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a skill in Latin and Greek; and if they send their children at all to these places of instruction, it is because they knew not what else to do with them to a certain age. Many also fall in with a modern plan of education, I mean a French school; a scheme that looks plausible, and now takes so well, that our teachers of Latin must either make vigorous efforts for the recovery of their lost credit, or soon shut up their doors, if they are not disposed to do what some have already, i.e. strike in with the humor of the times, and educate in both ways.
“Severe as the censure may seem, it daily falls upon our Grammar schools. In vain do those that still remain friends of this branch of education labor to take it off. It is a judgment that has been formed upon experience; therefore it is pronounced without scruple: nor will less proof avail to wipe off the stain. The scholar may talk of the fine exercise it is for our youth to learn these languages, and prove it to be the best culti vation of their minds; the merchant is unaffected, and still insists that a boy designed for business seldom is the better for it. And it is, my Lord, with the utmost concern that one is obliged in a great measure to confess the justice of the charge.”
Letter to the Archbishop of Canterbury, 1748.
TO HIS GRACE
THE ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY,
The Erpediency of Revising
AUTHORISED VERSION OF SCRIPTURE.
BY AN Essex Rector.
In addressing your Grace, on one of the most important subjects that can occupy the Christian mind, I am persuaded that I shall be honored with your attention, even though you may not take the same view of it which I do myself. Nothing that has promised utility or improvement, within the sphere of your authority, has ever yet been presented to your netice, without meeting with the readiest encouragement; and scarcely has a year passed, since your elevation to the metropolitan see, without producing some beneficial effects, some noble scheme for the promotion of civil or religious happiness. I need not enumerate instances of the wise and enlightened policy, of the mild and just administration of the powers attached to your rank, which have distinguished your primacy: they speak for themselves. On one topic, however, I must be allowed to touch, before I enter on my own subject, because it
may be said to be not remotely connected with it. It was under the auspices of your Grace, that that most useful work, The Family Bible, was begun and completed : of which 17,000 copies have already been dispersed—a sure proof that the word of God was never before so ably illustrated, or so zealously disseminated in any one impression of the Scriptures !
The protection, my Lord, which you have thus extended to Biblical laborers in one department, induces me to hope that you will not dismiss the subject, which I now submit to your consideration, without weighing well the argument which I shall endeavour to advance in favor of a similar undertaking; arguments, however, which I do not presume to offer as being entirely new, or which would not have been suggested to yourself, if you had time to reflect on the matter as fully as the literary leisure of an humble individual has suffered him to do.
The object of this letter is to urge the expediency of an authorised revision of Scriptures; and the following will be the leading topics it will embrace:
1. The necessity of taking the work out of incompetent and unauthorised hands.
2. The advantages which enable the present age to produce a translation of the Bible superior to that of 1611.
3. The flux and improvement of language, since 1611, its present stability, and the expediency of having such a version of Scriptures as shall be the standard of the English language.
4. The defects of grammar, diction, and style, in the common version.
5. Examples of erroneous translation, where the translators of 1611 had not the means of giving correct readings.
6. An appeal to the preface of King James's translators in favor of a revision.
If some of the brightest ornaments of the church establishment had not openly delivered their opinions on the same side of the question, as that on which I am now writing,- I should be apprehensive of being charged with entertaining notions inconsistent with canonical submission. But, happily, I am supported by the testimonies of such men as Archbishop Newcomb, who did not hesitate to assert, that “the Hebrew Prophets are not yet seen in their best garb :" as Bishop Lowth, who proyed, by his own luminous expositions, that the “Scriptures might be placed in a more advantageous and just light;" as Dr. Kennicott, who declared, " that improvements would naturally result from the cultivation which Hebrew literature has received since 1600;" and, as Dr. Blaney, who boldly expressed himself to this effect : “ The common version has sometimes mistaken the sense of the originai text.” Such are the sentiments of men of approved learning and piety ; but of late years, circumstances have occurred, which, independently of the inherent defects of the common version, strongly recommend that a revision should be undertaken, under the direction of the heads of the establishment. It cannot have escaped your Lordship, that the Roman Catholics, the Dissenters, and the Unitarians, are at this time separately employed in producing new translations of the Scriptures, and that they do not pursue their ļabors without' attacking the integrity of our authorised copy, and challenging our church to produce men sufficiently acquainted with oriental learning, either to defend our own version, or to compile