accepted as more 
correct than the text, viz. in 2 Sam. xxiv. i, where 'Satan' 
is substituted for ' God,* and Is. ix. 3, where the 'not' makes 
nonsense, and the margin omits it. I suppose the first of 
those lessons was changed in the new lectionary for the cor- 
responding one in Chronicles, very inferior in language, on 
account of that very mistake. 

Probably no one seriously thinks that the appointment of 
the Revisers by one Convocation, without the concurrence 
of the other— or with it, for that matter— could give any 
kind of legal authorisation to the work ; and I have 
not seen the theory that it could advanced by any one. 
All the advocates of the R. V. have apparently come to 
perceive that nothing short of an Act of Parliament will 
authorise its public use, though some of the clergy, in their 
modern fashion, ^jura negant sihi nata^ and read it by their 
own authority ; and I can see that a sort of quiet agitation 
with a view to that end has been begun, which is intended 
to produce either a real or an apparent public acquiescence, 
through silence, in the passing of such an Act \ just as 
happened with the new Lectionary, which nobody would 
properly attend to and criticise until it was too late ; an4 
then Bishops and Convocations began to wake up to its 
defects and want to have them cured : not necessarily by 
another new one, but by giving power to read adjacent 
chapters, or parts of them, especially in the Sunday Lessons. 
For undoubtedly some of the present ones are badly chosen, 
and better ones omitted, and some are so spoilt by division 
(notably the two Balaam ones, of which the elFect greatly 
depends on the whole being read at once as it used to be, 


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No Analogy to New Lectionary. 

whereas they are now made alternatives), and some cut up 
into such little bits that congregations hardly know what 
they are about before they are over. The leading idea of 
liturgy reformers now seems to be unlimited hymns and 
sermons at the expense of the Bible and Prayers and the 
old Psalms. They call that making the Service more elastic, 
as the world is in a great measure ruled by cant phrases^ and 
that sounds a nice one. 

Some of the revisionists are dexterously proposing that 
those who like to use the R. V. should be at liberty to do so. 
That revised version of ' liberty ' is remarkably popular among 
the clergy at present ; and it means the liberty of making 
their parishioners submit to whatever their ministers like to 
put upon them : which has never been the theory of the 
Church of England, or of any sect in the world since the 
Reformation. The supposed analogy of the Lectionary Act 
of 1870 is entirely wrong, and the case exactly opposite. 
The lectionary was adopted absolutely and finally, not ex* 
perimentally, and it was merely the time of beginning it that 
was left optional for a few years. Nobody questioned that 
on the whole the new lectionary was an improvement, and 
^n immense majority of churches willingly began to use it 
at once. Moreover, it is ridiculous to compare a mere 
change in the order of reading the old Bible with the change 
of the old Bible into a new one. So let nobody be taken in 
with that fallacy. 

If the only question were the mere literary one, whether 
this is or is not a more literal translation than the A. V., 
or whether it is a useful commentary on the N. T. of a 
particular kind, I should not meddle with it. But it claims 
to be a great deal more than that, viz. : to be accepted as 
the English Bible all over the world. And that is a ques- 
tion on which everybody has a right to express his opinion ; 


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We. are Invited to Criticise R. V. 5 

» • ■■ 

and indeed everybody is expected to do so in one way or 
another, by himself or his representatives ; and therefore 
every man has a right to do what he can to convince others 
about it. If what he says is worth nothing it will do nothing. 
If it is worth attending to, it will not be less so because 
those who are too lazy or ignorant to judge for themselves, 
or who fancy that no one has a right to criticise the Revisers 
without knowing as much Greek or theology as they do, 
will try to dispose of it by the idle platitude that we must 
trust men of skill in any profession, especially if they have 
had any kind of authority to act : which is stupidly called 
S throwing the responsibility on them,' though that generally 
means letting them make mistakes under your eyes, and very 
often having to pay over again for mending them — if they 
are not incurable, as it would be here. 

That is all fair enough to say of mere opinions given 
without reasons, and the fear of it being said will frighten 
some persons who are more competent than I am to criticise 
this work if they would take the trouble. But it is good 
for nothing against reasons, which are offered for those to 
judge of who choose to attend to them, and are competent, 
All who are, either admit or assert the merits of this book 
with more or less qualification, and generally with a great 
deal, and so do some of the Revisers themselves. It is re^ 
markable that its most unqualified or unqualifying admirers 
(or perhaps both) are among those who have to take the 
accuracy of the translation most for granted, and seem at 
once to have done so with alacrity, viz., ladies and dissenters. 
Not that even their opinoin is at all universally favourable, 
from those who are most capable of appreciating style ; and 
the judgment of the most popular and eloquent of all dis- 
$enting preachers has been published in the newspapers, 
that ' thQ Revisers may know Greek, but they certainly do 


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Greek and English Criticism. 

not know English/ as some other persons had said before 
him and many more will say after him. 

When I began this examination I intended to give them 
credit for being always right on points of scholarship or mere 
interpretation of the Greek, and only to question their mode 
of expressing it in English. But I soon found that as im- 
practicable as the attempts that are sometimes made by 
people who think everything can be settled by principles, to 
separate theories and arguments from fects, or what they 
call so : which often require more argument to ascertain 
than to use. It is impossible to separate the English from 
the Greek interpretation, and therefore I disclaim acting on 
any principle in this matter, except using the best judgment 
I can 5 and especially that of preferring sense to nonsense, 
in spite of any number of scholars and their rules; and good 
English to bad, and clearness to obscurity. On the other 
hand, I am obliged to leave unquestioned their numerous 
new readings of the original, and of course the English con- 
sequences thereof. Anyone who looks at Dr. Scrivener's 
new Greek Testament, which shows those alterations at 
a glance, in the margin, keeping the old version in the 
text, will see how numerous they are, and also that a 
vast number of them are omissions of words and sen- 
tences hitherto received. I can give no criticism worth 
anything on them, as they depend on the judgment of the 
majority of the Revisers about old manuscripts. Oc- 
casionally however, I cannot help noticing discrepancies 
and difficulties amounting to absurdity, which they have 
introduced, by regarding extrinsic evidence for other read- 
ings much more than intrinsic probability backed by fewer 
MSS or some of less reputation at present. I am not 
deeply moved by the plausible answer which is often given, 
— that an improbable reading is most likely right^ because 


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New Greek Readings. 

nobody would have invented it. Of course that is true 
within reasonable limits. But I suppose an accidental piece 
of carelessness can produce an improbable and absurd error 
in copying as well as a probable one. That maxim carried 
to extremes is only one form of the more famous and com- 
prehensive one, ' Credo quia impossihik^ which is generally 
quoted only to be laughed at. It would take a great many 
critical maxims to convince me that the Evangelists and 
Apostles wrote what can only be fairly translated into non- 
sense : which they did sometimes if the Revisers' new read- 
ings are all right. And their adoption of them makes one 
suspicious about many others, which cannot be brought under 
that test. 

If it is asked what else the Revisers as a body could do 
but adopt the conclusions of the prescribed majority, I 
answer. Nothing. But that leaves two other questions 
open : first, whether their rules were judicious, and suffi- 
cient for the prevention of important alterations which are 
materially short of being unquestionable ; and secondly, 
whether the majority who carried them are to be accepted 
by the world outside as infallible and above criticism. I 
am only speaking of new readings of the Greek just now, 
and I could not say anything stronger as to the need of 
caution therein than the Revisers say themselves ; for this, 
like most of their avowed principles, is excellent in the 
abstract, and the only wonder is how they can have 
written it all after they had done their work. They say, 
'Textual criticism, as applied to the Greek N.T., forms 
' a special study of much intricacy and difficulty, and even 
' now leaves room for considerable variety of opinion among 
' competent critics.* One would think that the natural and 
practical conclusion from that was that nothing which has 
hitherto been received as part of the Bible should be ex- 


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8 Numerousi Expulsions from Greek Text. 

pelled on any evidence, or on the balance of evidence and 
reasoning, much short of certainty ; and not on a mere pre- 
ponderance of votes between members of the 'different 
* schools of criticism which have been represented among the 
'revisers/ Textual expulsion is a very much more serious 
thing than new translation. Thousands and tens of thou-^ 
sands of persons can judge of the latter for one who has the 
means of judging of the former. Moreover, omissions of 
received words or sentences are a much more serious altera- 
tion than new translations, or even new readings, important 
as they may be. For if once a word or a sentence gets put 
out of the authorised Bible it will be extremely difficult for 
any future scholars to get it back again; while leaving it 
there, indicated as questionable in any way they like, does 
all that they had any right to do when they were not almost 
or altogether certain that it has no right to appear. I do 
not think they have added a single new sentence, and there 
are very few new words, except as substitutes for old ones, 
while they have expelled a vast number. 

They have all but expelled the last twelve verses of St. 
Mark, apparently on very questionable evidence, and the, 
story of the woman taken in adultery; and they might easily 
have marked other places as doubtful where they were not 
practically unanimous and certain in condemning the received 
words or texts. Of course we cannot tell whether they were 
or not ; and yet these are cases where it is specially important; 
to know what the majority consisted of, ' non solum nitmeroy 
*" sed ponder e^ as indeed it is in all the important alterations. 
When one of two alternative things must be done by the 
body which expresses its opinion, it must be decided by 
whateVer is .the lawful majority: sometimes by a bare 
majority. But where that body has to recommend its judg- 
ment to others wJiQ have tp tajce the decisive action on it>; 


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Revisers^ Opinion not Conclusive. 

the case is very dilFerent. Then the acting or legislating 
body has to judge for itself, and to remember how majorities 
in committees are obtained : I do not mean unfairly, but by 
individual powers of argument or management ; by a dex- 
terous appeal to general rules which had been adopted 
it priori without perceiving all the consequences ; by the 
preponderance of one ' school ' or party whose votes are 
certain beforehand for that reason ; by the natural yielding 
pf weaker wills to strong ones ; and sometimes by a start in 
the wrong direction which nobody perceives until too late. 
A large majority of judges of appeal, or the whole, some- 
times reverse the judgment of a large majority, or the whole, 
of the court below, and with general approval. No public 
body ever considers itself bound to act on the report of a 
committee, but only to give due weight to its conclusions on 
matters which it has had better means of investigating or 
judging of than the body at large. 

That applies exactly to new readings of the Greek Testa- 
ment, on which very few persons have the means of forming 
any judgment. It is impossible to define how far it applies 
to questions of translation of the Greek into English. Many 
persons are as well qualified to judge of that as most of 
the Revisers, and some highly qualified persons differ from 
them. The Greek Testament has always been considered, 
an easy book compared with some which all well-educated 
school-boys have to learn ; and I decline to attempt any defi- 
nition of the limits of general criticism on that part of the 
Revisers' work. Certainly there are none to the criticism 
pf Englishmen upon the English the Revisers have used in 
expressing their conclusions, which they want ratifying by 
Act of Parliament. One need not even know Greek to 
judge whether the A, V. and the R. V. of any text mean the 
same thing, and if they do, which of them expresses it ^he; 


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lo Reviser i Principles v. Translators*. 

best 5 or if they do not, whether the new meaning is as 
well expressed as the old was. Nor is it all necessary that 
any one who criticises it should be able to express it better 
himself, in order to judge whether the new language is justly 
called flat, harsh, obscure, awkward, inharmonious, such as 
nobody would use in either common or solemn speech, and 
altogether different from that of the present English Bible ; 
and whether it is truly said that the Revisers have taken all 
the life and poetry out of nearly every sentence they have 

The Translators wisely propounded very little in the way 
of principles in their Preface, leaving their work to speak for 
itself, and leaving others to philosophise upon it. As I have 
said about architecture elsewhere,* in the days when there 
was real art there was no philosophy of art : we have now 
plenty of the latter and very little of the former. Whenever 
they did state their principles of translation it was more the 
principle of having none than of being bound by any. As 
one of their principles of liberty and discretion is condemned 
by the Revisers as ' strange, inconsistent, and embarrassing,* 
and the old Preface has been latterly left out of our Bibles, 
I will quote the same passage from it as I did in the afore-* 
said letter to The Times.^ That Preface presents a striking 
contrast to what the Edinburgh Review called ' the odour of 
pedantry that pervades the Revisers' Preface ' : — 

' Another thing we think good to admonish thee of (gentle 

* reader), that we have not tied ourselves to an uniformity 

* of phrasing, or to an identity of words, as some perad- 

* venture would wish we had done, because they observe that 

* * Book on Building,* p. 6i, 2nd edition. 

f I am glad to sec that the S. P. C. K. has since printed the old 
Preface separately, for a penny. I hope they will restore it to its 
proper places and omit the Dedication to King James instead. 


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I'he Translators^ Preface. Ii 

some learned men elsewhere have been as exact as they could 
that way. Truly, that we might not vary from the sense of 
that which we had translated before if the word signified the 
same thing in both places (for there be words that be not 
of the same sense everywhere), we were especially care- 
ful and made a conscience according to our duty. But that 
we should express the same notion by the same word, as for 
example if we translate the Hebrew or Greek word once by 
purpose never to call it intent ; if one where journeying^ 
never travelling; if one where think^ never suppose; if 
one where ache^ never pain ; if one where joy^ never 
gladness ;' [once comfort^ never consolation ; once take, 
never hold or lay hands on ; once the heaven^ never the 
ky or air; once through^ never by; once difference^ never 
diversity; once being anxious^ never taking thought"] 
&c. : * thus to mince the matter we thought to savour 
more of curiosity than wisdom, and that rather it would 
breed scorn in the atheist than bring profit to the 
godly reader. For is the kingdom of God become words or 
syllables ? Why should we be in bondage to them if we 
may be free : use one precisely where we may use another 
no less fit as commodiously ? Add hereunto, that niceness 
in words was always counted the next step to trifling, and 
so was to be anxious about names too; also that we cannot 
follow a better pattern for elocution than God himself. 
Therefore, he using divers words in his Holy Writ, and 
indifferently for one thing in nature, we, if we will not be 
superstitious, may use the same liberty in our English 
versions out of Hebrew and Greek for that store that he 
hath given us.' And conversely they always maintained the 
liberty to use the same English word for different Greek 
ones when the circumstances suggest it. 

The Revisers' Preface, among a multitude of other 


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1 1 Rules for Monotony and Variety. 

principles and rules, professes to explain how they have dealt 
with these inconsistencies, which they say caused them much 
embarrassment from the studied variety of rendering so 
notified in the old Preface, But the explanation explains 
nothing ; or at any rate much less than reading any half a 
dozen pages of the book, which soon enables one to see 
that they have gone on exactly the opposite principle in both 
respects, as indeed they incidentally avow ; and consequently 
they have introduced as much monotony as possible, for one 
thing. If their principles are right, I do not see what 
business dictionaries have to give so many different trans- 
lations of the same words, and both ways between two 
languages. They give them because the learned men 
who make the dictionaries find the words manifestly used 
with all those different meanings : then come these Revisers 
and say in effect that there are none, except in a few extreme 
cases in which even they are obliged to allow them. 
Dictionaries must want revising even more the A. V. 
They think it necessary to tell us in the, margin ofHeb. 
ix. 15, that the same Greek word has to mean both 
' testament and covenant'; and conversely, at Matt. xvi. 10, 
they seem to regret that they are obliged to give us 
' baskets * for two different Greek words ; and they make 
'the devils shudder^ and Felix be 'terrified,' instead of 
'.tremble,' because they appropriate trembling to another word.' 
One of them said in a speech that there is some word (I 
don't know what) which is translated in the A. V. by seven- 
teen English ones. But what then ? That does not in the 
smallest degree prove that sixteen of them are wrong : but 
it goes a long way towards proving that whichever of the 
seventeen the Revisers have adopted for them all must be 
oftener a bad translation than a good one, if they have done 
anything so foolish 5 and if they have not, they have no right 


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^ Every Perfect Boon.* 13 

to find fault with the Translators, as there is only a differ- 
ence of degree between them. 

To this principle is due one of their most universally con- 
demned alterations, of the striking and harmonious A. V- 
translation of the Greek verse, James i. 1 7 — 

Tiaxra 6o(ris ayaOr] koL nav bdprjfia rikcLOV^ 

'Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above,' 
into the flat and stupid * Every good gift and every perfect 
* boon is ' &c. Although the marginist with his usual felicity 
suggests the further absurdity of ' every giving ' for ' every 
'gift,' I doubt if any single Reviser would sign his name to a 
declaration for it, or that he believes that bdprjfxa meant a 
' boon * a bit more than a ' gift,' or can give any rational 
explanation of the difference. It is simply that they found 
two Greek words and were determined to give us two Eng- 
lish ones. They might just as well have tossed up for 
reversing them. The two Greek ones were evidently used 
for the sake of the verse, whether St. James made it himself 
or quoted it, as St. Paul did the other, in Tit. i. 12— 

Kprjr€s iel i/redoTai, Kaxa Orjpia, yaor^pcs &pyaC: 

which two last words the Revisers' deviate for once from the 
literalism of the A. V. to translate ' idle gluttons : ' which 
was doubtless meant metaphorically, but is rather a bathos 
after ' evil beasts/ That can't be said of ' slow bellies.' 

A great many of their alterations are due to modern rules 
about the meaning of using or omitting the Greek definite 
article — ^the only one there is, and also about the effect of 
the five past tenses which that language has. But scholars 
as good as the Revisers deny that the N. T. writers always 
observed those rules, and we shall see clearly that they d}4 
not, because if they did they sometimes wrote nojiscnse* 


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14 The Greek Article. 

__^ — . ■ » 

Moreover, if they rigorously observed any rules they were 
very different from the best English writers, who use con- 
siderable latitude in such matters. And so did Greek ones, 
as Drs. Westcott and Hort admit. It is notorious too, 
that almost invisible deviations from our idiom will betray 
that a writer is more or less of a foreigner, and still more 
that he is a translator of the words or thoughts of one lan- 
guage into another, as the Evangelists necessarily were as 
to most, if not all, of our Lord's sayings, and foreigners 
as to the style of pure Greek, and certainly of not more 
than average education, even in Hellenistic Greek, except 
perhaps St. Luke. Again, it does not follow, because 
o, rji TO is Greek for ' the,' that the Greeks never used their 
article where we do not, and vice versd. Whether the 
N. T. writers did or not, is a question to be determined, 
not by rules, but by observation in cases where the meaning 
of sentences is so unquestionable that we can judge for our- 
selves whether we should use the article or not to say the 
same thing. Nor does it follow, because the Translators 
were somewhat too careless about it, that the Revisers are 
right in always thrusting it in or suppressing it, sometimes 
to the spoiling of a whole sentence and introducing phrases 
hitherto unknown in England, merely because the noun is 
articled or not in Greek. 

The same may be said about the modern rules for con- 
struing aorists and perfect tenses, to which are due another 
multitude of alterations. Such rules are probably right 
enough generally (in the sense of usually), so far that 
there is a presumption in favour of observing them, but 
certainly no more, as we shall see continually. And as 
all such rules can only be matter of induction from ex- 
perience in the books to which they are intended to be 
applied, and cannot be deduced from any axioms or neces- 


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Aorists and Perfect I'enses. 15 

sary truths, as in mathematics, the assertion that any such 
rule is universal is at once refuted by finding that it would 
sometimes produce absurd or manifestly wrong results. No 
one rule of that kind has produced so many alterations 
in the R. V, as that an aorist always means an action 
past and gone, while a perfect tense implies action con^ 
tinuing up to the present time, I am not concerned to 
dispute either, as a general rule, though I am reminded by a 
very good scholar, who has read most of the following notes 
and agrees with them, and I see other critics have made the 
same remark, that the word 'aorist' necessarily means 
indefiniteness of time, and therefore may reach up to the 
present. But if we find that forcing the English transla* 
tion to conform to those rules produces confusion, or such 
English as no master of it writes and no common person 
uses; that it is neither colloquial, nor solemn, nor im-* 
pressive, nor more perspicuous than the old phrases, and 
often less so : such facts will override all general rules in 
the minds of men of common sense, not bewildered by too 
much learning or the pedantry of displaying it. The 
English-speaking people of the world want the English 
Bible to express the full and substantial meaning of the 
writers of the original in the best way, and not in the way 
that is used to test schoolboys' knowledge of the parsing of 
every word. It is nothing to us whether Matthew, Mark, 
Luke, and John, Paul, Peter, James, and Jude, and the un- 
certain writer to the Hebrews, all minded their aorists and 
articles, participles and particles, as good scholars mar 
expect them to have done, but as it is clear that they did 
not; because we find it sometimes makes nonsense or confu- 
sion to assume that they did. 

There is enough to do without specially criticising all the 
Revisers' Preface. It is their book that we arc concerned 


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•i6 The Real Use of the R. V. 

with, not their Apologia for it. But there is an air of com- 
placency about it which relieves one from any hesitation in 
pointing out inconsistencies in this new version of a very 
different kind from those which they condemn the old one 
for. This however is not meant for a general review 
of the R. v., but only for an examination of its claim to 
be authorised for public use j and therefore it is almost 
superfluous to repeat what I said in that same letter to The 
Times^ that I, and many others who agree with me as to its 
authorisation, acknowledge its value as a commentary of a 
particular kind ; and also that it will be not only useful but 
essential to any who may undertake hereafter to make a 
less ambitious revision of the A. V, really fit for public 
use. It is a great service to have rendered, and we all 
ought to be grateful for it, that they have enabled any 
reader to see in a minute whether there is reasonable doubt 
about any text which he may be disposed to question, and 
what its true meaning is in the opinion of the majority of 
such a body as these Revisers, with all the latest appliances 
of scholarship and theology, and even with the help of naval 
assessors, ' like as in the Court of Admiralty * (as the Act 
of Hen. VIII. for the old Delegates for ecclesiastical appeals 
has it) J for so one of the Revisers told us in the news- 
papers. Not their least service is their showing us how 
very seldom the A. V. is materially wrong, and that no 
doctrine has been misrepresented there. 

Although we should not care much what instructions 
they had, or how much they followed them, if they had pro- 
duced a work altogether satisfactory, yet as it seems hardly 
so considered by any body, however much he may bepraisc 
it for some qualities, it is necessary to compare their work 
with their instructions from the body that called them into 
existence ; and not only those direct instructions, but the 


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fVhat Revision was ordered for. 17 

general and known wishes of the nation, which unquestion- 
ably wanted to have the A. V. interfered with no more 
than was absolutely necessary to clear it from any real 
mistakes. Nelson put the telescope to his blind eye, and 
declared he did not see the signal from his commander not 
to fight. But Nelson won the victory. Nothing but com- 
plete success justifies disobedience to orders. The Revisers 
have certainly not attained it. I doubt if any book ever 
written in favour of revision by any one worth notice advo* 
cated more than correcting clear mistakes. And the Revisers 
themselves acknowledge it by saying in the Preface, * The cha- 
' racter of the revision was determined for us from the outset 
' by the first rule' (of the Convocation which appointed them) 
' to introduce as few alterations as possible consistently with 
' feithfulness ;' which of course meant faithfulness to the true 
meaning of the writers of the N. T. ; and not, as some 
persons seem to think, exact construing of their words, 
whether that expresses their meaning properly in the second 
language or not : which it very often will not. We want 
the meaning of the writers, as they would probably have 
expressed it if they had been writing good English. 

This intention, that there should be no needless alteration 
of the A. v., was further intimated to them by another 
resolution, that ' the revision is to be conducted so as to 
' comprise both marginal renderings and such emendations 
' as it may be found necessary to insert in the text of the 
'A. v.* These were not the subordinate rules which 
I before alluded to as made by themselves, and which 
were no more binding than they chose ; and self-made 
rules are never any excuse for the miscarriage of the 
makers, but prove that they were wrong to make the)m. 
The preliminary resolution of all, moved and seconded in 
Convocation by the first and second chairmen of this corn- 


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1 8 fhe Number of Alterations. 

panjr of Revisers, but oddly omitted in titeir Preface, was 
that a revision should be made ^ in alt those passages where 
plain and clear errors . . • shall be found to exist.' Yet the 
♦ few alterations as possible ' to correct those ' plain and 
clear errors ' have been reckoned by themselves at two per 
verse on the average in the historical books, and 2^ in the 
others; and a newspaper afterwards gave the still higher 
number of 14,000 in the Gospels and Acts alone, which is 
above three a verse. And it seems now to be accepted that 
they exceed 36,000 altogether in the 7959 verses of the 
N. T, Whichever is right, it is a prodigious number ; and 
of itself implies either that the Translators were tremendous 
blunderers, and did not deserve the admiration which even 
the Revisers bestow upon them, or else that the Revisers 
have made an enormous number of unnecessary changes for 
mere fancies of their own. It is only possible to decide 
which of these is the true solution by some such examination 
as I propose to make, though that must be very imperfect, 
or it would be intolerably tedious. 

The two principal complaints made by nearly every 
review, and by some of their own members, who protested 
in vain, are of the enormous number of alterations which 
convict themselves of being unnecessary, since every body 
can see that they involve no change of meaning ; and 
the still more serious one, that they have hardly ever 
changed a sentence without spoiling its English, sometimes 
by the smallest touch or transposition of a word, and still 
more by the larger alterations \ and yet they seem as a body 
entirely unconscious that they have done anything of the 
kind, and actually talk in that self-satisfied Apologia of theirs 
of having sometimes violated even their own rules in order to 
' obviate some infelicity of sound,* or ' preserve the familiar 
'rhythm' — as if its familiarity was its only claim to be 


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Ahdern English Prayers. 19 

respected. Luckily we can investigate these two complaints 
without any serious disputes of scholarship, either as to the 
original version or the meaning of the one they have adopted, 
which may be called the 'revised Greek Testament/ though 
they disclaim having revised it 'completely,' But their 
chairman afterwards said they had revised it ' thoroughly/ 

It would be unfair to blame them for an incapacity which 
is now universal, for writing such English as that of the 
present English Bible or the Prayer-book, including Cover- 
dale's Psalms, which are finer than the Bible ones in style. 
Every fresh attempt to write prayers for either public or 
private use testifies that too painfully. The moment they 
forsake the old phrases they run into a style for which I 
confess my inability to find proper epithets, and therefore I 
will illustrate it by a story of the author of 'The Rectory of 
' Valehead' and 'The Bishopric of Souls.' He was one day 
walking with a brother archdeacon, who told me this, and 
they met the Lambeth carriage, as he called it, — empty. 
The 'Rector of Valehead' nevertheless took off his hat. 
' Why did you do that ? ' said the other. ' I did it to the 
'coachman.' 'What for?' ' O, don't you know, that's 
' the man that makes the State prayers ? ' But though the 
Revisers only shared the general incapacity to write the 
English of the Bible, they also shared the general capacity, 
but unfortunately not the general will, to leave it alone 
wherever it was not absolutely necessary to alter it. 

That brings us to the question of the fairest way of 
examining how far and how well they have done what was 
expected of them, either with or without regard to any rules 
of their appointors or themselves, or their own final estimate 
and professions ; all which are nothing to us, though a fair 
subject for criticism. For this purpose I do not think that 
the obvious and tempting method of dipping here and there 

c 2 


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20 T^he fair Way of testing the R. V. 

for specimens is sufficient, though it is quite legitimate in 
an ordinary review, and may be quite sufficient to condemn 
a book upon, if a good number of very bad specimens of it 
are produced. I came to the conclusion that the feirer way 
for the present purpose is the more tedious one of going 
through some considerable portions of it and noticing the 
alterations which seem material enough for special criticism, 
but necessarily passing by a multitude of others which only 
faJl under the general remark that they arc unnecessary on 
the face of them, as they involve no difference of sense, and 
spoil the old version for nothing except the abstract satis- 
faction of construing a few Greek words more literally or 
more uniformly. For this purpose it will be quite enough 
to take the first gospel, and one of the epistles of average 
length, and the Apocalypse as being unique both in language 
and substance. Whatever conclusions we come to from 
such considerable specimens as these may be applied with 
certainty to the whole book. 

Although the Revisers themselves acknowledge and exalt 
the importance of style for a book claiming to be made the 
English Bible, and assure us that they have preserved 
' the high standard of excellence of the old one,* their 
warmest supporters, and some of themselves, either from 
ignorance or greater foresight, take a very different view, 
and boldly avow the doctrine that style is of no consequence 
compared with verbal accuracy. That is not worth dis- 
cussing as an abstract proposition, for it plainly depends on 
the degree of inferiority of the style and the real superiority 
of the translation in expressing the true meaning ; and those 
cannot possibly be determined a priori. Some persons who 
were most hasty and positive in pronouncing style of no 
consequence compared with what they call accuracy, have 
been completely posed when I have asked them how they 


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Style and Accuracy. 21 

like some very clumsy or absurd phrase which I happened 
to remember just then, of which we shall see plenty as we 
go along. Such persons are still more puzzled, and angry 
sometimes, if you ask them to explain the difference between 
the A. V. and the R. V. in multitudes of places, where they 
take for granted that the R. V. is the more exact translation, 
either because they have heard that it is generally, or 
probably from its very awkwardness, which they conclude 
must have come from exact translation. And very likely 
it has, from that kind of exactness of construing which is 
expected from schoolboys, who have only to show their 
knowledge of Greek and have their words forgotten the 
next minute; not to write an English book to last for 
ages, and be heard and read by everybody : to whom the 
spirit and substantial meaning of the original is infinitely 
more important than the letter. 

When the Revisionists talk of the duty of ' not sacrificing 
truth to euphony,' they first forget that there is no reason 
why we should not have both; and they assume that the 
Revisers' mode of translating always gives us the ' truth,' 
and that the A. V. does not ; and then they forget that 
the true rendering of the meaning of the original sen- 
tence is often very different from a true construing of 
every word. Another excuse that they make for their 
peculiar exploits in rhythm is that those who have b6en con- 
demning them really mistake familiarity for excellence 
in the rhythm of the A. V. ; and they believe that after 
a few years we shall grow just as fond of theirs. It is 
difficult to answer such assumption seriously. So we have 
found out at last, have we ? that all the admiration that h^s 
been lavished on ^ the music of the cadences, the felicities of 
'rhythm, the simplicity, the dignity, and the power' of the 
English Bible, by the Revisers themselves speaking cor- 


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22 The Revisers' Style. 

porately, and by all mankind for ages, is an illusion, and that 
we have been all the time confounding familiarity with 
admiration ? How many years' acquaintance do they reckon 
will be enough to evolve mankind's admiration of the rhythm 
of such a sentence as this : ^ He that is unrighteous let him do 
^ unrighteousness still ; and he that is filthy let him be made 
^ filthy still ; and he that is righteous let him do righteousness 
^ still ; and he that is holy let him be made holy still \ * com- 
pared with the old, ^ He that is unjust let him be unjust 
^ still ; and he which is filthy let him be filthy still ; and he 
^ that is righteous let him be righteous still ; and he that 
' is holy let him be holy still * ? The difference of trans- 
lation will be noticed in the proper place : I am not speak- 
ing of that now. And I will not anticipate what I have to 
say about the * euphony ' sacrificed for nothing that can be 
called ' truth ' properly, in fifty other places, which might be 
multiplied almost indefinitely. If that is the best excuse 
they can make, it is about the worst and the most hopeless ; 
for it shows that they have collectively as little real sense of 
euphony as some men have of music. 

But though their Preface and the utterances of some of 
them individually imply that they really think the time 
will come when the R. V. will be as much admired 
for its musical cadences and felicities of rhythm as the 
A* Vk is now, some of them do seem to have misgivings 
about it, and more modestly intimate that we must sub- 
mit to a little harshness and baldness of diction for the 
sake of their superfine accuracy and fidelity. I heard 
one of the most active of them, a friend of mine learned in 
all the modern wisdom about aorists and articles, ^with 
sound views of the middle voice and the preterpluperfect 
tense' (as Sydney Smith said of bishops), read a long paper 
leading up to the conclusion that the R, V. ought to be 


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Violations of English Idiom. 23 

authorised for public use, in which he confessed several 
times that this or that passage which he was quoting cer* 
tainly sounded harsh, and other epithets of that kind ; evi- 
dently unconscious that critics might reply, ' Then what 
business has it to be harsh ? You are only confessing that 
you have turned out your work half done. I accept your 
conclusion, if you like, that the Greek means this in bad 
and harsh English ; now then, turn it into good, something 
like the A. V., and you will have done your work : till 
then you have not.' In most cases he might add, * The 
A, V. means the same, and has expressed it already for 
you in emphatic, solemn, harmonious and grand English, 
such as you cannot imitate: why can't you leave it alone? 
Nobody wanted the A. V. altering to say only the same 
things in worse language.' 

But there is another thing of no less importance than style 
in a translation ; indeed, in some respects of much more : 
viz., regard to the idiom of the English language. The 
Revisers recognise this also in the abstract, i.e. in their 
Preface, though hardly even there so distinctly as I should 
have expected. For they treat it as a thing which has some* 
times to be yielded to and not actually 'violated,' rather 
than as a guide to be followed. I always avoid definitions if 
possible, for they are hardly ever unquestionable. But for this 
purpose I suppose we should agree that an idiomatic expres* 
sion is one that has acquired a right or a force or a meaning 
of its own by usage, independent of grammar or etymology* 
For instance here is one, John vi. 21 : 'They willingly 
received him into the ship ' (A. V.), is grammatically 
no stronger than ' they were willing to receive him ' 
(R* v.). But for some reason or other idiomatically it is 
stronger. The former implies gladness : the latter only 
consent : and this is one of the innumerable idiomatic 


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24 Violations of English Idiom. 

distinctions which the Revisers ignore, and here actually 
reverse, and substitute the phrase which all Englishmen 
understand to mean consent for that of the A, V. which 
meant gladness and is obviously the true meaning of the 
original. That is what I call knowing Greek but not 
English \ and it is practically &lse translation instead of true, 
though it may be perfectly true construing, verbally and 
grammatically. They have even gone so far as to invent 
new idioms of their own, and try to reform the English lan- 
guage by ruling, so far as I can see, that the physical heaven, 
or sky, or space, shall always be articled, or called ^the 
heaven,' but the spiritual heaven is to be what grammarians 
call ' anarthrous,' or unarticled, in English ; though there 
is not an atom of such a rule or practice in the Greek Testa- 
ment ; and we have certainly not yet learnt to talk of * the 
birds of the heaven,' as they tell us that we ought; nor does 
anybody ' swear by the heaven,* as they tell us that we ought 
not ; nor say many other things which they do. 

So the question, whether they are right in that bold stroke 
of abolishing ' charity ' throughout the N, T. and substi- 
tuting ' love,' is not one of Greek scholarship, but of English 
usage, which in this case need not be called idiom, as it is 
simply the question how that word 'charity' is generally 
understood by those who hear and read it, in the twenty-two 
texts where it occurs in the A. V., as the translation of 
iyiitri. Now it is impossible that such persons, who must 
be presumed to pay some attention to the obvious use of 
the word, in most of this multitude of places, can mistake 
it for almsgiving: which is the excuse usually made for 
ialtering it ; besides some Greek scholarship, which only ends 
in proving what everybody knows to begin with, that iyiini 
does not mean almsgiving. I say ' everybody,' because they 
need not know Greek to know that the word used in many 


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^ Love* and ^Charity.* 25 

of those texts, whatever it might be, cannot possibly mean 
almsgiving. The stupidest person must see, for instance, 
that where 'charity' is not identified but contrasted with 
' bestowing all one's goods to feed the poor,' in the very 
chapter, i Cor. xiii., which is devoted to explaining it, 
'charity * can no more mean almsgiving than it means faith 
or hope. Therefore there was no need to alter it to prevent 
mistakes. Neither was there on the ground of any abstract 
right or wrong in it. You have only to look in Johnson's 
Dictionary to find many more authorities for the use of 
'charity* in the varieties of its primary sense, which is the 
A.V. one, than in its secondary, of almsgiving : which many 
people who are ignorant of Latin as we'll as Greek suppose 
to be its primary sense; whereas caritas is 'dearness, 
affection, love joined with esteem,' according to dictionaries, 
and not almsgiving at all. 

But they have another excuse for discarding 'charity,' viz., 
that AyaTTij is also frequently translated 'love' in the A. V,, 
and occasionally with almost the same context as ' charity ' 
has in other places; and then we know that a canon 
of the Revisers has repealed the liberty of using two 
translations for the same Greek word. But that canon by 
no means proves itself, but has to be tested by its conse- 
quences ; and here are some of them. The different 
meanings and objects of love arc much wider apart than 
those of charity. Indeed it is never possible to know what 
it means but from the context. Everyone who appreciates 
the English idiom must feel that although ' love ' seems 
appropriate enough in the (not many) places where A. V. 
uses it absolutely and in the sense of charity, yet ' charity ' 
in some of them would be better ; and it is very unnatural 
and pointless to say 'love vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, 
doth not behave itself unseemly' (R. V.); and we talk of 


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i6 *Lne* tikd « Charity. 

putting ^ a charitable construction' on men's acts, but never a 
loving one. Consequently *^love ' is a wrong word to use, and 
* charity ' the right one, and entirely unobjectionable, in that 
chapter which describes it. The Revisers have got into one 
quite ludicrous and self-convicting scrape, decisive of this 
theory, by their resolution that iyi,Tn\ shall be love and not 
charity ; for in 2 Peter i. 7 it has made them give us this 
wonderfully perspicuous, pointed, and elegant saying, ' In 
your love of the brethren supply love.' It certainly shows 
a striking confidence in their own principles and assertions 
of their superior accuracy, to turn out such a sentence as 
that for the sport of critics and the edification of mankind 
and ratification by Act of Parliament. 

But they can do even bolder things than these. Idiom 
occasionally overrides grammar, with the greatest writers, 
such as Shakspeare and the Translators, as it did with Greek 
ones ; and sometimes they all sacrificed grammar a little to 
euphony or emphasis. But the Revisers, when they have a 
mind, and a principle to satisfy, are not afraid to override 
them all. Thus they do not scruple to introduce such un- 
grammatical absurdity as ^Father, that which thou hast 
' given me, I will that where I am they may be with me,' 
instead of ' Father, I will that they whom thou hast given 
' me may be with me where I am,* John xvii. 24. The 
only excuse they have to make for it, independently of the 
unnecessary transposition, is that a few fevourite MSS have 
6 for 0^9 ; but they admit in the margin that ^ many ancient 
authorities ' (which the Preface again admits to mean * most,' 
while *' some ' does not) have the old and rational reading* 
But they like the irrational. One can not help thinking 
that a celebrated exclamation in a famous book, ^ Hooroar 
' for the Principle,' must have been frequently in the mind if 
not in the mouth ^of these Jlevisers. ^ He was the lamp 


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O^igr Sfamens of English. ^y 

^ that burn^M and shin^M,' Kai6ii€vos koX ^a^i^a>r(j6fanT.35), 
has not even the excuse of a new reading, and is bad English 
for nothing: for the Greek literally means *hc was the 
^ burning and the shining light,' and suggests none of their 
gratuitous introduction of contradictory tenses, 

I suppose they will defend the equally bad grammar of their 
' O Jerusalem, which kiMeth the prophets and stoneth them 
' that are sent unto her ! how often would I have gathered 

* thy children together ' (Mat. xxiii. 37) by saying that irpot 
avTTiv requires * her^ and not ' thee * of the A. V., and that 
they have only re-translated the participles fj iiroKTclvova-a 
. . . Kol XiOofioXova-a into the third person to suit it ; and 
that they have done their little best to cut ofF her from the 
immediately following thee by that admirable note of admir- 
ation* But avTos is used very loosely or widely in the N. T., 
and even the Revisers translate iavra * yourselves ' in I John 
V. 2 1 . At any rate that peculiarity of the Greek was no excuse 
for such an introduction of bad grammar in English, The 
Translators knew better. The monstrous alteration in the 
angels' song, from ' On ea|th peace : goodwill toward men,' 
into ' On earth peace among men in whom he is well 

* pleased ' (Luke ii. 14) by virtue of the addition of an s to 
€vboKCa — again in a few MSS only, by their own confession 
—has been censured by so many critics of eminence, that I 
only add the remark (which I dare say has been made before, 
for I do not remember all the criticisms I have read) that the 
whole thing is an invention of the Revisers as a translation 
of avOpdiTois cvdoKui9. The fact is that they saw they had 
plunged into a quagmire by the adoption of that absurd new 
reading. No ordinary or proper translation of ^iboKla would 
get them out of it ; and so they had to plunge out as they 
could by inventing an entirely new one ; which has the 
additional merit of reducing the whole sentence to that 


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tA specimens of English and Sense. 

u.terly flat and dead condition which they seem to delight 
in. Yet their chairman solemnly assured Convocation and 
mankind that all this will hardly be distinguishable from the 
old version and the familiar rhythm ; and that the assimila- 
tion has been happily and ingeniously ^ effected, sometimes 
' by z fortunate inversion^ sometimes by the preservation of a 
' familiar and idiomatic turn^ sometimes by the preservation of 
' cadence even when more than one of the words which had 
* originally helped to make it up had become modified or 
' changed.* 

Again, what sort of sense is this, ^ I beheld Satan fallen 
as lightning, iarpamiVy from heaven ' (Luke x. i8) ? That 
means, according to all English use of ' fallen,' ' I beheld 
Satan, somewhere, having fallen from heaven* ^ and that 
might be, if it stood alone, as where Isaiah says, * How art 
thou fallen, Lucifer.' But then he was seen as lightning ; 
and our Lord * by whom all things were made ' certainly 
knew, and so probably did his hearers, that lightning is not 
a substance that falls, but a mere flash of light that appears 
to go from heaven to earth. * Electric fluid ' had not been 
invented and begun its temporary reign then, 'AorpaTr^ is 
used for the shining of a light in the very next chapter, xi. 
37. The Revisers evidently made a dash at ireaovTa as 
having a past sense, and took for granted that ' fallen ' must 
represent it, with their too frequent disregard of the English 
meaning of words. Who ever talks of 'a fallen star?' 
And yet it has fallen a vast deal farther before we see it falling 
than it does during the few moments for which it shines, 
through the friction of the air. Even when we say that the 
barometer or the funds have fallen, though they may be falling 
still — or may not, for what we know — we speak of them 
as having fallen to their present place. Whatever words 
our Lord really used, they cannot possibly have meant 


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^ Satan fallen as Lightning.^ 29 

' ftillen as lightning/ because that is impossible and absurd. 
They necessarily meant something like * shot out of heaven 
like lightning/ which is gone in a moment, and that carries 
the past sense of ir^a-oirra. But we could hardly use such a 
phrase as that in translating, and I know of none that repre- 
sents the real and necessary meaning so well as the A. V. 'I 
beheld Satan as lightningy^// from heaven/ I am glad to see 
that the Durham Professor of Greek denied that ' fallen ' is 
right, even as a matter of Greek grammar, at the Church 
Congress, where the excellence of the R. V. was vouched 
for by a Reviser and an ex-Reviser, and by no one else. 
This criticism however stands on stronger grounds than 
debateable Greek grammar, viz. the ground of rejecting 
nonsense as a proper translation of the N. T. 

