Reading and Study of Holy Scripture (October, 1861; Latin Vulgate/King James Version, etc.)

We are not able to review these two goodly volumes, and to speak of their contents according to their merits, because, owing to the continued inability to use our eyes, we are unable to read them, and because, though we know French very well by sight, we know it but imperfectly by hearing. The well-known character of the works translated, as well as of the translator, is a sufficient pledge of their great merit, and of their being up with the literature of their subject. Germany has been, for the last sixty years, the classic land of Biblical literature; and nowhere has that literature called forth more serious or profound study, attracted a higher order of intelligence, or been more successfully prosecuted; and nowhere is it more advanced as in the more distinguished German writers. We were tolerably familiar with the results obtained in Biblical literature some twenty-five years ago, but of the results obtained since then, which, we are assured, are of vast importance, we are comparitively ignorant. These results a competent French critic has assured the public may be well summed up and clearly set forth in these two volumes, much enriched by the valuable notes of the translator. The German authors translated may not be the most brilliant or daring, but they are among the most solid and really erudite of German authors who have devoted themselves to Biblical literature; and Pere Valroger himself is one of the most learned Biblical scholars in France. We have no hesitation then, in recommending the work as the best Historical and Critical Introduction to the New Testament that has as yet been published.

We welcome the appearance of these volumes, because they indicate a return of Catholic scholars to a field which is properly their own and which was so successfully cultivated by their predecessors, especially the learned Benedictines, but which they have, expcept in Germany, apparently, to some extent neglected since Dom Calmet, as they have so many other fields of literature and science. Since the close of the seventeenth century till quite recently, Catholics have suffered themselves, in almost every branch of learning, of science, and literature, to be surpassed by the non-Catholic or anti-Catholic world. We are indebted, in the main, to non-Catholic, and, in some instances, to anti-Catholic authors, for the illustration and vindication of our own Catholic antiquity. The best history of the life and times of Gregory VII, before that not yet completed by Gfrorrer, a convert from Protestantism, we owe to Voight, a Protestant minister, as we do the best history of the life and times of Innocent III to Hurter, another Protestant minister, though since become a Catholic. We know no Catholic historian who has treated the history of the middle ages with so much learning, so much impartiality, and in so true a historical spirit, as Professor Leo; and, with all its faults, Ranke's History of the Popes is superior to any thing we have of the sort from Catholic sources. If we have returned to the study of history, and have ceased to apologize for our own medieval antiquity, we are indebted to the labors, the researches, and the truthfulness of those not of our communion. We have caught the stimulus from them, have been spurred on by their example, when we ought to have taken the lead and been first in the field. Protestants have also preceded us in the application to Biblical history and criticism of the new facts discovered by profounder historical researches, and disclosed by modern travellers and the more familiar acquaintance with the language, the manners, the customs, the geography, and the natural history of the East. It is with no pride, but with a sort of humiliation, that a Catholic reviewer is obliged to make these confessions; and, therefore, it is with no little gratification we perceive our own scholars disposed to regain the pre-eminence they once held, and the possession of which they should never have suffered themselves to lose.

It is not precisely that our scholars, during the last century and a half, have ceased to study, or have not kept themselves up with all new facts and discoveries, but that they have seemed to want the tact, the capacity, or the ability to use effectively the materials they amassed, and to adopt themselves to the new modes of thought and expressions which had come into vogue. The world, which they had cast in theor own image, they found crumbling away around them, and seemed to imagine that the most that remained for them was to prevent themselves from being buried in its ruins. The new world springing up around them, emerging from the general chaos, and only half-formed, has filled them with fear, as a strange and unnatural monster, which could neither be driven back, nor moulded into any shape of beauty or loveliness; they have been paralyzed by the strangeness of their position, and lost their creative faculties. The crisis of the eighteenth century was to them inexplicable, and they knew not how to meet it; they saw not how the old that was passing away, and the new that was emerging, could have any principle in common, nor how could their life flow on in unbroken stream from the foot of the cross to the final consummation of the world, unless they could drive back the new and recall the old. Thus they suffered the leadership in science and literature, in history and criticism, to pass from their hands into the hands of those who were animated by the new spirit, and moved by the genius of the new world springing into existence. Though professing a faith which is always young, ardent, and vigorous, which never grows old, but has always the future before it; though belonging to a church which recognizes in man the principle of progress, and in the medium of his progress to the infinite, which takes the infant at his birth, and carries him onward and upward, until he becomes one with the infinite and eternal God, they lost their hope, became retrograde in their movements, and wasted their energies in bewailing a past that can never return, while they suuffered the spirit of progress to pass into the non-Catholic world, which had no right to it, except through their fault, which could not guide it, and could at best only break it or materialize it.

