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TO THE READER
Holy Scriptures. To the Jews were committed the Oracles of God, and so faithful baye they been to this sacred trust, that when copies of the law or the propbets were transcrited, they not only diligently compared the one wila the other, but even counted the number of letters in each book, and compared de noinbers.
No sooper did the gospel spread through the nations, than it was found necessary to translate the Bible for each into its proper language. Some affirm that the five books of Moses and that of Joshua were translated into Greek before the days of Alexander the Great. But the most remarkable translation of the Old Testament is called the Septuagint, which, if the opinion of some emicent writers is to be credited, was made in the reign of Ptolemny Philadel. phus, about 280 years be:ore the Christian era. At any rate, it is undoubtedly the most ancient that is now extant, and on many accounts deserving notice, though not to be put on a level with the Hebrew text, as bas been sometimes done.
Other translations of the Old Testament into Greek were made, from A. D. 129 to 200. It is generally believed that the church of Antioch was favoured with a Syrian version of the Bible in the year 100. The Etbiopians, of Abyssinia, have a version of the Bible, which they ascribe to Frumentius, of the fourth century. Chrysostom, who lived in the end of the fourth, and Theodorei, who lived in the middle of the fifth century, both inform us, that they had the Syrian, Indian, Persian, Armenian, Etbiopic, Scythian, and Samaritan versions. The ancient Egyptians had the Scriptures translated into their language. The Georgians bave a version in their ancient language. The old Testainent of all these versions, except the Syrian, is taken from the Septua. rin:.
The famous Latin translation of the Bible called the Vulgate, which is now, and has been for many ages, of authority in the church of Rome, is of great antiquity. It is hy some said to have been written, or at least copied and im. proved, by St. Jerome, in the fourth century; probably the last was the case, for there existed before his time a Latin version, which Augustine calls the Italian, Jerome the Vulgate, and Gregory Nazeazen, the ancient version. In the year 1990 Peter de Vaux translated the Bible into French; and about the same time the Spanish translation was made. There have been many transla. tions both into French and Spanish since that time. The Polish version was published A. D. 1390 ; and the first Italian version A. D. 1471. Luther composed his version of the Bible, in the German language, between the years 15:1 and 1532 ; and what is remarkable, not only the Popish translations, bul those of the Protestants, for a considerable time after the reformation, were inade, not from the Hebrew of the old, and Greek of the New lestament, but from the Latin of the Vulgate. We are told, that early in the sixteenth cen. tury the Bohemians took their first version from the Vulgate ; but that towards the close of that century eight divines were employed to compose another froin the original text.
We will now give some account of the translations of the Bible into the English language. There have been some who have affirmed tbat Adelme, Bishop of Sherburn, who lived in the beginning of the eighth century, translated the Psalms into the Saxon tongue. That bowe er is uncertain, as some of the best historians make no mention of it ; yet it is possible, as he was a man of grcat parts, and of great learning for those times, and said to be the first En. Glishman who wrote in the Latin language. About the same time, or a little alter, Bede, commonly called the Venerable Bede, translated some parts of the New Testament, some say the whole Bible; but that is not probable. Near two hundred years later king Alfred translated the Psalms into the same language, Ja 1392, Wicklit finished his translation of the Bible, which is yet extant; that is to say, there are copies of it in some public and private libraries. All these translations were made from the Vulgate. In the reign of Henry the $th, several editions of the Old and New Testaments were published
in English; one of the most remarkable is that of William Tyndal in 1530. The transla. tion of the New Testament was made from the original Greek, but probably the Old Testament either from the Latin of the Vulgate, or the Greek of the Septuagint. This was soon followed by the improvenients of Coverdale and Mathews. By order of the king, Tonstal, Bishop of Durham, and Heath, Biship of Rochester, made a new translation, wbich was publisbed in 1541 ; but not pleasing Heory, was suppressed by authority. In the reign of king Edward the 6tb, another translation was made, two editions of which were published, one in 1549, and the olber in 1551. In the reign of queen Elizabeth, another translation was made, which, being revised by some of the most learn. ed of the Bisbops, went by the name of the Bishops' Bible. Thss professed to be translated froin the Hebrew of the Old Testament, and the Greek of the New, though in some instances, when there was a dirterence, it preferred the Septuagint to the Hebrew,
TO THE READER.. This last circumstance, with some others, induced king James the first 10 select fifty-four persons, eminent in learning, and particularly we) acquainted with the original languages in wbich the Old and New Testaments were written, to make a new translation of the whole Bible. In the year 1907, fortyseven of those persons, the other seven probably having died, assembled togerber, and arranged themselves into committees, to each of which a portion was given to transikte. They were favoured not only with the best translations, but with the inost accurate copies, iud the various readings of the origi. stal text. After about three years assid uous labour, they severally completed the parts assigked them. They then met together, and while one read the translation newly formed, the rest hed each a copy of the original text in his nand, or some one of the ancient versions, and when any dificulty occurred they stopped, till by common consultation it was deterinined what was most agreeable to the inspired Original. This translation was first published A. D. 1010, and is the one that has been, ever since that time, prinied by public authority, and generally used in the British doininions.
THE NAMES AND ORDER OF THE BOOKS OF THE OLD TESTAMENT,
WITH THE NUMBER OF THEIR CHAPTERS.