Again, with equal disregard of grammar and idiom and 
sense, they change another equally familiar saying, ' TTiere 
shall be one fold [and] one shepherd,* into, ' They shall become 
one flock, one shepherd/ which shepherd cannot possibly be 
included in the ' they.' What sort of language is that ; and 
is that also a specimen of the rhythm which only wants 
familiarity to make it charming ? It would be a waste of 
time to discuss the construing of the Greek (in which they 
introduce a slight change, of the plural yevrja-ovrai for the 
singular yevrfo-erai) ; for no Greek can justify such English, 
if it is English in any more than the bare words. 

Here is another case of inventing new phrases of their 
own: 'Festus saith (to Paul), Thou art mad, thy much 
' learning doth turn thee to madness.' We have heard of 
.men being * naturally inclined to madness,' and ' driven to 
madness by despair/ and ' turned mad,' and of wisdom 
being turned to madness ; but never before of men ' turned 
to madness.' It is idle to say that the Greek required it. 
Its literal sense here would be nonsense, and they have not 


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30 New Words introduced. 

given it. It is only metaphorically that iroXXa ypifi^iara^ 
^ many writings/ means ^ much learning ' ; and irepirpeVct 
means ' turn (thee) round/ The whole saying is meta- 
phorical, and only means, in common sense, ^ thy much 
learning doth make thee mad/ as the A. V. says. What 
they have given us as a translation is neither literal nor 
sensible, nor idiomatic, nor harmonious, nor anything but 
an absurd and cacophonous piece of pedantry for nothing. 
Probably a good many of us, by no means for this passage 
only, have already applied Festus's remark to the Revisers 
themselves, in better English than their own. 

Another instruction which they seem to have disregarded 
wherever they chose was, * to limit, as far as possible, the 

* expression of such alterations (/.^., the "as few as possible 

* consistently with faithfulness") to the language of the 
^ Authorised and earlier English versions.' It is difficult to 
prove that absolutely, as there are no concordances of the 
earlier versions ; but I venture to surmise that none of them 
contain the word 'surmise ' any more than the A. V. Yet 
the Revisers think it a necessary alteration that 'the sailors 

* surmised that they were drawing near to some country,' 
Acts xxvii. 27. I suppose they do not know that the A. V, 

* deemed ' is still a common word with multitudes of people 
for whom ' surmised ' might just as well be left vn€v6ovv. 
And I should like to know which of the. old translations 
speaks of ' clanging cymbals/ or ' clanging ' anything ; for 
certainly they do not of cymbals in i Cor. xiii. i. I thought 
too that tinkling cymbals made music, as a drum does, 
though they can only sound one note. ' Clanging ' conveys 
exactly the contrary idea, and is no more a necessary trans- 
lation of AAoAdfoi; than 'tinkling' is. We shall see several 
more such specimens, and I daresay there are many j but I 
have taken no pains to look for them, as it is clear without 


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Verbal Inspiration Theory. 31 

that, that the rules of Convocation, which some of the 
Revisers had a hand in making — and probably the chief 
hand — had performed their functions as soon as they were 
published for the assurance of mankind that this was to be a 
* thoroughly conservative restoration,' as architects promise 
their employers, wc know with what results very often. 

I can only think of one class of persons who can, upon 
their own principles, be supposed to approve of this kind of 
trsttislation — assuming that it is really always literal, which 
it is not by any means ; and those are the believers in 
' verbal inspiration,' if any still consciously exist. Many 
ignorant persons talk as if they believed in it, without being 
conscious what it means : viz., that two or three Evangelists 
were severally inspired to give somewhat different versions 
of our Lord's sayings, and even of the Lord^s Prayer, of 
which it is obvious that only one can be exactly true, though 
they all may be substantially ; and to narrate events so that 
nobody can reconcile some of the details. The Holy Spirit 
was to ' bring all things to their remembrance, whatsoever 
he had said to them,' and to ' guide them into all truth 5 * 
and then they wrote what they so remembered and were 
taught, in their own language and in different styles. Ni> 
providential care was taken to preserve their writings from 
what is called ' corruption,* or variations by successive 
copiers, as it surely would have been if their words were 
inspired. Even if we were sure that every word was in- 
spired, it was only inspired as Hellenistic Greek, with no 
directions for expressing the meaning of the Holy Spirit in 
any other language, and the problem of so doing remains 
exactly the same. The relations of one language to another 
are what they are, and we must take them as we find them. 
We shall see presently what the greatest present master of 
what we may call religious English says, on that point. I 


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32 Fallacies of Revisionists. 

do not see how any one who bears these hcts in mind 
can think it important or desirable to try to represent in 
language which no Englishman would use, every Greek 
article and particle or omission of them, and every real or 
imagined phase of the five past tenses, which those not 
highly educated historians and apostles used to express their 
Hebrew thoughts in Greek. 

Besides that constant assumption of accuracy, another 
argument is used to induce us to accept this new N. T. 
in English, viz., that is the only way in which we can 
get rid of the few unquestionable mistakes in the A. V., 
and that we must either accept this R. V. or none. That 
involves a variety of fallacies. First, I should like to know 
who would question the removal of unquestionable mistakes, 
provided of course the corrections are unquestionable too, 
as some of these no doubt are. But it did not require all 
the learning of these Revisers to make them. Any com- 
petent Revisers would have done it. And as to the less 
certain or less known mistakes, if they had only corrected 
what they are prepared to pronounce real mistakes in mean- 
ing, and had done it in satisfactory language, probably their 
work would have already received such general approval 
that no objection to its authorisation would have been heard, 
instead of one writer after another exposing their useless and 
clumsy alterations, and saying that the whole book is fit for 
nothing but a commentary. Not that they could expect 
their dicta to be received on doubtful points, such as the great 
alteration in the Lord's Prayer, without a full statement of 
their reasons, and general assent thereto ; and certainly not 
on such a ministerial demand for a vote of confidence as that 
in their Preface, that if the ' convergence of reasons ' for 
many of their alterations were only disclosed they ' would 
'be at once accepted, but until so explained they might 


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What the R. V. really is. 33 

' never be surmised even by intelligent readers.* Those last 
words I thoroughly agree with. But these are not times 
when intelligent readers are likely to surrender in the dark 
to such oracular statements as that. 

The Revisers have really decided the question of the 
proper use of their book against themselves. The Con- 
vocation of Canterbury requested them to correct the 
A. V. where * plain and clear errors ' required it, so that 
it would still be the old version to all ordinary hearers and 
readers, with its few real errors corrected. They have 
thought fit to do something else : something better, if any- 
body likes to say so, for certain purposes, but not for this. 
Ordinary hearers and readers fairly acquainted with the 
Bible could not mistake this book through a minute's 
reading for the A. V. with its few errors corrected. It is 
at once felt to be another version with substantially the 
same sense in other language, and language which nobody 
worth notice, except two or three Revisers, and the Pre- 
face inferentially, has ventured to call better or so good. 
Whatever they or their Preface may have said, their work 
in effect says this: — ^Here is a new version, giving as 
' nearly as we can the exact translation of every word in the 
' Greek Testament, or in what two thirds of us believe to 
' be the Greek Testament. It is a great deal more than 
* we were asked to do, but we have done it, and here it is, for 
' such uses as may be made of it.' Very well ; then here 
we have the means of selecting or Compiling a real amend- 
ment of the A. V. for general use out of these two ver- 
sions — subject to the question of their 6000 Greek altera- 
tions : one version, of exact verbal construing, sometimes 
into harsh and bald language, and such as no man ever 
used, whether literate or illiterate ; with strange confusions 
of tenses and articles, and phrases never heard before ; and 


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34 Cardinal Newman on Revision 

sometimes approaching and actually reaching nonsense : the 
other, wanting a few mistakes correcting, but in all other re-* 
spects an equally true rendering of the real meaning of the N. T* 
writers, with no such defects, into language such as has never 
been produced since, and can be no more produced again 
than that of Homer and ^schylus, Virgil or Shakspeare. 

They recite in the Preface, among their instructions, ' to 
^ refer, when considered desirable, to divines, scholars and 
' literary men . ♦ ♦ for their opinions/ The only reference 
that we actually hear of was to those nautical assessors about 
the voyage of St. Paul, and probably they felt themselves as 
competent to decide all literary questions as any assessors 
they could consult 3 though I do not remember that any of 
them are specially distinguished for the excellence of their 
own English style. Unfortunately the most qualified person 
in the world to help them in writing English of the kind 
required declined the invitation to be one of their body, and 
I suppose he could hardly have accepted it. His ideas of 
translation, as I find them quoted in one of the reviews of 
the R. v., are certainly somewhat different from those of 
the revisers. Cardinal Newman (for of course I mean him) 
appears to have written somewhere thus about it : — 'While 
' every care must be taken against the introduction of new, 
' or the omission of existing ideas in the original text, yet in 
' a book intended for general reading faithfulness may be held 
' to consist in expressing in English [which of course should 
' be good English] the sense of the original ; the actual words 
' of the latter being viewed as directions into its meanings 
' and scholarship being necessary in order to give the full 
^ insight which they afford i and next, that where something 
' must be sacrificed either to precision or * intelligibility, it is 

* There IS evidently sortie misprint here in the copy that I quote from 
and I can only correct it con^ecturally thus. 


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V. T!he Revisers* Theory. 35 

' better, in a popular work, to be understood by those who are 
' not critics than to be applauded by those who are/ 

The good sense of this is so obvious, when we see it so 
well expressed, that one would think it hardly needed so great 
a literary authority to enforce it. But the Revisers have 
been misled by some evil genius into adopting the opposite 
alternative, of courting the approval of scholastic critics ; 
and they have received their reward, I have heard it several 
times called *a scholarlike book,* though I do not know 
that the phrase is as complimentary to scholars as it might 
be. I must add that a very competent judge of it in both 
ways, who spoke of it so to me, said that he thought no 
better of it as a New Testament for common use than I do. 
But I daresay it would have made no difference if, not only 
Dr. Newman, but such writers of English as Mr. Froude 
and the late Bishop Lonsdale had been among them, in a 
small minority. Even if Bishop Coverdale, to whom we 
owe the Psalms which not even the A. V. could displace 
after fifty years' experience, or whoever was the best of the 
A. V. translators, were to ' come up * and try to teach this 
company of literalistic worshippers of aorists and articles and 
uniformity, and reformers* of the English idiom, that theirs 
is not the way to impress the Bible upon English hearers and 
readers, he would probably find them too full of learning 
to learn that ; and would soon give up in despair the attempt 
to help such great scholars to write such English as came 
natural to him, he could not explain why. 

I think it necessary to warn readers of the various criticisms 

• This word was printed at first * dcformcrs/ and I was strongly 
inclined to accept the printer as more right than myself. However, I 
leave readers to judge for themselves, and restore the open word : as the 
Revisers should have done in a matter infinitely niore important^ as we 
shall seCf 

D 2 


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^ni-_ J ■-■p--sawH 

26 Revisionist Fallacies, 

of the R, V. which keep appearing, against another fallacious 
and plausible answer to them which is sure to be attempted to 
be passed off for a complete one by revisionist speakers and 
writers; viz., the fact that occasionally one critic approves 
of an alteration which another censures. The revisionists 
will take care to forget that such cases are few, and hope 
that their hearers and readers will take for granted that they 
are a large proportion of the whole. But they are nothing 
of the kind. If all such cases were thrown aside, it would 
make no appreciable difference in the general estimate of 
the work. That, in short, is only the common fallacy of 
presenting exceptions for specimens. It is obviously impos- 
sible that all critics should agree in their estimate of 36,000 
independent alterations. 

Another of the fallacies of the revisionists is that we must 
balance the merits of the R. V. against its faults. That 
would only be worth thinking about if they were inseparable, 
which they are not. It is not as if their clumsy or bad 
translations only occurred where there are ' plain and clear 
errors * to be corrected. And even if they did, that would 
be no reason why they should not be well corrected instead 
of ill. But we might surely get rid of the notoriously 
spurious verse about the three witnesses, and have o-cofo/xeVov? 
translated 'who were being saved,* instead of 'who should be 
' saved,' and the odd mistake of ' nothing worthy of death is 
' done unto him,' corrected into ' by him,* and KciKaCoiiivovs^ 
' keep under punishment,' for ' to be punished,' 2 Peter ii. 9 
(perhaps the most important correction in the book ; for it 
is decisive against the theory of an unconscious intermediate 
state), without being made to listen to the surprising state- 
ment that ' the disciples came to the other side and forgot to 
take bread,' instead of had forgotten' — of Matthew 'sitting 
at the place of toll,' which inevitably suggests a turhpike — 


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Balancing of Merits and "Defects. 37 

of angels clothed in stone, by virtue of a new reading of 
one letter — of Peter being a ' stumbling-block * to Jesus instead 
of an ' offence,' because ^Kavtokov primarily and sometimes 
means that — that 'this Is Elijah which is to come' — of 
' shuddering devils 5 ' and many other like things. 

But thirdly, if we were obliged to balance the merits of 
the R. V. against its faults, or the whole R. V. against the 
A. v., on the assumption that it must be taken or rejected 
as a whole for public use, I should say without hesitation. 
Reject it. I think the A. V., with its few important errors 
here and there, immeasurably better than the R. V. with its 
multitude of errors and bad English everywhere. For every 
unnecessary defect, or piece of inferior workmanship in it is 
an error, and all of them together produce an universal bad 
result of all but primary importance, i,e. second only to 
perverting the meaning of the N. T. I do not know why 
we are to adopt by Act of Parliament a new Bible with any 
transparent new defects, not absolutely inevitable. Where 
there is a plain and clear error of importance in the A. V. 
which all the literary power of England is unable to cure well, 
I suppose we must put up with a bad cure, though it is 
a new defect, but as a less evil than the old important error. 
But I cannot see why we are to go beyond that. And that 
is the real issue : not an impossible and absurd attempt to 
balance between the sum of defects and merits through 
more than 36,000 alterations, besides 6000 Greek ones. 
Every piece of bad or confused or flat or undignified or in- 
harmonious or pedantic or awkward or obscure or anti- 
idiomatic English, that the Revisers have introduced without 
the above inevitable necessity, is a distinct reason against its 
own admission. And if there are thousands, or hundreds, 
or even tens, of such unnecessary defects, the book has 
no claim to public acceptance until they are removed, 


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38 How far the R. V. is successful. 

either by these Revisers (who would probably refuse) or by 
others making use of this treasury of suggested amendments 
of the Greek and English texts, from which the A. V. may 
have all its real and certain errors corrected, but no more ; 
and so ^ that which has already attained so high a standard of 
^ excellence be made still more excellent' in reality, and not 
merely to the self-satisfied vision of the Revisers. 

Nor need they be dissatisfied at that result, which they 
have in fact invited by volunteering to do so much more 
than they were asked. The enormous sale of their book 
as soon as it came out, which they justly boast of, is as great 
a reward as the most successful writers are delighted with. 
And they are right in rejoicing besides, that it has made many 
new and more careful readers of the Bible, and shown others 
how good and how fundamentally right the old version is. 
But the greater the sale has been, the more striking is the 
absence of all enthusiasm for it as a new Bible, and the feel-» 
ing generally and increasingly expressed against it for that 
purpose, though not as a commentary or an interpretation. 
I suppose the ' Interpretatio * by the side of the text in the 
Delphin Classics still flourishes as a pleasant and useful help 
to glalice at in construing ; but it would be a very poor and 
painful substitute for the real Juvenal, Horace, and Virgil ; 
and so is this for the immortal work of 'the Translators.* 
Of course I do not forget that it is not original in sense, 
but it is in its language and style, which are even more 
impossible to imitate than Virgil's, and may be revised 
away, but can never be restored. 

The chairman of the Revisers in his elaborate speech to 
Convocation, a kind of supplement to the Preface, insisted on 
the number of times, six or seven, that they had gone over 
the whole work, as a proof that it may safely be accepted 
as being 'up to a full standard' and 'a numerically high 


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Value of Seven-fold Revision. 39 

* standard of correction,' I draw a very different conclusion 
from that fact. A multitude of minds and of revisions may 
be a guarantee against mistakes in a scientific investigation, 
or any other where the only object is to discover and avoid 
mistakes of factor calculation or reasoning. But it is worth 
much less than nothing in literature. A single man may go 
on for a long time improving his work by revision : but I 
learnt long ago that large committees, of men quite as clever 
as the Revisers, trying to ' settle ' anything as a literary 
composition are apt to make it worse instead of better the 
longer they go on, after a very short time. And joint-stock 
composition may always be safely backed to extinguish every 
spark of life or genius in any literary work, even without 
having seven chances at it, of which all the later ones are 
sure to make it worse. There is no evidence that the 
Translators did so, but rather that they did nothing of the 
kind. Besides, in those days the writing of such English as the 
A. V. was still a living art, and now it is a dead one. If I had 
read, before ever I opened the R. V., that four and twenty 
men had gone through it seven times, and made four and a 
half alterations a verse on the average, or even the two or 
three which their chairman stated (perhapis reckoning on some 
different principles) I should have wanted no more to predict 
that the result would be just what it is in point of style. 
Here too we must remember that alleged mistakes in the 
A. V. could not be discussed apart from their proposed sub- 
stitutes* Whether the substitutes are better or worse than 
the original we have to judge for ourselves by the light of 
common sense and such knowledge of English and Greek as 
each of us may happen to possess, without fear of being told 
that we possess none sufficient to criticize this conclave of 
composers of a new English Bible, undistinguishable from 
the old in 'felicity of diction and rhythm, harmony of 


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40 The New Greek Text. 

' cadence, power, dignity of language,' as their latest ofBcial 
utterance assured us that it is, ' with all its thoroughness of 
' revision, and numerically high standard of correction.* 

It is only since this book has gone to press that I have 
seen the ^arterly Review of last October on the Greek 
Text, of which the R.V. professes to be a translation, and 
which is virtually a new Greek Testament ; for it is so in 
close upon 6000 places,* although the Revisers say 'it 
did not fall within their province to construct a continuous 
and complete Greek text * — a declaration as felicitous as 
most of their new sentences ; and a somewhat odd contrast 
to their chairman's statement that they had revised it 
' thoroughly^ which was even printed in italics, of course 
from his own hand. But if so, they have constructed a dis- 
continuous and incomplete one, and handed it over so 
incomplete to the two Universities to publish ; one of 
them (Cambridge) printing the old text with the Revisers' 
alterations in the margin, and the other the converse. 
Nevertheless they say, with more both of reason and clear- 
ness, that ' a revision of the Greek text was the necessary 
foundation of their work.' Assuming then that it was, the 
conclusion is inevitable, that if they have produced a new 
Greek Testament, not better, but worse than the old, the 
foundation of their work is turned from solid concrete into 
a very quicksand. 

But is this new Greek Text better or worse than the 
old ? The reviewer ' regrets to say that ' the two Revisers 
whose work it practically is, according to his account of it, 
' have produced a Text more remote from the autographs of 
' the Evangelists than any which has appeared since the inven- 

* This is easily calculated from the numbered alterations in any con- 
siderable number of pages in Dr. Scrivener's Gr. Test., bearing in 
mind that there arc 12*56 a page in the Apocalypse against very nearly 
9 on the average in the other 600 pages. 


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The ^arterly Review Account of it. 41 

' tion of printing/ Of course I only take that as being worth 
what it may turn out to be when his review has been an- 
swered, however unanswerable some of his statements may 
appear now. But if the description he quotes from one of 
the Revisers themselves of the process by which they 
' settled * the Greek alterations is not a kind of joke, it is 
quite enough to ' settle * this revised Qreek Testament in a 
very different sense j and if his account of the methods of 
^ conjectural emendation * which the two reformers of the 
text followed is at all true, I must say that there is no small 
antecedent probability that his estimate of the result is right. 
For all that I must refer to the review itself, which is more 
likely to have been read than this book, and certainly should 
be read with care by everybody who knows Greek, before 
taking for granted any longer, as we had all been doing 
for months, on their own assurance, that the Revisers really 
followed their primary instruction, that ' the (Greek) Text to 
^ be adopted should be that for which the evidence is decidedly 
' preponderating.* If the reviewer's account is true, ^ de- 
cidedly preponderating evidence ' has meant nothing but 
the evidence of a very few MSS which are particular 
favourites with the two New Greek Testament makers, 
helped by that faculty for divination, called ^conjectural 
emendation,' which they also say, in a Preface to their own 
work, depends on 'personal endowments.' 

In this way they appear to have disposed of the old 
readings of a much greater number of MSS and antient 
versions and quotations by the earliest writers, and of 

* twelve verses which have been a proper lesson for Easter 

* and Ascension Days in every part of Eastern Christendom 
' from the earliest recorded period,' viz., the last twelve 
verses of St. Mark, which they have- condemned and cut 
off from the rest, and all but expunged as spurious 


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42 Time for Revising the Greek Text. 

(Q. R., p, 328). And all the condemnation and extermi- 
nation throughout the book appears to have been really done 
by, and accepted from, not two thirds, as we have all sup- 
posed, but two of the Revisers; of which the reviewer 
gives a very simple proof from the coincidence between the 
R. V. in that respect and the new Greek Testament of Drs. 
Westcott and Hort, which was published on the same day 
as the R. V. : not that I profess to vouch for it. 

The Revisers told us, or the Times did for them, that they 
had 407 meetings, which I suppose would give about 2500 
hours ; or say 3000 if they sat unusually long. We are 
also told that the Preface took several months to settle out of 
their 1 1 years, and the settling of preliminary rules and other 
general business would take some considerable time too. 
Then remembering how time runs away as soon as real dis- 
cussion begins in any large committee, and especially when 
the question is not merely Yes or No, but on the settlement 
of language, and that every division and counting for a two- 
thirds majority would take above a minute, how many 
minutes could be left for discussing each of the 6000 Greek 
alterations, apart from the 36,000 English ? Yet the Greek 
alterations, if they were to be really discussed, or even the 
materials for discussion fully appreciated by those who were 
previously unacquainted with them, ought very often to have 
taken hours, and days, while mere re-translation could be 
disposed of by good scholars thoroughly acquainted with the 
Greek Testament already in a few minutes generally, though 
frequently that would take a great deal more. It is trans- 
parently impossible that any effective discussion can have 
generally taken place, and transparently clear that the new 
Greek Text must in those circumstances represent the 
merely accepted conclusions of two very learned men 
who had been spending seventeen years upon it before 


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Greek Revision ought to have been done firsts 4J 

the English revision began. But, as they say in their own 
Preface, ' no individual mind can . . free itself completely 
^ from its own idiosyncrasies ; ' and it is plain that no other 
branch of learning can so much need those idiosyncrasies 
correcting, not merely by opposite ones, but by full discus- 
sion on equal terms between them. The terms were not 
equal between men fortified with arguments on their own 
side during all those previous years, and a multitude of other 
men brought together into a room substantially for another 
purpose, and only having to dispose as well as they could of 
these far more difficult questions whenever they were brought 
up. It is no answer that proof sheets of that new Greek 
Testament were put into the hands of the Revisers before- 
hand. The arguments for the alterations were not put into 
their hands too ; and it was not at all likely that they would 
spend their time beforehand in groping for arguments 
which might not be the real ones that they had to answer : 
to say nothing of the evident feet that many — if not most, of 
the Revisers were not appointed for any supposed familiarity 
with the subject of Greek revision, however well quali-^ 
fied for translating Greek into English, as one would think 
them a priori* 

I differ from the reviewer however on one point. He 
thinks the Revisers ought not to have ^ re-constructed the 

* Greek text, as that was no part of their instructions.' But 
that is just as much a verbal fallacy as the Revisers' assertion 
that ' it was not within their province to construct a con- 

* tinuous and complete Greek text.' Any alteration is 
re-construction in that place, and no less or no more be- 
cause the next sentence is perhaps not re-constructed. It 
would have been grossly absurd to appoint people to retrans- 
late a Greek text, in which it was notorious that there were 
some defects, and which has never had any authorisation at 


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44 y^^ Greek Text should have been published. 

all, but is only the assumed basis of the English A. V., with- 
out giving them power also to revise it j and so the fourth 
rule plainly did ; though it is odd that such an august body 
as the rule-making committee of the Convocation of 
Canterbury, under the inspiration of the prime Revisers 
themselves, should have used the word 'Text* in quite 
different tenses, without any explanation, in their first and 
fourth rules, as any one may see in a minute. But though 
the reviewer's logic foils, the substantial objection remains, 
which I should state thus : as soon as it was known, and it 
must have been known very soon to all, and from the first to 
some of the Revisers, that alterations in the Greek text were 
contemplated to the extent of three in every four verses on 
the average — and more if any were rejected, of which we 
know nothing — it should not have been kept secret, but 
reported to Convocation and the public, and a committee 
appointed specially for the purpose of revising the Greek 
text, and all retranslation suspended until that had been 
done, and the results laid before the world long enough to 
see whether it was generally accepted. From the hasty 
determination to dash at it, everybody knows by whom, 
as soon as the ' Speaker's Commentary * was announced, 
which included revision of both the Greek and English 
text, this obviously necessary or proper precaution was 
neglected j and the consequence is (unless this ^arterly 
Review can be completely demolished by heavier metal than 
that which is fired by revisionists at congresses and con- 
ferences and lectures to young men), this retranslation has 
been simply thrown away and will have to be done over 
again upon a re-' settled ' and accepted Greek text. And 
whenever it is, we may be sure that the new Revisers will 
have learnt a lesson of moderation at any rate, from the 
reception which this premature and ambitious performance 


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The Bishop of Lincoln's Criticisms. 45 

is meeting with more and more daily, notwithstanding its 
merits in some respects, and the somewhat hasty acclama- 
tions with which it was received at first. 

Since this went to press we have also had the Bishop of 
Lincoln's paper on the R. V., read at a diocesan Conference. 
He was a member of the original committee, though he soon 
resigned. I have seen too Dr. Malan's learned pamphlet on 
'Seven Chapters (six of Matt, and one of Luke) of the 
'Revision of 1881 revised ;' and I have been able to avail 
myself of them both to add a few criticisms which had not 
occurred to me, or of which I did not feel confident 
enough before. The condemnation of a great deal of 
the Revisers' work, in real fidelity of translation as well 
as in style, by such a scholar as the Bishop of Lincoln has 
been from his youth, is a blow from which they will not 
easily recover. Nor can any rational answer be given to his 
remark, that ' the best of all translations is that which makes 
' you forget that it is a translation. The worst is that which 

* perpetually reminds you that it is a translation,' as the R. V. 
does in nearly every verse. And again, 'a literal translation 

* is not a good one for public use,' for that very reason that 
it reminds one in every sentence that it is violating the idiom 
of the second language ; and therefore it is a bad translation 
for any use, except perhaps for teaching Greek to beginners. 
He also says in effect that the Revisers have ruined their 
undertaking by exceeding their instructions and doing a great 
deal more than anybody wanted. 

Another dignitary and scholar of eminence has publicly 
declared that he dissented fi*om one third, which is 12,00a, 
of the alterations which the more ambitious majority per 
sisted in ; and it is generally understood that another Dean 
resigned for the same reason in despair : — or probably a 
stronger word would be the right one. It is evidently 


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46 Dr. Malatfs Estimate of one Chapter. 

absurd to take for granted, in the &ce of all these dissents 
and protests, independent of external criticism, that the 
' truth and accuracy ' of the R. V, are unquestionable, and 
that it ought to be adopted on the authority of the Revisers, 
who vouch for it with such exceeding modesty as we have 
read in their Preface and speeches, and even for the undis- 
tinguishable identity of its style with that of the A. V. 

Dr, Malan, confining himself to seven chapters, goes into 
more minute criticism than I have in 63 ; and he gives an 
incidental proof of my moderation by summing up his judg- 
ment on a single chapter (Matt, i.) thus : * The Revisers 
' have made sixty changes in it : of these, one is good, and 
^ one is admissible. All the rest (58) appear either ill-judged 
' or unnecessary/ He also deals, as I can not, with the 
alterations of the Greek text, and compares them with the 
antient versions in various languages, and the oldest sur- 
viving MSS, which are younger than some of the Versions ; 
and he expresses much the same opinion as the * Quarterly 
Review ' of the Revisers* arbitrary preference of two or three 
MSS frequently to all other authorities and to common 
sense ; and equally scouts the paradox which they seem to 
delight in, that the more paradoxical a reading is, if it is 
found in any of their favourite MSS, the more likely it is to 
be right. And so does the Bishop of Lincoln. 

The Bishop remarks on a very singular celestial phaeno- 
menon which the Revisers have introduced with one of 
their new Greek readings, if they only dared to translate 
it truly, viz., nothing less than a solar eclipse at or very near 
riie Pentecostal full moon. Some MS copier chose to put 
rov fiKiov iKkeiiTovTosj in Luke xxiii. 45, which literally and 
by well-known Greek usage, means *the suri being eclipsed' 
(the word being the very same in English letters), instead of 
the received iaKorMri o ijkiosi ^the sun was darkened.' 


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The R. V. Solar Eclipse at Full Moon. 47 

The Revisers knew better than to give us an eclipse at full 
moon, though the MS man, like not a few modern people, 
forgot the impossibility, or the technical meaning of that 
Greek phrase ; and so they ride over their own Greek with 
the flat and dull evasion of ' the sun^s light failing/ Which 
is the most likely, that Luke the physician, the best educated 
of the Evangelists, apart from inspiration, should record a 
5olar eclipse at full moon, or a MS copier make a blunder 
in attempting an improvement ? The Revisers are pleased 
to say, the former, and expect the world to agree with 
them ; but I hardly think it will : or on hundreds, if not 
thousands, of their other bringings up of the A. V. ' to a full 
* standard of correction,' both of Greek and English, 


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Notes on some of the principal alterations in St. Matthew's Gospel. 
The controversy on * Deliver us from Evil.* 

Mat. i. 2 to 26. Several of the names in this genealogy 
are changed to the corresponding ones of the Old Testa- 
ment, and beyond the changes required by the Greek 
alphabet, assuming the received English names to represent 
the Hebrew. No alteration of the Greek text is indicated 
here. Therefore these changes do not represent what the 
Revisers suppose St. Matthew to have written, but what 
they think he ought to have written, so far as the Greek 
alphabet permitted ; for instance, Elijah and Isaiah and Halle- 
lujah (which I may as well notice now) could not be written 
so in Greek ; but Halleluia could as easily as Alleluia, and 
Ram as well as Aram, and Peres and Zera for Pharez and 
Zara, if Matthew and St. John had been so minded ; but 
they were not. Yet the Revisers disallow all those Greek 
words and substitute the Hebrew. They may be right or 
wrong, if there is a right or wrong demonstrable in such a 
matter ^ but it ought to be borne in mind in other cases 
where they have made needless alterations for the purpose 
of giving the barest literal English of the words of the 
original, that they have not scrupled to change it here. 

i. 19. ' Joseph . . . being a righteous man, and not 
willing to make her a public example.' How do they make 
out that 'just* is a plain and clear error in the A. V. as a 
translation of hUaxo^i No dictionary says so, nor the 


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. Matthetv u i8, 20, 21. 49 

etymology of the word ; nor certainly do the circumstances 
of the case. And yet they make this change everywhere, 
sometimes to the great detriment of the rhythm, and never 
for any good to the sense, 

i, i8. Many people are curious to know, but probably 
never will, why the Revisers thought fit to alter the old and 
fine-sounding word 'espoused' into the new and harsh 
' betrothed/ Unless they are prepared to show the differ- 
ence, and that ' espoused * is wrong, they had simply no 
business to do anything of the kind. They were ' men 
' under authority,' to do what they were told, and not pri- 
vate speculators in translation, who have a right to do as 
they please, as several persons have from time to time, in 
much the same kind of English as this, including several of 
their own body. But they never asked to have it authorised 

* to be read in churches,' even experimentally, 

i. 20. The small change of ' while he thought on 
' these things God appeared unto him in a dream,' into 
' when he thought,' says in effect that Joseph was dreaming 
of them when God appeared to him. ' While he thought,' 
^hows that he was constantly thinking of them when awake, 
as he well might be. And the Greek is ivOvfirjOimoiy ' he 
' thinking of,' which obviously covers ' while ' and makes 
sense, as much as ' when ' which makes nonsense in this 
place, although in other circumstances ' when * might be a 
right enough translation. But these Revisers are superior 
to circumstances, 

i. 2 1 . Now that we have the authority of the Bishop of 
Lincoln against what I thought might be the latest gram- 
matical theory, I venture to remark on the substitution of 
' it is he that shall save his people from their sins,' for 

♦ he shall save,' &c., the Greek being simply avTos o-oio-^i, 
which at most means ' he himself shall save.' That is a 


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50 Matthew \. 21, 23 ; 11. 2. 

clear case of interpolation by the Revisers on some theory of 
their own, which, as the Bishop remarks, they do not act 
on in the parallel case, Luke vii. 5, ^ himself {airh^) built us 
' our synagogue,* though you see they alter the simpler A, V. 
chere too. They might much more reasonably have made 
that, ' it is he that built us our synagogue ; * for there the 
synagogue was, and somebody must have built it; but 
nobody could know that the people were to be saved from 
their sins until God declared by the angel that ' Jesus should 
' save his people from their sins/ The R. V. assumes that 
Joseph knew somehow that they were to be saved by some- 
body, and that the angel only told him that it should be 
Jesus. The Greek does not say so, as it might very easily 
have done if it was meant. 

i. 23. ' Which is, being interpreted, God with us,' in- 
stead of ' which being interpreted is, God with us,' illustrates 
the capacity of the Revisers for spoiling sentences with the 
smallest possible exertion, and for no visible object. Here 
the mere transposition of that little 'is* makes all the differ- 
ence between a lively, solemn, and harmonious sentence, 
and one as flat, inharmonious and pedantic as a modern Act of 
Parliament or the Revisers' Preface. It is also a minor defect 
that it requires attention to the stops on each side of ' being 
interpreted ' to avoid reading it as ' being in course of inter- 
pretation.' Sometimes they transpose into the order of the 
Greek and sometimes out of it ; so that they cannot say they 
felt bound by that. And therein they are quite right 5 for 
no one who knows ' a little Latin and less Greek ' need be 
told that different languages require a different order of the 
words to suit their idiom. 

ii. 2. I am glad to see that on the first unnecessary altera-* 
tion of a perfect tense into that past and gone one which the 
Revisers have decreed to be the proper translation of an 


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Matihetvxu 1. We saw his Star. 51 

aorist, I have the concurrence of one of the most eminent 
scholars among themselves. Bishop Wordsworth*, in his 
published protest against the revolutionary spirit of the 
majority, specially notices this change of ' we have seen his 
star in the east and are come to worship him,' into ' we sakv 
his star in the east and are come,* and contrasts it with their 
own translation of the very same aorist in Luke vii. 22, 'tell 
John what things ye have seen,' ' ctScre,' as in A. V. 
They had seen the star just before coming, and they had 
seen the things (which Jesus did) just before going. More- 
over the star had accompanied them, ' and stood over where 
the young child was ' : which requires the perfect tense, not 
the past. The Revisers felt that it would look too absurd 
according to our idiom to alter the text in Luke ; and there 
was no more reason to alter the former one, though I admit 
that it does not look quite so absurd. But the moment they 
have to admit, as they hereby do, that the proper tense to 
use depends on the English idiom and not the Greek, and 
that discretion has to determine it, their case for most of 
their determined alterations to satisfy their own rule is gone. 
Treating the N. T. writers as observing rules which they 
did not observe is not translation but transformation. 

♦ I mean of St. Andrew's, not his brother, the Bishop of Lincoln. 
The practice of calling English bishops^ while they retain their sees, 
by their former surnames is both recent and wrong. When they are 
dead, or resigned, it is right, and necessary, except sometimes in history 
where they are written of as the bishops of the see at that time. The 
further habit, invented by some newspaper writers, of talking of * Dr. 
Tait* and * Dr. Thomson^* is &till more recent, wrong, and vulgar. 
Peter Pindar indeed wrote of * Duke Smithson of Northumberland j ' but 
that was a joke and intended to be insolent. These modern misname; s 
certainly have not the excuse of jocosity, and I suppose do not always 
mean insolence, though they evidently do sometimes. Until Abp. 
Sumner, Archbishops of Canterbury signed some documents * William ' 
or * John ' only, without the * Cantuar.' 

£ 2 


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52 Matthew ii. 7-^9, n. 

ii. 7 — 9. As to these I cannot do better than repeat the 
words of one of the two articles in the Times of the day 
when the R. V. came out — the critical one, not the other 
deprecating criticism. * We do not see what is gained in 
' sense, while certainly something is lost in English, by such 
^ a change as that *^ Herod learned of them carefully," instead 

* of" inquired of them diligently ;" or, " they, having heard the 
' king, went their way," instead of " when they had heard the 

* king they departed." ' The second of these is a mere clumsy 
translation from one kind of English into another for nothing. 
The first is even les^ excusable than may be supposed 
without looking at the Greek, because ^KptjScoo-e is no more 
literally translated by the R. V. 'carefully' than the A. V. 

* diligently >' nor is the obvious meaning more correctly given. 
What Herod did plainly was to try to ' ascertain, or learn 
exactly,' the time when the star appeared ; and if the wise 
men told him the truth he did ascertain. The word r^Kpi^axr^ 
means either of those things, according to the dictionaries. 
So if the Revisers were determined to alter the A. V. they 
would have done it better by simply saying he ' ascertained ' 
instead of their roundabout ' learned carefully,' which you 
may do with a lesson, though you 'ascertain ' a fact or a time. 
Not that any alteration at all was necessary, 

ii. II. I cannot imagine what is gained in either Greek or 
English by altering ' when they had opened their treasures 
' they presented unto him gifts,' into ' opening their 

* treasures ; ' seeing that the Greek is avoL^avnsy their 
favourite aorist ; and besides, they must have opened them 
before they could present anything— or 'offer' anything 5 
which they wrongly revise it into ; for ' present ' is the 
proper word for making presents to ' him who is born King 
of the Jews,' especially to a child, who could not accept 
offerings, though you may present offerings to him. They 


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Matthew ii. 15, 18. 53 

seem to be quite ingenious in finding the wrong words for 
any state of circumstances. 

ii. 15. Though it may do no harm it certainly does no 
good to alter *out of Egypt have I called my son/ into 
*did I call' because the Greek is CKaAco-a, and they say 
an aorist always means an act entirely past and gone. 
Without arguing about such general rules, it is more 
simple and conclusive to observe that these same Revisers 
retain or do retain, or retained or have retained, or did 
retain or had retained when they published all this, ' I have 
bought five yoke of oxen * for the same tense, 7)yo/oa(ra^ 
in Luke xiv. 19 ; where altering it would make the man 
say, 'I once bought five yoke of oxen, and therefore I 
cannot come,' which is absurd. For the same reason they 
translate i(l>vka^afAr]v^ another aorist, ' I have observed,' and 
not *I observed,' or 'did observe,' in xix. 20. And in 
xxii. 2, they allow another, w/xotw^r;, to stand ' is likened 
to/ and not ' was ; ' and r/KV/owo-arc, ' ye have made void,' 
XV. 6 ; and many others that we shall come across as we go 
on. It is clear therefore that the N# T. writers were not 
so particular about never confounding aorists and perfect 
tenses as the grammarians who philosophise upon them think 
they ought to have been. In Hos. xi. i, from which this 
text is quoted, it was necessary to use the past tense, for it 
is, ' when Israel was a child I . . . called my son out of 
Egypt.' But Matthew adapts it to the present time and 
circumstances and uses the indefinite or aoristic past tense, 
which the Translators expressed by our perfect, with much 
finer perception than the Revisers' in these matters, what-* 
ever they may have in Greek. 

ii. 18. *A voice was heard in Ramah, 
' Weeping and great mourning, 
* Rachel weeping for her children ; 


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54 Matthew ii. i8. 