The fault has been, not in the defect of study, not in the defect of learning, not or in the defect of special science or special knowledge, but in the defect of appreciation of the new state of things in which our scholars found themseves placed; in not understanding that nothing good ever passes away, that no order ever falls into the past till its work is done, and it has no longer any power to serve the cause of God or man;- in not understanding that the new order springing from the destruction of the old, is not the destruction of what was good in the old, but its rejuvenation under new forms better adapted to the future progress of religion and civilization. The new is always the continuation of the old, a new birth from the past, in which the past lives a new and more vigorous life. The man of true genius and of true life is he who sees the moment when the change has become inevitable, accepts what it has that is good, and conforms to it. He is not one who hurries it on, never one who seeks it, but he is always one who sees it, and accepts it the moment it has become inevitable, and can no longer be successfully resisted. Our Catholic scholars, frightened by the convulsions, the upheavings, the bouleversements of the eighteenth century, failed to perceive that even then the Spirit of God brooded over the chaos, commanding light to spring out of darkness, and order out of confusion; they saw not that the world, which they felt slipping from their grasp, which was so lovely in their eyes and so dear to their affections, had itself sprung from a chaos no less wild and weltering. But happily a change has come over the spirit of their dream; they are beginning to recover from their fright; they are beginning to feel that there is a future beyond them, and great and glorious deeds for them to perform. They are, therefore, fast resuming their ancient leadership, and uniting in those labors which were interrupted for a season, and which will once more invigorate, harmonize, and embellish the moral and intellectual universe.

We are especially gratified to see our scholars returning to Scriptural studies. In the estimation of Catholics, still more than in the estimation of Protestants, the Bible is the "Book of books;" and we could better afford to spare all other books ancient or modern, than the Scriptures of the Old or New Testaments. The church has always encouraged their reverential study and pious meditation. Taken as the original medium of the revelation of God to man, as Protestants take them, they lose much of their value, for they are then, to a great extent, especially as to matters of doctrine, unintelligible. Even a superficial perusale of them should suffice to convince the impartial, unprejudiced, and passably-intelligent reader, that they could have never been designed to teach originally and explicitly the doctrines contained in divine revelation, because they nowhere contain those doctrines drawn out in systematic form, and clearly and dogmatically stated. The Old Testament contains the earliest traditions of the human race, the laws, the ritual, the history, the moral and devotional literature of a peculiar people living for two thousand years or more under the special providence of God. The New Testament contains brief synopses of the life, the sayings, the doings, and the sufferings of our Lord while tabernacling in the flesh,- the acts of the apostles, or at least several of them together with doctrinal, moral, and monitory letters addressed by St. Paul to several particular churches and to the Hebrews, of St. Peter, St. James, St. John, and St. Jude to the Christians at large, two letters to private individuals, and the remakable book, which to most minds is a sealed book, the Apocalypse. All the writings of the Old Testament proceed from God through believers, and are addressed to believers, and presuppose the Jewish faith as already known. The writings of the New Testament, again, are addressed to believers of the Christian faith by Christian apostles and evangelists, and, through inspired writings, they presuppose the faith to have already been revealed and received. Nowhere do they present themselves as the original medium of the Christian revelation. The speak of it as something already communicated, already believed; allude to it as something known; and simply seek to explain it more fully, to confirm it, and to induce its recipients to practice in accordance with its requirements. Surely such writings were never designed to be the immediate and direct source whence those who were absolutely ignorant of revealed truth were to derive their knowledge of Christian faith or of Christian duty.

The unintelligibleness of the Scriptures is not entirely owing to the obscurity of their language, the nature of the subjects they treat, the fact that they are inspired, and treat of the highest and sublimest themes which can engage the attention of the human mind; but to the fact that we come to them without the necessary preparation, without the preliminary knowledge which they presuppose in the reader, and without which their various allusions, hints, and illustrations cannot be understood. Look at them in what light we will, they are incomplete in themselves, and can be understood only when read in the light of the Christian faith as first orally taught, and as it has been preserved in the tradition of the church. Read as they who reject that tradition must read them, they are, to a great extent, unintelligible, and there is scarcely any error conceivable that they may not be made to teach, or, at least, to favor.

Take, as an illustration, the question we find put to the apostle in the Acts by one who felt it necessary to secure his salvation, "What shall I do to be saved?" The apostle answers: "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and be baptized: and thou shalt be saved." Here is a very plain question, put in the simplest manner possible; the answer seems equally plain and simmple. Two things only are required; "to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ," and "to be baptized." But what are we to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ? "Simply to believe," says the Unitarian, "that Jesus Christ was the Messiah promised to the fathers and foretold by the Jewish prophets; and therefore to have the true Christian faith," he concludes, "it is simply necessary to believe that Jesus was the promised Messiah." We may accept the interpretation, without accepting the conclusion. Suppose the inquirer, as was probably the case, to have been a Jew or a Jewish proselyte, and therefore already instructed in divine revelation, the answer would be sufficient and exact, because the two things named were allthat he needed in addition to what he already had. But suppose the question to have been asked by a gentile or one absolutely ignorant of the faith of the synagogue, the answer would have been neither exact nor sufficient; for such a one would require something more than simply to believe that Jesus was the Messiah promised to the Jews, and to be baptized in his name. So simple a faith accompanied by the more external act of baptism, any man's reason tells him, could have in itself no necessary connection with eternal salvation. The answer of the apostle becomes true, full, and adequate for all men only when we have the traditional teachings of what it is to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and to be baptized. If we have not the true doctrine in our minds, we cannot find it in the Scriptures; but when we have been taught it, when we know what it is, we can then go to them and not only find it there, but find it set forth in the clearest, the fullest, the most attractive, and the most impressive form. The Scriptures are, therefore, for believers, not for unbelievers, for those who, up to a certain point at least, have already been instructed in the doctrines and precepts of the Gospel.

We have many instances of persons brought up in heretical communions, but honest and candid, sincere and earnest, who have come to the true faith by simply reading and meditating the Scriptures. But this is because they had, not only Christian dispositions, but also the elements of the Christian faith already in their minds, and those seminal principles of the truth which the reading of the Scriptures and meditation thereon are sufficient to cause to germinate, grow up, and fructify. But we have no well authenticated instances of individuals having no previous instruction in Christian doctrine or in Christian modes of thought, who have, by simply reading the Scriptures, been brought to the knowledge of the Christian faith, or who have been able to construct from them any clear, consistent, and definite system of doctrine whatever. The Bible Society circulates innumerable copies of the Holy Scriptures among the heathen but we have never heard that the reading of them has brought any of the heathen to a belief, even a human belief, in Christianity. In some instances, no doubt, the reading of them has shaken their belief in the religion which they had received from their fathers; but instead of making them believers in Christianity, it has made them disbelievers in all religion. These considerations alone are sufficient to prove that the Protestant doctrine with regard to the sufficiency of the Scriptures is untenable. Even Protestants themselves do not rely on their own doctrine, and, whenever they can, they send with the Bible their missionary or doctrinal tract. But taking the Scriptures as the churh takes them, and reading them in the light of her teaching or the catechism, after we have been instructed in the principles of our faith and in our duty, we shall find them the best of all possibe helps to the understanding of Christian doctrine, the best of all possible helps to the understanding of Christian morals, and the most instructive, inspiring, and edifying of all spiritual reading; we shall find them an inexhaustible fountain of truth and wisdom, of moral principle, as of true and sublime devotion.