* And she would not be comforted, because they 
are not.' 
It is singular that the Revisers should have determined, 
what no one else wanted, to make all quotations from the 
Old Testament look typographically poetical, which only 
makes them look strange and puzzling, while they have 
generally done their best to eviscerate them of all poetical 
character or any other rhythm. Compare this bald and 
unmelodious verse of the R. V. with the grandeur of 
the A. v., in spite of the accidental or intentional defect 
in grammar : ^ In Rama was there a voice heard, lamenta- 
tion and weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping 
for her children, and would not be comforted be- 
cause they are not.* They leave out 'lamentation' because 
it is left out in their favourite MSS in Greek, Dr. Malan 
says, though it is in the original Hebrew and the Septuagint, 
from one of which Matthew certainly quoted it. Of course 
also the Translators knew as well as the Revisers that it 
was not strictly grammatical to leave out 'she,' but they 
did it on purpose, because they felt that ' she ' would 
spoil the rhythm, and the meaning could not be mis- 
taken. Printing it as poetry is a poor compensation for 
such prose as they have made of it. Nor was it wise 
even to correct the well-known breach of English grammar 
at xvi. 13, 15, ^ fFbom do men (and ye) say that I 
am ? ' which is right in Greek and would be in Latin, 
and it sounds much more emphatic than the Revisers' * who J 
It is very different from the common ignorant miscar- 
riage of half-educated people, who constantly write such 
things as, ' whom they said was, or did — something or 
other,' but is a bold piece of idiomatic talk which might well 
have been left, though one would not write it now. Shak- 
speare*s * most dearest Caesar,' and * here's flowers ' and 


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Matthew iii. 3, 7, 12, 13. 55 

'here's some flowers' (in ' Cymbeline '), would hardly be 
tolerated by a schoolmaster or reviser nowadays. 

iii. 3, 4. Why is ' make ye ready the way of the Lord ' 
any better than * prepare ye the way of the Lord ' ? Can 
they pretend that such a change was necessary to correct 
any plain and clear error? And surely they know that 
*meatj' for food, is perfectly good English and still 
used by the common people in many places* Their 
changing it into ' food ' here and elsewhere (though they do 
not in XXV. 35) is utterly unnecessary, and has a medical air 
about it which makes it offensive besides. But we shall see 
that they can be more professional than that. 

iii. 7. The change of 'O generation of vipers,' into 'ye 
offspring of vipers,' yerw^jixara, seems a very doubtful one, 
and I see it is condemned by good judges ; and most certainly 
there is no 'ye' in the original. The A. V. 'who hath 
warned you ? ' is clearly right, and the R. V, ' who warned 
you ? ' wrong for the circumstances, whatever rules gram- 
marians may invent about aorists and perfect tenses. We 
have English to consider as well as Greek. 

iii. 12. Why should 'he will thoroughly purge his floor 
and gather his wheat into the garner ' be flattened into ' he 
will thoroughly cleanse his threshing-floor, and he will 
gather,' &c. ? It is true that aXtava means threshing-floor, 
and that ' floor ' may not. But every reader knows there 
that it does ; and also that the A. V. sounds well and the 
R. V. flat and stupid, like all superfluous explanation. 

iii. 13. They think fit to degrade ' Jordan,* as it has been 
always known in the Bible, into ' the Jordan ; * and so I 
suppose we are to have in the revised Old Testament ' the 
' Jordan overflows all its banks at harvest-time,' instead of 
' Now Jordan overfloweth all his banks in harvest ; ' and 
the still grander, ' and the fourth river is Euphrates,' and 


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56 MaUhewm. 13, 15; iv. la. 

Euphrates everywhere, will become * the Euphrates.' In 
cases of this kind the article in one language is a mere matter 
of idiom and use and dignity, and has nothing in the world 
to do with the article in another language. 

iii. 15. And the same of * suffer [it]* now/ absurdly sub- 
stituted for the old and fine ' suffer [it to be so] now,' the 
words in the brackets here being a necessary interpolation in 
either case. ' Then he suffered him * is also what anyone 
would say in English, as the A. V* does, though strict con- 
struing of the Greek no doubt is ' suffereth * (R. V.). One 
can understand believers in ' verbal inspiration * fancying 
such literalisms as these important ; but I suppose there are 
none of them among the Revisers. 

iv. 12. 'Having heard that John was cast into prison * is 
altered to, ' was delivered up * and nothing more : another 
instance of the Revisers' contempt of circumstances com- 
pared with a grammar and a dictionary, just as a boy learn-^ 
ing Greek would do. He would find that irapibodrj means 
' was delivered up ' — ^literally j but ' delivered up ' may be 
to anybody — a friend or an enemy, a gaoler or a taker out of 
gaol. But the known circumstances tell us ; and the Greek 
usage of the word implies it too. Therefore why do the 
Revisers choose to keep common hearers and readers of the 
gospel ignorant of it, when they know perfectly well that 
the evangelist meant what the infinitely wiser Translators 
said, that John was ' cast into prison ? ' Is this improving 
the A. V* and correcting plain and clear errors, or helping 
people to make them ? 

V. 10. ' Blessed are they that are persecuted for righteous- 
ness' sake ' is turned into . . < ' who have been persecuted 

* I must use [ ] instead of the usual italics for words interpolated 
or not in the original, because ] sometimes want the italics to call 
attention to paiticular wordsi 


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Matthew v. lo, 15. 57 

for righteousness' sake. ' That in English use means that they 
are blessed now who have been persecuted at some former 
time. But that is evidently not what was meant by our 
Lord though it may be a literal construing of SeStcoy/xeVoi, 
Whether it is the construing required by the rules followed 
by the Revisers, I am not concerned to inquire, if the result 
is wrong according to our idiom. St. Matthew had to choose 
between using the present participle and the perfect. The 
present participle in Greek would not mean what he wanted 
to say, but would mean ' who are being persecuted ' at some 
present time, when also they are to be blessed. Therefore 
he did not use that, and did use the perfect participle, which 
in such a case indicates that generality of time which 
* who are persecuted ' does in English ; or perhaps more ac- 
curately still it would be 'the persecuted ; * but the A» V* 
sounds much better and means the same. The idioms of 
the two languages here are not the same ; and this the 
Translators recognised, while the Revisers ignore it, and 
make our Lord say to English hearers what he manifestly 
did not mean ; and so they make an error instead of curing 
one, though they appear to construe it more literally. 

V. 15. ' Neither do men light a lamp and put it under 
the bushel,* is either too much of an alteration or too little. 
Any ordinary hearer will say ' what bushel ? * ' The bed * 
is intelligible, because that is one known piece of furniture 
in a room, but what is ' the bushel }* The Speaker's Com- 
mentary (on Mark iv* 21), says it meant the flour-bin, which 
in common houses was kept in the same general room as 
the bed. If general readers knew all that, the alteration 
might be harmless. But as they do not, and never will, ic 
only tends to puzzle them 5 for ' the bushel,' to all common 
understanding, only means an abstract measure of capacity, 
or else some particular basket or tub, of which in this case 


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58 Matthew v. 15. ' CandU: 

they know nothing. It is worth notice, too, that St. Luke 
and the Revisers omit the article in the same text, viii. 16 j 
and they had much better have done so here too. 

Wherever they find \ixv09 in the N. T. they change 
the A. V. 'candle' into 'lamp;' and here with the 
consequence of using such an awkward expression as 
'the stand,* i.e.y the lamp-stand. This is a totally un- 
necessary display of small learning, and has the usual bad 
effect of introducing technical details into language of a 
dignified character. ' Candle ' does not mean, in language 
of that kind, ' a small cylindrical body of wax, tallow, or 
spermaceti, formed on a wick of cotton threads ' (to take 
one of the dictionary versions of it), but ' a light or luminary,' 
as the dictionaries also say. Nor was candela^ from which 
of course it comes, only such a cylinder, but really a 
small lamp, as is clear from Juvenal, iii. 287. 

* Breve lumen Candels cujus dispense et tempero filum.' 

Nor when Latimer said to Ridley, at their own burn- 
ing, that ' they should light such a candle in England 
' as would never be put out,' did he mean a candle in 
the shop sense ; nor Shakspeare when he called the stars 
'the candles of the night.' On the other hand, when 
St. John in the Revelation speaks of the heavenly Jerusalem 
needing no 'lamp' (R, V.) nobody can imagine that he meant 
a brass cup with some oil and a wick in it, but any artificial 
luminary, for which ' candle ' is just as good English as kvx^os 
was Greek. Moreover, how do the Revisers reconcile 
leaving Xvxvlas ' candlesticks ' in the Apocalypse, if they 
must be reduced to lamp-stands here ? They did not dare 
to go so far as to expel that word, which has acquired a sort 
of consecrated use there ; and therefore they clearly need 
not have expelled it here, breaking their own rule of unifor- 


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Matthew V. 17, 32, 34. 59 

mity besides, which they censure the Translators for disre- 
garding. The argument is just the same whether solid 
candles were used then or not; for if they were not, 
St. John did not see them in his vision, and yet the Revisers 
rightly keep ' candlesticks * for what he did see. 

V. 17. * Think not that I came to destroy the law,* may 
perhaps be etymologically more accurate than * I am come.' 
(A. V.) Nevertheless ' I am come,* is what a man would 
say in English in the circumstances, and it was therefore 
less than necessary to alter it. 

V. 32. * The hell of fire * again is a literal translation, no 
doubt, though nobody ever heard of it before ; and what 
does it mean different from the old *hell fire * ? If it means 
nothing else, why should people be set wondering about a 
new phrase like that when they all understood the old one 
at least as well, and indeed a great deal better ? It looks as 
if there were some other kind of hell, 

V. 34. * Swear not at all : neither by heaven, for it is 
God's throne, nor by the earth, for it is his footstool,' is 
changed into . . . . ' neither by the heaven, for it is the throne 
of God, nor by the earth, for it is the footstool of his feet;' 
on which I remark first, that it does not follow because 
vTio-nohtov T<av Ttobo^v is the Greek used everywhere in the 
N. T. for footstool (vTroirobLov alone might have a larger 
meaning, as a carpet) that we are to expand our word * foot- 
stool,' which can mean nothing else, into the unmeaning super- 
fluity and tautology which pleases the Revisers. Then as to 
the article before ' heaven.' From the time of Bishop Middle- 
ton till now much learning has been expended in trying to 
make general rules that will reconcile the apparent inconsis- 
tencies in the use of the article in the Greek Testament. 
If such attempts had completely succeeded they would still 
not be rules for translating into another language which may 


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6o Matthew v. 34. * The Heaven.^ 

use its own articles differently. If the rule could be formed 
from induction (which it cannot), that wherever the Greek 
word for heaven clearly means heaven in the spiritual sense 
the article is not used, and is used where it means the sky 
or the air or the firmament or space — or vice versd—thzt 
would be useful in determining the meaning of ovpavos in any 
doubtful case, but would be of no use in deciding whether 
another language is to use its own article. It might be that 
the idiom or usage of the other language was just the con- 
trary; and if so it would clearly be right and necessary to 
omit the article in the second language wherever it was used 
in the first, and vice versd* I am reminded that the French 
article the names of countries, which we never do. And 
that remark applies not only to the word ' heaven ' (on that 
hypothesis) but to every other case of using or omitting the 
definite article in translation, which we shall have continual 
occasion to bear in mind as we proceed. 

But in truth there is no such rule deducible for ovpavos 
or ovpavoL For, as a matter of fact, whichever meaning it 
may have, physical or spiritual, it generally, though far from 
always, has the article in the N. T. Winer's Treatise on 
the Grammar of the N. T. (which 1 understand is the 
standard book on it) says so 5 and that ^ the article is omitted 
by Paul as a rule in such phrases as d^ and ^f ovpavovj and in 
i(t)9 TpLTov ovpavov. Peter omits even it with the nominative. 
In the Apocalypse it is always inserted.' In Acts iii. 21 it is 
omitted. Therefore clearly there was no rule of that kind 
observed in the Greek Testament. Then is there in 
English ? The A, V. has always hitherto been considered 
the highest authority on the English language, and you may 
see in a minute, by looking at the two pages of * heaven ' in 
a concordance, that there is no rule or usage, either that 
the spiritual heaven should not have 'the' before it,, or 


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'. Heaven * and ^-the Heaven* 6 1 

that the physical heaven should, either in the singular or 
plural. Nor do other great writers recognise any such rule 
as the latter especially. Yet, so far as I can see, the Re- 
visers have thought fit to invent them both ; or in other 
words, to change the English language instead of writing it. 
They will certainly not succeed, and they had no authority 
to try. Their business was to translate, that is, to transfer 
the meaning of the Greek as they find it into the English 
language and idiom and use as they find them, 

I am not sure, but I conclude, that they treat the heaven 
of all the apocalyptic visions as spiritual, even when they 
say ' the stars of heaven,' though they must have ^ the birds 
of the heaven,' as we shall see presently; because, if so, 
they are at any rate consistent in suppressing the Greek 
article in their English throughout the Apocalypse (which 
always has it in the Greek) except where the heaven is 
distinctly treated as physical. They insert it where it is not 
in the original in Acts iii, 21 (as the A, V, does). Yet 
surely ' the heaven ' which ' must receive Jesus until the 
'times of restitution (R. V. restoration) of all things,' is the 
spiritual heaven, and not the sky. 

How then did the Translators settle whether they should 
say ' heaven,* or ' the heaven,' or 'heavens,' in each place ? 
In the same way as a great painter answered somebody who 
asked him ' what he mixed his colours with : ' ^ with brains, 
sir.* That is, they did it by their own taste and instinct 
and perception of niceties of idiom, which probably they 
could not have explained to a committee of precisians who 
disputed them. They felt that in certain places the dignity 
of the language or some peculiarity of the case required the 
article, without troubling themselves to consider exactly 
what kind of heaven was meant. Thus they said ' God 
created the heaven and the earth j' and yet, in the place now 


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6i Matthew v. 15 ; v. 6, 13. 

before us, they put * heaven * and ' the earth * together, 
because they knew that men in England do sometimes swear 

* by heaven,* and never by ^ the heaven,' whatever they may 
mean by it. Probably they mean it in the highest sense, 
and if so the new translation is wrong even by the Revisers' 
own rule. But it is wrong anyhow and every way, because 
it introduces a phrase unknown in English use, and gives the 
go-by to the one which is used in that way ; and because it 
is evidently founded on a rule for which there is no authority 
whatever, and which the Revisers had no business to make : 
and it does not profess to be for the sake of literal trans- 
lation, for they have throughout articled or disarticled 

* heaven* without the smallest reference to the presence or 
absence of the article in the Greek. Of course I find no fault 
with that : on the contrary, I think they ought to have done 
a great deal more in that way ; but then they should have 
done it with discretion, as the Translators did, and not by 
rules of their own which it is clear that neither the writers 
of the N. T, nor any English writer observed. 

vi. 6. Why should * enter into thy closet ' be changed 
into * thine inner chamber,' as if a closet only meant a cup- 
board or a housemaid's closet ? Surely the Revisers might 
give people credit for sense enough to know that the word 
'closet' in the A. V. meant an inner chamber or secluded 
place for prayer, without thrusting that flat explanation upon 
us. ' The royal closet ' is a place we read of, and it does 
not mean a cupboard, nor probably a very small room. It 
only implies privacy. 

vi. 13. The rightness or wrongness of the important 
alteration of ' Deliver us from evil,' into * Deliver us from 
the evil one^ in the Lord's Prayer, might easily be dismissed 
here by saying that while it is the subject of controversy 
between two such disputants as the Bishop of Durham and 


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* Deliver us from Evil* 63 

Canon Cook, the editor of ' The Speaker's Commentary,' it 
is useless for unlearned persons to interfere in it, and 
certainly premature to sanction the alteration. But unfor- 
tunately unlearned persons are asked to interfere, or will be 
at some time, and to affirm that the majority of the Revisers 
are right, and that their decision ought to be affirmed by Act 
of Parliament. And therefore it is proper to inquire here 
and ascertain, if we can, whether they have made out any 
case for such an interference ; which is a very different 
thing from trying to decide which interpretation or transla- 
tion is right : a distinction which has been much too 
little attended to. After the published letters of these 
two eminent theologians, it is not likely that any new 
contributions on either side will throw any more material 
light on the question. Therefore it is not premature at any 
rate to give a summary of such of their arguments as have 
not been either disposed of by agreement, or too refined to 
make any general impression. 

First then, they agree that pv<raL ano rov iroinjpov may 
grammatically, and by N. T. usage, mean either ' deliver us 
from evir or ' from the Evil one' — a new phrase too for ' the 
'Wicked one' of the A. V. ; and therefore it is useless to 
seek for a determinate solution on any grounds of that kind. 
Yet Mr. Cook says ' he is informed by the best authority that 
* the Revisers were much moved by the fact [statement], 
,* that pva-ai iiro is never used with abstract [or general], 
' but only with personal evil ' [or an evil person]. If 
that is really so, it clearly detracts a great deal from the 
weight of the vote of the majority, by which it seems 
admitted that the change was carried. Nobody can tell what 
would have been the result if that stumbling-block (to 
borrow a favourite word of theirs) had been removed out of 
their way at once. It is useless for any of them to try to 


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64 ^he Controversy about 

set it up again now that the Bishop of Durham has thus 
kicked it away. 

Next it is agreed now that there is no evidence at all of 
which way tov irovrjpov was understood, during the first two 
centuries ; but that from Origen, early in the third, to 
Augustine, late in the fourth century, * the Evil one ' or 
what is called 'the masculine interpretation,' prevailed 
among the Greek Fathers j and that from Augustine down- 
wards the neuter or A. V» ' evil ' has been universally 
received in the Western Church. But ' the masculine inter- 
' pretation' is by no means a conclusive phrase ; for if the Re- 
visers are right in translating /miy Avnor^vat Tcp Trovrjpi^^ * resist 
not him that is evil,' instead of ' resist not evil ' (A, V.), un- • 
questionably they do not mean 'resist not the Devil.' Origen 
is generally regarded as a person rather fond of ' notions ' of 
his own, but he was followed by many other Greek Fathers, 
including Chrysostom. Here the Bishop and the Canon 
begin to differ about facts. Each of them claims on his 
own side the two great Latin Fathers of the early dates of 
about 200 and 250, Tertullian and Cyprian, except that it 
seems admitted that at a late period of his life Tertullian in- 
clined to ' the Evil one ; ' but Canon Cook says he had then 
become a Montanist heretic, and therefore cannot be accepted 
as the mouthpiece of the Church, Cyprian's views, as given 
by the two advocates, are certainly more in favour of the com- 
mon interpretation than of Origen's. Mr. Cook also relies 
on the fact that though Augustine encountered strong opposi- 
tion on some points on which he was an innovator he en- 
countered none on this of the Lord's Prayer ; and says that 
he could hardly have had the enormous influence he had 
over Western Christendom if he had opposed or ignored 
views universally adopted in the primitive churches of the 
East on such a point as this. 


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^Deliver us from Evil! 65 

It is quite clear that there is on the whole no foundation 
for the assertion or belief, which has been propagated, 
chiefly from the chairman's speech to convocation, that the 
Revisers have only restored the primitive interpretation. 
The only fair conclusion is that neither party has thrown 
any decisive light on the original understanding of the phrase 
by the help of the Fathers ; and the views of the Fathers are 
only important so far as they are evidence of that. 

Mr. Cook adds in his last pamphlet (which is too late for 
me to notice properly) that Chrysostom is decisively against 
the R. V. omission of the doxology in the Lord's prayer; 
and that Origen not only invented this Satanic interpretation 
but the ultimate salvation of the Devil, and prohibited 
prayers to our Lord. And in spite of these great Fathers, 
the established faith of the Greek church for many centuries, 
as set forth in their ' Confessio Fidei Orthodoxae ' has agreed 
with the universal western usage of all known times for the 
common interpretation. 

The Bishop quotes some of the early liturgies as decisive. 
That called St. James's has pvo-at aTro tov irovqpov koI t&v 
ipyoav avTov. ' St. Mark's ' is not so clear : in fact alone it 
would prove nothing. But the * Liturgy of Adacus ' has 
' salva nos a malo et exercitibus suis.* The Bishop says 
these liturgies covered the whole area of the Eastern Church. 
But, he candidly adds, 'when we turn to the Western 
liturgies all is changed,' and then we have such phrases as 
* Libera nos ab omnibus malis.' Nevertheless, he says, 
an expositor of one of them, about a.d. 800, adds the 
commentary — ' Petendum nobis est ergo ut Deus nos 
a diabolo liberet,' which he contends is a proof that 
the older Origenic interpretation was still well-known 
and current. But a remark of one commentator does 
not prove general currency. The later liturgies, includ- 


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66 The Controversy about 

ing our own (which both parties claim in their favour 
in different ways) of course can prove no more as to 
the original understanding than any of the later Fathers. 
What then is to be said of those antient liturgies? 
Canon Cook's reply upon them is that they are uni- 
versally admitted to be so full of interpolations of later 
ages as to make it impossible to rely on them, or to dis- 
tinguish between the original and the interpolations ; and 
that it is expressly said in Palmer's ' Origines Liturgicae ' 
that some of the interpolations, which he proves, were 
made to bring the liturgy of St. James into harmony with 
that of Constantinople, where the views of Origen and 
Chrysostom prevailed. And he says that of St. Mark 
suffered even more than St. James's, as is shown in Neale's 
' Tetralogia.' If so, the antient liturgies cease to be at all 
decisive, or even of any value in the controversy, because 
we have no authentic versions of them. 

Then comes a more complicated matter, viz., some 
antient versions — Syriac, Coptic, Egyptian, and Latin or 
Italic. It seems that the Syriac language has only a mas- 
culine and feminine gender, and that the feminine does duty 
for the neuter j and the Bishop says that the word ' bisho,' 
by which the tov irovrjpov is rendered, is masculine, and 
that ' btshtho ' is always the word where a neuter is clearly 
meant. Canon Cook replies that he was well aware of that 
as to these Syriac versions of the third and fourth centuries, 
but that in earlier ones * bisho ' was used for 'the evil 
'thing 'as well as ' the evil man.' Both sides claim the 
Egyptian and Coptic versions, where there is the same 
want of a neuter gender, Mr* Cook says that ' Peyron, 
the highest authority, holds the Coptic word to be neuter ; ' 
and concludes, after more argument than I can quote, that 
' all the early versions are at least compatible with the A. V., 


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* Deliver us from Evil.^ 6j 

and that some indisputably support it.' And that is clearly 
so, if his quotations, and the Bishop's, contain the whole 
case, as we may now assume that they do. The Ethiopic 
version, which he says exhibits the faith of the Egyptian 
church in the time of Athanasius, has * deliver us from all 
' evil.' In the Latin or Italic versions ' malo ' is the word 
used for novqpov. Canon Cook says it ought to have 
been ' maligno ' if Satan was meant ; and it certainly is 
' malignus ' and ^nequam' in six of the seven texts where he 
is certainly or probably meant, in the Vulgate. The Bishop 
produces sufficient proof that ' malus ' was often used for 
the devil by the Latin Fathers; but that does not carry 
the matter any further back than before, and it is remark- 
able that TertuUian changed his * malo ' to ' maligno ' after 
he had changed his faith as above mentioned. 

Canon Cook uses this negative argument, that in no 
liturgy of any age is there any special prayer or collect for 
deliverance from the devil, though of course there are 
plenty of incidental petitions for such deliverance in our 
own Liturgy, and the old ones from which it has descended. 
Probably most persons will agree with the Bishop that 
^ From the crafts and assaults of the devil, good Lord 
deliver us,' is distinct and special enough, and is not afFected 
by the fact that it is one of many petitions in the same 
service, viz. the Litany. Nor do I suppose that theological 
arguments to the effect that Christians have already van- 
quished Satan and need not pray to be delivered from him, 
are likely to move any one who is inclined to the Satanic 
interpretation, for the reasons urged by the Bishop, and the 
fact just now mentioned, that we do expressly pray to be 
delivered from the devil three times a week : which cannot 
be the least afFected by the multitude of other prayers made 
at the same time. 

7 2 


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68 The Controversy about 

On the other hand^ I do not think any defender of the 
A. V. is likely to be convinced by the Bishop's argument 
that we should expect the tempter to be mentioned, with 
AAAd before him, immediately after Mead us not into tempta- 
tion.' If such arguments are worth anything, I should 
rather say that AAXci leads one to expect something more in 
contrast to the previous limited petition than in continuation 
of it. * Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from 
' the tempter,' is not a very natural or emphatic speech. 
' Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from all 
' manner of evil,' is both natural and emphatic, the second 
part being larger than the first. 

With a view to ascertain in what sense the words were 
likely to be understood by Jews, to whom they were first 
spoken. Canon Cook remarks, without contradiction, that 
there is no evidence of such a phrase as ^ the Evil one * 
being used for Satan at all before Christ; from which he 
contends (but not without contradiction) that our Lord 
could not have meant it. The Bishop's answer is that, as 
the Septuagint was made two or three centuries B.C., it is 
no proof that other usage had not sprung up in that time ; 
and he gives the analogy that the Elizabethan use of the 
English language is no proof of what would be understood 
by a particular phrase now. Mr. Cook replies, that how- 
ever that may be about common phrases, it is not true of 
theological ones. And so, like most analogies, this proves 
nothing. The Bishop further says ' the Evil one ' was not 
used in the Septuagint because there was no occasion for 
it : Satan being only mentioned three times in the O. T., 
and then simply by his own name ; and also that our Lord 
did unquestionably call Satan ^ the Wicked one ' several 
times independently of the Lord's Prayer, and took for 
granted that it would be understood. But the Canon replies 


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* Deliver us from Evil* 69 

that Ttourjpbv is often used in the Septuagint for ' evil ' ; and 
that the later parable of the sower was the first time our 
Lord certainly used it for Satan. He certainly did not in a 
preceding verse (v. 39) of the speech which first gave the 
Lord's Prayer. No one can prove that he did in v. 37, 
The fair summary seems to be, that the devil is certainly 
meant in four places (not reckoning mere repetitions in the 
same speech), Mat. xiii. 19, 38 ; Eph. vi. 16 ; I John v. 18, 
and ii. 13, 14; probably or possibly in five. Mat. v. 37; 
John xvii. 15 ; 2 Thes. iii. 3j i John iii. 12, and v. 19 ; if 
any more than these two last can be fairly called probable. 
And certainly not in three, Luke vi. 45 ; Rom. xii. 9 ; and 
Mat. V. 39. Of course the doubtful ones are of no use in 
this argument ; but Mr. Cook remarks that Chrysostom 
contradicts the Revisers as to John xvii. 15. 

The argument about the Targums comes to as little 
either way as that about the Septuagint. Canon Cook 
asserted that ' the Evil one ' was never used in the Tar- 
gums. The Bishop answered that he was furnished by 
a learned Rabbi with several instances, which he quotes, 
of ^ the Wicked one ' being used obviously for Satan. 
But Mr. Cook replied that all those instances are from 
Targums of very late date — some centuries after Christ ; 
and if so, it is manifest that they are of no value in a 
controversy as to the meaning of his words. 

And after reading all these letters several times over, the 
most favourable conclusion for the Revisers that I can come to 
(apart from the repeated injunctions to them not to alter the 
A. V. without clear necessity) is that their interpretation 
perhaps agrees with a very few more texts in the N. T. 
than it disagrees with, and that it was partially accepted 
for some centuries under the original influence of Origen. 
And then comes in another principle of interpretation, 


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70 The Controversy about 

legal if not theological, and certainly one of common 
sense: that a general phrase is not to be reduced to a 
peculiar meaning without a clear reason, and the onus 
probandi lies on him who maintains it. * Evil ' can 
include * the Evil one;* but ^ the Evil one* does not 
include all kinds of evil. The Bishop indeed says that 
TO TTovrjpbu never means ' abstract evil ;* which, he says, 
requires ^ TTovrjpia and is always so expressed in the 
Septuagint, though to iroirqpov is frequent there for concrete 
evil. That is a very fine distinction to maintain, and 
Canon Cook as positively denies it, and says also that the 
Hebrew which to irovrjpbv represents is invariably rendered 
' evil * in the A. V. Most certainly ri irovqphv means 
abstract evil in Rom. xii. 9, * abhor that which is evil ; 
* cleave to that which is good :' and that, as he says, com- 
pletely disposes of this objection of the Bishop's. It is 
quite enough for the A. V. defenders to say that they only 
want Tov irovrjpov in the Lord's Prayer to mean what t6 iiov-qpov 
does in Rom. xii. 9. And on the principle I am now 
stating, the Revisers have to make out a positive and clear 
case, and not merely a conjectural one, for either limiting 
or altering the general phrase. I have no hesitation in 
giving a verdict upon these arguments that they have 
not done so. That is a question of reasoning, of which 
learned men have no monopoly. The finding of the best 
arguments on each side is a question of learning, on which 
such disputants as these have, if not a monopoly, yet an ' 
advantage over common men, which I am as far as possible 
from questioning ; but the jury have to give the verdict after 
hearing them : which jury we are. 

Moreover, no translators are required, nor have any 
right, where it is not necessary, to make an interpretation 
of any ambiguous or general words, for which an equally 


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^Deliver us from Evil! 71 

general translation can be given. For all practical purposes we 
must treat the tov irovripod as original, whether the Bishop's 
suggestion that the Prayer may have been originally spoken 
in Greek to the multitude is accepted or not. But it is not 
impossible that our Lord may have repeated it in Greek 
more privately ; and it is not only possible but certain that 
the ambiguity or generality of Trovrjpov was as well known 
to the Holy Ghost and the Evangelists as it is to us ; and yet 
there it is. If we were intended to pray for deliverance 
only from the Evil one, and not from all evil, every day, 
I do not see how it is possible to doubt that we should have 
been plainly told so. Nothing could have been simpler 
than to say hiafioKov instead of Tiovripov. It is no answer 
that TTovrjpov is used in other places where it is either equally 
doubtful or certainly means bia^okos. For where it is cer- 
tain it takes care of itself ; and in not one. of the doubtful 
texts does it practically signify which it means. Here it 
plainly does signify. If ' evil ' excluded ' the evil one,' the 
Revisers might say that translation interprets it as much as 
theirs : but it docs not. Everybody remains at liberty to 
interpret it for himself, or to think of the devil as being 
included in all evil — personal, concrete, abstract, physical, 
spiritual : for rod ttovqpov and 'evil ' are wide enough to include 
them all. As the Bishop himself says, the tempter is 
brought to our thoughts just before by 'temptation.^ On 
the other hand, the argument that the devil is the author 
or cause of all evil asserts much more than we know ; and 
it is quite out of the question to expect it to be tacitly 
received. To insert him there leaves the Prayer without 
any general petition against evil, though it begins with 
asking for all manner of good. 

If arguments of that kind are thought worth little cither 
way, there remains the great unquestionable fact, that 


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72 ^Deliver us from Evil.* Mat. vi. 19. 

the original word, or what we must accept as such, was the 
open one, iiovrjpov^ capable of either the masculine or neuter, 
either the general or special meaning, and that no other 
Greek word has ever been used there : nor any Latin one 
but mahj which is just as open and has never been replaced 
by maligno. Fathers and bishops and anybody else may 
have interpreted and may understand them both as they 
please. Whatever Origen and Chrysostom and Tertullian 
wrote, every man said the Lord's Prayer in whichever sense 
he pleased, and does so still. Therefore, whichever side 
may be thought by anybody to have the best of the argu- 
ment as a matter of interpretation, that is not translation, 
and we have a right to refuse, and ought to refuse, to 
be ordered for the first time since the Lord's Prayer was 
first spoken to say it in a new way, and have that open 
question closed, in a direction never before accepted, or 
attempted, at the dictation of an unknown majority of four 
and twenty scholars nineteen centuries after date. 

vi. 19, ^ Where moth and rust doth corrupt^* is changed 
into * consume.* Yet the Revisers had learnt unmistakeably, 
only three verses above, what St. Matthew meant by the 
same word d<^az;tCft, viz., 'disfigure.* Their passion for 
uniformity, or etymology, or whatever it is, did not induce 
them to say that * the hypocrites consume their face that they 
^ may appear unto men to fast.' So with this key to the 
real meaning put into their hands they forthwith turn it the 
wrong way for some whim of their own, breaking their own 
rule too, and all to spoil the sense rather than improve it. 
For rust does not ' consume ' iron, but adds oxygen to it 
and so makes it heavier; and moth-eating, being only 
superficial, is never called ' consuming ' cloth by anybody 


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Matthew vi. 26, 27. 73 

but the Revisers. Moth and rust do * corrupt^ or spoil or 
disfigure things; and a moth * fretteth a garment* and 

* consumes its beauty/ as in the Prayer-book version of the 
39th Psalm. If you want to see the word well illus- 
trated, the Revisers d<^artCov(rt the infinitely better work of 
the Translators, ^ disfiguring ' it and ' making its beauty to 

* consume away ; * and (according to the ^ Quarterly Review ' 
and Dr. Malan) a<i>aviCovT€s the Greek text also, in the sense 
of ' corrupting ' it more than it has ever been before : not 
that I profess to give any opinion upon that. 

vi. 26 & xiii. 32. That rule of theirs for always calling 
the physical heaven * the heaven,' has driven them into the 
further absurdity of altering * the birds of heaven,' and ' the 
fowls of the air,' tol Treretm tov ovpavov in both cases, into 

* the birds of the heaven,' a phrase which nobody else ever 
used or will use ; and wrong besides, if they want to be so 
very exact : for ircreivh is really ' flying things,' and includes 
bats and flies as well as birds. After this I shall not notice 
the multitude of other places where they have similarly 
spoilt the old Translation for this unfounded and unau- 
thorised rule of their own. 

vi. 26. * Are ye not much better than they ? ' is worsened 
into * Are ye not of much more value than they ? ' That is 
not even a more literal construing of dtaf^epere, which 
primarily means * differ,' and by general use 'differ for the 
better,' but has no special relation to value. Nobody is so 
stupid as to suppose that the ' better * of the A. V. here 
means better in moral qualities, or not to see that it means 
' higher in the scale of creation.' It would only be a little 
more prosaic to say that : perhaps the next Revisers will. 

vi. 27. The marginal suggestion of 'age ' as an alterna- 
tive for 'stature' in this text, 'which of you by taking 
' thought (R. V. by being anxious) can add one cubit unto 


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74 Matthew vi. 27 : yjkiKia. 

^ his stature ? ' perhaps need not be noticed except as one of a 
multitude of marginal alternatives of a similar character, prov- 
ing that some of the Revisers were even more revolutionary, 
and occasionally absurd, than the majority, though we know 
that another minority was less so. Although this particular 
suggestion of age for ffXiKla is not a new one, as I see by the 
' Speaker's Commentary ' (which does not adopt it), that 
does not make it rational. No doubt fjkLKia does mean age 
primarily, and stature as a result of age ; but I see that Plato 
used it for the stature of a pillar, which certainly did not 
grow by age. Nor even if the cubit here could be meta- 
phorically applied to time would there be much point or 
sense in warning men against taking thought or being 
anxious how to increase their age. It is only by experience 
that we know that no contrivance (yet discovered) will 
enable us to grow taller j but the idea of increasing our age 
is a self-evident absurdity ; and therefore to warn us that 
we cannot do it is self-evident nonsense and ought not to 
be suggested as an admissible translation merely because 
it is one meaning of the Greek word in other circum- 

And now for the ^ anxiety,' which most people seem to 
approve of the Revisers substituting for 'taking thought,* 
as more suitable to our present idiom at any rate. In some 
places where the verb fxe/oifxi/do) is used it may be, and is ; 
but not in all ; and I think not in this. There is no point 
in warning men that they cannot increase their height by 
being anxious about it ; for nothing of any kind can be done 
merely by being anxious, which is rather a passive state of 
mind rather than an active. It is conceivable, though con- 
trary to experience as yet, that by taking thought about 
the proper means we might make ourselves taller, as we 
sometimes can fatter or thinner. But no degree of mere 


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^Anxiety' and ^Taking thought^' Mat. vii. 6. 75 

anxiety could possibly do it. At the same time it is good 
serise and good English to say, ' be not anxious, or take not 
' too much thought, what ye shall eat or drink/ Again, it is 
flat and stupid to say, ' the morrow shall be anxious for 
' itself; ' but there is some life and imagination and point in 
saying, as the Revisers might well have done, ' Take not 
' much thought for the morrow, for the morrow shall take 
' thought for the things of itself ; ' or, if they turn out to be 
right in omitting ra before €aur^9, 'the morrow shall take 
' thought for itself,' though I see no such use of the geni- 
tive case after /btepi/uti/da) in the dictionaries. With all their 
passion for uniformity, and their repetitions of ' anxiety ' here 
until it becomes disagreeable (as the repetition of artificial 
phrases always does, though not of simple ones), they have 
given a quite different translation for a/x€pt/uii/ov9 in xxviii. 15, 
where they might reasonably have introduced a little anxiety, 
as the soldiers' lives were in danger ; but they only propose 
to ' rid them of care ' by advising them to tell an absurd and 
suicidal story, as we shall see in that place. 

vii. 6. ' Neither cast your pearls before the swine, lest 
* haply they trample them under their feet and turn and rend 
' you,' is a poor substitute for the old ' neither cast ye your 
' pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet 
' and turn again and rend you ; ' nor is there much excuse 
for it. The ' haply ' is a very unnecessary insertion, though 
no doubt it may be defended in a piece of literal construing 
o{ \i.y]T:oTf^. Nobody would say in English ' M^ swine,' in 
such a case, and therefore the Revisers ought not. * Turn 
' again,' like ' rise again,' is the proper idiomatic phrase, and 
does not at all mean ' turn or rise a second time.' ' Turn 
' again, Whittington,' is authority enough for that ; and the 
Revisers allow ' rise again ' to stand. But I see they choose 
to appropriate ' turn again * to another word, imarpixlfat 


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y6 Mat. vii. lo, 13, 17. ^The Straitened Way' 

(Luke xxii. 33), which the A. V. much more rationally 
translates, ' when thou art converted,* but the R. V., ' when 

* once (^rore) thou hast turned again : * this time they do not 
make it ' haply,' as they always do in ftijirore, as if lest ' did 
not cover a contingency as well as a certainty. 

vii. 10. Why should 'bread* be turned into a loaf? In 
some dictionaries ipTos is said to mean wheaten as distin- 
guished from barley bread, but also to mean bread generally, 
as well as a loaf of bread : in others it is construed simply 
^ pants.' But which do people really ask for in the English 
language, ' bread ' or ' a loaf? * So if the Revisers wanted 
to be precise they should have inserted * wheaten,* and if 
they wanted to be sensible they should have left ' bread * 

vii. 13. *The strait gate* is made into 'narrow;* and 
yet in the next verse we have the strange and absurd phrase 

* the straitened way ' — not ' straightened,' remember. It is 
true that TcdXififxivri means contracted or compressed ; but 
so does ' strait,' as everybody knows from ' strait-laced.* 
And what reason is that for substituting either ' strait ' or 
' straitened ' for the old and simple ' narrow,* which meant 
just what was intended here, while a ' contracted,' or ' made 

* narrow,' or ' straitened way ' has no force at all ? A gate 
may be properly called strait in that sense. 

vii. 17. ' The corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit,^ instead 
of ' a corrupt ' is another instance of their disregard of Eng- 
lish idiom, which is the proper test for introducing the 
article. No English-speaking man would say that ; and 
therefore it is a bad and wrong translation. We may almost 
say the same of ' building on the rock ' at v. 25. We talk 
of building on the sand, or on the red sand-stone, or on the 
trap rock, when we want to be precise and scientific ; but 
at all other times we should say of a man who built his 


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Matthew viii. 6, 9, 13, 22. 77 

house upon a rock, that he ^ built his house upon a rock ; ' 
and there is much more life in it than in that semi-philoso- 
phical ' the rock,' as the old Translators felt, who knew 
English and could write it. The winds too no longer ' beat 
' upon that house,' but ' smite it/ That is a brilliant speci- 
men of a * necessary change,' to remove a ' plain and clear 
' error.* 

viii. 6. ' My servant lieth in the house sick of the palsy, 
is altered from, * at home,* which is exactly what one would 
say in English, unless the Lord was then standing just out- 
side the centurion's house ; which he certainly was not, for 
the centurion had come to him somewhere else. 

viii. g. And would any man speak of ' having under my- 
' self soldiers,' instead of ' having soldiers under me ? * 
Surely a translation of a speech, above all things, into any 
language ought to be into such language as is spoken, 
and not into such as no man ever uttered or will utter in 
the circumstances. 

viii. 13. This same story has to suffer more yet, in 
having its conclusion changed from ' the servant was healed 
* in the self-same hour,* into ' that hour.* As they mean 
exactly the same, why are we to be compelled to listen to 
this new and bald and harsh version, instead of the far more 
harmonious and emphatic old one ? Can anybody pretend to 
believe that the Revisers were intended by their appointors 
or the nation to disturb the A. V. for such alterations as 
these ? 

viii. 22. ' Leave the dead to bury their own dead.* How 
is this any better than ' let the dead bury their dead ? ' It is, 
as usual, weaker, less like what any one would say in 
English, and very inferior in rhythm, and a quite unneces- 
sary change for any real object, though 'leave* is rather 
more literal than ' let.* 


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78 Matthew ix. 9, 16. ^^iripkqiia^ a patch, 

ix. g. They make ' Matthew sitting at the place of toll/ 
instead of the old ' receipt of custom.' Do they mean that 
T^Xdviov is not a * custom * in the sense of a tax or ' duty,' as 
it has always hitherto been understood ? And if so what 
was the toll for ? Perhaps they do not know, as any lawyer 
could have told them, that a toll is the opposite of a tax or 
custom, being a payment for transit or carriage, i»e, for 
service rendered by the receivers. ' Sitting at the place 
*of tolP inevitably suggests a seat by a turnpike gate. I 
am glad to see the Bishop of Lincoln has said almost the 
same of it, since this was written, in criticising a vast 
number of specimens of their bad translation. As it happens, 
most of his are in other books than the three which I 
have taken in hand and which are evidently not the worst 
specimens of the work. 

ix. 16. Suppose we came in any common book on such 
a sentence as this : ' No man putteth a piece of undressed 
' cloth upon an old garment ; for that which should fill it 

* up taketh from the garment, and a worse rent is made \ ' 
we should say, ' What in the world does this man mean ? 

* What is to fill up what ? and why should anybody put a 
^ piece of cloth, dressed or undressed, upon an old garment ? * 
Even the A. V* is not very clear if grammatically examined, 
but its meaning is visible at a glance ; ' No man putteth a 
' piece of new cloth unto an old garment, for that which is 
' put in to fill it up taketh from the garment, and the rent 
' is made worse.* Neither of them hits the important word 
of the original, impXrjfxa^ ' a patch,' but the R. V. is much 
the worsts for its words mean nothing, though the end 
enables us to guess at the meaning. I do not see why 
^ patch' should not be put for 'piece,' and then everybody 
would see at* once* what is coming. Nor do I see how the 
Revisers manage to expand TrKrjpoDiia into ' that which should 


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Matthew \\. 17, 24. ^Flute-players' 79 

* fill it up,' even if the sense required it: but it does not; 
for the patch does fill it up, though it should not, because 
it only does harm. They seem to have some sartorial 
theory of the patching of old garments, which had better be 
' resarta ' before we establish it for them by Act of Parlia- 
ment. Their correction of ' bottles ' into ' wine-skins ' at 
verse 17 is more justifiable now that leather bottles are only 
objects of antiquarian curiosity. But ' wine-skins* is an ugly 
word, and itself almost as unintelligible to common persons 
as bottles. 'Leather bottles' would have been better in 
both ways. 

ix. 24. Was it necessary or in any way worth while to 
change the old word 'minstrels,' which means religious 
musicians (witness ' the Minstrel's gallery ' in Exeter cathe- 
dral, and Johnson's dictionary), into the prosaic and profes- 
sional ' flute-players ' because they are called avk-qral ? 
Minstrels certainly were avkqTaiy whatever else they were. 
And if the Revisers will be so precise, why do they confine 
the avkr]Tai to the flute ; or do they know that the thing we 
call the flute existed at all ? avkrjTaC means ' pipers' on what- 
ever kind of pipe it might be ? They do not themselves 
translate rjv krja-ajicv ' we played the flute to you,' at xi. 17, 
instead of ' we have piped,' on which I have another remark 
to make presently. Do they really suppose that Convocation 
or anybody else wanted the A. V. altering to specify the 
flute-players at a funeral instead of musicians in general or 
minstrels ; or such little boys' construing as, ' the fame 
' hereof went forth ' (verse 26), instead of ' went abroad,' a 
much grander phrase of exactly the same meaning; or 
'country' turning into 'land ' at verse 31 ; or 'he casteth 
'out devils through the prince of devils,' transposing 
into, ' by the prince of the devils he casteth out devils ' 
(verse 34), for no reason at all except that it happens to be 


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8o Matthew x. 5, 8. 

the order of the words in Greek, which is constantly diffe- 
rent from what is naturally used in English, as the Latin 
order is still more ? The Revisers themselves sometimes 
transpose out of the Greek order where the A. V. does 

X. 5. The alteration of * Go not into the way of the 
Gentiles ' into ' [any] way * of the Gentiles is amusing, since 

* any ' is no more in the Greek than ' the/ It seems anything 
may be interpolated except the article. However, I suppose 
they mean ' any way ' as a substitute for ' a way ' or ' road,* 
as it is 65oy, and ' any city (woAiv only) of the Samaritans ' 
comes next. If they do they had better have put ' any 

* road * at once, for * go not into any way ' implies nothing 
intelligible. But after all, the substantial meaning was 
exactly what is expressed by the A. V. *go not into the 
' way of— or into intercourse with — the Gentiles,' with no par- 
ticular idea of roads, which could practically mean nothing, 
except as taking them mto contact with the Gentiles, as 
with the Samaritans. But unmistakable idiom has no 
chance with the Revisers against literalism, even though it 
may be obscure or unmeaning. They have not even that 
excuse for transposing ' into any city of the Samaritans enter 
' ye not,' into ' enter ye not into any city of the Samaritans.' 
Is this ' postponing euphony to truth ' ? 

X. 8. No theories about aorists and perfect tenses can 
justify changing ' freely ye have received, freely give,' into 
' freely ye received, freely give ; ' as if it were a sum of 
money that they had received some time ago, and were now 
to spend, instead of a spiritual gift which they were receiving 
continually, and were to impart as freely as they received it. 
People who invent universal rules forget that the moment 
they produce bad or wrong results they are ipso facto con- 
victed of not being universal. The induction which pro- 


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Matthew X. 9, 19, 21. 81 

fessed to establish them has failed. This is constantly hap- 
pening in science, and the failure is at once recognised as 
fatal. It is equally true in other things, though not so 
readily recognised. The Revisers' results have proved the 
non-universality of their rules ten times more than any argu- 
ments could have done. 

X. 9. In like manner the old ' Provide no gold nor silver' 
&c., is manifestly better than *- get you no gold nor silver in 
your purses .... neither two coats,* &c. Nobody would 
say that in English, though ' get * is a more literal construing 
of KT-qarqcrO^ as a bare word than ' provide,' and in many cases 
is the best word. In this case the getting was with a view 
to providing for use. 

X. 19. Here again we have ' take no thought * changed 
into the Revisers' favourite ' be not anxious, how or what 
ye shall speak.* Yet ' take no thought' obviously expresses 
the real meaning better, though /ui€pt/xi;r/<n/r€ may possibly be 
the best Greek translation of whatever words our Lord used 
that occurred to the evangelists. The real meaning clearly 
was, ' do not trouble yourselves to think beforehand what, 
or how, ye shall speak ; ' and that is better represented by 
' take no thought ' than ' be not anxious,' which, as I said 
before, is only passive and implies no effort of thought at all, 
and can do no good in preparing to speak. 

X. 21. 'The brother shall deliver the brother to death 
' and the fether the child, and the children shall rise up 
' against their parents,' is altered to ' Brother shall deliver up 
' brother to death, and the father his child, and children shall 
* rise up against parents.' The 'his' is not in the Greek 
any more than ' their ' before ' parents,' which the Revisers 
strike out. But either ' his * or ' the ' must be supplied, and 
in the eyes of the Revisers an article is a far more sacred 
thing than a pronoun, or an independent word. Why should 


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82 Matthew xi. 2, 14. ^The Christ J 

a word of the A. V. have been altered here ? No Reviser 
can pretend that it does not give the full meaning as well 
as the R. v., and it is much more harmonious. 

xi. 2. ' Now when John heard in the prison the words of 
* the Christ.* The Revisers seem to have introduced ' the * 
before Christ everywhere in the Gospels when the article 
appears in the Greek, while in several places in Hebrews 
they have left the A. V, alone in that respect, rightly 
enough, though I cannot see on what principle they have 
gone ; certainly not on the only rational one for an English 
Bible, of inserting ' the ' whenever ' Christ ' is a word of 
description, as when ' John said I am not the Christ,* and 
not when it is used as a proper name. But I defy anybody 
to make out that the N. T. writers observed that rule for 
the article in Greek. And again I say that the Greek use 
of their article has evidently no necessary relation to ours for 
English purposes. Not only does this case of xptoris prove 
it, but we invariably speak of ' the sun ; * yet rjKios is said 
by Winer to be almost as common as 6 17A10S, and yfi to be 
frequently used not only for ' earth ' but ' the earth.* He 
gives up in despair the attempt to make out any rule as to 
the use of the article with xpiirrbs. Yet the Revisers have 
continually introduced it against the A. V. in a manner quite 
unnatural and offensive, considering that Christ has for 
nearly nineteen centuries now been a proper name as much 
as Jesus, except in a few cases such as I have alluded to. 

xi. 14. ' This is Elijah which is to come,* ftcXAoDi; 
€p)(€(r6ai. Why, even grammatically, ' is to come,* rather than 
the old was ? <ra>Cofi€vovs in Acts ii. 47, is sensibly enough 
translated ' those that were being saved,* though that is as 
much a present participle as fiiWcav ; and see remarks on 
Rev. xxi. 8. And what is of more consequence than any 
grammatical theories, how can a man be here who is to 


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Matthew XI. 14, 16, 23, 83 

come, or be to come if he is here ? It was worse than need- 
less too to change the old phrase 'which v/zsfor to come.' 
Though it may be almost obsolete in common use it could 
lead to no mistake, and here it is emphatic. Some of us 
can remember the greatest tutor of the greatest college in 
the world, afterwards a distinguished Dean and Prolocutor, 
who constantly used that phrase, which he had brought 
from the leonum nutrix of the north in his youth ; where one 
sometimes hears it still, and where I remember old Mr, 
Faber ' the prophet,* as he was called (not his nephew the 
poet), saying that the language of the Bible was the lan- 
guage of the people. In some places the Revisers have 
left ' for to,' and they had much better have left it here. 
xi. 16. The R. V. says — ' like children . • . which call 

* unto their fellows. We piped unto you and ye did not 

* dance ; we wailed and ye did not mourn.' That means 
' we piped and wailed at some former time, and then ye did 

* not dance or mourn.' Do the Revisers seriously imagine 
that the original meant that, any more than fjKvpda-aT^ at 
XV. 6 means ' ye did make void,' which they do not venture 
to translate so, and a multitude of other aorists which they 
have to make perfect ? Except that ' wailed * may be a 
more exact translation of idprjinja-afjifv than ' mourned,' the 
R. V. is very inferior both in sense and sound to the A. V, 

* we have mourned and ye have not lamented.' They 

omit the A. V. 'to you' in the Greek, rightly or wrongly 
for what I know, 

xi. 23. By virtue of two of their astonishing emenda- 
tions of the text, and if the ^arterly Review is right, by 
an astonishing blunder therein, they transform the grand 
saying 'and thou, Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, 
' shalt be brought down to hell,' into this flat nonsense, ' and 
f thou, Capernaum, shalt thou be exalted to heaven ? ' (as 

Q 2 


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84 Matthew xi. i^i *6 • x^^- 40- 

if somebody had said it was going to be) : ' thou shalt go 
*down to Hades.' They cannot see the difference— or 
think it goes for nothing in estimating the probabilities of 
emendation, between charging Capernaum with the pride 
of thinking itself exalted to heaven, and their stupid interro- 
gatory. Surely ' hell * might have been left here as a con- 
trast to the metaphorical * heaven/ without wounding any- 
body's susceptibilities. And why is ' but,* into which the 
A. V. naturally translates wAtJz;, to be always turned in 
R. V. into ' howbeit ? * If that is one of the modern scho- 
lastic discoveries, perhaps some revisionist will be kind 
enough to explain the difference. 

xi. 26. 'For so it seemed good in thy sight' (A. V.), is 
both better English and sense than ^ so it was well- 
' pleasing in thy sight.* ' That which is well-pleasing in 
' his sight ' is rightly enough used in both versions in Heb. 
xiii. 21 for quite different Greek; and that is English. 
The Revisers therefore here also violate their own rules of 
translation merely to spoil the A. V. 

xii. 40. They have evidently some un&thomed theory 
of English grammar, when we find them taking the 
trouble to turn ' the whale's belly * into the ' belly of the 

* whale,* and their numerous ' ono * into ' upon,* and ' buts * 
into ' howbeit,* and ' doth betray' into ' betrayeth,' and their 
crowd of ' evens,* and a multitude of similar grammatical 
exploits : besides their more complicated and clumsy phrases, 
such as 'a meddler with other men's matters* for 'a busy- 
body,* though it is only one word in Greek ; and making 
people ' holden with ' instead of ' lying sick of— a fever ; ' 
and * prevailing to escape ; ' and telling us that the disciples 

* took their food with gladness : ' which must have come from 
their medical assessor, or their nurse, like J several other of 
their phrases. ' Doctrine ' is a tolerably common and well 


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Matthew xii. 43 : xui. 2. * Beach! 85 

understood word, for which they have a special animosity ; 
but I might go on for pages with such specimens of their 

xii. 43. ' Walketh through dry places, seeking rest, and 
' findeth none,* is treated as a * plain and clear error,* which 
for the sake of ' fidelity * it is necessary to correct into 

* passeth through waterless places seeking rest, and findeth 

* it not.' And which do they think sounds driest after all ? 

xiii. 2. The Edinburgh Revie%v noticed the singular 
infelicity of making the ' shores ' of the sea of Galilee or 
Lake of Tiberias into a * beach,* both here and in John 
xxi. 4. That is a question of English and not of Greek. 
For whatever the Revisers may say that afyioXo? means when 
we do not otherwise know, or where it clearly does mean 

* beach,' as in Iliad ii. 210, here we do know that it does 
not ; for the shores of the Lake of Tiberias are what they 
are, whether alyidkh^ was the best word to use for them in 
Greek or not. So far as there is any difference between 
^ shore ' and ^ beach ' in English, it is that a beach is a sea- 
shore which is bared by the tide and beaten on by the waves 
so as to make that kind of gravel which is commonly called 
beach as distinguished from sand. Not only was it entirely 
unnecessary to alter the shore of a lake into a beach, shore 
being the more general word of the two, but it is absolutely 
wrong here, and the Revisers have introduced a plain and 
clear error instead of removing one* I doubt also very 
much if fishermen or anybody else would talk of ' drawing 

* their net up on the beach,^ instead of 'drawing it to shore,* 
in xiii. 47 ; or whether (subject to the possible correction of 
the 'naval assessors*) either sailors or landsmen would say 
they ' made for the beach,* and not for the shore, in Acts 
xxvii. 40, though it was a real sea there. Moreover, the 
gecond of the rules laid down for the Revisers by the Con- 


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86 Matthew xiii. 3. * The Sower* 

vocation which appointed them was ' to limit the expression 
' of such alterations (which the first rule said were to be as 

* few as possible consistently with faithfulness, and only to 

* correct plain and clear errors) to the language of the 
' authorised and earlier versions.' Neither * beach * nor 

* waterless' appears in any of them, in these places at any rate. 
Whether it does in any other I cannot say without more 
trouble than it is worth to convict the Revisers of disregard- 
ing a minor rule like this, when they have treated much more 
fundamental ones with contempt throughout. 

xiii. 3, 7. ' The sower went forth to sow.* What sower? 
It is no answer that St. Matthew used the article. I see 
the Bishop of Lincoln condemns this translation on the 
same ground, that no English speaker would in that case 
use the article, the idioms being different. Dr. Malan also, 
on Luke xi. 21, together with this passage, says truly that we 
use the indefinite article for the generic sense, while the Greek 
idiom used the definite one — having no indefinite article. And 
quite as little should we say ' other seeds fell upon the thorns, 
^ and the thorns grew up and choked them ; * for that is 
simply nonsense, as well as a wrong use of the article again \ 
whereas the A. V. is sense, and just what a man would say: 
' some fell among thorns,* i.^., fell on the earth among the 
thorns ; and then the thorns would grow up and choke it ; or, 
as St. Luke (viii. 7) says more naturally, ' grew up with it and 
^ choked it.' Still less would any one say in English, ' be that 

* was sown among thorns is he,* &c., but ' Z^/?/ which was 
' sown is he,* although in Greek idiom the 'he* is thrown 
back in the way the Revisers have construed it literally — and 
absurdly ; for we have no such idiom. This again agrees 
exactly with St. Luke's using 6 airopos (viii. 11) instead of 
the 6 crirapcLS of Mat. xiii. 22. The A. V. ' he that received 
seed * can hardly be defended as the proper mode of getting 


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Matthew xm. Parable of the Sower. 87 


over the difficulty of the Greek idiom, in this text, among 
the many others in the Greek Testament. 

xiii. 18. 'Hear then ye the parable ofthe sower,* is another 
Wretched transposition, from ' Hear ye therefore the parable 

* of the sower ' — not even to follow the order of the original. 
And surely ovv has as good a right to be construed * there- 
' fore ' as ' then : ' at least it used to be when I was young ; 
but perhaps we have learned better now, and this may be, 
as with TrXrjvj one of the necessary changes which were to be 
as few as possible consistently with faithfulness* 

xiii. 24, 33. They alter ' another parable put he forth 

* unto them,' into ' set he before them.* They mean ex- 
actly the same thing here, though if it were a dinner instead 
of a parable the R. V. would be the more appropriate trans- 
lation of Trapi0r}K€Vj and in that case we may be sure the old 
Translators would have used it ; but for a parable they had 
the nicer taste than their Revisers to see that * put forth ' 
is the better translation. 

xiii. 36. Then they alter * sent the multitude away,* into 

* left the multitudes ; * which not only seems a very flat and 
needless change, but an absolutely wrong one for a<f)€ls^ un- 
less all the lexicons I have at hand are wrong. I do not 
myself dispute with the Revisers on questions of mere 
scholarship, but I do not see why we are to take their opinion 
against the lexicographers'. And we can certainly judge for 
ourselves that ' sent the multitude away ' is more natural 

xiii. 38. The A. V. allows our Lord to give this grand 
and rapid summary of the preceding parable of the 
sower: — 'He that soweth the good seed is the Son of 
' man : the field is the world : the good seed are the chil- 

* dren of the kingdom, but the tares are the children of the 
^ wicked one ; the enemy that sowed them is the devil : the 


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88 T!he F arable of the Sower. {Luke ii. 43.) 

' harvest is the end of the world ; and the reapers are the 
' angels:' just the right number of conjunctions and of stops 
to make it all as emphatic and as full of life as possible. 
The Revisers think it necessary to spoil it thus : ' he that 
' soweth the good seed is the Son of Man ; and the field is 
' the world ; and the good seed, these are the sons of the 
' kingdom ; and the tares are the sons^ of the evil one ; and 
' the enemy that sowed them is the devil ; and the harvest 
' is the end of the world ; and the reapers are — angels/ 
Here there is no question of meaning to dispute about. The 
only question is which expresses it the best. The R. V. is 
' faithful ' to every 5c (not koL) which according to Greek 
usage connects the members of the sentence, but not ac- 
cording to the best English in such a case. It ' faithfully * 
translates viol ' sons,' though of course it means daughters 
also here, and therefore the A. V. 'children' is much better, 
besides being more natural to say. This stupid alteration 
they make constantly ; and in Luke ii. 43, they cannot leave 
' the child Jesus * for ^ats, but must turn it into ' boy,* which 
naturally seems to have offended everybody. So I suppose, 
if vxoi had been TratScs here, which it might easily have been, 
we should have had the ' devil*s boys.* They seem to abhor 
' children,* as neither Trat^ej nor viol are allowed to repre- 
sent them : maihiov they do allow to be a child, which 
is properly a little child or little boy (Luke ii. 40). It is true 
too that the ' angels * are unarticled in the Greek, but in our 
idiom we should certainly say ' the angels * in such a case, 
not meaning some promiscuous angels, but the angels as a 
class. Therefore this sentence also is made in every respect 
worse by the Revisers. 

xiii. 55. ' His brethren, James and Joseph and Simon and 
' Judas,' instead of Joses (A. V.). The ' Speaker's Com- 
' mentary' says, 'Joseph seems to have .some preponderance 


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Matthew xiii, 55, 57 : xiv. 2* 89 

' of MS authority in its favour 5 but on the other hand, in 

* the parallel passage of Mark vi. 3, the whole weight of 

* MS authority is in favour of Joses ; ' and these very Re- 
visers leave it there. Which then is the more rational, to 
follow ' some preponderance of MSS ' and introduce such a 
confusion of names, of which one must be wrong, or to 
follow the fewer MSS and avoid confusion by letting things 
alone ? Such specimens as these weaken one's faith in 
their judgment about original versions as well as about 
modern English. 

xiii. 57. Notwithstanding their love of stumbling blocks * 
wherever they find <rK(li;5a\oV, or its verb, the stumbling 
block here is kept outside in the margin, which suggests 
that ' they were caused to stumble ' at ' the wisdom and the 
' mighty works ' of Jesus, instead of being only ' offended,' 
which the R. V. kindly leaves in the A. V. text here, 
though they alter it in sundry other places, with as little 
reason as the marginists do here. 

xiv. 2. Here we have an entirely new version, ' There- 

* fore do these powers work in him,' instead of ' therefore 
' mighty works do show forth themselves in him.' Cer- 
tainly iv€pyov(n^ if the context allowed it, does suit powers 
better than works. But they could not possibly change 
'works' into 'powers' for the same word hwayi^is im- 
mediately above, though the marginist minority do not stick 
even at that, and actually want us to read ' he did not 
' many powers,^ It seems rather a strong violation of 
their own rule of uniformity to translate the same word 

* works ' and ' powers ' in the space of two verses. More- 
over at dvrifieij surely means ' the hwiix^is or works * 
just before mentioned. The Revisers being obliged to 
change it into ^ these powers' to make sense is rather 
against them. They translate dvz/d/meis ' miracles ' again in 


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90 Matthew xiv. 7, 8, 15. {fames V. 16.) 

Gal. iii. 5. On the balance of the account, the superior 
accuracy of the R. V. seems by no means certain enough to 
justify this change from the A. V*, which unquestionably 
expresses the substantial meaning of the sentence perfectly, 
I observe another curious dealing with the same verb, in 
James v. 16, where they turn 'the effectual fervent prayer 
' of a righteous man availeth much ' into ' the supplication of 
' a righteous man availeth much in its working/ iv€pyoviiivr} ♦ 
a truly energetic dictum. 

xiv. 7, ' When Herod's birthday was come the daughter 
' of Herodias danced before them ' is changed into ' when 
' Herod's birthday camf the daughter of Herodias danced in 
' the mUst^' h r^ fi^trcp. Would any human being say that 
in English, except a small boy in a school-room ? That 
Greek phrase is given even in dictionaries as meaning ' in 

* public' Perhaps the A. V* might as well have said 
' before them all; ' but that is no excuse for substituting 
such a piece of bald and ugly literalism as ' dancing in the 

* midst '—not even ' of them,' which would have been 
rather more tolerable. ' Came ' is evidently not so good as 

* was come,' according to English usage. 

xiv. 8. Then, ' she being instructed by her mother,* &c., 
is altered into being ' put forward : ' which would be a 
proper enough translation of irpopLJSacrOeiara in some cases, 
as for instance if it had come before her dancing instead of 
after being asked what she would have. But here it is 
absolute nonsense : a person answering a question put to 
her alone cannot be ' put forward * to answer it. She may 
be 'instructed,' as in the A. V., or as the 'Speaker's 
Commentary ' says, ' instigated, which Grimm's dictionary 
'gives as a translation of the word,' and which has the 
slight advantage of making sense instead of nonsense. 

xiv. 15. They think it necessary to change 'this Is a 


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Matthe^v XIV. 124, 20, and xv. 38. 91 

' c'esert place/ which is exactly what one would say in 
English, into ' the place is desert,* which nobody would 
say. And if they must needs alter ' the time is now past * 
into 'is already past,' which is plainly unnecessary^ 
could they not perceive that 'the time is past already^ is 
more natural and more striking ? ' Moreover they have left 
' now ' in the second miracle of loaves and fishes (xv. 32) 
for the very same Greek f}hr]. 

xiv. 24. It seems odd to talk of a boat being * distressed 
*by the waves,' and much more unnatural than the A. V. 

* tossed,* which is a very fair translation of fiacTaviCofievov^ 
which properly means ' tortured.' That was rather too 
literal even for the Revisers ; and so they first turn it into a 
word of double meaning, physical and mental, for a tortured 
person is of course distressed, and then they apply it meta- 
phorically to the boat. One has heard of a ship being in 
distress ; but that means a great deal more than being tossed 
by waves, and it really applies to the sailors. All that the 
waves could do was to toss the boat, especially on a lake ; 
and therefore the A. V. is the correct translation, and the 

* plain and clear error ' is with the Revisers. 

xiv. 20 and xv. 38. For some mysterious reason they 
prefer ' broken pieces ' to ' fragments that remained 
over' of the two sets of leaves and fishes. We have all 
heard of ' broken victuals ; ' but the victuals were once 
whole and had been broken. Each piece of bread or fish is 
a piece, and not broken, though broken off, if they will be 
so precise. But a fragment is a piece broken oflF. So here 
is another miserable bit of pedantry of some kind, and for 
some unknown reason, which only turns right into wrong 
for nothing ; for the A. V. is certainly quite as accurate a 
translation : indeed the Durham Greek professor said, more 
so. Besides that, they turn the whole sentence into their 


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92 Matthew xiv. 26, 30. 

usual good English, ^they took up that which remained 
' over of the broken pieces twelve (and seven) baskets full/ 
* Twelve baskets full of the fragments ' is English : theirs 
is not ; and Greek idiom is no excuse for that. 

xiv. 26. ^ It is an apparition.' ^ivrafryLa of course is an 
apparition, and the Revisers will say that in a similar passage 
of Luke, xxiv. 37, the word is irrev/ma, * a spirit/ and that 
they felt bound to translate them differently. But why need 
they translate them differently,' and so make an apparent 
inconsistency for nothing, if 'spirit^ is a well understood 
word with the same meaning? No Reviser can explain 
the difference } between an apparition or ghost, and a spirit 
in this sense, in which both Locke and Bacon used it — and 
indeed the Revisers themselves in that same passage of 
Luke J for although the Greek word there is different, and 
oftener used for spirit in another sense, or several other senses, 
it plainly m6ans a ghost, as 'apparition' does here. There- 
fore this alteration also was unnecessary. 

xiv. 30. ' But when he (Peter) saw the wind he was 
' afraid.^ That is, they strike out laxvpov ' strong,' or 
'boisterous' (A. V.), a capital word; and yet their own 
margin tells us that ' many ancient authorities add strong: ' 
that is, many ancient authorities and common sense are to 
be overridden by few authorities and nonsense. And now 
the ^arterly Review enables me to add that the few are 
actually two, and no more, which have the good fortune to 
be peculiar favourites with the two Revisers on whom this 
most essential part of the business ' was by tacit consent de- 
volved,' as one of the Revisers said ; and those two MSS 
appear also to be rather distinguished for blunders than for 
excellence, if the reviewer's account of them is right. At 
any rate they are two contra mundum and common sense, and 
the same two which make an eclipse of the Sun at full moon. 


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Matthew xv. 4, 9. (Mark xv. 39.) 93 

And only three such MSS induced them to strike out a far 
more important word than that Icryypov^ viz., that Jesus 
' cried out ' before giving up the ghost, in Mark xv. 39, 
Such is modern revision by a committee with a heap of rules 
and principles. 

. XV. 4. * Whoso curseth father or mother' in the A. V., 
is probably too strong for KaKokoy&v ; but ' whoso speaketh 
' evil of them in R. V. is too weak, and is a much less 
natural translation than another which is given in dic- 
tionaries, * revileth ; ' especially as all the context is of 
things spoken to and not of them. And what is the use of 
changing ' ye have made the word of God of none effect 
'by your tradition' (verse 7) into 'ye have made void 
' {7]Kvp^(TaT€) the word of God because of your tradition ' — 
except indeed to prove once more the fallacy of their own 
rule that aorists should never be translated like perfect 
tenses ? r)Kvp<d(raT€ should by that rule have been, ' ye 
made void,^ which is absurd, and therefore their rule is no 
rule, as we see once more. It is apparently another of their 
decrees that 8ta shall never be translated ' by.' For even in 
Mark xiv. 21 they alter, ' woe unto that man by whom the 
' Son of Man is betrayed,' into ' through whom,' though 
nothing could be more directly done by anybody than that. 
Therefore that rule also is wrong ; and their ' because of 
here is both unnecessary and absurd. An old law is not 
repealed or made void because of a new one, but by it. 

XV. 9. They change the old, well-known and well-sound- 
ing quotation, ' teaching for doctrines the commandments of 
' men,' into ' teaching [as their] doctrines the precepts of 
men.' That is one of the innumerable multitude of altera- 
tions which convict themselves of being unnecessary, and 
therefore illegitimate under their commission, and only 
differing from the A. V. in being rather inferior in sound and 


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94 Matthew xv. 14: xvi. a, 3. 

style. It will be observed that ' [as their] ' does not even 
profess to be in the original, of which * teaching for (or as) 

* doctrines ' is a literal translation. Their only reason for 
changing ' commandments * into ' precepts ' must be that they 
have thought fit to appropriate some other word to com- 
mandments, and then comes in their foolish rule of uniformity. 
ivToXyiara is translated ^commands ' in dictionaries as well as 
in A. V. 

XV, 14. It may seem almost as trifling to criticise as to 
make such paltry changes, with the usual result of sounding 
worse, as ' the blind guide the blind ' instead of ' lead,* and 
making them ^ both fell into a pit* instead of ' into the ditch,' 
which are both given in dictionaries as equal translations for 
the Greek poOvvos ; and ditches by the road side are more 
likely for blind men to fall into than pits. But the Revisers 
and their advocates are estopped from replying to objections 
to such changes, that they are trifling ; for if so, they had 
no business to make them. The onus probandi — error em et 
necessitatem — lies on them. It is not our business to show 
that the A. V. is right, but theirs to show that it is so wrong 
as to justify their altering it, especially as they hardly ever 
manage to do so without spoiling the language in one or 
more of those qualities for which they commend it so much 
in their Preface. 

xvi. 2, 3. Here we have * the heaven' substituted for 

* the sky,* as it was before for * the air ; ' and we are told 
for the first time in our lives that ' the heaven is red,^ not the 
sky, or even ' the heavens.' Yet in the verse before these 
the Revisers have properly allowed 'the heaven' of Greek 
to remain ' heaven,' as in the A. V. ' show us a sign from 
' heaven,* though that must have meant the physical and not 
the spiritual heaven ; for which the Revisers appear generally 
to have invented the entirely new rule that one is to be 


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Matthew XVI. 5, 7, 95 

articled in English and the other not, without the least regard 
to the article in Greek; which Winer has to confess is 
reducible to no rule. 

xvi. 5. ' When his disciples were come to the other side 
'they had forgotten to take bread,' is mysteriously transformed 
into ' the disciples came to the other side and forgot to take 

* bread : ' which means in plain English that they forgot to 
take bread after they got to the other side ; and that is 
nonsense, or at any rate not the sense of the original, which 
is evidently that of the A. V. 'Forgot' is no doubt the 
literal construing of kit^XaOovro ; but if that makes nonsense 
with their translation of ikSom^s^ or that of the A. V, 
either, some violence must be done to make sense. The 
A, V. does it in one way. Another would be, ' when they 

* went to the other side they forgot to take bread ; ' which is 
literal enough, and sense besides ; but still the A. V. ex- 
presses the substantial meaning better ; which is that when 
they came to the other side they remembered^ or found, they 
had forgotten to take any bread. 

xvi. 7. The R. V, makes an equally lame story of the 7th 
verse, ' they reasoned among themselves saying. We took 

* no bread,' dropping all translation of on ; which certainly 
may mean ' that^^ but is much more sensibly rendered by the 
A. V. ' [it is] because we have taken no bread.^ What point 
is there in saying that after ' reasoning among themselves * 
they came to the conclusion which they knew by that time 
too well without any reasoning, that they had forgotten the 
bread ? The Revisers do give the A. V. as a possible 
translation in the margin, but prefer their own, which I 
should think few other people will. And immediately after- 
wards they are obliged to translate on ^because ye have 
' taken no bread,' which still more convicts them of being 
wrong before. 


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^6 Matthew xvi. 23, 25 : xvii. 15. 

xvi, 23. Though it is quite' right to translate <rK6.vhaX6p 
into ^ stumbling block * instead of ^ offence ' in some cases, 
it is difficult to accept this as one of them. How could 
Peter be a stumbling block to our Lord ? He could easily 
be an offence, or offend him, by what he said. 

xvi. 25-27. It is difficult to believe that yjfvxfi ought to be 
translated either ' life ' uniformly or ' soul ' uniformly 
throughout these verses. The R. V. gives the option only 
to the extent of putting * life ' in the text throughout and 
^ soul ' in the margin, but clearly means one of them to be 
used throughout, ^'vx^ may of course mean either, and 
the context should determine which. The sense is mani- 
festly ' life ' throughout the 26th verse, as both R. V. and 
A. V. have it. But there is not much point or sense in 
saying, ' what shall a man give in exchange for his life? 
' For the Son of Man shall come .... and render to every man 

* according to his works j * but a great deal of sense if we 
put ' soul ' as the A. V. does ; for the latter words involve 
the existence of a soul, or what is practically the same thing, 
a future life with personal identity, at any rate. And they 
have decided the case against themselves twice over> for 
they cannot help translating yjnjxfi ' soul ' in x. 28, ' be not 

* afraid of them that are able to kill the body but are not able 

* to kill the soul ; ' and in Luke xii. 19, ' I will say unto 
' my soul. Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many 

* years .... But God said unto him. Thou foolish one * (it 
is worth quoting for this piece of revision folly too) ' this 
' night is thy soul required of thee.' If ' life * will not do 
for y\n))(j\ there, why is it to be forced upon us to maloe 
nearly equal nonsense here ? 

xvii. 15. Perhaps the Revisers consulted some medical 
assessors before they resolved to substitute ' epileptic ' for the 
word which in the A. V. is always ' lunatic,' and literally so 


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Matthew xvii. 27 : xviii. 6. 97 

from the Greek o-cXryrtcifcrai. I never heard that epilepsy 
had any relation to the moon. Even if it had, I presume to 
doubt the wisdom of introducing a professional word of that 
kind into common talk without clear necessity. Here too, 
it is particularly awkward and puzzling, if not wrong, be- 
cause the ' epileptic ' boy is presently cured by * the devil 
' going out of him,* or, as the Revisers choose to alter it, 
* out from him.* * Lunatic * is a general word which any 
ordinary man would use of his son in any state of insanity. 
No translator can possibly be sure, and can hardly think, that 
such a man would say ^ epileptic,' and it is still more odd to 
put it into his mouth when the boy really had a devil. Are 
common readers and hearers of the Bible henceforth to under- 
stand, as they would if this R. V. became general, that all 
epileptic people are possessed with devils ? That is settling 
the question of demoniacal possession with a vengeance, and 
of epilepsy too. See also Mark ix. 17. 

xvii. 27. Here again, ' cause them to stumble,' is very 
much worse than the old 'offend them,' for a different 
reason from that in xvi. 23. Causing tax-gatherers to 
stumble by not paying your taxes will be a truly new idea, 
and not an unpleasing one everywhere in the English-speak- 
ing world. Altering ' tribute ' into ' the half-shekel ' at verse 
24, is doubtless right, but it seems a pity that they did not 
keep up some indication that it was a tribute or tax. Such 
masters of English and Greek could surely have found 
an appropriate phrase to do it. If they had only put ' col- 
lected ' instead of the more passive word ' received,' it would 
have given the idea of a tax at once, and have been quite as 
accurate a translation o( Xaixpivovrts here : indeed I venture 
to say, more accurate. 

xviii. 6. * Whoso shall cause one of these little ones 
* which believe on me to stumble, it is profitable for him 



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98 Matthew xviii. 6 : xix. 5, 11, 17. 

^ that a great mill-stone should be hanged about his neck, 
^ and that he should be sunk in the depth of the sea/ Is it 
indeed ? One can understand the A. V., ' it were better for 
^ him/ i./., better than that he should do this ; but the 
R. V, does not say or mean that. And it is manifestly not 
true ; for it means that the sooner a man who commits a sin 
is drowned or killed, the better for him : which is an odd 
kind of theology for a committee of ^ bishops and clergy and 
^ministers of the gospel' (as they say at public dinners) 
to proclaim. If they answer that avfMl>ip€i is the present 
tense, indicative mood, and that there is the same change of 
mood and tense in the two previous verses, I reply that if a 
schoolboy gave that excuse for translating a hard sentence of 
Thucydides into nonsense, any man of common sense who 
heard him, without even knowing any Greek, would 'be 
justified in telling him that that is certainly wrong, whatever 
else may be rights which it is his business to find out. 
This sentence is an anacoluthon, or there is a break in the 
grammar, and some violence must be done to make it 
English and sense anyhow : probably none could be better 
than the A, V. — or worse than the R. V. It means in our 
idiom ' he had better be drowned * than do that. 

xix. 5. What a perfectly unnecessary and perverse Bat- 
tening of an emphatic phrase by a single letter it is to alter 
' they twain shall be one Hesh * into ' the twain shall be one 
' flesh/ I wonder they did not say ' the two.' 

xix. II. Why should 'if so it is not good to marry,* be 
changed into ' it is not expedient ? ' The Greek is again 
(Tv/ii^epet, which the Revisers made *it is profitable' just 
now, thus violating one of their own rules : not that it is 
any worse for that. *Good' is quite as good as 'ex- 
' pedient,* and * better * was much better than ' profitable * 
in xviii. 6. At any rate there was not the smallest neces- 


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Matthew xix. 17, 20. 99 

sity to alter it here, and a real necessity for leaving it alone 

xix. 17. Here, but not in the corresponding passages, 
Mark x. 17, and Luke xviii. 19, they alter the text, in ac- 
cordance with some MSS (as the margin informs us), 
with the very odd result, ' Why askest thou me concerning 

* that which is good ? One there is who is good ; ' the A. V 
being, as everybody knows, ' why callest thou me good ? 
' there is none good but one, [that is] God 5 ^ which last 
three words they omit. Besides the intrinsic improba- 
bility of such a pointless and stupid sentence as this of 
the R. v., the unquestioned evidence of the other two 
evangelists proves that the Revisers want us^ to believe 
that Matthew wrote a report of a speech of our Lord 
which they thus admit to be false^ for only one report of 
a speech can be true if they differ materially ; and all 
because a few favourite MSS say so while many others 
say the contrary. This is their idea of ' the preponderance 
' of evidence.' Such exploits create a preponderance of pro- 
bability against their judgment in. every doubtful case, and 
are decisive against their canons of textual criticism which 
produce such results. 

xix. 20. They think it necessary to change * All these 

* things have I kept ' into ' all these things have I observed : ' 
hardly, I suppose, because the A. V. has 'observed* in 
the parallel text of Mark x. 20 ; for they would not have 
scrupled to alter that too if they wished. It is absurd to 
contend that the words do not mean exactly the same in this 
context, and so the Translators were quite right to use them 
both. But the reason of the Revisers plainly was a different 
one. In verse 17 they left ^keep the commandments' where 
the Greek is Trjpr}(roVj while in verse 20 it is i(livXn(ifxr)v, But, 
if it is worth talking about, rr\pi(Ay according to the dictionaries 

H 2 


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^m d 'yK> \ -^ : ^ .^ .^ r. 

lOO Matthew xix. ao, 22, 23. {i John v. 16.) 