The doctrine of the church with regard to Holy Scriptures has been much misunderstood and grossly misrepresented. She has never objected to or discouraged the reading of the Scriptures, nor has she ever regarded their reading as undesireable or unprofitable. She approves, and always has approved, the use of the Bible, and objects, and has objected, only to its misuse. She holds it to be witten by inspiration, and profitable to teach, to reprove, to correct, to instruct in righteousness, to perfect the man of God, and prepare him for every good work. But she does not recognize it as the original medium of divine revelation, or as sufficient to teach the true faith to one who has received no preliminary instruction and no prior notice of that faith. To put it into the hands of one who through the living teacher, or through traditional instruction, had received no preparation for reading and understanding it, would be as absurd as to put into the hands of the student a book on algebra before he had learned the first four operations of simple arithmetic. The principle on which she proceeds is adopted and acted on by the various Christian sects, as well as by her, and to as great an extent, else why do they have their Sunday-schools, their catechisms, their commentaries, their theological seminaries, their professors of theology, their preachers and teachers? The Presbyterian reads the Bible in the light of Presbyterian tradition; the Anglican, in the light of Anglican tradition; the Unitarian, in the light of Unitarian tradition; the Methodist, in the light of Methodist tradition; and hence we find that the children of Prresbyterians tend naturally to grow up Presbyterians, of Methodists to grow up Methodists, of Anglicans to grow up Anglicans, of Unitarians to grow up Unitarians. The only difference there is between the church and the sects on this point is, that their traditions, in so far as they are peculiar, date back only to the time of the reformers, whereas her tradition dates back from the time of the apostles, and is apostolic and therefore authentic.

The Evangelical sects, even while asserting the sufficiency of the Scriptures, do really recognize their insufficiency. They all recognize the necessity of a guide and interpreter to the understanding of Scripture not to be found in the Scriptures themselves; for they maintain that they are sufficient only when interpreted to the understanding of the reader by the interior illumination of the Holy Ghost. No man goes further in asserting the weakness of the human understanding, or its insufficiency by its own light to understand the Holy Scriptures, and deduce therefrom the true Christian faith, than your stern, rigid, arrogant, and inflexible Presbyterian minister. No man is further than he from accepting the doctrine of private judgment as held by the Unitarians and rationalists, and as ordinarily combated by our Catholic controversialists. No man feels more deeply, or maintains more rigidly or explicitly, the necessity of an infallible guide and interpreter for whoever would read the Scriptures with understanding and profit. "THinkest thou that thou understandest what thou readest?"- "How can I unless someone show me?" These questions are as significant for him as they are for a Catholic, and he concedes that he cannot understand what he reads, unless someone shows him or unfolds to him the interior sense, the real meaning of the words he reads. This some one he holds is the Holy Ghost, the Spirit of Truth, who inspired the Scriptures themselves. The only controversy there can be between him and us, is on a question of fact, not a question of law or principle. No doubt, if, as he supposes, he has the Holy Ghost for his illuminator and instructor in reading the Scriptures, his understanding of them is correct and worthy of all confidence. Let him prove the fact, and there is no longer any dispute between us. But he must excuse us, if we refuse to accept it as a fact on his bare word, especially since we find others, as much entitled to credit as he is, who claim to be illuminated and taught by the Holy Ghost, and whose understanding of the Scriptures is almost the very contradictory of his.