(which I always quote rather than my own recollections), 
primarily means 'observe* or 'watch/ while i^vXiuraw 
means ' keep/ So as far as that goes, they have changed 
the wrong word if they would change either. But then 
they will say i(t>v\a$ifxrjv is the middle voice and rriprjaop 
active. Very good; but then I ask respectfully, is the 
active ' I observed these things * the proper construing of 
that ? Is it not rather, 'as to all these things I have been on 
' my guard ? ' I am far from suggesting such an alteration, 
because none at all was necessary to convey the real 
meaning. But if they say that ' observe * indirectly means 
' be on your guard,' I reply that ' I have kept all these 
' things,' viz., the ' commandments,' means it just as much; 
so that neither in one view nor the other was there any excuse 
for this amendment. And there is as little for spoiling the 
simple and emphatic ' for he had great possessions,' in v. 22, 
by expanding it into ' he was one that had great possessions,' 
all because it is fjv Ix'^^ *"^ ^^^ ^X^? ^s if anybody cares for 
that. At the end of the first epistle of John I observe 
another strange perversion of English for <^i;X<ifarc, in alter- 
ing ' keep yourselves from idols,' into ' guard yourselves ; ' 
as if idols came to attack us instead of our going after 

xix. 23. I am glad to observe here an alteration which is 
a real improvement, necessary to correct a plainly erroneous 
effect of the A. V. according to our present idiom. Though 
hvarKoXoas is construed ' hardly, or with difficulty,' in diction- 
aries, yet ' hardly,' in our common talk means ' scarcely, if 
at all '; and so makes the A. V. appear to say that a rich 
man can scarcely enter the kingdom of heaven. The R. V. 
' it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven,* 
gives the true meaning much better, though it is a less literal 
translation. It is a pity that most of their alterations are in 


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Matthew xx. 14, 22. ©eXo). loi 

the opposite direction, of literalism against sense. Of course 
I do not mean that there are no other improvements ; but, 
as I said in the first chapter, this is not a general review of 
the book, but an argument against its public use. 

XX. 14. Here is one equally bad : ' take up that which is 

* thine and go thy way : it is my will to give unto this last 

* even as unto thee.^ Who wanted the N. T. revising to 
produce such a sentence as that, instead of the old 'take 
' that thine is and go thy way : I will give unto this last 

* even as unto thee ' ? Even if there had been four or five 
Greek words requiring ' it is my will to give,' instead of 4 will 

* give,' the alteration would have been unnecessary ; but 
there is nothing of the kind. 0^Xa) hovvai is simply ' I will 
' to give,' which is the origin and primary meaning of ' I will 

* give,' though we have gradually given a wider meaning to 
' will,' and mixed it with ' shall.' If the Revisers were so 
anxious to exhibit that insignificant distinction, they had 
better have written ' I am willing to give,' instead of that in- 
tolerable phrase of theirs, which is neither literal nor idio- 
matic, but simply clumsy and absurd. In xxi. 29 they do 
translate ov BiK<a 'I will not,' leaving the A. V. alone: so 
why could they not here ? But again, in xxvi. 15 they 
make Judas ask the chief priests, ' what are ye willing to 

* give me ? ' instead of the simple, ' what will ye give me ?* 
6ik€T€ was the proper way of saying that in Greek, as ' will 

* ye ' is in English. In James ii. 20 also they translate 
dik€i^ yvfAvai rationally, * wilt thou know ? ' So this is 
a merely arbitrary spoiling of good English, breaking their 
own rule of uniformity besides. 

XX. 22. Here is another of the same kind, both in 
grammar and rhythm ; and so far as there is any differ- 
ence in meaning between ' are ye able to drink of the cup 
' that I shall drink off and 'are ye able to drink the 


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I02 Matthew xx. 22, 24, 

^ cup that I am about to drink ? ' it is for the worse in 
the R. V* If there is no difference they had no busi- 
ness to make the alteration, according to the rules pre- 
scribed to them, only to alter whenever the true meaning is 
not ' fairly expressed ' by the A. V., or to remove ' plain 
' and clear errors.* Here the verb translated in the A# V. 
^ I shall/ and in the R. V. ^ I am about to,' is fi^\Xa> ; and 
I ask, as in xi. 14, why, if they were determined to alter it, 
they could not simply say, ' which lam to drink : ' not that 
there was the least need to alter it from ' I shall drink of,* 
though there are cases where even the Translators have 
not been able to avoid that awkward phrase ^ I am about to.' 
In the corresponding place in Mark x» 39, the verb is simply 

* I drink : * the present and future tenses are often inter- 
changed, the present being used to express certainty of the 
future. There is another variation between the R. V. and 
A. V. of this sentence, which may be contrasted with xxvi. 42, 
where the Greek is the same. The A. V. is ' Are ye able to 
^ drink of the cup that I shall drink of ? ' and ^ ye shall 

* indeed drink of my cup:' the R. V. omits ^of* But in 
xxvi. 42 (with an exception not material to this) both are, 
^ If this cup may not pass from me except I drink it.* They 
were certainly not to drink the whole cup that Jesus drank, 
bat they were to drink ^it* The Greek is wide enough to 
cover both, especially as no one really drinks a cup, butwhat 
is in it. The Translators express this nice distinction in the 
place where it is important. The Revisers ignore it alto- 
gether. Which understood their business best ? 

XX. 24. Here they give us, ' the ten are (not were) moved 
with indignation* (not 'against,' as in A. V., but) ' concern- 
' ing the two brethren.' Of course the Translators knew as 
well as the Revisers that Trcpl means ' concerning ' or ' about ; ' 
but they equally knew that here it practically meant 'against,* 


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{Luke XX. 37.) Matthew xxi. 4. 103 

and that ' against ' was much more expressive ; and they 
knew better than to use such a word as 'concerning' here, 
though they do in some other places where it sounds appro- 
priate. The Revisers arc very fond of it 5 andinLuke xx. 37, 
they have foisted in a still more wonderful 'concerning/ 
and something more. Moses no longer ' shows at {iiii)^ the 
' bush, that the dead are raised/ &c., but ' in [the place 
' concerning] the Bush ; ' and all for no visible reason what- 
ever, except that they have come to the conclusion that ^irov 
ought to have a large B instead of j3# For M certainly 
means at rather than in. But one can hardly imagine four 
and twenty scholars (or the majority of the day) introducing 
such stuff as that because somebody chose to begin a word 
with a large letter instead of a small one. If there was any 
better reason for that most perverse looking alteration they 
had better let us have it* 

xxi. 4. They alter, ' all this was done that it might be 
' fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet,* into, ' this is 
' come to pass that it might be fulfilled which was spoken.' 
The omission of ' all ' depends on MSS, of which I say 
nothing* But under the R. V., who is supposed to be 
speaking, Christ or the Evangelist ? If our Lord, then what 
is come to pass ? According to the narrative, nothing. For 
he had only told the disciples to go and find the ass, and 
could not say that anything was come to pass yet to fulfil the 
words of the prophet quoted in verse 19. Therefore in that 
view the new translation would be nonsense. If these are 
supposed to be the words of Matthew, how could he, writing 
thirty years or more after all this had happened, say, ' it is 
' crnie to pass, that it might be fiilfilled,* &c. ? That is not 
English at any rate. This comes, as usual, from their per- 
sisting in following their own rules about the Greek tenses, 
whether they make sense or not. They say in effect that if 


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I04 Matthew xxi. 27, 30, 3 a. 

St. Matthew did not choose or know how to use his perfects 
and aorists according to rule, he must take the consequence 
and be translated into nonsense, and they will not be respon- 
sible for it. That is certainly a new theory of translation, 
but it is the one they have acted on not here only but con- 

xxi. 27. They seem not to be aware that ^ we cannot tell' 
is an idiomatic form of ^ we know not,' and infinitely com- 
moner; and therefore a perfectly right and much better 
translation of ovifi olbajiev. It is hardly conceivable that if 
they were aware of it they would have done such a stupid 
thing here as to put ^ we know not' (which nobody ever says) 
for ^ we cannot tell; and Jesus said unto them. Neither tell I 

* you by what authority I do these things : ' completely de- 
stroying the emphasis so happily given to the Lord's answer by 
the Translators' antithesis ; who with their usual tact took 
advantage of that idiomatic version of ovk otZc^ktv to make 
the English better than the Greek. ^Better than the 

* Greek ! ' I dare say some small critics will exclaim : ^ how 
^ can that be possible when it is to be only a translation of the 

* Greek ? ' Yes, better than the Greek it may be, in the 
hands of great translators, when the English language happily 
admits </ the same meaning being expressed with more em- 
phasis or good effect than the Greek, as it often does. There 
is no magic in the words of the Evangelists to enable them 
to run without recasting into the mould of another language. 
Their story is a translation of the original speeches, and 
so is ours ; and it may well happen that ours is sometimes 
the best for expressing the unquestionable meaning of the first 
original, whether that was Greek or Aramaic. 

xxi. 30 and 32^ The Revisers have chosen to decree that 
repenting is not enough, but that it is necessary to 'repent 

* yourself whenever the Evangelists have used the middle 


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Matthew xxli. 31 : xxiii. 37: xxiv. 8. 105 

voice instead of the active, though they did not in i(f>v^aK6,fir]v. 
I wonder what is the difference between those two kinds of 
repentance. I know that it is sometimes used already in the 
A. V. But that is one of its varieties, and no reason why it 
should be monotonously thrust in everywhere. 

xxii. 31. ' But are as angels in heaven/ omitting ' the*' of 
the A. v., gives a diff^erent turn to the meaning, although 
it is quite clear from the parallel passage in Luke (xx. 26) 

* are equal to the angels,* that the meaning of the A. V. is 
the true one : that in the resurrection we become equal to, or 
as the angels in this respect. * As angels' idiomatically means 
' as if they were angels,' which is not the same thing. And 
again I say that as two different versions of the same speech 
cannot be exact, the Revisers ought to have left the A. V. 
translation of Matthew's agreeing with that of Luke, which 
they cannot alter, instead of introducing an unnecessary 
alteration to make them disagree. That is a reason of far 
more weight than any grammatical theories about the article, 
which we have seen already has no certain relation to the 
meaning, and therefore to the proper English version. 

xxiii. 37. I have already remarked, at p. 27, on *0 

* Jerusalem, which killeth the prophets and ston^M them that 

* are sent unto her / How often would I have gathered thy 

* children.* So I only refer to it here as its proper place. 

xxiv. 8. One of the most absurd of their alterations is 
changing 'all these things are the beginning of sorrows' into 

* the beginning of travailj merely because ibCvcav primarily 
meant travail or labour in child-bearing. But it means 
seccmdarily any other sorrows, as you may see in any 
lexicon. And if it were really to be understood as travail 
in the proper sense here it would be outrageous nonsense. 
Then, if ' travail ' here must be understood, not as travail, but 
as ' sorrows,' why upon earth should not ' sorrows' have been 


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io6 Matthew xxiv, 32. * The Fig-tree's Parable.^ 

left, which is also a finer and more English and scriptural 
word for the purpose ? For in the A* V. at any rate the 
noun * travail* is never used alone for sorrow in general. 
' The travail of his soul ' is not using it alone ; nor ' labour 

* and travail,' in 2 Thess. iii. 8. Nor is * the whole crea- 

* tion travaileth in pain' (Rom. viii. 22) any precedent j for 
that explains itself as metaphorical. 

xxiv. 32. * Now from the fig tree learn hei* parable,^ is 
simply not English. ' The parable of the fig tree,' * of the 

* sower/ ' of the tares,' are English j but the fig tree's parable, 
the sower's parable, the tares' or the wheat's parable, are 
not : that is to say, it is contrary to the English idiom to use 
the apostrophised genitive or possessive pronoun with such a 
word as ^ parable.' ^ Balaam took up his parable and said;' 
but the parable was not about himself, but ^ his ' because he 
said it. That is not English which is never used in English. 
The Revisers were no doubt in a dilemma, and had to choose 
between violating either their own rules or the English idiom ; 
and we know by experience which it would be. But as other 
people may think English of more consequence than the 
Revisers' rules, it is necessary to say a little more about this 
text. All except the word ' her * is literal construing, and 
it is the Greek article, which they have translated ' her,' that 
makes the difficulty, or the excuse for their translation. 
There is no doubt that the article so used may mean the 
possessive pronoun when that is proper English in other re- 
spects \ but only in a secondary way. Suppose it had been 
ra <l>vk\a instead of rriv irapafioXrivj with some suitable verb 
relating to leaves— say ' take : ' it would have been quite right 
to translate it, ' take from the fig tree her leaves.' But the 
article really means the leaves or the parable belonging or 
appropriate to or arising from the fig tree. What were the 
Revisers to do then ? The A. V. ' now learn a parable 0/ 


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Matthew xxv. 14: (i Pet. \\. 16). 107 

* the fig tree/ clearly mtznsfrom the fig tree, as the Greek is 
Atto. But though A. V. says * a parable of,' and not ' the 
^ parable from,' it expresses all that the R. V. does, and much 
better. The parable to be learnt can be no other than the 
parable of the fig tree, and it was also to be learnt from 
the fig tree. The Translators' cleverness managed to ex- 
press both at once in unquestionable English, which the 
Revisers were quite incompetent to do : indeed they intimate 
that they dislike such duplicity. Therefore they had better 
have done nothing, here as in innumerable other places, 
where they hav€ only been able to spoil the A. V. 

xxv. 14. Here, as before at xx. 27, and wherever else 
hovko^ occurs, they leave ' servant ' in the text, but tell us 
with sickening iteration in the margin that it is ^ bond-ser- 
vant ^ ' and probably it means that a minority of them wanted 
to translate it so. First of all, what does that signify ? Then, 
if they are certain that it does, they ought to have trans- 
lated it so^-or rather by the more natural word, ' slave.' 
'Bond-servant' is only used once in the A. V., in Lev. 
xxv. 39, and is too artificial for general use, and means no 
more or less than a slave. If they are not certain, the in- 
formation is only fitted for a commentary and not for a 
translation. In these very two places see how absurd the 
word ' slave ' would look : here, ' a man going into a far 
' country called his slaves^ and he delivered unto them his 
' goods ; ' and in the other, * whosoever will be chief among 
' you, let him be your slave* If they are right too, they 
ought to have done the same with oiJvSovXoy, and yet they 
never do, but leave that ' fellow-servant.' I suppose ' fellow- 

* bond-servant ' was too much even for the marginist, who 
does not stick at trifles in the way of new phrases, as we 
have seen. I observe that he has got his ' bond-servants ' into 
the text in I Pet. ii. 16, and I see why j viz., that ' ser- 


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io8 Matthew X3cv. 35, 40. 

* vants,' not doCXot but olK^at, come immediately after. 
But those oj/cerai were unquestionably slaves, and yet are 
made by the Revisers to appear the contrary, in order that 
the 'servants of God' may be made into 'slaves,' /.^., 

* bcMid-servants.' That is ' felicity of diction ' with a ven- 
geance. The marginal ' house-servants ' makes them look 
still less like slaves, by contrast. 

XXV. 35. 'I was hungry and ye gave me meat ' is allowed 
to stand, though 'meat' has been changed into 'food' in iii. 4, 
and sundry other places. I looked to the Greek, expecting 
to find some indication of flesh, as that seemed before to be 
the Revisers' only idea of ' meat ' ; but no, the words are 
quite general, and are literally ' ye gave me to eat.' The 
reforming majority must have been asleep when they let this 
pass ; for they could have indulged both reform and literal- 
ism by using that very phrase, and without any breach of 
uniformity either. As it is, they have managed to sacrifice 
them alL But far be it from me to complain of their 
leaving well alone occasionally, at whatever sacrifice of their 
own principles. 

XXV. 40. Can anything be more clumsy as well as need- 
less than altering the fine-sounding and perspicuous sentence, 
' inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these 

* my brethren ye have done it unto me,' into such unpro- 
nounceable and obscure stuff as this, ' inasmuch as ye did it 
' unto one of these my brethren, [even] these least, yc did 
' it unto me.' This again is one of the many passages where 
the Greek idiom will not run into the English mould with- 
out a little forcing. The Revisers force it in one way, and 
then have to resort to their fevourite stop-gap ' even,* to 
make it read at all (on which see note on Rev. xiii. 13). 
The Translators did it the other way, and made both good 
sense and good English, such as one would speak in those 


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Matthew xxvi. i. 109 

circumstances. Who would ever repeat in English ' these ' 
as the Revisers do ? It is not even repeated in the Greek, 
though the article may mean it, if it means anything that can 
be properly represented in English and is not merely idioma- 
tic. Giving the completely past sense of the aorist, ' did ' 
instead of * have done,' is right enough here, because it was 
long ago, and makes no such confusion as in some other 
places where they have so altered it and ought to have left 
the perfect tense. 

xxvi. !• ' After two days the passover cometh,' is another 
of the hundreds of alterations from well-established and well- 
sounding phrases into others which nobody uses, not expres- 
sing the meaning of the original abit better, and always worse 
in efFect. Nobody would say, ' after two days Easter Sun- 
day comes \ * and therefore the Translators were quite right 
in saying ' after two days is [the feast of] the Passover,* 
putting the inserted words in italics as usual, to indicate that 
they are not in the original. But I suppose some Reviser, 
saturated with Greek and despising English idiom, said some- 
thing of this kind : ' Well, but yCverai does not exactly 
' mean " is " in the common sense, but something that is 
* generated or comes into existence or begins just then ; and 
' so we must express that meaning by putting " cometh" for 
' is.' It was inconsistent with revision principles to answer 
that in this case Ms' is exactly so used, and is notimderstoodor 
imagined by anybody to mean that Easter Sunday has begun 
already and is going to be continued two or three days 
longer. And so ' the ayes had it ' for amending ' is ' into 
^cometh^* and putting it in the worst place for the rhythm, and 
striking out ' the feast of as only put in for efFect. Probably 
that imaginary scene represents in substance many another 
of the same kind, of which we see the result in the multitude 
of alterations from lively and good English, and such as is 


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1 10 Matthew xxvi. 7, 11. 

spoken of men, into sentences as dull and flat and harsh as a 
law report or a newspaper paragraph, and often into a strange 
language used by nobody except these Revisers. 

xxvi, 7. They cannot be content with ' very precious 

* ointment/ but must have it ' exceeding precious.' How 
do they make out that fiapwCixov means ' exceeding ' any 
more than * very precious ? ' Is ' very ' too simple a word 
for such fine writers ? Or is there some latent ' convergence 
' of reasons * for exceeding it, which will ' satisfy the 

* intelligent reader * whenever they come to be revealed ? If 
so, it is a pity to keep back the revelation of this and many 
other such secrets j for readers of only moderate intelligence 
will certainly never divine them, or give credit for them in 
the dark. The Revisers can explain at the same time why 
they alter * poured it^« his head' into ' poured it upon his 
'head* — a fevourite change of theirs. To be sure, it has 
the charm of sounding worse, which often seems to have 
been enough. The ' cruse ' of alabaster is just as much an 
invention as the ' box ' of the A. V., for the Greek is only 
&\dpa(TTpov. The 'Speaker's Commentary ' describes those 
boxes as known vessels containing very nearly a pound. 
However, if the ointment was fluid, something of the nature 
of a cruse, or a jar with a heck, would be more convenient 
than a box, and it seems that such alabaster jars have been 
found. Here too ' meat * is allowed to stand, without being 
changed into ' food ' as in the early chapters. ' Sitting at 
' food ' was rather too much even for the Revisers' Act of 
uniformity : which proves that they had better have left 
' meat ' where they found it in the other places. 

xxvi. 12. 'He did it for my burial' is not considered a 
'fair' enough translation of irpbs rb ^i^ro^iaa-at fie, though 
the primary meaning of that word obviously is ' to put into 
' the tomb,' even if it does secondarily include sometimes all 


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Matthew xxvi. 13, 25. in 

the operations of the undertaker, fora^iaaTTJs. So they alter 
it into ^ she did it to prepare me for burial,' which just suits 
the Revisers' ear for rhythm and has a charming under- 
taker's twang about it, pleasing also to their taste for a little 
professional phraseology, which is so notoriously conducive 
to ' dignity of language.* 

xxvi. 13. It is still more amazing that a grand jury of 
learned men, who avow in their Preface the importance of 
' obviating infelicity of sound ' and * preserving familiar 
' rhythm,' should be either unconscious or indifferent that 
they have completely ruined that grand and famous and con- 
tinually fulfilled prophetic sentence, ' Wheresoever this 
' gospel shall be preached in the whole world, [there] shall 
^ also this that this woman hath done be told for a memorial 
' of her;' by turning the latter half of it into, 'that also which 
' this woman hath done shall be spoken of for a memorial of 
' her.' And even that is not enough for the marginistic 
minority or expositors, whichever it may be ; for they sug- 
gest ' these good tidings * as a substitute for * this gospel.' 
What good tidings in particular ? The only ones just then 
were ' ye have the poor always with you, but me ye have 
' not always.' And the Greek is nothing but evayyikiov 
TovTo. This, and a great deal more of the Revisers' work, 
is like pulling down a cathedral to build a square conventicle 
with the stones, and calling it ' restoration.' 

xxvi. 25. The entirely gratuitous transposition of ' Lord, 
' is it I ? * into ' Is it I, Lord ? ' as if for the very purpose of 
destroying both the rhythm and the proper emphasis, has 
been noticed in every review, we may say, almost as ' a 
* blunder and a crime.' But I do not remember that any of 
them have noticed the still greater and worse change of 
Judas's question, 'Master, is it I ? ' into ' Is it I, Rabbi ? ' And 
the same at the betra/al. It is true that ' Rabbi * is in the 


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112 Matthew xxvi. 43, 46, 49. 

Greek, and that it is left so in the A. V. in some other places ; 
but in none of them is there the same contrast as here 
between ' Lord ' and ' Master ' (which all authorities, and 
John i. 38, agree is the English of Rabbi), the other apostles 
saying ' Lord ' while Judas calls him only ' Master.' In 
John xiii. 13 ' Lord and Master' are cumulative, not con- 
trasted, and the Greek there is 5t6a<ricoXoy. There is some 
awkwardness too in using the Hebrew word Rabbi to contrast 
it with the English * Lord/ 

xxvi. 43. Here they make Jesus say, ' if this cannot 
pass away except I drink it, thy will be done,' leaving out 
' cup,' and ' from me,' both in Greek and English. I can 
say nothing on the extrinsic evidence of MSS respecting 
it. But the intrinsic evidence is clearly in favour of retain- 
ing TO TTOTTipLov as nccessary to the sense and being manifestly 
'the cup that I shall drink of* referred to in xx. 22 — except 
of course on the theory of the probability of the improbable 
in MSS. At any rate they might have left in 'cup' with 
italics to indicate their opinion that it was not in the Greek, 
or they might have said so in the margin. 

xxvi. 46. Nowhere have I been more puzzled than to 
guess what moved them to make the little change of ' doth 
' betray me ' into ' betrayeth me.' The only difference that 
I can see is that the latter sounds much worse. But the 
Revisers evidently have an ear for rhythm of their own. 

xxvi. 49. What could be more flat, harsh, and unprofit- 
able, than the substitution of 'that is he, taie him^* for 
' whomsoever I ^hall kiss, that same is he : hold him fast'? 
Even if they are right in holding that it required Kpar^lr^ 
instead of the aorist KparriaaTe to mean ' hold him fast,' as a 
continued action, in the purest Greek, it is clear that the 
N. T. writers did not always attend to such niceties. But 
the Translators' infinitely superior sense of the niceties of 


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Matthew XXVI. 50: xxvii. 14. 113 

English is well exhibited by the way they dealt with that 
verb in the three places where it is used here. In the next 
verse they simply translate iKpdTrj<rav 'they took him/ as 
the fact was. In verse 56 they translate ^Kpar^o-are ' ye laid 
^ no hold on me,' which is exactly what would be said in 
English in the circumstances, as the point was that they did 
not meddle with him at all. Here, ' hold him fast,' is ex- 
actly what Judas would be likely to say 5 because he could 
not but know that Jesus possessed some supernatural power, 
though he might doubt how much, and would fear that he 
might again ' go through the midst of them * and escape if 
he was not held fast. All this discretion of the Translators 
seems to me very superior to the Revisers' indiscreet rule of 
a dead and dull uniformity wherever it is possible. 

xxvi. 50. * [Do] that for which thou art come * is cer- 
tainly a bold enough insertion of a strong word not at all in 
the original in order to alter the sense altogether. Winer 
says of it, ' The relative pronoun appears to stand for the 
'interrogative .... that is, €<^' 6 for iirl rt;' and Dean 
Mansel said that, even if not taken as a direct interrogation, 
we may supply some such word as ' declare,^ [or say] 
' what thou art come for,^ which introduces no new sense 
beyond the words of the Greek. ' Do what thou art come 
* for,' obviously does. So here . these literalists take more 
liberty with the sense than either the Translators or Com- 
mentators, and alter the A. V. for it on very doubtful 
grounds, and with their usual success in the matter of 
rhythm, compared with the much easier phrase, ' say what 
' thou art come for,' which I wrote without even thinking of 
the sound. But the A. V. 'wherefore art thou come?' 
is better still and means the same. 

xxvii. 14. Except for the pleasure of turning a bit of 
lively idiomatic English into the revision. style, what reason 



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114 Matthew xxviu 14-9 3^' ^Thieves.* 

is there for altering, * he answered him to never a word,' into 
^ he gave him no answer, not even to a word ? ' If a mere 
English reader imagines that there are probably some words 
in the Greek requiring to be construed on literal principles, 
' gave no answer,' rather than 'answered,* I beg to tell him 
that there are not. The really literal translation is, 'he 
' answered him not, not even to one word,' and I do not 
know that even that is more awkward than the Revisers.' 
But with all their anxiety to force in their double negative, 
which does not suit the English idiom as it does the Greek, 
the Translators beat them by that neat idiomatic touch of 
* never a word,^ which is much more forcible. 

xxvii. 38. Nearly every review that I have seen has 
noticed the change of the crucified ' thieves' into ' robbers.* 
If this were a first translation of the Bible, and not merely a 
professed correction of mistakes in the old one, ' robbers ' 
would certainly be more right than 'thieves,' according 
to dictionaries, Greek and English and legal. For the 
original word Xj/ora^ means pirates or highway robbers or 
robbers with violence, as we say. There is a well-known 
story of Caesar crucifying some pirates as he promised he 
would when he paid them a ransom. But considering how 
universally the ' thieves ' have been accepted, not only in 
this text but in speaking of the penitent and the impenitent 
thief; and that the same word is used at xxi. 13, where 
' ye have made it a den of thieves,' cannot mean highway 
robbers or anything of that kind, though the Revisers make 
it so ; and that the word ' robbers ' is very little used alone ; 
and that introducing a new and unusual word requires much 
stronger reasons than keeping an old one ; and that the word 
' thieves ' in common use is quite enough to include robbers 
with violence, which ' robbers * alone hardly indicates now ; 
?nd that it really does not matter which they were, for there 


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Matthew xxvii. 50, 53, 115 

is no such peculiar infamy attached to highway robbers over 
all other thieves as revisionists assume \ I concur for all 
these -reasons in the general opinion that the Revisers had 
much better have left the 'thieves' alone; but they might 
have put ' robbers' in the margin, or even 'highway robbers/ 
if they liked, as such technical words may be in a margin for 
explanation, though not fit for the text. 

xxvii. 50. They alter 'yielded up the ghost' (A. V.) to 
' yielded up his spirit/ to TTvevixa. The words mean abso- 
lutely the same (in this sense), but one is good old idiomatic 
English still in use; the other a thing never said by any 
human being. 

xxvii. 53. How much grander is the A, V. ' And many 
' bodies of the saints which slept, arose, and came out of 
' the graves, after his resurrection, and went into the holy 
' city and appeared unto many,' than this new broken- 
backed edition of it, 'and many bodies of the saints that 
' had fallen asleep were raised ; and coming forth out of the 
' tombs after his resurrection they entered into the holy city 
' and appeared unto many.' The Revisers are particularly 
fond of tombs, and have been sadly 'embarrassed ' by theTrans- 
lators varying them occasionally with graves and sepulchres. 
Apart from that, will anybody maintain that there is the 
smallest difference in real meaning here to justify such de- 
structive rebuilding as this ? It is true that ' arose ' does not 
always mean ' were raised ;' but it is evident that the writers 
of the N. T. paid no attention to that distinction, but left 
it always to speak for itself; for in verse 63 of this very 
chapter, and in many others (though not in all), they use 
the same verb cyct/io/xai for Christ, who rose by his own 
power, and for the rest of mankind, who have to be raised. 
But the Revisers themselves feel obliged to translate it 'rise' 
in that same verse 63, and several other places, though they 

I 2 


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11 6 Matthew xxvii. 53, 66. 

monotonize the Translators' much better variations all 
through I Cor. xv. And on the other hand the Greek 
word used for ' thy brother shall rise again,' in John xi. 24, 
by Jesus himself, is di;aoT7/<r€rat, which means ' shall rise of 
' himself,' and is so used in the best Greek, though he was 
going to be raised immediately. So in both ways the evange- 
lists repudiate the Revisers' rule. And in i. 24 and ii. 14 they 
repudiate it themselves, by translating ^ycpdris ' arose,' actually 
altering it from the A. V. ' being raised — from sleep.* Then 
again, how does ^ that had &llen asleep ' indicate that they were 
dead any better than ' which slept,' or mean anything in the 
smallest degree different ? The people of England did not 
want their Bible spoiling for such whims as these, for which 
no rational excuse can be given. 

xxvii. 66. There is a remarkable alteration at the end of 
this verse which at first sight seems right, but nevertheless 
is questionable. Instead of ^sealing the stone and —setting 
'a watch,' the R. V. says — 'the guard being with them.' 
The Greek KOva-raiUa is only the Latin ' custodia,' a tech- 
nical military word, turned into Greek, and the ' previous 
words are given in the margin and by some other commen- 
tators as *take a guard,' or a company of soldiers: which 
was natural enough for Pilate to say. But ' sealing the 
' stone, the guard being with them,' is as bad in sense as it 
is in sound ; for it implies that the guard just looked on 
and then went away with the priests : which we )cnow very 
well from the next chapter that they did not, but staid there 
on purpose to watch the sepulchre, while the priests went 
about their business. Therefore, on the whole, though the 
A. V. 'setting a watch' is not a literal translation, it really 
indicates what was done a great deal better than the still not 
quite literal construing of the Revisers. ' Sealing the stone and 
' leaving the watch,' or ' guard,' would be nearer the Greek and 


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MaUhew xxvin. 14. 117 

the fact, though that also is not a literal rendering of jutera ttjs 
KovoTcuStas, and no literal one will do. 

xxviii. 14. Fancy saying to a set of soldiers, ' we will 
' persuade him and rid you of care ' ! This is the Revisers' 
way of ' assimilating their new work to the old.' Is this 
language meant for colloquial, or learned, or perspicuous, or 
solemn, or such as any Englishman would use for any 
purpose whatever ? As the Greek involves jutept/xi/a, of which 
we had so much at the end of chapter vi., I wonder they did 
not give us some more ' anxiety j ' which indeed would have 
made better sense than * care ' here. The * secure you ' of 
the A. V. is doubtless capable of two senses, though it 
obviously means 'make you secure,' which is literally 
' without care,' djutept/xrot. If the Revisers thought it likely 
to be misunderstood there would have been no great harm 
in altering it to ' malqe you secure,' instead of the absurd 
and unnatural and unmeaning phrase they have introduced ; 
for, whatever the priests might say, they certainly could not 
* rid the soldiers of care,' by advising them to tell such a 
foolish and suicidal story as that they had slept on their 
watch (a capital offence), and knew or supposed that the 
body had been stolen by the disciples. 

These are all the alterations in this gospel which, seem 
important enough to notice specially, though there are innu- 
merable others equally unnecessary; but there is nothing 
more than that to say of them, except the general remarks 
which I have made so often and every one can make for 
himself. And therefore I pass on to one of the Epistles for 
a specimen of them all, and I take the last of the fourteen 
which yet stand attributed to St. Paul. 


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The Epistle to the Hebrews, 
Faith without Works, James II. 

If the Revisers after consideration still attribute this 
epistle to St. Paul, of course they were right to leave the 
heading as it stands in the A. V. If they adopt the more 
general conclusion that it was not his, whether ApoUos's 
or Barnabas's, according to different theories, it seems a 
pity that they did not make the title anonymous, with any 
explanation they might like to give in a note. They say 
in the Preface, that investigation of the authorship of the 
books was not within the scope of their commission. But 
I think it was : the titles are part of the A. V., quite as 
much as the tail-pieces, or dates of the epistles, the mistakes 
in which furnished Paley with a good argument, and the 
Revisers have judiciously omitted them. 

That was a perfectly fair revision, as so many of them 
were wrong, and it was not their duty to invent others ; and 
probably no one can. But the authorship of the Epistles 
has to be read in church, which they want their R. V. to 
be. All the others affirm their own authorship, except St. 
John's, about which I believe no one doubts, and the Re- 
visers have affirmed and retained in the text all those affir- 
mations ; altering the old name of Jude into Judas, while 
they leave * Jude ' just above in the title — I suppose to show 


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Authorship of Epistle to the Hebrews, 119 

that they have not revised the titles : a very small piece of 
diplomacy. So it is idle for them to say that they have not 
gone into that question* It is plain that they have, but 
have chosen to avoid this one of the Hebrews alone. As 
Prefaces soon cease to be read — arid even to be printed, 
for not one Bible in a million has the old one, nearly every- 
body will take for granted that ' the Pauline authorship ' has 
their authority ; and the more so when they see all the old 
chapter headings, which are plainly of much less conse- 
quence, revised away j and I must say, for the most frivol- 
ous and slovenly of reasons, because ' revising them [for 
' keeping] would have involved so much of indirect, and 
* indeed frequently direct interpretation, that we judged it 
' best to omit them altogether,' i,e,^ not to do what they 
were expressly directed to do by the rule which they make 
such a parade of observing, even down to punctuation, on 
which they set forth their principles in detail. I doubt 
extremely whether the Preface, with all its minute elabora- 
tion, reveals the whole truth about this matter, and what it 
does reveal is far from satisfactory. It is plain that from 
beginning to end they have obeyed the Convocation rules 
just as much as they chose and no more, and have done a 
great deal everywhere that they ought not to have done, and 
left undone what they ought to have done, if they meant 
their version to supersede the authorised. Though their 
mode of printing quotations also was unauthorised, it has 
one advantage, of exhibiting at a glance the immense 
disproportion between the number of quotations in this 
epistle and in all the others, which is one of the conspicuous 
differences of style.* 

i. I. Nowhere is the contrast between the style of the old 
and the new versions more striking than in the first verses of 
this epistle. I had better give them both — first, the A. V. : 


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1 20 Hebrews i. i . 

^God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake 
' in times past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these 

* last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed 

* heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds 5 who 
' being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his 
^ person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, 

* when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the 
^ right hand of the Majesty on high ; being made so much 
^ better than the angels, as he hath by inheritance obtained a 
' more excellent name than they.' This is revised and im- 
proved, and made * still more excellent' (as the Preface 
says), as follows : — 

* God, having of old time spoken unto the fathers in the 
^ prophets by divers portions and in divers manners, hath at 

* the end of these days spoken unto us in his Son, whom he 
' appointed heir of all things, through whom also he made the 
' worlds ; who being the effulgence of his glory, and the very 
' image of his substance, and upholding all things by the word 
' of his power, when he had made purification of sins, sat 

* down on the right hand of the Majesty on high ; having be- 

* come by so much better than the angels, as he hath inherited 
' a more excellent name than they.' To any reader who is not 
shocked by the difference at once on hearing or reading these 
two aloud, I have no more to say : for no argument can 
open such ears as his. But I ask those who are sensible to 
such differences to reflect further if the new version conveys 
any different meaning at all from the old, except in the one 
phrase * by divers portions,' instead of ' at sundry times ; * 
for which the Greek is ^roAv/mepcay, and the R. V. is no 
doubt the more literal rendering of that. But what does 
this * by divers portions ' really mean ? To a casual hearer 
or reader not troubling himself to reflect, nor versed in such 
matters, it would probably convey no meaning at all, but 


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Hebrews i. i . ' Effulgence! 121 

pass as an empty sound. For that reason alone it is a bad 
translation. And as the ' divers portions ^ were, and must 
have been from their nature, communicated 'at sundry 
times,' a phrase which the most stupid or careless hearer 
realises in a moment, it had much better have been left as 
it was. 

I suppose that no review of the R. V. has left unnoticed 
the somewhat vulgar finery of substituting ' effulgence ' 
for * brightness,' although it suited Milton, who wrote in alto- 
gether a different style. It is idle to split etymological hairs 
in trying to make out that there is any real difference, or 
that anavyaayia means effulgence and does not mean bright- 
ness quite as much. Moreover, one of the rules laid down 
by the Convocation was that alterations should be expressed 
as far as possible in the language of the authorised and earlier 
versions. I look in vain in them for ' effulgence,' though 
there is abundance of 'brightness,' and though I cannot 
venture to assert such a comprehensive negative as that it is 
nowhere to be found. Then, what is ' the image of God's 
substance ' ? If they answer that viroWao-ts means ' sub- 
stance,' according to dictionaries, and that is all they are 
concerned with, I reply that they have themselves changed 
it into something else in another place where it is translated 
' substance * in the A. V., viz., xi. i, where they have sub- 
stituted ' assurance.' Without going into theological techni- 
calities about ' substance ' and ' person,' I do not see how, 
as a matter of plain English, there can be an image of the 
substance of a person. Of course there can be an image of 
a person. Christ being ' the image of the person ' of the 
Father exactly agrees with ' he that hath seen me hath seen 
the Father' (John xiv. 9). Whatever viioaracns may mean 
in other places with a different context, there seems to be no 
other intelligible meaning for it here except that which the 


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122 Hebrews i. 6. 

Translators gave it, viz., 'person:* for of nothing else 
could Christ be the image, xapaKtrip. 

u 6. The Revisers relegate to the margin, as an inferior 
alternative, ' again when he bringeth in the first-born into 
'the world' of the A. V., and substitute for it in the 
text, 'when he again bringeth in the first-born,* which 
means 'when he bringeth him in a second time/ Then 
what was the first ? If there was no other first time the 
Revisers' sense is nonsense. Observe too that this very 
word ' again ' had been already used as we use it, in 
bringing forward several topics in succession, and it is evi- 
dently a favourite word in this way with the author of this 

It is true that this hafe long been a subject of dispute, 
of which I suppose the proper account is given in Dean 
Alford's notes ; who inclined to the Revisers' view, and was 
one of them while he lived. But as he confessed that he 
could find no other meaning for it than the (very literally) 
preposterous one, turning history into prophecy, of ' the 
' second coming of our Lord to judgment,' it seems to me 
to need no other refutation. Moreover the Revisers trans- 
pose the order of the words no less than the Translators, by 
putting the ' again ' after ' he ' instead of before it. ' He ' 
belongs to the verb. If they had said ' when again he 
' bringeth in the first-born into the world,* they would have 
left the interpretation open as the Greek does. But the 
Preface tells us, in its own roundabout language, and among 
its many odd things, that they resolved to leave no open 
questions any more. So here, as in the Lord's Prayer, they 
have closed it in favour of their own interpretation, though 
nobody will dare to say that it is certainly right, and nobody 
has been able to find a rational meaning for it here. And 
yet they would not revise, but struck out altogether, the head- 


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Hebrews ii. lo: in. i, 7, ii. 123 

ings of chapters, ' because it would have involved so much 

* of indirect, and indeed frequently direct interpretation.' 
Their consistency is wonderful. 

ii. 10. ' The captain of their salvation ^ was surely a well 
enough established phrase to justify leaving it alone, without 
turning it into the flat and prosaic * author of their salvation,' 
unless the original absolutely required it 5 and the original is 
apxrjyosy for which the first English given by Liddell and 
Scott is * a leader,' and another ' a general,' which are both 
identical with ' captain ' in all but a strictly professional 
sense, which even the Revisers do not profess to follow 
here ; and so this change was totally unnecessary at least, 
and objectionable for the reason above, 

iii. I. 'Partakers of the heavenly calling* is altered to 

* partakers of a heavenly calling;* which sounds like a 
heavenly trade, or else like some unknown call from heaven ; 
whereas it clearly means the call spoken of before, and by 
which they became ' holy brethren ; ' and the more so if the 
new version of ii. 16 is right, however awkward it may be, 
and difficult to understand as to the angels, * for verily not 
' of angels doth he take hold, but he taketh hold of the seed 

* of Abraham ; ' which they substitute for the A. V. ' he took 

* not on him [the nature of] angels, but he took on [him] the 

* seed of Abraham.' That passage is certainly a difficult one 
to translate at all literally into anything intelligible, if the 
received version of the Greek is right, and 1 do not presume 
to dispute about it with the Revisers. But I must say that 
the Translators made better sense of it than they have, 
whether they rightly translated iTT(Xafxfiav€Tai or not, sup- 
plying something or other before * angels ' and ' seed,' which 
it should be observed is in the genitive case in Greek, as 
well as the * angels.* 

iii. 7 — II. If anyone doubts what I said under 


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1 24 Hebrews iii. 7 — 1 1 • 

Mat. ii. 18, as to the Revisers' substitution of a typographical 
appearance of poetry for real poetry of language and * felicity 
' of rhythm/ let him read these verses aloud in the old and 
new version, and he will doubt no longer. But first I must 
remaik on the peculiarly awkward change from * if ye will 

* hear his voice,' to * shall.' Surely everyone who under- 
stands the English usage knows that nobody would say 
' shall ' here. It is nothing to the purpose that ' will and 
' shall ' are sometimes reversed from our present usage in 
the A. V. That is no reason for reversing any more. Here 
at any rate ' will ' means * be willing to,' which is its primary 
meaning, and ought to be kept where it can be. Again, 
nobody would write such English as, ' as in the provocation, 
like as in the day of temptation in the wilderness.' It is 
true that the two words are different in the Greek ; but if 
that is the right translation of Kara (about which there is 
some difference of opinion, and Winer simply makes it ' at 

* the day ') * like as ' expresses no more than ' as,' and is very 
clumsy. It also has the appearance of making a distinction 
between the provocation and the time of the temptation 
(which of course is the meaning of r^v ^fxipav there), which 
we know were identical. Moreover, they have turned ' the 

* day of temptation in the wilderness ' into ' the day of the 

* temptation in the wilderness.' The repetition of the 
article in such a phrase, of which the whole means a well- 
known thing, is wrong according to our idiom. And besides 
that, ' the temptation in the wilderness ' is always understood 
to refer to another well-known thing, viz., Christ's tempta- 
tion in the wilderness. And still further, ' the day of the 
' temptation ' denotes a known temptation on a particular 
day, whereas ' the day of temptation ' may mean any time 
or all the time of a temptation and provocation which lasted 
forty years. So this passage has been made worse in every 


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Hebrews vv. 7, 10, 12, 16. 125 


way by an attempt at superfine accuracy, and the Revisers' 
usual sacrifice of English idiom to Greek. 

iv. 7. ' To-day if ye will hear my voice,' is in like 
manner altered into ^ shall:* on w^hich I make the same 
remark as before. 'Will,' here expresses a will to hear, 
exactly as it ought, though the Greek is not OiXta^ and 
when it is we have seen that they are not content without 
changing ' will ' into ' be willing,' or some such clumsy 
expression. Nobody would say, ' if ye shall hear my voice.' 
Therefore on both grounds it was wrong to introduce ' shall ' 
here. They can hardly pretend that the change was neces- 
sary for clearness, or to correct a plain and clear error, 
which were their only licences for change. 

iv. 10. * There remaineth therefore a sabbath rest^ is an 
entirely new phrase, and a very awkward one, making a 
sort of adjective of * sabbath \ ' and not a very correct one 
either ; for it is not like saying 'a Sunday rest,' which means 
a rest on Sunday, but it has to mean one like God's final 
rest from his works of creation. If the old word ' rest ' 
alone could not be altered in some better way than that it 
had better have been left alone. The context explains the 
nature of the ' rest ' much better than that new epithet ; and 
they might have put ' sabbatical rest ' in the margin. I sup- 
pose ' keeping of a sabbatical rest ' is the real meaning of 
o-aj3j3art(r/bios, a word occurring only here it seems. 

iv. 12. I think it was right to change ' quick ' for fcui; 
into ' living,' because ' quick ' is there ambiguous, and might 
be taken to mean ' rapid ; ' but ' active ' is a poor and flat 
and unscriptural word to substitute for * powerful,' which 
sufficiently represents ercpy?}?, energetic. 

iv. 16. What can the Revisers suppose to be the use of 
such little peddling alterations as this, * that we may receive 
' (inste*id of obtain) mercy, and may find (instead of find) 


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126 Hebrews \y. i6: v. i. 

* grace to help [us] in time of need ?' If they mean to say 
that ^ obtain ' is not so proper a translation of AdjSco/xei; as 

* receive,* I answer that Liddell and Scott say just the contrary, 
and prove it : for they say, ' the original sense of the word is 

* two-fold, one (more active) to take : the other (more pas- 
*sive) to receive;' and the Latin for it given just before 
is * obtinere.* Nor will it do to say that kipoDfjL^v being an 
aorist makes the difference; for they give a multitude of. 
passages with such aorists, all having the sense of ^ take or 

* obtain,' and not of * receive,' which is generally connected 
with nouns requiring a more passive sense, such as receiving 
punishment, or hospitality, or alms. Therefore the altera- 
tion here is altogether wrong, because we know that the 
way to ' obtain mercy ' is to ' come boldly to the throne of 
' grace,' and the way to receive punishment is not to come. 
It is not my business to guess at the reasons for such a mis- 
take. One that I can see is that the Revisers had used up 
the word ' obtain ' for one or two other Greek verbs ; and 
so according to their principle of never using the same word 
in one language for two in the other if they could possibly 
help it, they must needs change this, even for a worse, 
as they have also for another worse word, ' attain,' in 
I Cor. ix. 24. I am quite unable even to guess the 
reason for introducing that second * may,' except that it may 
suit their peculiar ears for rhythm. The [us] is unobjec- 
tionable though unnecessary. 

V. I. It is odd that the very next verse gives us the same 
verb Xaixpavofxevos again in a sense for which ' received ^ 
would be absolute nonsense, ' a high priest taken from among 
' men.' But I do not notice it for that, so much as to 
remark on another unnecessary alteration, of ' ordained ' into 
'appointed.' Again I say that the first meaning of that 
kind (for there are other more physical ones) given in the 


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Hebrews V. i, 3, 13. 127 

same dictionary for the Greek KadiaTarai is ' ordain,' and it 
is surely better to leave such a word for a high priest than to 
introduce the flat general one 'appoint/ 'Who can bear 
' gently with the ignorant ' is doubtless a better translation 
of fi€TpL0TTa6€iv than ' have compassion on,' but it would have 
been just as good and more pleasant, and even more emphatic, 
without the ' gently.' ' Bear ' of itself includes the ' gently,' 
and therein is different from ' deal gently with the young man ' 
(2 Sam. xviii. 5), and 'he will gently lead those that are 
'with young' (Is. xl. 11). 

V. 3. Why upon earth should 'he ought (3^c^Aet) to 
' offer for sins ' be spoilt into ' he is bound i ' If they will 
provoke the question, I ask, how is he bound ? If they say 
it is his duty, I reply, then they might as well have said so 
in the book. But that is only the same as ' he ought.* It 
is the more odd because they actually do translate ocp^iXovres 
' ye ought ' only a few verses below. 

V. 13. ' For every one that partaketh of milk is without 
' experience of the word of righteousness,' is a charming 
specimen of the fine-writing style of country newspapers, 
which tell us of people ' partaking of a cold collation,' after 
sundry public celebrations. I suppose it appears to the 
Revisers 'admirable for its simplicity, dignity, and power, 
'and the felicity of its rhythm,' compared with such a 
shabby old phrase as ' every one that useth milk is unskilful,' 
&c. I see they do still allow Timothy to ' use a little wine ' 
(i Tim. V. 23). But they will say the Greek there is 
literally ' use,' while here it is /ner^coi; 5 which no doubt is 
literally ' partaking of,' and is quite proper when used after- 
wards for ' partakers of the Holy Ghost.' Why then is it 
not equally proper to say ' partakers of milk ? ' First, 
because ' partaking of food, though innocent enough in itself, 
has become a vulgarism of half-educated people who think it 


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128 Hebrews v. 13: vi. i (i Pet. ii. 2). 

fine to avoid simple and natural phrases or words, which 
never become vulgar. It Is not persons of education who 
ask if you will partake of soup or tea : they are content to 
ask if you will have it. And secondly there is this slight 
objection to the R. V., that it is nonsense to say that 
' everyone who partakes ' (which means, who ever partakes) 
of milk, is a babe. But ^ uses ' means ^ habitually uses ; ' 
and that is sense. 

Milk is the subject of another experiment. In i Pet. ii. 2, 
they tell us to Mong for the spiritual (margin reasonable) 
' milk that is without guile/ instead of * the sincere milk of 
'the word' (A. V.). If koyiKov can mean 'spiritual,' it is 
only as belonging to \6yos 'the word.' The R. V. is 
ludicrous and its margin worse. 

vi. I. Though this verse is difficult to translate satisfac- 
torily and exactly, I cannot but think the R. V. a very 
awkward piece of English, and no more expressive of the 
real meaning than the less literal A. V., 'therefore leaving 
' the principles of the doctrine of Christ let us go on,' &c. 
which is changed into, ' therefore let us cease to speak of 
' the first principles of Christ and go on.' First of all, as 
the Greek is a participle which exactly means ' leaving,' 
there was clearly no need to change it into ' let us cease — 
' and,' though of course that .is legitimate when there is 
reason for it. Granting that tov Trjs ipxv^ '"ov X/otoroO 
Koyov means 'speech about the first principles of Christ,* 
still 'the first principles of a teacher,' rather than 'of 
'his doctrine,' is such an unusual and incorrect phrase, 
that the Translators expressed the sense better by apparently 
inverting the words. I doubt too if ' speaking of is not 
too narrow a meaning for \6yoSj a very wide word, some- 
times meaning the whole philosophy or science of some 
subject, as is indicated by ' theology,' ' geology,' and sundry 


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Hebrews vi. 7, 11, 13. 129 

other -ologies. But it is not my business to suggest new 
translations where the old one is practically sufficient, and 
even better than the revised, though less verbally exact. 
In the same verse we should certainly say, as A. V. does, 
' laying the foundation of repentance ' and not ' a foundation ' 
(R. v.), whatever the Greek may be. 

vi. 7. Here, all of a sudden, ' the earth,' y^, is changed 
into ' the land,' with the usual result of being what nobody 
would say in the circumstances, except as a sort of farming 
technicality ; and such professional phrases are inconsistent 
with the dignity and simplicity required, and professedly 
admired by the Revisers. I can see by a comparison of 
various texts that they have invented rules for earth as well 
as heaven 5 but as they produce wrong results for our 
language in both cases it is not worth while to discuss them. 
We have already seen some results of their rules for 
' heaven ' in Mat. vi. and xiii. 

vi. II. Here and in many places they think it worth 
while to change ' every one ' into ' each one.' As we shall 
see that they ' wipe away every tear ' instead of ' all tears,' 
I wonder they do not say * each tear ;' for all and each and 
every one of these mean the same. Everyone of us can 
see how flat and prosaic and pedantic ' each ' is, and how 
much more natural and lively is ' every one.' What is it 
to us what the particular Greek word was when we can 
all see that the two English words mean the same, only 
one says it ill and the other well, and the latter is taken 
away ? 

vi. 13. We may say much the same of the silly altera- 
tion of 'no greater' into *none greater.' It is odd that 
everyone of these trifling changes are from lively, natural, 
idiomatic, and therefore emphatic and impressive language, 
into that which is the contrary in all respects. These 


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I JO Hebrews vi. i6. 

things are the kind of English we should expect from 
a committee of Board-School-masters or the Metropolitan 

vi. 1 6. Here is another and a worse : * and in every 
' dispute of theirs the oath is final for confirmation.' What 
oath ? Here is an article gone mad. If they say they meant 
* the oath ' in the same sense as we say * the judgment ' in 
a cause, I reply that there is only one judgment but there 
may be many oaths, and that everybody says ' the judgment ' 
and nobody says ' the oath/ which is conclusive as to 
phrases. If we read such a sentence as that in a book 
about some foreign country, what should we say of the 
literary capacity of the author ? But when we read in the 
A. v., 'for men verily swear by the greater, and an oath 
' for confirmation is to them an end to all strife,' we have 
not to begin thinking what oath in particular is meant : the 
meaning of the whole is apprehended in a moment : ' an 
' oath for confirmation ' is sense and English, while ' the oath 
' final for confirmation ' is neither, but is the cart before the 
horse : it is the confirmation by oath that is final, or ' the 
' end of the strife.' In A. V. we have a grand and finished 
sentence instead of one that seems broken to pieces and 
turned inside out, or never properly put together again by 
the Revisers. And further, what may be thought of some 
consequence even by those who despise all this, the Revisers 
have made the author of the Epistle say what is notoriously 
not true but ridiculously the contrary; viz., that the oath 
settles every dispute. Does it ? If the Revisers had 
heard as many contradictory oaths as I have, or a hundredth 
part of them, they would have laughed at whichever of their 
body propounded that theory of ' settling disputes.' But it 
is true that in matters which by law are so determinable 
' an oath is the end of all strife,' because you can go no 


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Hebrews vii. 2, 3, 6, 9. 131 

farther in it» So altogether this has been an alteration of 
singular felicity, though I understand the Revisers were not 
the first to start the idea of some such alteration. 

vii. 2. They put ' to whom also Abraham divided a 
'tenth part of all/ instead of the simpler *' gave^ which is 
certainly better English when the nine other parts are kept. 
In every other place in the Bible where 'divide' also 
includes giving away, the whole is given. It is of no con- 
sequence how much ^fxcpto-ci; may mean. It is contrary to 
our usage to say ' divide ' for this process : at any rate it \% 
so in the A. V., though I do not pretend to vouch for all 
English literature on such a point. And as ' gave ' was 
there, and to ' give a tenth ' cannot possibly mean anything 
else, nor can that thing be expressed so clearly in any other 
way, it was the merest pedantry to alter it. 

vii. 3 and 6. They change ' descent ' into ' genealogy.' 
In the first case it does not matter, but in the second, ' whose 
descent is not counted from them,' is certainly better English 
than ' genealogy.' Even in the first, ' pedigree ' would better 
indicate what is meant, viz., that Melchisedec's pedigree or 
descent was not known. Not, that any change was needed. 
And why should ' without all contradiction ' be changed into 
' without any dispute ? ' Surely Trdcn/s Ai/rtAoyfay means ' all 
' contradiction,' and means it even more literally than ' any 
' dispute,' if that is worth notice. ' Contradiction ' is the first 
English given for it in the dictionary. You may say the 
change does no harm.. But they were only authorised to make 
changes to do some good, and this, without either contradic- 
tion or dispute, does none. 

vii. 9. I o|^y notice the change here from ' Levi paid 
' tithes ' to ' hath paid tithes,' as another instance of sac- 
rificing English idiom as to the past tenses to grammatical 
rules made for Greek. It is not the English use to say that 

K 2 


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132 Hebrews vii. 9, 10 — 23. 

a person whose successors now receive tithes hath paid tithes 
ages ago, but ^paid them ' is the right thing to say, whatever 
may be the usage in pure Greek ; which we have already 
seen that the N. T. writers did not always observe. And 
the same may be said, not quite so strongly, of the substitu- 
tion of ' hath received * for ' received,' in verse 1 1 ; and of 
' hath sprung ' for ' sprang,' in verse 14 ; and of ' hath been 
' made ' for * is made,' in verse 16; for ' is made ' of itself 
contains a past sense and a present, and fully represents the 
perfect tense yiyov€v. In all these the A. V. is more 
natural, and therefore better represents the meaning of the 
original in English than the R. V. And in verse 21 we 
have 'repent himself again substituted for 'repent.' It 
does not follow because it is occasionally used in the A. V. 
that it should be thrust in on every occasion. What is the 
difference between them ? 

vii. 20-23. What sort of grammar or sense is this, leaving 
out for simplicity the long parenthesis, which of course is no 
part of the construction of the rest, ' Inasmuch as [it is] not 
' without the taking of an oath ( ) by so much also hath 

' Jesus become the surety of a better covenant ' ? There is 
an anacoluthon, or break of grammar or change of intention 
in the Greek, which has to be made up somehow. The 
Revisers have not made it up by their insertion of [it is]: 
But the Translators did by theirs, and I now give it with the 
parenthesis to show the full meaning : ' Inasmuch as not 
' without an oath [he was made priest] (for those priests 
' were made without an oath, but this with an oath by him 
' that said unto him, &c. ) by so much was Jesus made a 
* surety of a better testament.' There is no question here of 
Greek translation, but of making sense and English by the in- 
sertion of something, supposed to be understood in the Greek. 
The Revisers made a bold and doubtful enough insertion 


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Hebrews vii. 23, 27. 133 

in Mat. xxvi. 50 : so they need not have been so timid 

vii. 23. Neither the A. V. nor the R. V. are very happy 
in this verse. A. V. is, ' they truly were many priests, be- 

* cause they were not suffered to continue by reason of death.* 
R. V. turns it into, ' they indeed have been made priests 

* many in number, because that by death they are hindered 

* from continuing : ' which is as clumsy as usual. The Re- 
visers will say A. V. is wrong in translating ctVt y^yovor^s 
' were ' without any reference to ' becoming ' or ' being 
' made.' But if so, they have certainly not succeeded in 
curing that insignificant defect well, and it is difficult to do 
so with any degree of literality. The best translation that 
occurs to me to express the real meaning simply in our idiom 
is, 'there were many of those priests, because they were 
' prevented* from continuing by death.* It is necessary to 
preclude the misinterpretation that the ^ many were pre- 

* vented by death ; * for all were. That part of the 
A. V. sentence is right enough, whether yeyoroVes is literally 
rendered or not, for a man must become or be made a priest 
somehow. But the latter part of the sentence is unusually 
awkward for the A. V., and is easily made better. 

vii. 27. The A. V. ' first for his own sins and then for 

* the people*s,' is both more literal and more effective than 
the R. v., ' first for his own sins and then for the [sins] of 

* the people.' What possible use could they think there was 
in introducing a new word to Hatten and dull the sentence 
in that way \ And so I say of verse 28 : * maketh a high 

* I do not forget that * prevent ' is used in another sense gene- 
rally in the A. V. 5 but that does not prevent our using it in the 
common sense of* hinder' if we like, which primarily means the same, 

* put behind.' * Hinder ' does not sound quite so well here. They 
sometimes change * prevent ' into * precede,' and perhaps rightly. 


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134 Hebrews v\\. 27: vlii. i. 

^ priest ' is every bit as good a translation and more lively and 
idiomatic English than ^ appointeth a high priest : ' indeed 
it is wrong and absurd to say that the law appoints a high 
priest, but it may make one, ' make ' being a much wider 
word^ wide enough to include legal consequences, and a kind 
of figurative meaning, which is requisite here for the last 
words of the verse ' [maketh] a Son perfected for evermore,* 
assuming that the Revisers were right in putting ' a Son * for 
^ the Son/ The smallest and simplest words are generally 
the largest in effect. 

viii. I. I do not presume to dispute with them about the 
meaning of hard sentences in Greek, but only as to the mode 
of expressing it in English. But where they dispute among 
themselves, putting one meaning in the text and another in 
the margin, anybody may remark upon it, and the intrinsic 
probability of one or the other. The A. V. of this verse is 
« now of the things which we have spoken [this is] the sum;* 
and the R. V* margin is very like it in effect: 'Now to sum 
' up what we are saying 5 * but the R. V. text is, ' Now 
in the things which we are saying the chief point is this.* 
KcifxiXatoi; may be either one or the other. But which is the 
most likely for a man to mean here ? It is common enough 
to 'sum up * an argument, and to say so, but very uncom- 
mon to say such a thing as the R. V. text gives us, inde- 
pendently of its flatness. Moreover a summary or summing 
up is made upon (em) the things that have been spoken, 
though it is called also a summary of them. But how do 
they make out that iiii means ' in * in the sense of ' among,* 
which ' the chief point ' requires ? Ke^dXatoy hi HI rots 
Acyo/x/rois' standing by itself without a verb is just like the 
heading of a chapter, as we might say, 'Summary of the 
argument. ' ' Chief point in the argument * would look utterly 
absurd there. At the same time I must observe that you do 


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Hebrews viii. 1,5, 135 

not sum up the thing you are saying, but the things you have 
said ; and therefore the A. V. is better than the R. V. margin 
in the only point where they really differ. In the same verse 
we have some more of what I can only call the aoristic 
pedantry on which I have often remarked* It is very 
little removed from nonsense to speak of 'such a high priest, 
*who sat down on the right hand of the throne of the 

* Majesty in the heavens/ as if he had done so as a thing past 
and ended some time ago. The real meaning is exactly 
expressed by the A. V./ is set/ i.e, sat down once for ever. 

viii. 5. I only remark that the first part of this is obscure 
in the Greek and in the A. V., ' who serve unto the example 

* and shadow of heavenly things/ and rather more so in the 
R. v., * who serve [that which is] a copy and shadow of the 
' heavenly things ; even as Moses is warned of God when he 
' is about to build the tabernacle ; where, for some reason or 
other, the Revisers have turned the perfect tense of the Greek and 
the A. V . ' Moses was warned ' into ' is warned.' If they had 
left it ' was warned ' they would have condemned themselves 
for foisting in that nonsensical is in ' this is Elijah which is 

* to come ' in Mat. xi. 14 ; for Moses here is followed by the 
same word as Elias there — /xeXXcDr. Was that the reason 
why they changed the tense here ? I know that by their 
rule it ought to have been an aorist to mean ' was warned ' 
at a former time, but we have seen enough of that ; and after 
all a perfect tense is not a present, whatever rules gram- 
marians may make. Winer remarks that the perfect is 
sometimes used for, and even with, an aorist, and gives un- 
questionable proofs of it. There are no such words in the 
original here as ' when he is about to : ' they have intro- 
duced these two because their theory required it : ixiXkaav is 
simply ' about to,' or if they like it, ' when about to,' and 
does for a past event just as well as for a present. 


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136 Hebrews viii. 13 r ix. i, 16, 17. 

viii. 13. 'That which is becoming old and waxeth aged/ 
is a very tautological and feeble substitute for * that which 

* decayeth and waxeth old/ At any rate they might have 
left the familiar phrase of ' waxeth old,' without splitting it 
up to make two new ones. And surely they might have 
found something with rather less tautology about it for 
7ra\atovjbi€i^or, though that might of course be construed 

* becoming old,* if it stood alone. Here it evidently means 
'antiquated,* which is nearly the same as the A. V. 
' decayeth.' If they did not think that literal enough, cer- 
tainly ' antiquated ' would be, and it is not identical with 
waxing old. The A. V. 'ready to vanish away* is far 
more lively than ' nigh unto vanishing away * of the Revisers, 
and, as usual, it means just the same. 

ix. I . It would be tedious to go through a multitude of 
unnecessary changes ' severally,* as the Revisers choose to 
say instead of ' particularly * in verse 5, merely to repeat the 
same remarks on them. People would hardly suppose that 
' the (or its) worldly sanctuary ' is the literal translation of 
that which they needlessly expand into ' its sanctuary, [a 
' sanctuary] of this world.* The ' its * for to really means 
no more than the 'a* of the A. V., the English indefinite 
article doing that duty for the sole Greek article sometimes, 
according to the sense. And yet they expunge the neces- 
sary words [for us] after 'Christ .... obtained eternal 
' redemption,* which the sense requires, in verse 12. 

ix. 16,17. Why need they alter 'the testator* into 
' him that made it ? * If hiaOriKti means a testament (as it 
does), surely rov hiaO^iiivov means ' the testator.* ' He that 
' made it ' has no pretence to be a translation until we know 
what it was ; and when we know it was a will then the 
Greek absolutely means ' the testator,* just as much as if it 
were a noun — if there is a Greek one of that meaning. 


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Hebrews hi. 17, 18. 137 

ix. 17. If they could not make a better or more literal 
alteration than from ' a testament is of force after men are 
' dead,' A. V., into 'where there hath been death,' they had 
better have left it alone. Neither of them is a literal ren- 
dering of kin reicpots, and both of them mean the same. I 
understand there has been some question whether cttI v€Kpois 
does not mean something entirely different j but it seems to 
me clear enough that it means what the A. V. says, and 
practically the R. V. too, as to that. Only two verses 
above, liii has to be translated ' under,' though that 
looks odd at first 5 but ' under ' there means ' according 
' to,' or ' upon the assumption of,' or something of that kind ; 
and here kiii v€Kpols means ' on the assumption that men are 
' dead.' There being no difficulty about the meaning then, 
I say that the A. V. expresses it the best, because it is ex- 
actly what one would say, while the R. V., besides its usual 
flatness, again suggests the undertaker, who tells you with 
a solemn face that ' there has been a death in the family ; ' 
and it states nothing like a legal proposition, which this is : 
or rather, states a wrong one j for it by no means follows 
that ' a testament is of force where there hath been death.* 
There may be half a dozen deaths in the family without 
giving force to any testament. But the A. V. * after men 
* are dead ' is unmistakeable from the force of the idiom, 
which always prevails over any theoretically possible mis- 
construction, and here infallibly connects the ' men ' with 
their testaments. 

ix. 18. Here is another case of the Revisers' favourite 
sacrifice of sense to tense. Because the Greek has a perfect 
and not an aorist, they change ' the first covenant was not 
' dedicated without blood ' into 'hath not been ; ' and as it is 
immediately explained by what Moses did, it is clear that 
the dedication was made long ago, and therefore that the 


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138 Hebrews ix. 21. 27. 

* was ' of the A. V, is far more correct than the *hath been ' 
of the R. v., and one more proof that their rules for inter- 
preting the several past tenses were unknown to the writers 
of the N. T., or at any rate often disregarded. 

ix. 21. What is the use of clumsily inverting the natural 
English order of the words in this verse into the Greek 
or Latin order ? ♦ Moreover the tabernacle and all the 

* vessels of the ministry he sprinkled in like manner 
'with blood/ instead of the A.-V. 'moreover he sprinkled 
' with blood both the tabernacle and all the vessels of 
the ministry.* Nobody would write such English, and 
there is no point gained by it in clearness, emphasis, or 
anything else of the smallest value. The same may be said 
of verse 22, with the addition that * apart from shedding of 
' blood,' cannot have even the pretence of being better than 
' without shedding of blood ; ' for they themselves translate 

the same word x^/>^ff ^ without blood* at verse 18. And 

still worse, in verse 28, ' Christ ' is made to ' appear apart 
' from sin,' instead of ' without sin,' the Greek word being the 
same. Who ever heard such an expression before as a 
person being apart from sin ? And how is ' year by year ' 
any better than ' every year,' in verse 23 ? 

ix. 27. Here again they go out of their way to destroy 
a famous and solemn sentence, foisting in a dull prosaic 
word of their own which does not even profess to have any 
word for it in the original, and is not the least required. 
We are no longer to hear ' it is appointed unto men once to 
'die, but after this the judgment,' but .... 'and after 
' this [cometh] judgment : ' evidently because they were de- 
termined to expunge ' the ' on account of icpurts there 
having no Greek article — as if there could be the smallest 
doubt that it meant the judgment ; and secondly, I suppose 
they thought the A. V. not grammatical enough for theif 


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Hebrews x* i, 6. 139 

precision, and did not see— or care — that it is all the more 
striking for the sudden change and break of the grammar, 
which is still more common in Greek. 

X. I. They display equal ingenuity in spoiling, ' For the 
' law having a shadow of good things to come . . . can never, 
* with those sacrifices which they offered year by year con- 
' tinually, make the comers thereunto perfect.' First they 
insert 'they' before 'can never,' and so leave the nomina- 
tive ' the law having,' &c., without any verb, because they 
prefer some MSS which have Ivvavrai to those which have 
the old hvvarau Secondly, they change 'the comers thereunto,' 
which one would think was a literal enough translation of 
Tcihs TTpoaepxpfxivovs^ into the flat and imperfect phrase 
'them that draw nigh.' Draw nigh to what? Why of 
course ' thereunto ; ' and if it certainly means that, why did 
the Revisers strike it out ? There are plenty of places where 
they have put in more doubtful words. Finally they transpose 
it into 'make perfect them that draw nigh.' I suppose ac- 
cording to their ideas of emphasis and felicity of rhythm this 
is superior to 'make the comers thereunto perfect.' 

X. 6. 'A body didst thou prepare for me ' is substituted 
for ' a body hast thou prepared for me,' for the usual reason 
of aorist v. perfect tense. But here again, the A. V. is what 
would be said in English, and the R. V. would not, by one 
coming into the world to take a human body. In the same 
quotation the well-known ' volume of the book ' is changed 
into ' roll of the book.' KctpaXls properly means a chapter 
or something of that kind when applied to a book, and may 
fairly be extended to a volume, but I look in vain in dic- 
tionaries for any authority for turning it into a ' roll,' and I 
think the Revisers will be puzzled to find one, either there 
or in its etymology. How much better too is the old ' Lo, 
' I come,' than the new, ' I am come.' Though the latter 


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140 Hebrews x. 6, 16, 20. 

is more literal for ijico), no one could mistake * I come ' here 
for ^ I am coming/ In reading it aloud, which is the 
best test to apply to many of these changes, ' I ' has to be 
emphasized quite as much as 'come/ and *I am come* 
tends to prevent this both in sound and sense. It is difficult 
to imagine twenty-four admirers of * musical cadences, feli- 
' cities of rhythm and happy turns of expression,' turning 
' which are offered by the law ' into * the which are oflFered 
'according to the law.* Surely they were not afraid of 
people thinking it was the law that offered them, so that 

* by' ought to be turned into 'according to.* But there is 
no knowing what such precisians contemplated. 

X. 16. Heie is another insignificant novelty : ' I will put my 
' laws on their heart, and upon their mind ^/w will I write them.* 
I do not see where the ' also * comes from, nor what is the 
use of introducing it to make an appearance of still more 
distinction between heart and mind, which of course is very 
little. But why for a preposition of such wide meaning as 
im, as we have seen already, should we have such a novelty 
as putting laws on people's hearts ? When you come to 
' writing on,' that is more figurative, and therefore more 
tolerable, but still quite unnecessary. The A. V. is ' I will 
'put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds I will 
' write them.* The change to the singular number seems 
partly to depend on a various reading, and even then is not 
consistent ; but that is immaterial. 

X. 20. They have introduced here a repetition which is 
not in the original, and which adds nothing to the effect, 
and is not in general accordance with the style, though they 
may defend it by the position of the words in the Greek. 
I cannot see how it is any better to say, ' having therefore 
' boldness to enter into the holy place by the blood of Jesus, 

* by the way which he dedicated for us, a new and living way 


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Hebrews x. 22, 23, 25. 14^ 

* through the veil, that is to say, his flesh,* than ' having there- 
' fore boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, 
' by a new and living way, which he has consecrated for us, 

* through the veil, that is to say, his flesh * (A. V.). I leave 
the two to speak for themselves, and for any one to find out 
the value of such an alteration if he can. 

X. 22. They let down the fine expression ' in full assur- 

* ance of faith ' to ' fulness of faith,' although the Greek is 
Tr\rjpo<f)opLa^ which dictionaries give as * assurance, certainty,' 
and which must be something more than irkrjpoTrjs^ fulness. 
In vi. 1 1 they did it also, but there the effect is not so striking 
as here. It is the more odd because they leave it ' assurance ' 
in Col. ii. 2 and i Thess. i. 5 ; and so they break one of their 
own rules for the pleasure of putting a flat expression for a 
grand one, without any possible pretence of necessity. 

X. 23. Why should ' without wavering ' be changed to 
' that it waver not ? ' iKKivfj is simply ' unwavering.' I 
suppose they were afraid that the ' wavering * may be taken 
to agree with ' us * and not with ' the confession of our 
'hope' (R. v.), or 'the profession of our faith* (A. V.), 
which is certainly less accurate. But ' that it waver not ' 
is also less accurate than ' without wavering.' And what 
does it signify to the real meaning ? Whichever is said, it 
is really we that waver. A confession of hope is a confes- 
sion of hope anyhow, but we may waver in making it, 
though it is figuratively said to waver itself. So they have 
introduced another new and awkward phrase for nothing 
. but to obviate a possible mistake about the agreement of an 
adjective which would leave the meaning just the same. 

X. 25. Can anything be more trifling than altering 'as 
' the manner of some is,' into ' as the custom of some is ? ' 
except perhaps altering 'as ye see the day approaching* into 
' as ye see the day drawing nigh.' One could not have 


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14* Hebrews x. 25, 28. 

found fault if they had removed the apparent ambiguity — much 
greater and more practical than that in verse 23, whether 
^ as the manner of some is * refers to forsaking or to assemb- 
ling ; which of course might be done by putting ' not, as the 
^ manner of some is, forsaking the assembling of yourselves 

* together, but exhorting one another,' &c. And yet both in 
their Preface, and in the supplementary exposition of their 
chairman to Convocation, they take special credit for ' never 

* leaving any translation, or any arrangement of words, which 

* could adopt itself to one or other of two interpretations ' 
(a charmingly felicitous arrangement of words in itself), even 
where the Greek does, as in the Lord's Prayer, and other 

X. 28. Here they have made the writer of the Epistle say 
what was not true when he wrote, and is nonsense besides at 
any time, and have (as usual) turned a good sentence into a 
bad one. A. V. says, ' he that despised Moses' law died with- 
'out mercy under (cttI as at ix. 15) two or three witnesses,* 
which is true, intelligible, and euphonious. R. V. turns it 
into *a man that hath set at nought Moses' law dieth 
' without compassion on the word of two or three witnesses.' 
Why without compassion ? ' Without mercy ' means ' in- 

* exorably,' which is right. To say that no one had com- 
passion on him who was put to death for perhaps a cere- 
monial offence is nonsense, and impossible to say with 
certainty. Moreover, all that, put into the present tense, 
was at that time untrue altogether. ' It is not lawful for us 

* to put any man to death,' was said of an alleged heinous 
offence long before that. Further still, the Revisers have 
actually translated an aorist participle aOerxicras as a perfect, 
' he that hath set at naught,' instead of ' he that set at naught.' 
And they have inserted ' a man,' which they struck out of 
several previous verses in the A. V., not worth noticing, 


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Hebrews x. 38. 143 

where it was much more emphatic : here it is of no use 
whatever. They will say 'dieth' is the literal trans-^ 
lation of linoOvriaK^L ; and so it is. But that, with an 
entirely past and gone tense before it, speaks for itself as 
being only a statement of the law and not a present fact. 
Nevertheless that is made still clearer by the A. V.'s 
judicious change of that present tense into 'died.' And 
who could misunderstand * under two or three witnesses ? ' 
This is a pretty set of improvements for two lines, all from 
the pedantic attempt at a kind of superfine exactness, sacri- 
ficing everything to one Greek word, which after all does 
not mean what they have put for it. 

X. 38. ' He that shall come will come and will not tarry ' 
( A. V .) is not the kind of English to suit the Revisers, who, 
we have seen already, have their own ideas of wills and 
shalls, and were not likely to miss an opportunity of taking 
the life out of such a sentence as that. So they first go to 
work with 6 ip^ofxevosy which is literally ' the coming one,' 
and make it ' he that cometh,' which may mean two things ; 
of which one is ' he that is to come,' or 'shall come,' as the 
A. V. says ; and the other, ' he that is on the road hither,' 
which is clearly not intended. Therefore so far A. V. is the 
best. Then they change the 'will come' of A. V. into 

* shall come ; ' whereas, if there is any difference, ' he that 
' is to come will come in a little while,' is moie what we 
should say now, and so far is better than ' shall come.' The 
Greek is ijfet ; but only a few verses back (x. 6) they would 
not let iJKco be ' I come,' but must have it ' I am come : ' if so, 
^fct must mean more than ' shall come,' and rather ' shall 
' have come ' or ' be present.* Not that I want it changing, 
but merely exhibit the consistency of the Revisers. And 
then, why is ' shall not tarry * any better than the ' will not 

* tarry * of the A. V., which evidently means that he does 


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144 Hebrews x. 38 : xi. i. 

not intend or will to tarry ? The whole sentence is idiomatic, 
and forcible and impressive by virtue thereof. It is another 
of those sayings beyond grammatical analysis, which could 
easily be proved to mean nothing at all, or to be a mere 
truism, but for its idiomatic force 5 and yet everyone who 
will use the ears of his mind feels that it says a great deal in 
a most impressive way. The Revisers' sentence is just as 
truistic grammatically, and has none of the same force or 
impressiveness. And the last two lines of their quotation are 
as bad : ' But my righteous one shall live by faith ; and if 

* he shrink back, my soul hath no pleasure in him ; * while 
A. V. is, * Now the just shall live by faith : but (Se) if [any 
^ man] draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him.' 
That strange ' my ' comes in through a new reading j and 

* his shrinking back * through the Revisers. 

xi. I. The word virooTan-ts, which they turned into 'sub- 

* stance ' from ' person ' in i. 3, they now turn back out of 

* substance * and into ' assurance ; ' and yet they complain of 
the ' inconsistency ' of the Translators in giving different 
meanings to the same words. Both of these are changes 
from phrases as well known and established as any in the 
Bible, and therefore they ought not to have been made with- 
out unquestionable necessity to correct 'plain and clear 
' errors/ It may signify very little whether faith is called the 
' assurance * or the ' substance of things hoped for,' and the 
Greek word may mean either, and the Revisers themselves 
have said so, and they both mean here substantially the same 
thing. But ' substance ' is a little stronger ; for it means 
that feith treats and acts on the things hoped for as if they 
were visible or actual, whereas ' assurance ' only means feel- 
ing sure, or expecting without doubt. Then, as the stronger 
word is pronounced by the Revisers a lawful translation of 
the Greek in the other place, and is familiar in that place and 


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Hebrews xi. J, 5. 145 

sense to all the English-speaking world, why need they have 
displaced it, except again to show a meddling hypercriticism 
of an immeasurably greater work than theirs, which nobody 
else wanted to be so disturbed and pulled to pieces ? Alter- 
ing ' evidence ' into ' proving * is equally foolish — and wrong 
too ; for faith cannot prove anything, either in the sense of 
demonstration or of trial, but it is equivalent to conviction or 
convincing evidence, whatever ik^^os may mean sometimes. 

xi. 3. They must needs go out of their way to suggest 
in the margin that perhaps the writer of the Epistle meant 
that ' the ages (instead of * worlds '), aliavaS', were made by 
' the word of God, so that what is seen hath not been made 
' of things which do appear/ That is like their suggesting 
at Mat. vi. 27 that men wanted reminding that by ' being 
^ anxious ' they could not ' add one cubit to their age.* Such 
things remind one of the old Cambridge jokes of ' finding 
* the greatest common measure of the equinoctial year and a 
' pound of cheese,' and nonsense of that kind. 

xi. 5. Here is another confusion of tenses : ' for before 
' his translation he hatk had witness borne to him that he had 
' been well-pleasing to God,* means in English that Enoch 
was translated so lately that the testimony might be said to 
have been borne to him up to the present time, and that the 
testimony was that he had been pleasing to God at some 
time. The A. V. makes no such confusion, and is in every 
way better ; ' Enoch was not found because God had trans- 
' lated him : for before his translation he had this testimony, 
' that he pleased God.* Can the Revisers pretend that any 
kind of advantage is gained by such an alteration ? The 
more they declare it is required by the grammatical rules 
they have adopted the more they prove that they were 
wrong. I have only noticed the places where they have 
produced nonsense or bad English, and probably not all of 


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146 Hebrews xi. 9, 10. 

them by a great many. All through this chapter — and indeed 
every chapter more or less — there are these little trumpery 
changes introduced, never making the smallest real differ- 
ence in the meaning, never making it clearer, but just 
spoiling the sentence somehow, or at the best offending us by 
their novelty and a mere pretence of doing something, 
though they have really done nothing of the smallest use to 
anybody, but rather the contrary. 

xi. 9. ' Dwelling in tents ' is doubtless an improvement 
on the ^ tabernacles ' of the A. V. ; but again the margin 
suggests something worse, viz., ' having taken up his abode 
' in tents,' as if that preceded the time when he * became a 
* sojourner in a strange land,' whereas they were of course 
synchronical and continuous, if not identical, which is properly 
expressed by ' dwelling.* They have compensated ' tabernacles ' 
for their expulsion here by substituting ' eternal tabernacles ' 
for ^everlasting habitations ' elsewhere (Luke xvi. 9), of which 
it is difficult to conceive the imagined superiority. And 
why not ' eternal tents,' while they were about it, for the 
Greek is the same, <rK?;i;af, which they alter into ' tents' here ? 
Was ' eternal tents ' too ludicrous even for the Revisers and 
their Act of uniformity ? But if so, why could they not 
let ' habitations ' alone, which is a perfectly fair translation ? 

xi. 10. Here again the marginal reformers distinguish 
themselves by proposing ' architect and maker,* instead of 
' whose builder and maker is God.' Besides the intrinsic 
absurdity of introducing such a word, it is absolutely the 
wrong one, for the Greek is not &pxiTiKT<t)v but tcxvlttjs^ 
which no dictionary exalts into an architect. They may be 
consoled by remembering that 'builder^ does sometimes 
embrace it in popular understanding. Sir Christopher 
Wren is called the builder of St. Paul's, and nobody else 
ever is. 