The principle insisted on by the church is a very plain and very reasonable principle, one that accords with the historical facts in the case. The original revelation, she says, was not made to mankind by writing, or through the medium of a book. It was made in the beginning immediately by God himself to certain chosen individuals, who communicated it to others. Mankind knew and believed the truth, knew and believed the one true religion, at least in its substance, long before any book was written, or letters had been invented. The primitive believers under the Christian dispensation were taught the faith orally by those who had been orally instructed by our Lord himself. The faith thus orally taught and transmitted by the apostles to their successors, becomes the internal light by which the language of Scripture is interpreted and understood. Something of this sort is obviously necessary in the case of all language, whether written or unwritten. Written language is unintelligible to those who are ignorant of the characters in which it is written, or who have not learned to read. It is equally unintelligible to those who, though they know the characters and are able to read, yet do not understand the meaning of the words written. All words, whether written or unwritten, are signs or symbols; but they are signs or symbols only to the intelligence; they signify, they signify nothing to one absolutely void of understanding. The interpretation of the sign or symbol comes from within, not from without; and if the sense be not, in some respect, already in the intelligence, there is and can be no real interpretation of the sign or symbol. Why, then, find fault with the church for adopting a rule which is universal, and which must be followed, or no instruction can be given through the medium of language, either written or unwritten? She has received the sense of Holy Scriptures from the Holy Ghost, and by putting the faithful in possession of this, as she does, by means of analogies borrowed from nature, and accessible to the reason common to all men, she supplies the light and guidance necessary to enable them to read the Holy Scriptures with profit, and without perverting or wresting them to their own destruction.

The church undoubtedly requires her children to read the Scriptures with a reverential spirit, since they contain the revealed word of God, and it is God by himself that is speaking through them. She also requires them to read the Holy Scriptures under her guidance, her direction, and not to interpret them in opposition to her teaching; because, as her teaching is from the Holy Ghost, by his assistance, and under his protection, any interpretation of Scripture contradicting that teaching would necessarily be a false interpretation, since the Scriptures are also from the Holy Ghost. But this does not mean that no one can read the Scritpures unless a priest stands at his back with a ferula in his hand, or that we have not the free use of our own reason and understanding in reading them, and developing and applying their sense. It does not mean that the errors of transcribers and of translators may not be corrected, or that we may not use all the helps to be derived from history and criticism, from science or erudition ni correcting them. It does not mean that we may not use profane science and literature, the researches of geographers, the facts brought to light by travellers and the students of natural history, in illustrating and settling the literal meaning of the sacred text. It does not mean, any more, that we must understand and apply every text or passage, word or phrase, in the precise sense in which we find it understood or applied by the fathers and doctors of the church, or even by popes and councils. It means simply that we are not at liberty so to interpret Scripture as to derive from it any other doctrine than that which the church teaches, or to deduce from it any sense incompatible with faith and morals as she defines them. It is so we understand the doctrine of the church on the subject, and, so understood, her doctrine by no means cramps the intelligence, or restricts in any narrow or unreasonable degree the free and full exercise of our highest and best reason in understanding and applying the sublime truths they contain.

The abuse of the Holy Scriptures by the sects, and their exaggerated notions about Bible-reading, have no doubt had an influence on many Catholics, and tended, by way of reaction, to prevent them from reading and studying them as much as they otherwise would. The exaggerations of error tend always to discredit truth. The fear of being Bible-readers in the Protestant sense has, not unlikely, kept many from being Bible-readers in the Catholic sense. The necessity of repelling and refuting the exaggerations of Protestants has, in many instances, prevented us from insisting with due emphasis on the great advantage to be derived by the faithful from the daily reading and study of the written word of God, and substituted for them a whole host of devotional and ascetic works, many of which are of doubtful merit and doubtful utility. If faith has not suffered, piety, at least, has suffered therefrom; and we attribute no little of the weak and watery character of modern piety to the comparative neglect of the study of the Scriptures, and to the multiplication of works of sentimental piety. The piety these works nourish is just fit to accompany the meticulous orthodoxy now in vogue, and is a natural growth of the nursing and safe-guard system now so generally insisted on. Faith, in our days, is weak and sickly, and piety dissolves into a watery sentimentality, rarely able to rise above "novenas and processions" in honor of some saint. It has become a sensitive plant; it lacks robustness and vigor, and is unable to meet the rough and tumble of the world.