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Hebrews xi. 17, 19, 40. 147 

xi. 17. Here they make another and a better use of the 
margin, to inform us that they are obliged to disregard their 
rules about tenses and translate the perfect tense of the 
Greek in an aoristic or past sense 5 ' Abraham being tried 
'offered up Isaac,' margin, 'hath offered up (Gr.).' And 
even yet it does not occur to them to doubt the rule 
in a multitude of other places nearly as clear as that 
is, of which I have noticed many. Anyone would sup- 
pose from that note too that this is the only time they 
break it. 

xi. 19. ' From whence also he did in a parable receive 
' him back.* That is truly a new meaning of ' a parable,* 
which has always hitherto been understood to be either a 
fictitious or real story of natural events used as a similitude 
or analogy for something of a higher spiritual or moral kind. 
It is true that the Greek is iv TrapafioXfi ; but as the Greek 
has no indefinite article, that may either mean ' in a parable,' 
or * in parable,* or parabolically, which are different things. 
I do not mean that such a phrase ought to be used, but only 
to show that there was no obligation to use the well-known 
term ' a parable ' in a totally new and unique sense, even on 
the Revisers' own principle of translating the same word by 
the same, which they are frequently obliged to violate, and 
which is a mere invention of their own. People who write 
English call it ' figurative * to say that a man saved from 
death is ' recovered * or ' received back from the dead ; ' and 
therefore the A. V. ' from whence also he received him in a 
' figure * is right, while the R. V. is puzzling and ridiculous, 
and wrong according to the established usage of the word 

xi. 40. I was on the point of saying that the rest of this 
grand chapter has been left uninjured because almost un- 
touched by the Revisers, but when I reached the last words 

Digitized by CjOOQ IC 

148 Hebrews xi. 40. Xco/)t9. 

of it I had to withdraw the congratulation, for I was hor- 
rified to find the peroration, 'God having provided some 
' better thing for us, that they without us might not be 

* made perfect,' revised into language of this exquisite feli- 
city, ' God having provided (marg. ^foreseen ') some better 

* thing concerning us, that apart from us they should not be 

* made perfect/ Apart from the complete ruin which they 
have made of the rhythm and grandeur of the sentence, there 
was not the smallest reason for substituting their favourite 
and flat 'concerning' for the simple 'for,' inasmuch as 
plenty of instances are given in dictionaries where ' for ' is 
the obviously right translation of ir^pl with a person after it ; 
and ' for us * is quite capable of embracing everything im- 
plied in 'concerning us,' and more. And though 'without* 
is not always the same as ' apart from,' as when some per- 
sons or things have to be kept apart from others, there can 
be no such meaning here. The antient saints were not to 
be made perfect until the better things and the perfection 
came which were provided for us ; and therefore, ' not with- 
' out us J ' which has nothing at all to do with keeping us 

The Revisers treat this word x^pJ? in a strangely arbitrary 
way throughout, especially after their condemnation of the 
A. V. for its want of uniformity of translation of the same 
words in similar circumstances. Out of the thirty-five times 
that x^P^y IS used as a preposition with a genitive case 
after it they leave it translated ' without,' twenty-four— 
'without faith — without works — law — sin — dispute ' — and 
a multitude of things ; and then in eleven other places they 
choose to turn it into ' apart from.' I suppose they had 
some reason, but it could not well be grammatical, for all 
the cases are alike. I am not concerned to guess at it, for 
the results are quite enough to condemn it, whatever it was. 


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{James ii. Faith without Works). 149 

I will only take three of them together, of which the famous 
text, ' faith without works is dead ' (James ii. 20), is the 
principal, and the other two are in the last verse of that 
chapter, ' as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith 
' without works is dead also ' (A. V.). In the principal one 
they also change v^Kpi, into a.iiyy\^ and then produce this 
interesting and emphatic apostolic dictum, ' faith apart from 
' works is barren ' : a truism so hpyy\ k6X v€Kpa that neither 
Luther nor anybody else need ever have troubled themselves 
about it. Though I do not profess to criticise their Greek 
emendations on any grounds but common sense, which they 
almost repudiate (if not something more), I see fronvAIford^s 
Gr. Test, that the authorities by no means preponderate for 
ipyrif but he (with his too frequent inconclusiveness) 
adopted it on the ground that, venpa being undisputed in 
verses 17 and 26, 'it was hardly likely that the easy (?) 
' v€Kpd would be changed into the difficult (?) apyrj by any 
' copier.' Hardly likely ! Why it is just the thing that a 
prosaic, pedantic kind of scribe would do. He would think 
he was explaining v€Kpdy which is a figurative word to join 
with ' faith,' by putting apyrj ' barren or unprofitable ' once 
for it. Everybody agrees that felse readings often got in- 
serted as glosses or explanations, and Drs. Westcott and 
Hort say (p. 27), 'it follows that readings originating with 
' scribes ' (apart from mere blunders) ' must always have com- 
' bined the appearance of improvement with the absence of 
' its reality : if they had not been plausible they would not 
' have existed.' Alford's judgment goes for so little with 
good scholars that it is not worth while to speculate what 
he meant by calling p€Kpd easy, and the explanation of it by 
apyn difficult. The Revisers thus make St. James first say 
( with the A. V. substantially), ' faith, if it have not works, 
'is dead in itself (verse 17), and then advance to the 


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150 {James \\. The ^Shuddering Devils.^) 

remarkable climax in verse 20, that it is barren^ and then go 
back again in verse 26 to say dead; which the aforesaid 
scribe could not possibly alter there, as it is joined also with a 
' body : ' nor very easily in verse 17. 

So much for this new Greek version. As for the English, 
it is simply not true, and absurd ; for the most lively faith 
cannot help being ' apart from works ' when the man is not 
working, which he cannot be always. They might as well 
call a fig-tree barren and dead every winter. But if he 
never does good works, then he or his faith is without works, 
in the English language, and is barren, dead, and no better 
than ' the devils,' who believe and ' tremble ' — I beg the 
Revisers' pardon — ' shudder.' There's a word to break 
several of their prescribed rules for to introduce and to 
apply to devils ! ' Tremble ' for fear of God, is used scores 
of times all over the Bible as the translation of various 
Greek and (I suppose) Hebrew words, and it has by usage 
a less physical and a more figurative meaning than * shudder,' 
and even more so now than of old. But (f>pi<raov<ri is 
unique here in the N. T., and so the Revisers* principles would 
not allow them to miss the chance of giving us an unique 
English one for it, though the Greek-English dictionaries 
give both 'shudder and tremble,' and the Greek-Latin 
'horreo,' and Shakspeare, 'God's name and power thou 
tremblest at' (2 Hen. VI. i. 4). We also 'shudder' with 
cold. ' Shudder ' is the proper translation for ^pl<r(r(o when 
it means ' with cold,' which is one of its senses in all the 
dictionaries, though of course not here. So in every way 
the idea of ' shuddering devils ' is only ludicrous, and 
will always sound so in this place where solemnity is 
specially required. Moreover, as it is a new word for the 
Bible, I add that in modern usage we ' shudder ' at hearing of 
other people's sufferings, but 'tremble' at the fear of our 


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XcjpU. Hebrews YA. 2^, 151 

own,* though I admit that it was not so always. Are we 
to have in the revised Psalms, I wonder, ' The earth shud* 
' dered and was still,* and ' Shudder thou earth at the presence 
' of the Lord ? ' Those are enough to show the difference, 
though no definition could express it. I will not examine 
here any more of their exploits with xoaplsy of which not one 
is better and most of them clearly worse than the A. V. 
' without.' Rom. iii. 2 1 is a lovely specimen in another 
way besides ; ' apart from the law a righteousness of God 
' hath been manifested j' and so we have ^a wisdom' in 
I Cor. ii. 6, and ' an eternal gospel,' Rev. xiv. 6 ; and 
John XV. 5, according to R. V., means that when Jesus was 
or is away, ' apart from me,' his followers can do nothing, 
instead of ' without me ye can do nothing,' which everybody 
understands, and it is plainly right. 

xi. 29. The Revisers think it necessary to display their 
accuracy by altering ' which the Egyptians assaying to do 
' were drowned,' into ' were swallowed up ' : an alteration 
utterly frivolous, if right : and misleading too ; for it sug- 
gests the fate of ' Korah and all his company ' rather than of 
' Pharaoh and his host.^ But, with all respect for their scholar- 
ship, is it right ? KaraTrtVo) means to drink or suck up ; 
which no doubt involves swallowing, but it implies a fluid 
operation, which ' swallowing up ' does not : /.^., in such a 
case as this, it implies drowning, as the A. V. says, while 
the R. V. does not. The earth might have ' opened her 
' mouth and swallowed up ' the Egyptians before they reached 
the sea. So the A. V. is really more precise and ' faithful,' both 
to Greek and history, than the R. V. with all its pretension. 

• Five minutes after I had written that, I accidentally opened 
* Dickens's Letters,' who certainly knew English, and was very par- 
ticular about it, at ' I shudder at the distresses that come of these 
unavailing risings* somewhere abroad. 


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152 Hebrews xi. 39: xii. i, 2, 3. 

xi. 39. What is the meaning of ' these all having had 

* witness borne to them through their faith,' both here 
and in other places in this chapter ? The A. V. * having 
' obtained a good report through faith/ or 'through their faith,' 
is sense, and agrees with the manifest sense (and R. V.) of 
fmpTvpovixivovs in Acts vi. 3, and elsewhere. If the Revisers 
say ' having obtained a good report ' means the same as 
' having had witness borne to them,* why could they not 
leave it, instead of introducing a new phrase which is 
incomplete and almost unintelligible ? 

xii. I. Their accuracy descends even to the changing of 
w into t, or ' wherefore ' into ' therefore,* in the first word 
here, which must strike every one with admiration. 

xii. 2. Although there is no article to ' shame ' in the 
Greek, it is clearly wrong to alter such a saying as ' he 

* endured the cross, despising the shame,' into ' despising 
' shame.* It was ' the * shame of the cross that the writer 
meant to describe Jesus as despising, whatever reason he 
may have had for not using the Greek article. Nobody 
would so speak of it in English. 

xii. 3. Here is another conversion of sense into nonsense by 
a new reading. What is the meaning of ' consider him that 
' hath endured such gainsaying of sinners against themselves *? 
It is easy enough to understand ' him that endured such 
' contradiction of sinners against himself ' (A. V.) ; but not 
this new version, founded on a new reading of lavrouj; nor 
why gainsaying is better than contradiction, for gainsaying is 
only saying against : and so is contra-diction. The Revisers 
admit that ' many authorities * give ^avroi; (himself), but they 
prefer lavrovs, on their principles of disregarding intrinsic 
prob^ility, and of the probability of the improbable, the 
irrational, and the incomprehensible in MSS. I cannot say 
that in these cases the R. V. is likely to be of much use 


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Hebrews xii. 7, 12, 14. 153 

even as a commentary, except as a warning to any future 
Revisers : as some people's advice is generally useful, if you 
take care to do the contrary. 

xii. 7. I wonder whether anybody knows what the 
Revisers mean by saying * it is for chastening that ye 
'endure/ instead of the A. V. 'if ye endure chasten- 
' ing God dealeth with you as with sons,* which is intel- 
ligible enough and accords with all the context. They 
have chosen to adopt ds instead of c!, and can do nothing 
with it when they have got it, either in the way of 
making sense or even a bond fide translation. The straight- 
forward translation is ' ye endure * or else ' endure ye,' 
unto chastening. Even that, absurd as it is, is not so bad 
as the R. v., which says that chastening is the object for 
which we endure or live, whether its inventors meant that 
or something else. 

xii. 12. ' Palsied knees ' instead of ' feeble ' is another ot 
their semi-professional amendments. No doubt itapaX^Kvixiva 
can mean paralyzed or palsied 5 but it may also mean 
loosened or disabled, or become feeble in any other way j and 
why is a general word which embraces all of them, and a 
word suited to a sentence like that, to be paralyzed 
into a feeble and flat technicality, which was certainly not 
meant, and is always fatal to grandeur of diction ? 

xii. 14. The alteration of ' follow — holiness without which 
' no man shall see the Lord ' into ' follow the sanctification^ 
certainly looks right etymologically. But if ' sanctification ' is 
to be understood in its usual theological sense, of being ' sancti- 
'fied by the Holy Ghost ' (Rom. xv. 16), or ' through the 
'offering of the body of Jesus Christ * (Heb. x. 10), or 'by 
' God the Father* (Jude i. i.), it could hardly be spoken of 
with ' peace * as a thing to be ' followed,* and contrasted 
with several moral faults immediately afterwards. If on the 


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154 Hebrews xii. 21 : xiil. i. 

other hand it means sanctifying ourselves as far as possible, 
then the A. V. translation ' follow peace with all men, and 
holiness^ gives the true meaning according to our idiom, and 
the R. V. does not. ' The holiness,' if the Greek article 
need be given, means ' that holiness without which no man 
shall see the Lord,* and therefore the article is not wanted, 
and is unnatural. Here I observe the Revisers have been 
unable to give xi^pls their favourite translation of ' apart 
from,* and have to be content with ' without,* which is 
another reason why they should have left it so in other 
places, on their own principles. 

xii. 21. I hope the improvement of ' so terrible was the 
* sight * into ' so fearful was the appearance * is appreciated 
as it deserves by the admirers of precision, who I suppose 
object to a thing seen being called a sight ; and that they can 
give a satisfactory explanation of the difference between the 
two versions. In the same way at verse 28 they change ' we 
' may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear * 
into ' we ijiay offer service well-pleasing to God with rever- 
' ence and awe.' The superior ' felicity of diction ' of this 
improvement must be evident to any ears, and the difference 
of meaning to any understanding. 

xiii. I. They may have some reason that I am not aware 
of for reducing ipikabek^ia to ' love of the brethren ' from 
the ' brotherly love ' of the A. V., and of dictionaries ; and 
for raising hospitality into ' showing love unto strangers ; * 
and that in excess of the logic of the sentence, which says 
that ' thereby some have entertained angels unawares.' 
But 'thereby' exactly suits 'be not forgetful to entertain 
' strangers,' as the A. V. has it, and does not at all involve 
love of them : nor does </)t\o^€i'ta necessarily mean any more 
than ' hospitality.' But the temptation to construe two such 
words as nearly alike as possible was irresistible to such 


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Hebrews xiii. 5, 7. 155 

lovers of uniformity and denouncers of the Translators' 
variety and inconsistency. They do not care for the much 
greater inconsistency of first limiting ' brotherly love ' to 
' the brethren,' and then extending it, past all other people, 
to strangers. The A. V. avoids all this confusion, and 
gives the true meaning perfectly. 

xiii. 5. This is no doubt a difficult case to deal with 
satisfactorily. ' Let your conversation be without covetous- 
'ness' (A. V.), though much more literal than the R. V., 
may certainly be misleading now from 'conversation' in 
the old sense having become obsolete, and there being no 
good substitute for it. But I am not at all sure that the 
Bishop of Lincoln is not right in preferring the retention of 
the old word. If any is to be substituted for it, ' way of life ' is 
generally thought the best, and is unquestionably better than 
the ' turn of mind,' into which the marginists want to turn 
it, with their usual peculiar felicity. But that would hardly do 
here, and the R. V. text more discreetly adopts the quite 
unliteral translation of ' be ye free from the love of money * 
for a(f)ikapyvpos 6 rpoTtos^ though the single word &(t>iXapyvpot, 
would have said that, and ' be not fond of money ' would 
have been just as accurate a translation, and simpler, and 
therefore I think, better. Nor can I imagine why ' we 
' may boldly say ' (A. V.) is not as good in every way as 
'with good courage we say' (R. V.); which, as usual, 
spoils the rhythm and the strength for a dull phrase which 
nobody would think of using. 

xiii. 7. This verse is still more unsatisfactory. ' Remem- 
' ber them that had rule over you ' is, at any rate a conver- 
sion of a present tense, fiyovfi^voDV^ into a very past : I sup- 
pose it is for their usual reason of sacrificing everything to 
the coming aorist i\d\rj(ravj which the A. V. rationally 
translates ' who havf spoken,* They cannot say that 


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156 Hebrews xiii. 7, 14. 

* remember ' implies the past ; for we may be told equally 
well to remember the present ' and imitate them/ They 
seem to have forgotten the cases where they have made 
actual nonsense by refusing to give a past sense to 
present participles joined with verbs of unquestionably past 
meaning. We have frequently seen by this time 
that the Revisers' aoristic theory cannot always override 
common sense: much less where it has to override a 
present tense as well. Then, keeping up the idea of 
the past, they change 'whose faith follow, considering 

* the end of their conversation * into ' considering the issue 

* of their life^ imitate their faith.* Whether they intended 
that to mean their death or not, most people will so under* 
•tand it. If they did they [had better have said so more 
plainly and simply ; and if not, as the margin implies, they 
should have said what they do mean. I have no idea what that 
is ; nor is it my business to attempt new translations of diffi- 
cult passages for them : nor to guess why the old phrase of 
'strange doctrines* was changed into the strange one of 
' strange teachings,* in verse 9. And the judicious mar- 
ginist displays himself again by suggesting the highly rational 
version of ' walking in meats,* whatever that may mean. 

xiii. 14. The alteration of ' here we have no continuing 
' city, but we seek one to come ' — a perfect sentence — into 
•uch a thing as this, ' we have not here an abiding city, but 
' we seek after the city which is to come,' is perhaps not 
more clumsy or unnecessary than many others. But it 
involves a peculiar bit of pedantry in English which some of 
the most ignorant of critics delight in (though I do not 
impute that reason to the Revisers for adopting it here, for I 
suppose they did it to follow the Greek), viz., the absurd 
notion that it is wrong to say such things as ' we have no 
' continuing city,' but that we ought to say ' not any,* or 


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Hebrews :^\\u 14. 157 

* not a city,' as the case may be. Hitherto the English 
Bible has been considered decisive authority for any usage 
or phrase that has not since become quite obsolete; and 
here as well as in a hundred other places in the A. V. we 
have that authority for the simple negative ' no city,' for 
instance, instead of that stupid division of it which some 
half-educated writers have set up and worship — just the kind 
of people who make havoc of their who's and whom's, and 
write such things as ' seldom or ever,' and call twice a week 
'bi-weekly' instead of 'semi-weekly' (if they will use 
such words), and write ' now and again ' for the old ' now 
' and then,' which everybody says, and so on. Returning 
to the Revisers for the last time in this epistle, I should 
like to know why an ' abiding city ' is any better than a 
' continuing city.' ' That which is to come,' is more accu- 
rate in that it represents a definite city ; but ' the one to 
' come' would have done that just as well, and there cannot 
be the smallest doubt what ' one to come ' means, and it 
is more solemn and emphatic, and sounds infinitely better. 

It is the feshion to say that the Revisers have made more 
improvements in the Epistles than in the Gospels and Acts. 
I have not examined them enough to form an opinion 
thereon ; but I see that the number of changes which I have 
noticed as distinctly objectionable is rather greater per 
chapter on the average in this one epistle than in the one 
gospel that I have gone through. I suppose they are each 
a fair specimen of their class ; and I was rather inclined to 
pass over defects which I was tired of observing so often, as 
I went on, than to notice more of them. 


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The Epistle to the Hebrews has required so much more 
notice than I expected that I must treat the book of Reve- 
lation as briefly as I can. It is said there are 2467 altera- 
tions in the 407 verses, or above 6 a verse ; and 633 Greek 
ones. But I must only notice very few of them. As the 
passages which I shall examine will speak for themselves, I 
will not occupy any time with preliminary remarks, except 
this, that the character and language of this book is certain 
beyond all others to be injured by unnecessary meddling from 
any hands of inferior skill in writing English to the old 
Translators, to whose work one is almost inclined to apply 
the denuntiations of the last verse but two of the Revelation 
itself, except where adding to or taking away from their 
words is absolutely necessary. 

i. 5. ' Unto him that loveth us, and he made us [to be] 
' a kingdom [to be] priests unto his God,' is certainly not 
English. The A. V. ' and made us kings and priests,' is. 

i. 8. 'I am the Alpha and the Omega' can of course be 
defended by saying that they have each the Greek article ; 
and I heard an advocate of the R. V. solemnly assure his 
hearers that it was used to explain that God was not Alpha 
and Omega in the natural sense — /.^., of two Greek letters — 
but in a figurative sense, as they are the first and the last 
letters in that alphabet ; and I daresay it was right to article 
them accordingly in Greek, just as we say ' the « i ^ of a 


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Rev. 1. 8, 15. 159 

science ' in English. But it by no means follows that there 
was any need for it in translating into another language. 
Obviously there was not in order to prevent misapprehension ; 
for nobody who has the least idea of what Alpha and Omega 
are could possibly make any mistake in such a case ; and 
nobody else could have any idea at all about it ; nor can 
' the Alpha and the Omega ' convey any kind of notion 
different from those words unarticled. Therefore this was 
not the sort of change authorised by the commission under 
which the Revisers acted ; and everybody who has ears to 
hear can feel that it has spoilt the sentence for nothing, both 
here and in chapter xxi. 

i. 15. I should like to know the reason why they have 
turned the ' fine brass * of the A. V. into ' burnished brass/ 
for yaXKokipavi^^ an unique word, which seems to puzzle 
the lexicographers, none of whom appear to have guessed 
at that meaning for it among sundry others. ' Fine brass ' 
at any rate is innocent, meanirig nothing special ; but bur-^ 
nishing is a special operation, and unfortunately is performed 
cold, and has no relation whatever to being burning hot or 
melting, which are the meanings of the word they have 
translated * refined in a furnace ; ' of which participle the 
case is doubtful according to the different readings ; and the 
one they have adopted, TT€Trvp(t)fjiivr]s, is not intelligible, or 
translateable, as ^cTrvpco/x^i^tp would be — a very small differ- 
ence from the old TrcTrvpco/ncVot, which agreed with 'feet.* 
But unfortunately again brass is not ' refined * by melting, 
as gold and silver are, but is a compound metal or alloy, 
made by melting. So altogether this translation can only 
be a guess, and is clearly a bad one. Probably the A. V. 
was no more, but it had the advantage of inventing 
nothing and being sense. Another guess was that a metal 
elsewhere called dptixaXKos was meant, which was here 


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i6o liev. 1. 20: 11. 2, 4, 8. 

supposed to be brass of Lebanon. The same change is 
made in ii. 18. 

i. 20. As it is perfectly clear from the context that the 
seven candlesticks were not only some seven churches, but 
' the seven churches * mentioned just before, it is absurd to 
strike out the second 'the* of the A. V., as if to set people 
guessing after some other seven churches. And it is really 
worse than that when you read aloud the whole verse, ' The 
'seven stars are the angels (ayyeXot only) of the seven 

' churches, and the seven candlesticks are seven churches/ 

The sense clearly requires ' the,* and the emphasis ought to 
come on the last 'are;* and the A. V. allows this: the 
Revisers choose to make it impossible. 

ii. 2. Which is the best English, even grammatically, 
apart from idiomatic force : ' didst try them that call them- 
selves apostles, and they are not, and didst find them false* 
(R. v.), or, 'hast tried them that call themselves apostles 
and are not, and hast found them liars' ? If ' and they * had 
been ' who ' or ' when ' the sentence would have been con- 
tinuous and all right, whereas ' and they ' makes an awk- 
ward parenthesis for nothing. There is no word requiring 
the insertion of the ' they ' in the Greek, yj/evheis is used 
as a substantive for ' liars * in classical Greek, and by the 
Revisers themselves in xxi. 8, and elsewhere. So they need 
not have been so squeamish about leaving a good strong 
word here much better than their own. 

ii. 4. Here is another sentence sacrificed to the aoristic 
theory : ' thou hast left thy first love,* is turned into ' thou 
didst leave ; * which the Ephesian church might have done 
and yet returned to it ; but it manifestly had not, for it is 
immediately told that it is fallen and must repent, or its candle- 
stick shall be removed. 

ii. 8. They alter ' which was dead and is alive * into— 


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Rev. ii. lo, 13, 21, 26. 161 

'lived [again]/ evidently for the same reason. But, as they 
cannot do without introducing the word 'again,' or the 
literal translation of the aorist is insufficient to convey the 
meaning, they have themselves proved that they had better 
have left the old word which expressed it perfectly, while this 
does not. For ' lived again ' may mean only ' lived again 
for a short time,' like Lazarus and other raised people, 
whereas the essence of the charges to the churches is that 
Jesus was dead and is alive again, and speaking to them, 
or to St. John for them. 

ii. 10. Two 'about to's' substituted for 'shall.' I 
remarked on this stupid alteration at Mat. xi. 14.. Unless 
the Revisers can make out a real difference it is every way 
wrong because both awkward and unnecessary. 

ii. 13. If ' the Greek text here is somewhat uncertain,' 
as they tell us in the margin, surely they might have left 
the A. V. alone, or been contented with ' Antipas my faith- 
' ful witness,' instead of introducing such an unnatural phrase 
as ' my witness, my faithful one.* 

ii. 21. Here again we have them riding their hobby of 
refusing to use ' will ' in its proper sense of willing, and 
persisting in putting ' willeth to' instead, as if any human 
being ever used such language except them. They were 
not set to reform the English language but to write it. And 
so I say of ' each one of you * for ' every one ' in v. 23, and 
sundry other places. 

ii. 26. ' He that overcometh, and he that keepeth my 
works, to him will I give authority* (R. V.) To which of 
them, or to both, or must they both be one ? All this 
absurd confusion and bad English the Revisers have intro- 
duced in one of their fits of article-worship, not worth 
explaining. The Translators did infinitely better by simply 
saying ' He that overcometh and keepeth my works, to him 


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i62 Rev. Hi. 2, 3, 4, 5, 10. 

^ will I give power,* which of course is the real meariing, and 
good both in sense and sound. 

iii. 2. What in the world is the meaning of * I have 
' found no works of thine fulfilled before my God ' ? * I have 

* not found thy works perfect before God ' (A. V.) is intel- 
ligible enough ; and surely anybody can see, as the Trans- 
lators did, that a Greek word which may be translated 
' fulfilled ' may also be translated ' perfect * when ' perfect * 
makes sense and ^fulfilled' nonsense. How do you fulfil 
works ? I suppose the Revisers can tell us. * I have not 
^ found ' is also more literal than the new version. 

iii. 3, 4, 5. Here again are two aorists manifestly used 
in the perfect sense by the Apostle and the Translators, but 
turned into the long-past of the Revisers. * Remember 

* how thou hast received and heard,' is turned by them into 

* remember how thou hast received and didst hear.' And 
' thou hast a few names in Sardis which have not defiled 
^ their garments, and they shall walk with me,^ becomes in 

the R. V * which did not defile their garments, and 

' they shall walk with me.* In the first of these the receiv- 
ing and hearing were plainly synchronous ; and in the second 
it is plain that the non-defilement had lasted up to the pre- 
sent time, and therefore the perfect was the proper tense, as 
the A. V. has it. St. John seems to have cared even less 
than St. Matthew for the rules of the Revisers. And I 
wonder what is supposed to be the superiority of * shall be 
' arrayed in white garments' over ' shall be clothed in white 
' raiment,' that the A. V. need be altered for that. 

iii. 10. I am glad to see that here they do translate 
fi€XXov(Trjs €px€(r$ai, not as ' about to come,' but ' to come,' 
as I suggested in Matt. xx. 22 ; and /xcAAo) ^/xeVat, ' I will 
spue thee out of my mouth,' at verse 16. Why could they 
not do it before ? There is really more justification for th§ 


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Rev. ill. 12, 17 : iv. i. 163 

* about to * in the sense of v. 10 than in some other places 
where they have introduced it, 

iii. 12. How much grander is the repetition in the A. V., 
indicated as an interpolation in the usual way, ' and [I will 
write upon him] my new name/ than the Revisers' ' and 
mine own new name.' The whole verse should be read to 
appreciate the difference. 

iii. 17. Because there is the article before TdKalTroapos 
they give us this wretched alteration of the A. V., 'thou art 
'/A^ wretched one and miserable and poor and blind and naked.* 
If they would thrust in those two new words at all, surely 
' one ' ought to have put at the end of all the adjectives, as 
it comes at the beginning of them all in the Greek — if the 
article there really means 'one' at all. But in fact the A. V. 
is far more emphatic and better represents the substantial 
meaning of the original. The R. V. is, as usual, such a 
sentence as no English-speaking man would utter. 

iv. I . Again I have to ask what sort of English this is : ' The 
first voice which I heard, [a voice] as of a trumpet speaking 
with me, one saying,' &c. The A. V. is, ' The first voice 
which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me ; 
which said,' &c., and that is both sense and good English. 
The excuse for the alteration is that they have adopted a 
new reading of the Greek, in which the ' saying,' or ' which 
said,' \iyoDVy does not agree in gender with the ' voice of the 
trumpet ;' and so they invent that ' one ' to keep them apart — 
and to make bad English. The new reading may be right 
or wrong for what I can tell ; but still it must have been 
the ' voice * that was heard, and not ' one ' without or 
' apart from ' a voice, as the Revisers would say. So that 
second ' voice ' and ' one ' are quite unnecessary interpola- 
tions, for no use whatever but to make a piece of bad and 
clumsy English as usual. I should like also to know why 

M 2 


by Google 

164 Rev. iv. 4, 6. 

they are so fond of substituting * straightway ' for * imme- 
diately' and 'forthwith.' The pedantic explanation of it in 
the Prefoce is none at all for such passages as this. Of 
course evOiois is ' straightway ; * but what then, unless 
* immediately ' and 'forthwith' are something different? 

iv. 4. In like manner 6p6voi are not the less ' seats ' 
when necessary because 6p6vos is a throne. I do not know 
whether any other Greek word would properly express the 
distinction which English was able to express so well in the 
hands of our great masters of it, between ' the great throne ' 
and the minor ones called ' seats.' The Revisers have 
sunk that well-made distinction : not even an article will do 
it for them. They say ' the thrones,' when they only mean 
the minor ones, and so make quite unnecessary confusion, 
which one has to see through by reflecting on the context. 
This is just the difference between working by discretion 
and by rules — by which no great thing was ever done or 
ever will be. 

iv. 6. The change of ' beasts ' into ' living creatures * 
seemed generally approved of by the first reviewers. But 
when they come to be spoken of presently afterwards as 
' first living creature,' ' second creature,' and so on, it 
sounds too like stage directions ; and when ' the living 
creatures ' come over and over again, one gets rather sick 
of them, as of all artificial phrases, and inclined to wish 
for the simple old ' beasts ' back again. The reason 
that has been given for approving of the change is a 
singularly bad one ; viz., that it was desirable to dis- 
tinguish these, which we may call the innocent beasts, from 
the two noxious ones who come afterwards, especially in 
the 13th chapter. For the Greek for those is 6r}p[ov^ which 
means *a wild beast,' and might very well have been 
translated so : only it has not, though in Mark i. i^ 


by Google 

Rev. IV. 9, lo : v. i. 165 

it has. And it is not a prosaic artificial expression that 
will not bear repeating often, like ' living creatures ' : of 
which even the Revisers themselves at last cannot abide the 
frequent recurrence, and drop them occasionally into 
' creatures,' which are still more vapid. And after all 
C(^ov is not a ' creature ' etymologically any more than it is 
a beast, but less so. Altogether the more I look at it the 
more I prefer the ' beasts.* 

iv. 9, 10. It is very difficult to believe that the present 
tenses of the A. V. here do not represent the meaning of 
the original better than the futures of the R. V., though 
they are the hteral translation. Their 'giving glory and 
honour to him that sitteth on the throne,* are plainly 
identical with their saying, * Holy, holy, holy. Lord God 
Almighty,* which the four beasts do continually. And if 
so, the four and twenty elders, who * shall fall down before 
' him that sitteth on the throne,* are continually doing so ; 
and so the A. V. rightly says they do, and not they shall. 
Again, * they were^ and were created,' is manifestly not so 
good as ' they are and were created.* Even if the new 
ffaav is right instead of the old eio-t (which I daresay it is not) 
it surely ought to be understood as ' have been,* especially 
as that verb possesses no perfect tense of its own, and that 
is rightly represented by ' they are.* 

V. I. If they were not satisfied with ' a book sealed with 
seven seals,* I wonder they had not ears to suggest ' sealed-up 
with seven seals,' instead of that horrible ' close-sealed with 
seven seals.' Let no worshipper of literalism who knows no 
Greek fancy that there is any word for ' close ' : it is only 
the Revisers' pleasant way of expressing that the book was 
sealed up, as we say, and had not merely seven seals ap- 
pended to it like an indenture. Perhaps ' sealed up ' was 
too vernacular and idiomatic for them ; for one cannot prove 


by Google 

i66 Rev. V. 7 : vi. 9, 10. 

grammatically that it means fastening so that the book could 
not be opened. But even dictionaries are content with it. 

V. 7. ' And he came, and he taketh it,' is their idea of 
English again : because they will persist in refusing a past 
sense to any past tense except an aorist, or, as we saw just 
now, an imperfect (ijo-ai;), though we have frequently seeit 
that their refusal makes nonsense and bad English. ' Came' 
is right 5 and the margin goes so far as to indulge us with 

* hath taken,' which is at any rate literal translation, and 

* taketh ' is not ; ' took * is more than they can allow for 
a perfect tense. Their repetition of ' he ' is peculiarly clumsy 
too, and is not in the Greek. 

vi. 9. ' Underneath the altar * for ' under the altar ' is 
another of their funny alterations. If ' altar ' had been absent 
there but mentioned before, one could understand their say- 
ing ' underneath * instead of ' under it,' because that is a 
common use of the word ; but the value of ' underneath ' 
instead of * under ' is inscrutable. What is it to us that the 
Greek is not vtto, the commonest word for ' under,' but 
VTroKciro), which means no more ? 

vi. 10. But that is nothing compared with altering 'they 
cried with a loud voice, saying. How long, O Lord, holy and 
true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood ? ' into 

* they cried with a great voice, saying. How long, O Master^ 
the holy and true, dost thou not,' &c. ? Yet, they them- 
selves put 'master' in many places for SiSao-KoAof, not 
^eo-7ror»/s, which is the word here. And even if they had not, 
everybody can see that 'Lord ' is the only proper word to use 
in English here ; and also that the article after it spoils instead 
of strengthening it. The A. V. is not the same thing as 
' O holy and true Lord ' by any means. The transposition 
is our way of intensifying it : the article was the Greek way. 
But all that fine idiomatic perception or instinct of the Trans- 


by Google 

Rev. vi. 12 : vii. 9. 167 

lators seems thrown away on their revisers and correctors by 
rules and articles. The common word * despotic ' is enough 
to tell everybody that h^imor-qs is not the weakest but the 
strongest of all that class of words ; and hihiaKoKoS'^ master, 
or rather, * teacher/ is the weakest j Kvptoy, which they do 
translate ' Lord ' everywhere, is used also for angels (vii. 14) 
and lords of vineyards and the like, all inferior to Seo-Trdrrjs. 

vi. 12. 'The whole moon became as blood.' Did it ? 
What sort of a vision could represent that ? The sun only 
became black, which is intelligible enough ; but turning the 
whole solid moon into something like blood, by the insertion 
of a new reading, oKx]^ is a little startling. Could not the 
ingenuity of these four and twenty scholars make another 
guess, at a rather more probable meaning for their o\r\ ? 
What do they think of the/uU moon ? I, who do not pre-^ 
tend to be much of a scholar, and am only furbishing up a 
rusty old sword for this easy job, made that guess 
in a minute ; and on looking for some confirmation 
of it, I found in the dictionary that Pindar used it so. And 
that would be more striking than ' the moon ' of the 
A. v., which might be only a crescent, and would square 
exactly with the sun (which must be full) becoming black, 
whereas the other idea is rather disgusting than impressive. 
* The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into 
blood,' is quite different, being figurative altogether, which 
' the sun becoming black * is not. And so is * the sun went 
down into the sea like blood, no bigger than the moon,' in 
*The Antient Mariner.* Another possible translation is 
' the moon became as blood all over ; ' but that is much too 
idiomatic for the Revisers, and I do not propose it. 

vii. 9. Passing over for the sake of brevity sundry amend* 
ments of the usual kind, I think it worth while to notice the 
repeated change of ' all nations and kindreds * into ' tribes : * 


by Google 

i68 Rev. vii. 9, rj, 14. 

which seems peculiarly injudicious because ' tribes ' have 
acquired a special meaning in the Bible which was certainly 
not intended by <^vkaL in the Revelation, any more than ia 
Mat. xxiv. 30, where ' the tribes of the earth ' speaks for 
itself. ' Kindreds ' is a capital word for expressing the real 
meaning, and there it is : so it was in every way a mistake 
to alter it into one which implies a wrong meaning instead of 
the right one. That precise and tasteful marginist takes 
care always to remind us that ' for ever and ever * is only a 
sort of licence for * unto the ages of ages.' We will try to 
remember it. 

vii. 13, 14. Here is more mixing of past and present 
tenses, from the usual cause, of persisting in making distinc- 
tions between aorists and perfects which it is quite clear 
that St. John did not regard. The consequence is that 
instead of that grand passage in the A. V., all in the past 
tense, as anyone capable of writing English would write it, 
we have a present put for the Greek perfect, and past tenses 
for the two aorists all huddled together in confusion, and 
new pronouns interpolated, and * my lord ' (/rtJpie \xov) sub- 
stituted for that striking ' Sir ' addressed to the angel in the 
A. V. Here is the old one, * What are these which are 
' arrayed in white robes, and whence came they ? And I 
'said unto him. Sir, thou knowest. And he said unto me, 

* These are they which came out of great tribulation, and 
' have washed their robes and made them white in the blood 
' of the Lamb.* The improved new one is, ' These which 

* are arrayed in the white robes, who are they, and whence 

* came they ? And he said to me, These are they which 

* come out of the great tribulation, and they washed their 

* robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.* 
No pretence of a change in the meaning, you see, and yet 
every trace of rhythm and grandeur melted out of this 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 

Rev. vHi. 1,9. 169 

amorphous recomposition. In the 15th verse too we 
have the Revisers' fevourite alteration of ^he shall 

* lead them ' into ' he shall guide them/ vvrhich is more 
prosaic and no better in any way, * God shall wipe away all 

* tears from their eyes,' is in the same way flattened into 
' every tear.' 

viii. I. 'And when he had opened the seventh seal there 

* was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour ' 
(A. V.) does not seem a very bad translation for kyiv^ro cnyTf. 
But we have seen before that the Revisers have their own 
notions about that verb, and that whatever it is to be trans- 
lated it is never ' was.* Here therefore they turn it into ' there 

* followed a silence/ They might just as well and more 
accurately have said ' was made,' or ' began to take place,' ot 
something equally dull. I suppose no one will pretend that 
there is any real difference between * was * and ' followed,* 
even if some ears are insensible to the greater solemnity of 

* was ' in this place ; and of * silence ' than ' a silence.' 

viii. 9. Whenever the Revisers have got themselves into 
a difficulty by their determination to divide a compound 
expression for the sake of an article, they try to get out of it 
by interpolating the word ' even,' and sometimes without 
being particular whether it makes sense or not. Here they 
have written, 'there died the third part of the creatures 
' which were in the sea, [even] they that had life ; * the 
grammatical meaning of which is that the third part only of 
the creatures in the sea had life, and that they all died. I 
need hardly say that cannot be the meaning of the original, 
though it is the bare and naked construing of it, and I do 
not suppose that the Revisers think it is. I see Winer 
notices this sentence as among the peculiar ' solecisms in 
' government and apposition in the Apocalypse.* Of course 
the real meaning of it is that given by the A» V., ' the third 


by Google^ 

170 Rev. viii. 9, 12: ix. 4, 10. 

' part of the creatures which were in the sea and had life, 
died/ The Translators had the sense not to make St. John 
talk nonsense whenever his grammar was peculiar, in 
making sudden breaks in the construction, or using words 
not grammatically agreeing with any previous ones, or when 
he ignored the rules of classical Greek about articles and 
tenses. The Revisers have not. 

viii. 12. Nobody can doubt too that the A. V. expresses 
the real meaning by saying, ' the third part of the sun was 

* smitten, &c. ; so that the third part of them was darkened ; ' 
and that the R. V. does not express it by saying, . . • ' so 
' that the third part of them should be darkened,' though that 
again may be defended as literal construing, like most of their 
other mistranslations ; which these all are, for practical pur- 
poses, though not for a mere display of scholarship which 
nobody wanted from them. 

ix. 4. Why should they flatten * it was commanded them * 
into ' it was said unto them ' ? ' Ordered 'is a recognised 
meaning of ippi$r\ according to passages from classical 
writers cited for it in dictionaries, and it is evidently meant 

ix. 10. Here they have followed a new reading which 
alone produces a very odd result ; and they have made it 
still odder. By transposing koL and iji; they alter ' they 

* (the locusts) had tails like unto scorpions, and stings in their 

* tails, and their power was to hurt men five months,' into, 
' they have tails like unto scorpions, and stings 5 and in 
' their tails is their power to hurt men five months 5' as if 
we were perfectly familiar with their power to hurt men 
for five months somehow, but required informing that that 
power lies in their tails. That last change comes not only 
from the transposition, but from the Revisers' translating 
i] i^ovaria ' their power j' which no doubt it may be when 


by Google 

Rev. ix. lo: x. i, 2, 3. 171 

circumstances require it, but not to produce such results as 

Their change of * the bottomless pit * into ' the abyss ' 
throughout the N. T. will of course be noticed by everybody; 
and everybody, including the Revisers, will be puzzled to ex- 
plain what he thinks the abyss means and the bottomless pit 
does not mean, especially as the literal translation of afiva-aos 
is * bottomless/ There is no such excuse for it as there is 
for translating, or rather, non-translating, fiStys, Hades some- 
times or always; viz., that 'hell' has a double meaning; 
but it was very absurd to do so in Matt. xvi. 18 and Luke x. 
15, which I remarked on before. 

x. I. What a foolish expression * The rainbow was upon 
' his head ' is. We speak of ' the rainbow ' in a scientific 
sense, as in the common Cambridge question, 'Explain 
the rainbow ;' but it was not a scientific rainbow, or any 
particular rainbow, that St, John was speaking of;' and 
whatever it might be right to say in Greek, it is simply 
wrong and ridiculous in English to speak of an angel with 
the rainbow on his head. 

xi. 2. ' The court which is without the temple 
'leave out, and measure it not* (A. V.) is good English, 
and cannot be mistaken. The Revisers think fit to im- 
prove it into, ' the court which is without the temple, 

* leave without^ and measure it not :' that, according to 
English use, means ' the court which is already outside the 

* temple leave outside ;' which is absurd. Whether the 
true reading is Ifco or i^oiOev can make no difference in the 
sense. Is ' leave out ' in the sense of ' omit ' too idiomatic 
for them ? or do they mean something entirely different, 
and if so, what ? 

xi. 3. Why need they make nonsense of this also, by 
striking out [power], which is evidently implied, from the 


by Google 

17^ Rev. XI, 3 : xii. ii, 15. 

A. v., * I will give [power] unto my two witnesses and 
* they shall prophesy/ &c. ? They make quite as bold 
insertions of words themselves occasionally. Or they might 
have changed ' and ' into ' that — they shall prophesy.' In 
verse 8, the marginist distinguishes himself once more, by 
suggesting * their carcases' instead of * their dead bodies.' 
Of course he is prepared to expound the difference scientifi- 
cally and theologically. 

xii. ir. We have seen in other places that the Revisers 
will not allow * by ' to stand as a translation of 6to, but 
will alter it into ' because of/ or something of that kind ; 
and so they give us, ' They overcame him because of the 
'blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their 
' testimony/ But were not these the instruments or means 
by which they overcame the dragon ? If they were, * by ' 
is the right translation ; and no technicalities about the use 
of hia in classical Greek (assuming the Revisers to be right 
as to that) can prevail against the obvious meaning of 
St. John. The meaning of simple words can only be 
determined by their use where it is clear, and dictionaries 
must be founded thereon, if they are to be right. 

xii. 15, Any one reading this verse in the R. V. would 
conclude that the A. V. was wrong in repeating the same 
word for the * river * or * flood ' that came out of the 
dragon's mouth and was then to carry away the woman. 
But any one who looks at the Greek will see that it is the 
R. V. that is wroug in that respect, although the Preface 
advocates monotony against the A. V. ' variety,' which it 
calls * inconsistency,' and undoubtedly they seldom enough 
deviate into it. But it would have been better to say * river ' 
with the R. V., as it was a river that came out of the 
dragon's mouth, and then a * flood ' with the A. V., because 
the river was to make a flood to carry off the woman, while 


by Google 

Rev. xiii. i. Diadems. 173 

their paltry *■ stream ' may not be large enough to carry off 
anything — except the grandeur of the passage. 

xiii. I. Though I cannot discuss new readings on the 
ground of evidence, I must say that the alteration of iarTaOrjv 
into iardOny which first makes the dragon 'go away (R. V.) 
' to make war with the rest of the woman's seed/ and then 
straightway 'stand upon the sand of the sea,' instead of 
letting St. John himself 'stand on the sand of the sea 
' and see a beast coming up out of the sea,* tries the maxim 
of credo quia improbabile as strongly as almost any that we 
have had yet ; and I can say no more about it, except what 
I have often said before, that intrinsic probability together 
with any decently good MS authorities ought to prevail 
against intrinsic improbability with somewhat more MS 
authority. I suspect there are temporary, or at any rate per- 
sonal, fashions in MSS, as in most other things j and even 
if there are good reasons for thinking one generally better 
than another, they are all sure to have their own mistakes, 
as they have all been copied by men not infallible, from 
something else. And as for deciding on such things by 
invented rules and ' canons of criticism,' it is not much better 
than trying to write English, or design in architecture or in 
any other art, by rules and principles, which everybody is 
so fond of nowadays ; and we see the consequences. 

xiii. I. I wonder what the Revisers expect or mean to be 
understood by ' ten diadems ' instead of ' crowns ' on the 
horns of the beast, Perhaps they expect none but learned 
people to read all those chapters about the two wild beasts 
(OrjpCa) and the woman that sitteth on the first, as the lec- 
tionary reformers did not think them fit for common use ; 
and then I suppose they expect the learned to know that a 
diadem in Greek meant ' a blue band or fillet worked with 
' white, which went round the turban of a Persian king,' as 


by Google 

174 R^' xiii. I, 3> 5- 

the dicdonaiy says. Whether they mean all that to be 
understood by it, or diadem in the common English sense of 

* a crown, an emblem of royalty,' is more than I can tell. I 
leave people of common sense to judge which they ought to 
mean, and to enable common readers to understand. And 
if they mean * crowns * they should have left them. 

xiii. 3. They alter his * deadly wound was healed,* into 
his * death-stroke was healed.' What a word to introduce 
into the English Bible ! It does not even appear in Todd's 
Johnson's dictionary, though it does in some more modern 
ones. They were not to introduce new words without 
absolute necessity ; and what was the necessity for this ? 
None, if * deadly wound * means all that was required. At 
least one meaning of a deadly wound is a mortal wound. 
And it is not said here that death was actually caused. The 
head of the wild-beast ' was as though it had been smitten to 

* death ' (R. V.); and though literally the Greek is 'the stroke 
of his death,* that is a figurative sort of expression ; and 
besides, it is immediately followed by * was healed,' which 
distinctly asserts that he did not die ; for dead things are not 

* healed,* but restored to life. So that whatever difference 
there is between 'deadly wound' and 'death-stroke,' it is 
rather in favour of the former as expressing the real meaning. 
A deadly wound may be defined as one that will cause death 
if it is not healed ; and this was healed. But in any case no 
such new word as ' death-stroke ' is a justifiable intrusion. 

xiii. 5. The Revisers having once translated i^ovaia ' au- 
thority ' seem to think they always must, according to their 
principle. And so, because it is right to say ' the dragon 
' gave his authority unto the beast,' they alter 'power was 
'given him to continue forty and two months ' of the Trans- 
lators into ' authority to continue.' But who would talk of 
giving authority to a beast to continue ? If they altered one 


by Google 

Rev. xiii. 6, 10. 175 

word they ought to have altered the other. And in feet 

* continue * is not the right word, though both versions have 
it. The margin here is more correct, though its language 
is dull as usual : ' to do his works during.* I think * leave to 

* act ' (TTot^crat) is a better translation of both words, but the 
A. V. is decidedly better than the R. V. 

xiii. 6. Here is a new phase of ' the heaven * question, 
on which I tried to discover the Revisers' principle at Mat. 
v. 34. Really they might have told it us among so much 
other minute information in the Preface. I am not sure 
that I was right about it after all ; for here we have, ' and 
*he openeth his mouth for blasphemies against God, toblas- 

* pheme his name and his tabernacle, [even] them that dwell 

* in the heaven. Does that mean ' in the sky,' which has 
hitherto been their distinction between the articled and un- 
articled heaven, without reference to the article in Greek, 
assuming that they regard the heaven of the apocalyptic 
visions generally as spiritual, as when in the previous chapter 
they speak of ' war in heaven, between Michael and the 
' dragon ? ' There is not much force or sense in ' blaspheming 
*them that dwell in the sky,* if we knew who they are ; 
there is, in 'blaspheming them that dwell in heaven.' I can 
see no way out of this dilemma, and have no idea what the 
Revisers meant ; but perhaps the ' intelligent reader ' will 
«ome day, when the ' converging reasons ' for this, and a 
great deal more that wants explaining, are explained. 

xiii. 10. The margin tells us that ' the Greek is uncer- 

* tain ; ' and the Revisers increase the obscurity by expunging 
the verb <rvviy€i and substituting no other verb to govern 
aixfxakoxrCavjhyit inserting €ls : and then they invent this inter- 
esting utterance, ' if any man [is] for captivity into captivity 

* he goeth : ' * if any man shall kill with the sword, with the 

* sword must he be killed ; ' which destroys both the anti- 


by Google 

176 Rev. xiii. 10, 13. 

theses of the A. V. — the retributive one in the first half of 
the sentence, and the distributive between the first and second 
half : ' he that leadeth into captivity shall go into captivity : 
'he that killeth WitYi the sword must be killed with the 
' sword ^ ' besides spoiling the rhythm as usual by the trans- 
position or ' fortunate inversion.* I see the two revisers of 
the Greek quote Jer. xv. 2 as a similar text,' such as are for 
' death, to death : such as are for the sword, to the sword 
. . and such as are for the captivity to the captivity.* 

But it is very dissimilar : first, in being a complete distribu- 
tion of the people into different fates; and secondly, in 
having no retribution, as in this text (A.V.). I see also in 
Alford that there are authorities for ' aTTOKTavOfjvai ' instead 
' aTtoKT€V€i^ and he adopted it ; which does make the whole 
verse distributive, like Jer. xv. 2, and so far better than the 
R. V. I do not profess to judge between them ; but if this 
was the best solution the Revisers could invent they had 
better have left the A.V., putting [leadeth into] into italics, 
with their note about the uncertainty of the Greek. 

xiii. 13. We have seen before that they are fond of turning 
the straightforward natural English of the A. V. into this 
style of thing, ' he doeth great signs, that he should even 
' make fire to come down out of heaven : * as if the bringing 
down fire was the consequence of his doing great signs, and 
not one of them. The A. V. is, ' he doeth great wonders, 
* so that he maketh fire to come down from heaven,' which 
means so great wonders that he brings down fire. ' Won- 
' ders * is a perfectly legitimate word for (n^/xeta, and much 
more suitable for doing than ' signs.* The A. V. calls 
them miracles immediately afterwards. In like manner they 
say in xx. 5, 'the rest of the dead lived not until the thousand 
' years should be finished * : which again is Greek, but not 


by Google 

Rev. xiii. i6. 177 

xiii. 16. It is difficult to know what epithet to apply to 
Such destruction of a grand sentence as this : ' and he causeth 

* all, the small and the great and the rich and the poor and 
' the free and the bond, that there be given them a mark 

* on their right hand or upon their forehead ; ' which is 
partly actual bad grammar, and the rest such as a small 
school-boy might write if set to translate this chapter for an 
imposition. A. V. is * and he causeth all, both small and 

* great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in 

* their right hand or in their foreheads ' ; and nothing could 
be better. 

Just about here there comes such a shower of ' evens,' the 
Revisers' favourite stop-gap, that though I adverted to it 
before I must add that I do not find any authority in English 
dictionaries for that kind of use of 'even,' where it intensifies 
nothing, but is just equivalent to what is usually written 
' viz.,' and called * namely.* I know that ' even ^ has a kind 
of Scriptural sound and look about it which the other has 
not ; but it is very seldom (if it is ever) used in that way ; 
and so I do not see that that justifies their continually 
thrusting it in to mend their work, and fill up gaps of their 
own making. Where there is really a break in the Greek 
which does not suit our idiom, the Translators' ' and* is 
infinitely better, and at any rate is English, and attracts no 
special attention, as such supplementary words ought not. 

xiv. 6. Here is another strange-looking transformation : 

* I saw another angel flying in mid-heaven^ having an eternal 
' gospel to proclaim.' * Mid-heaven ' is indeed in Milton, 
like * effulgence,' but it by no means follows that it should 
come into the Bible. If the Revisers would like to have a 
more prosaic authority for it I can tell them that it has very 
old authority in astrology as the name for the south meridian ; 
but I doubt if even that is sufficient to justify them in sub- 



by Google 

178 Rev. xiv. 6, 8, and xviVu 2. 

stituting it for ' the midst of heaven * of the A. V. And 
what in the world is ' an eternal gospel ? ' We know what 

* the everlasting gospel ' is, but this is something quite new, 
and will suggest to common readers that this angel was 
going to ' preach another gospel * (see Gal. i. 8), or at any 
rate that there are some other gospels both eternal and non- 
eternal. Here and everywhere they turn the ' loud voice ' 
of the A. V. into a * great voice,' as if the Greek did not 
mean * loud.' 

xiv. 8 and xviii. 2. Here they have been obliged to do 
something to meet the omission of the Greek for ' city ' 
under a new reading 5 and so instead of * Babylon is fallen, 
' is &Ilen, that great city, because she made all nations drink 

* of the wine of the wrath of her fornication,^ they give us 
this ' fortunate inversion,* ' Fallen, fallen, is Babylon the great, 
' which hath made ' Sec. Here again they are obliged to 

l)reak their own perfect and aoristic rules to translate iTrccre 

* is fallen,' instead of ' fell.* And it is remarkable that 
a perfect tense follows it, * for she hath made to drink.' 
But what are we to say of their transposition of the 
Translators' language ? That is more a question of taste 
than argument ; and I can only say that to mine the 
A. V. is very much the best, and the R. V. unnatural 
and clumsy. At any rate the alteration was unnecessary, 
even if the new reading of ij for otl is right. * Babylon 
^ the great is fallen, is fallen, which hath made all 

* nations' &c., would be just as good translation as theirs 
grammatically, besides being much better in style. The 
order of the words in Greek has nothing to do with their 
proper order in English, and is just as much inverted in the 
rest of this sentence by the R. V. as this is by the A. V. 
In xviii. 2 there was still less necessity, if possible, for the 
same transposition. 


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Rev. XV. 6. ^Angels clothed in Stoned 179 

XV. 6. The most wonderful of all the new readings they 
have adopted (so far as I have observed yet) is \iQov instead 
of \Lvov \ which, if they fairly translated their own Greek 
instead of wresting it to suit that new word, gives us ' seven 

* angels clothed with pure and bright stone and girt about 

* with golden girdles.* Besides its intrinsic absurdity the 
whole description (with the old kivov) is plainly parallel to 
that of the Son of Man in i. 13, even to the girdles, and also 
to the great multitude in white robes in vii. 9, and to the 
bride in xix. 8, all of whom are clothed in linen, and not in 
stone. The Revisers are so sensible of the absurdity that 
they first try to hide it by translating ivbcbvixivoi, ' arrayed * 
instead of * clothed,' which they themselves make it in 
xix. 8 ; and conversely they translate a different word, 
TT€pi,p€fi\rjix4irrjy ' arrayed,' for the woman in xvii. 4 : thus 
twice over deciding against this translation by their own 
rules and practice. And further, rightly judging that even 
this is inadequate to redeem it from absurdity, they foist in 
a gratuitous epithet [precious] before stone, printing it in 
italics to show that it is an insertion, and not part of the 
meaning of \COov : which it never is ; i.e.y \i6os alone with- 
out some adjective never means ' a precious stone/ They 
could hardly have done more to condemn themselves for adopt- 
ing such an impossible reading ; and yet they have ; for the 
margin confesses that it is adopted against ' many ancient 

* authorities,* This is certainly a brilliant specimen of the 
doctrine that the more improbable any reading is that is 
actually found in any old MSS the more probably it is 
right, because nobody would have (consciously) invented 
it : only they forget that mistakes are not generally made 

Though I do not profess to deal with the Greek revision 
on scholastic grounds, I had the curiosity to look what the 

N 2 


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1 8o Rev. XV. 6. 

two Revisers whom the majority followed in these matters 
have to say for this, and I find their reasons are as para^ 
doxical as their new reading itself, apart from the question 
cf MSS, of which the margin admits that the balance is 
against them. They, i,e, Drs. Westcott and Hort, say in 
the * Notes on Select Readings ' at the end of their Greek 
Testament, * The bold image suggested by this well-attested 
' reading is justified by Ezek. xxviii. 13, itiLirta kiOov yjtri<rrov 
' €vhih^(Tai^ aipbiov Kot roTtd^ov^ k. t. A. And cf Chrys. I Ti. 

* 682, XP^*''^ '^^^ \C6019 TLjilois oTrki^ofjievos. On the other 

* hand, klvov . . . never denotes a fabric or garment of 

* flax, except according to Etym. Mag., and possibly [cer- 
' tainly] in iEsch. Sup. 121 ; but always flax, whether in its 

* rough state, or spun into cord, or a net, or a sail.* And 
they remark that in all other places in Rev. * fine linen ' is 
fivaatvov. That is to say, kCvop never means linen cloth 
except sometimes, and except when it is used for sails ; and 
I take the liberty to add, sheets, for which it is three times 
used by Homer, with blankets, II. ix. 657, and Od. xiii. 73 
and 118. And if it is used for somewhat thick linen cloth 
surely it may for angels' garments, though these Revisers pro- 
nounce nothing suitable for them that is not thin enough to 
be called * fine linen,' fiva-a-ivov — except stone to be sure. 

Secondly, going backwards, I wonder they do not see that 
their quotations from the LXX and Chrysostom are dead 
against them in two ways ; for, as they are the best they can 
find, they prove what I said before, that XCdos alone never 
means a precious stone, which the Revisers as a body have to 
make it, to avoid what they saw would be too absurd to 
publish in English. Moreover, both of those Xldoi are in 
effect plural, and so again give no support to the arraying of 
seven angels in * precious stone.' Arraying in precious stones 
one could understand, if St. John had said so ; but he says 


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^Angels clothed in StoneJ* i8i 

nothing of the kind, and the Revisers alone know what they 
mean by angels arrayed in precious stone. Thirdly, the two 
importers of this new kind of garment prudently refrain from 
saying in English what the * bold image ' is which they pro- 
nounce justified by their precedents and arguments : whether 
it is angels enveloped in stone, which suggests various images 
too ludicrous to write here, or angels arrayed with precious 
stones, or stone ; or what. And fourthly I beg to observe 
that it was not an ' image ' at all, however ' bold ' their 
theory of it may be, but a vision, which is a very different 
thing ; for I suppose they don't mean an image in the sense 
of a stone statue with locomotive power. * The armour of 

* light,* ' the breastplate of righteousness,' ' the sword of the 

* Spirit,' are images, and could not be visions. 

I heard an ardent revisionist at a meeting, where I had 
ventured to throw a stone at these lapidaries, defend them 
by quoting from Milton, ' in a rock of diamond armed ' (Par. 
Lost, vi. 364), I believe ; or it might be, * Let each his ada- 
mantine coat put on ' (vi. 542) ; for a poetical friend of mine 
who remembers such things better than I do vouches for 
those being the only possible quotations. Those too are 
images — poetical images, which need not mean anything 
very definite or intelligible. Nor is Milton much of an 
authority for what St. John probably wrote. He was not a 
poet, but an apostle writing simply what he saw : * I John 
saw these things.' And if two, or two thirds of two dozen 
men steeped in Greek declare that they believe that he ever 
wrote that he saw in a vision seven angels clothed in stone 
with golden girdles, which is the only honest translation of 
their Greek, and defend it with such arguments as these, I 
can only conclude that their heads are TroXAoty rots ypifx^xaa-t, 
'tttpLrpi'no\i.€va (see Acts xxvi. 24 and p. 30), and distrust their 
judgment on the * preponderance of evidence' for new read- 


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i82 Rev. xvii. 2 to 17, 18 ; xvii. i. 

ings altogether, and all their modern canons of criticism, 
which profess to settle the relative value of MSS, with such 
results as this and many others. 

xvi. 2 to 17. Though they struck out ayy^kos from the 
original they might surely have left ' the first [angel] * and 
so on, down to the seventh, in italics for the purpose of read- 
ing. It is very clumsy to have a set of paragraphs such as 
*the seventh poured out his bowl into the air.* The 
[angels] have much more business there than their [pre- 
cious] stone had just now. Among their other new readings 
they have found a new spelling for Armageddon, Har- 
Magedon. I must say * bowls ' are right ; vials having 
ceased to mean the same as (/xdAat. 

xvi. 18. I do not see what object is gained except spoil- 
ing the rhythm by transposing * so mighty an earthquake 
' [and] so great ' into * so great an earthquake, so mighty j ' 
for surely /utcyas is 'great' if it is anything. 

xvii. I. After the woman that sits on seven hills, and 
on the beast, has been known all over the world as * the 
* great whore ' ever since there was an English Bible, the 
Revisers need not have been so prudish about her designa- 
tion, which they mitigate to ' harlot/ If it is worth men- 
tioning, this is one of the chapters which the lectionary- 
makers excepted from being read in church, but not for 
this reason I suppose, because they have omitted a few others 
in Rev. which contain no such strong language. So that 
the fear of offending delicate ears need not have influenced 
the Revisers. It is impossible to lay down rules for these 
things beyond usage. There are some few words in the 
O. T. which no one ever reads in public, though some 
pretty strong sentences and chapters are read in the N. T. ; 
but I never heard of this word or its compounds being sup- 
pressed or altered. Perhaps the next Revisers will call her 


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i?^^. xvii. lo; xviii. 20. 183 

' the great courtezan.* It is curious that one can read 
these things to a church full of people with much less diffi- 
culty than we should feel in reading them in a room. 

xvii. 10. What folly it is to insert articles here also : 

* the five are fallen, the one is, the other is not yet come/ 
What five, and what one ? None had been even spoken 
of, much less described. It is plain that the Greek article 
here did not mean what the English one does. ' Five are 

* fallen, and one is, ' and the other is not yet come ' (A. V.) 
is infinitely better. And what is the use of inserting that 
stupid-looking * utterly* before * burn her with fire ? ' Were 
they afi*aid of people thinking she was only to be singed \ or 
Babylon to be set on fire and put out again ? The word 
' shall burn ' when used in this way is understood by every- 
body to mean all that KaraKaiKTOvai does. English historians 
do not say that the martyrs of the Reformation were 
'utterly burnt;' they are content with * burning' them. 
The only use of such translation as this is to show off minute 
scholarship, as if they were boys writing for a scholarship 
examination, or to court the applause of [Greek] critics, as 
Dr. Newman said. 

xviii. 20. ' God hath judged your judgement on her,' is a 
still finer specimen of the same kind. One can conceive 
a schoolboy doing it ; and then on being asked, what does 
that mean, calmly saying * I don't know,' unless he made a 
shot at something. Do the Revisers know ? I suppose 
they do. Then they ought to have said it, for most other 
people will have no idea. The A. V. rationally says, ' God 
' hath avenged you on her.' Unless they could invent some- 
thing else more literal and equally intelligible and right, they 
should have left what was intelligible and plain. They had 
no business merely to write down a puzzle for common 
people and tell them ' the Greek words say this, and you 


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1 84 Rev. XIX. 3. 

^ must guess what it means/ Compare this with their 
trying to force upon manicind their adoption of the devil in 
the Lord's prayer, for the first time in the history of 
Christianity, as I have explained at Mat. vi. 13. 

xix. 3. The grand sentence, * And again they said, Alle- 
^ luia ; and her smoke rose up for ever and ever,' becomes in 
the improved style of the Revisers, ' A second time they say, 
' Hallelujah. And her smoke goeth up for ever and ever ; and 
' the four and twenty elders and the four living creatures fell 
* down and worshipped.* What shall we say of such destruc- 
tive restoration as this ? Perhaps one would rather ask, What 
can its authors have to say for it? Well, I happen to 
know ; at any rate I know what a considerable defender of 
the R. V. did say for them on this very point in a discussfon 
where I was present. He informed us that the word which 
the Translators ventured to translate * again* is beirepovj 
which means 'a second time;* which nobody can deny. 
But what do they suppose * again * means in the English 
idiom when used in that way? I have remarked before 
on their foolish and unauthorised attempt to abolish the Greek 
forms of such words as Alleluia, which is infinitely more 
common now than the Hebrew Hallelujah, and entirely 
beyond their power to disturb it out of its English position. 
Then again (which does not mean here 'a second time*), 
what can be more useless than sticking in that present tense 
' goeth up for ever,* just before the past ones ? It means 
of course that * her smoke then began to go up for ever ; * 
which is beautifully expressed in the A, V. by ' her smoke 
' rose up for ever.* The very fact that ' rose up * is evi- 
dently inconsistent literally with * for ever * adds to the 
effect, though I suppose that is too poetical for such precise 
grammarians to stand. And so for such trumpery pedantry 
as this they want that grand sentence and a multitude of 


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Rev. xix. 6, lo, 20; xxi. 3. 185 

others spoiling by Act of Parliament for ever j for any such 
destruction that is allowed now is irreparable. 

xix. 6. In the same way they want to destroy, * Alleluia : 

* for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth/ and sink it into 
their * abyss ' like lead, as * Hallelujah : for the Lord our 

* God, the Almighty reigneth.' The old one will perhaps 
be allowed to survive as a relic of the past in Handel's 

* Messiah,' leaving our children to wonder where it came 
from ; and when they are told, to wonder still more how we 
were so idiotic as to allow such language to be put out for 
ever, because a majority of four and twenty grammarians 
thought their own language * more excellent ' than this in 

* dignity, power, simplicity, and felicity of rhythm and 
> expression.' 

xix. 10 and xxii. 9. ' I am thy fellow-servant, and of thy 
' brethren that have the testimony of Jesus' is much better 
than the Revisers' ^ I am a fellow-servant with thee and 
' with thy brethren,' &c. No one would say the latter, and 
there is something impressive in the peculiar turn of the 
former ; and it happens also to be not less but more literal 
for (jvvhovKos crov. 

xix. 20. ' They twain were cast alive into the lake of 
' fire,' is an affectation of quaintness of diction which is 
peculiarly absurd when they had such a better phrase before 
them as ' these both were cast alive,' &c. j or if they were 
so particularly anxious to translate oi bvo literally, why could 
they not quietly say ' these two,' as anybody else would ? 
I suppose they will hardly reply that ol cannot mean ' these ' 
when necessary, as it manifestly does here. This is quite 
different in effect from 'they twain shall be one flesh,' 
because no union is implied here. 

xxi. 3. ' They shall be his peoples,' instead of the A. V. 

* people,' is a very awkward and unnatural piece of English, 


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1 86 Rev. xxi. 3, 6. 

especially in connexion with ' and he shall be their God.' 
We do not use ' peoples * in that way, but as * all peoples, 
' nations, and languages.* Therefore, although it is kaoi m 
Greek, ' people ' is quite multitudinous enough for it, and 
expresses the meaning better. Again how much finer is 
the A. V. ' and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, 
' nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain,* than the 
R. V. ' and death shall be no more : neither shall there be 
' mourning, nor crying, nor pain any more.* All these varia- 
tions and innumerable others should be read aloud to appre- 
ciate the enormous difference in grandeur and emphasis for 
no difference at all in meaning. 

xxi. 6. I do not see how * he saith, they {i.e, the words) 
' are come to pass * can be right, even for the new reading 
yiyovav instead of yeyove^ which both A. V. and R. V. 
translate ^it is done' elsewhere, and the A. V. here. * The 
' words' which John was to write, and * which were feithful 
^ and true,^ had unquestionably not come to pass yet; and it 
is a very unnatural construction that the prophecy should be 
announced in that way as being fulfilled at the very time 
when it was uttered and declared to be faithful and true. 
But there is another solution of the problem. Here is a 
present tense kiyei interposed between two aorists ctTre — 
' said, saith, said,* within two lines ; (and observe the diffe- 
rent verbs which the Revisers are obliged to translate by the 
same). This looks as if that middle sentence was intended 
for a parenthesis. Then it would read, ' He said, behold I 

' make all things new ( ) ; and he said unto me 

' they are done, or finished,* — not ' come to pass,* which is 
nonsense. The parenthesis is, 'and he saith unto me, 
' Write ; for these words are faithful and true.' 

xxi. 12, 13. They think it necessary to give us in the 
margin * portals ' for * gates ' as often as they are mentioned 


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Bev.xxi. 12, 17; xxii. 8, 10. 187 

in this chapter : which is therefore, according to the Preface, 
either an alternative or an explanation or a more exact trans- 
lation of TTvX&vis ; and perhaps it is, if * portal* means ' gate- 
' way,' as I suppose it does : but did they never hear of that 
latter word, or of * gate' itself in the sense of gateway, for 
the whole building ? I should think those who have been 
at either of the Universities at any rate have not forgotten 
it, or indeed in any town where the old gateways remain, 
with or without the gates. 

xxi. 17. ' According to the measure of a man, that is of 
^ an angel;' as if angels were regularly of one standard size, 
different from men. * The measure of the angel' (A. V.) 
was the cubit of the particular angel of the vision, which 
implies nothing so absurd as the R. V. description. 

xxii. 8. In what respect is * I John am he that heard and 
* saw these things ' better than, * I John saw these things 
' and heard them ; * or if the new reading, transposing ravra, 
is to be adopted, ' I John saw and heard these things,' though 
even then the A. V, is finer ? Of course they have altered it 
because it is 6 fiXiitoov instead of l)3A€>/^a ; but that is only 
the Apostle's way of saying the same thing, and our A. V. 
is a more impressive way of saying it in English than the 
R. V. But if they will be so exact, I don*t know how they 
get 6 iKovoDv Kol ^KiTtoDV into * that heard and saw ' instead of 
' hears and sees,' as there is no past tense before it, but on 
the contrary elfiC is understood. This makes the R. V. in 
Mat. xi. 14, * this is Elijah which is to come,* 6 /xcAAwr, 
still more inexcusable 5 and also, ' he was the lamp that 
'burn^M and shin^M' (John v. 35) noticed in the first 
chapter. * I am he that is seeing and hearing these things ' 
is at any rate sense, though bad and flat enough ; still it is 
more exact than the R. V., if A. V. is to be altered. 

xxii. 10. As I think the nonsense prize ought to be awarded 


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1 88 Rev. xxii. lo. 

to the feat of clothing seven angels in stone, so I think the 
destruction prize ought upon the whole to be given for their 
exploits in this verse, which has been partly noticed before, 
but must be again for another reason here. Everybody will 
remember that it is in the A, V., 'He that is unjust let him 
' be unjust still \ and he which is filthy let him be filthy still ; 
' and he that is righteous let him be righteous still ; and he 

* that is holy let him be holy still.* The Revisers transform it 
into ^ He that is unrighteous let him do unrighteousness still ; 
' and he that is filthy let him be made filthy still -y and he that 
' is righteous let him do righteousness still ; and he that is 
' holy let him be made holy still.' Of course they will defend 
it by saying it is a more literal translation, and that the same 
word has no right to be translated ' righteous* and * just,' or 
their negatives. But they have too often broken the last rule 
themselves to expect us to regard it; and if a Greek word is 
equally represented by two English ones, it is absurd to say 
that one may not be used as well as the other. If hiKoxos 
means ' righteous,' unquestionably it means *just' just as 
much. And if it is worth talking of, ihiKSiVy which was 

* unjust,' and is revised into ' unrighteous,' is not the exact 
negative of StKatoy, which both versions make ' righteous.* 
As for the rest, how is a man to ' do unrighteousness still * 
unless he is unrighteous still ? And what is the meaning of 
making 3, man filthy still ? * Let him be filthy still ' is our 
strongest way of saying that he is condemned to eternal 
filthiness. Again, how can he 'do righteousness still' without 
' being righteous still : ' or * be made holy still,' without * being 
' holy still ? * Altogether this verse, perhaps more than 
any that we have had to notice, if not more than any in the 
N.T., shows that the English language in such hands as the 
Translators' has more capacity than Greek for expressing 
solemn thoughts in grand, simple, impressive, and compre- 


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Rev. xxii. lo, 15. 189 

hensive words, and with a rhythm which no Greek prose 
possesses, though English is not equal in that respect to 
Greek or Latin verse, nor to Latin prose in conciseness. 
Unfortunately that art is gone, or at any rate the company of 
Revisers had none of it, or suppressed it if they had. And then 
their Chairman with the utmost complacency assured us, in 
his evidently revised Convocation speech, when he brought 
the R. V. into the world, that ' with all this thoroughness of 
' revision and numerically high standard of correction the 
' effect to the general reader will hardly be perceptible . . • . 

* and the actual amount of change scarcely ever felt,' by 
reason of their * fortunate inversions, preservation of familiar 
' cadences,* and all their other careful improvements. 

xxii. 15. In a smaller way the same remark applies to 
the introduction of that multitude of thes here. Who would 
think of saying in English, * Without are the dogs and the 

* sorcerers and the fornicators and the murderers and the 
' idolaters and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie ? ' Yet 
the very men who have imposed this wretched sentence on 
us, write afterwards in their Prefece, ' Sometimes we have 

* felt it enough to prefix the article to the first of a series of 
' words to all of which it is prefixed in the Greek, and thus, 
' as it were, to impart the idea of definiteness to the whole 

* series without running the risk of overloading the sentence. * 
One would think that had been written by somebody else, 
ironically 'as it were.* Could any sentence have been more 
overloaded and over-articled than that text ? Nor do I know 
what definiteness was wanted there, even to identify these 
dogs and sorcerers, &c., with those of xxi. 8; which a single 
'the* would have done perfectly, according to their own 
statement. Yet I heard that defence made for them, as if 
those were some very particular dogs, &c., which it was 
important to identify. And in xxi. 8 none of them have 


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190 Rev. xxii. 17, 19. 

any article after the first, and that has it necessarily because 
it is an adjective, 'fearful.' That excuse showed more 
ignorance of English idiom, for the multitude of the^s has 
not the effect of reference, though one might. 

xxii. 17. Here again, by a slight transposition, quite un- 
necessary, they have destroyed the rhythm of another very 
solemn sentence, turning ' let him that heareth say. Come, 
^ and let him that is athirst come \ and whosoever will, let him 

* take of the water of life freely,' into this disrupted jargon : 
' He that heareth, let him say. Come. And he that is athirst, 

* let him come : he that will, let him take the water of life 
' freely/ I observe that they have a particular animosity 
against ' whosoever,' breaking it up into several words in 
various places which I have not remarked on. I wonder 
they have not translated 6 diKiav here also as ' he that is 
' willing,' as they have in Mat. xxvi. 15, and elsewhere, 

xxii. 19. It is hardly possible, as a matter of common sense, 
that the new R. V. reading can be right which produces this 
result, ' God shall take away his part from the tree (instead of 
' book) of life, and out of the holy city, which are written in 
' this book,' dropping the koL which gives the old translation, 

* and out of the things which are written in this book,* koL 
TiAv ye^pa\k\kkvijiv. How can a tree of life and a holy city 
be written in a book? They might be written ahouty 
but the Revisers themselves do not treat that as a 
proper translation of ypdifxa. And after coming to that 
conclusion, I was glad to see, in the margin, the ad- 
mission that this alteration is after all doubtful. Could 
they not then give to common sense against nonsense the 
benefit of the doubt ? But as I have had to say very often, 
they disavow that principle altogether by their practice and 
their advocates, and by not giving any intimation of regard- 
ing it in their Preface, which implies that they did not ; 


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Rev. xxli. 20. 191 

Bishop Wordsworth, who was one of them, complains that 
they would not. 

xxii. 20. I can form no judgment on the several altera- 
tions of the Greek of the last two verses of the N. T. ; 
but I can say that ' surely I come quickly ' (which is not 
affected by them) is quite as good a translation of ical as 
* yea ' is j and indeed much better, because it begins a 
sentence unconnected with anything before it : in which 
case *yea' is never used in the A. V., nor by any author 
worth quoting in any English dictionary that I have seen. 
In fact it is simply a wrong use of it ; and this is 
another instance, and the last, of the Revisers attempting to 
make English instead of writing it, and all for absolutely 
nothing in the way of correcting plain and clear errors, 
which was to be their only lawful excuse for making altera- 
tions : which order they have disregarded and set at naught 
from one end of their book to the other. 

I have now gone through these three books, which no 
one can deny to be fair specimens of the whole N. T., 
and the Revisers' mode of dealing with it. And I find that 
the same average number of between four and five distinctly 
bad alterations per chapter, which I found in the first 
gospel, is fully maintained on the whole, besides innumerable 
others, which I have treated as too small to criticise sepa- 
rately, but much too large in their general effect to overlook. 
And as every published estimate of the total numbers has 
given considerably more for the Epistles than for the larger 
bulk of the historical books, and I suppose the quality may 
be assumed to be the same, it is probably much within the 
mark to apply that average to the whole, and to say that 
there are from 1000 to 1200 distinctly bad alterations in 


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1 92 The number of bad Jit er at ions. 

all the 260 chapters of the N. T. ; which is an enormous 
number, besides the smaller ones. And though I dare 
say that plausible, and perhaps complete answers can be 
given to some of these (since critics have to write in the 
dark as to the undisclosed reasons of the Revisers) I am 
quite sure that the difference could be much more than made 
up from outside, by passages which I have left unnoticed. 
And if anything approaching to such a number of undesirable 
alterations have been made, that alone is conclusive against 
adopting them by Act of Parliament. As I said before, 
I see no reason why one demonstrably bad or needless 
alteration should be adopted. 

But besides these distinct defects, which can be counted, 
there is one, uncountable and unaccountable, that taints 
every page and nearly every sentence, viz.: the badness of 
the style of all this new N. T. For the new work 
is inextricably mixed with the old, infused into nearly 
every sentence through those 36,000 changes which some- 
body had the patience to count or estimate and publish, so 
that the book has practically become a new one, as different 
from the old as some alloys are from both the metals which 
compose them. The Revisers* harsh, prosaic, uncomfortable, 
confused, undignified, pedantic, unidiomatic, and sometimes 
nonsensical English is so ingrained into the whole book that 
it is impossible to treat the defects as occasional blemishes 
which might be picked out and cured one by one, as the infi- 
nitely fewer real mistakes in the A. V. could be. That work 
remains to be done : but I am quite sure that, useful as 
this * Interpretation ' will be for that purpose, it will still 
be necessary to examine the Greek text in a different spint 
from that in which these Revisers practically confess that 
they have undertaken it, deliberately excluding intrinsic 
evidence, which means shutting out the light of common 


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Conclusion. 1 93 

sense, and consequently often adopting either absurdity or 
something manifestly worse than what they have expelled, 
in sense, as it always is in language ; sometimes being an 
unknown tongue altogether : besides the strong suspicion, 
both on a priori grounds and from the results, that their 
rules for judging of Greek authorities are as wrong as 
the results prove their grammatical rules to be : — and it is 
now time to add, from their practical admission that the 
S^arterly Review account of their modus operandi was un- 

I have spoken freely of the Company of the Revisers as a 
body, and as if they were a company of any other kind 
acting by an undisclosed majority, and resolved to keep that 
secret, though of course no such resolution can bind any 
one who chooses to disclose his own doings, as several of 
the most eminent and learned members of this body have 
done, on both sides. I give them all credit, collectively and 
severally, for meaning to do their best in this important work, 
and for having done it ; but that is no reason why it should 
not be criticised as freely as anybody pleases, and their 
principles of revision condemned as fundamentally wrong, 
as well as contrary to their instructions. Yet I must say 
that some of them in their public utterances, and indeed 
their corporate utterance in the Preface, have displayed a 
rather singular impatience of criticism. One of the most 
assiduous makers and defenders of the R. V. calls those 
who withhold their admiration of it * a few honest irrecon- 
* cileables,' who however, ' will in time relax their frowns, 
' he trusts,' in the very book in which he confesses that the 
Revisers * have brought in some stiff and awkward phrases,' 
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' intolerable,' and ' have been compelled sometimes to 


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1 94 Conclusion. 

^ darken what was clear/ But all that is the fault of 
the Apostles and Evangelists, in his opinion ; not of the 

They seem to think that all the criticism that has ap- 
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be exclaiming that it is too late, and that it is odd that all 
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that have appeared, except every now and then picking out 
some trivial mistake of a critic and parading it as a specimen 
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vice. Least of all will the dark defence do any longer, that 
if we only knew their reasons we should acquiesce at once. 
It is time that we had those possible crushing answers 
brought to light. I cannot say that the one which was 
expected to be most convincing and powerful has answered 
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work ought to admit of such an answer, or it is a valid 
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them up will not do ; though showing up specimens of their 
objectionable alterations will do, for the purpose of proving 
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