The fathers studied and expounded the Scriptures, and they were strong men, the great men, the heroes of their times; the great medieval doctors studied, systematized, and epitomized the fathers, and, though still great, fell below those who were formed by the study of the Scriptures themselves; the theologians followed, gave compendiums of the doctors, and fell still lower; modern professors content themselves with giving compendiums of the compendiums given by the theologians, and have fallen as low as possible without falling into nothing and disappearing in the inane. In devotional and ascetic literature there has been the same process, the same downward tendency.

The remedy for the evil, in our judgment, is in returning anew to the study of the Scriptures themselves, and in drawing new life and vigor from their inspired pages. The words of man, however true or however noble, can never be made to equal the words of God; and the words of Scripture diluted down through twenty generations of men, each leaving out something of their divine significance, and adding something of human pettiness and weakness, can never be so effective in quickening and strengthening as they are as given us originally in the Scriptures by God himself. Orsini's or Gentilucci's Life of the Madonna is, no doubt, very beautiful; but it falls infinitely below in moral grandeur, in its inspiring effect, the few simple words touching our Lady given in any one of the Gospels themselves. There is much that is beautiful in our Loves and Months of Mary, but far less than in the Magnificat, the Canticles, or the Psalms; and all that is in them that has the slightest value for the soul is borrowed, and, we may say, diluted from these sources. Let us, then, go back to the Scritpures, study them as did the fathers, at least as did the great medieval doctors. Let us take in the sublime instruction as it was dictated by the Holy Ghost, and in language more beautiful and more sublime than ever did, or ever could, originate with uninspired men. Our faith will profit by it; it will become braoder, purer, sublimer, and more comprehensive; it will become stronger, more robust, more energetic, and more able to withstand the seductions of error, or the temptations of vice. Our devotion will become more ardent, more solid, more enduring, flowing from a fixed and unalterable principle or conviction; not from mere temporary feeling or animal excitement; and our morals will conform to a higher standard, and we become capable of greater sacrifices and more heroic deeds.

What we in the English-speaking world most want is a good, faithful, and elegant translation of the Scriptures. To no mere English reader will the latinized language of our Douay version ever be attractive, especially if he has been early accustomed to read the Scriptures in the version made by order of James I of England. Archbishop Kenrick has done much to correct and improve this version, but still it falls, even in his amended edition, far short of what an English translation of the Holy Scriptures should be. His critical and explanatory notes are of great value, of greater value than their brevity and modest character would lead the majority of readers to ssupect. But his langauge is not free, pure, idiomatic English. He has adopted many felicitous renderings from the Protestant version; he has, in some instances, substituted English for Latin words, and has gone as far as his plan permitted, and, perhaps, as far as he could go without too rudely disturbing the associations of those readers who know the Scriptures only in our Douay version; but it is to be regretted that he adopted so narrow a plan, and did not allow himself greater liberties in the same direction. We have heard much talk of a new translation to be undertaken and completed under the direction of Dr. Newman; but, as far as we can learn, this new translation has not as yet been commenced. In fact, we do not believe that it is possible in the present state of our langauge to make a new and original translation, which would be acceptable to those familiar with the Scriptures in their original tongues, or even the Latin Vulgate.

We have heretofore expressed our opinion, that in any attempt at a re-translation of the Scriptures into English for Catholics, King James's version should be taken as the basis, correcting it according to the readings of the Vulgate, and avoiding its mistranslations and its few grammatical and literary errors. Never was our langauge in so good a state for the translation of the Scriptures, as it was at the time when that translation was made. It had then a majestic simplicity, a naturalness, an ease, grace, and vigor which it has been gradually losing since, and which, if not wholly lost, we owe to the influence of that translation together with the Book of Common Prayer.

No translation of the Scriptures into English of our best writers at the present day, could be endured by any reader of taste and judgment. Every day does our langauge depart more and more from the grandeur, strength, and simplicity which marked it in the sixteenth century and the beginning of the seventeenth; and proves very clearly, that the reading of the Scriptures, at least in the English version, is growing less and less common, or that scholars who have never familiarized themselves with that version, and formed their taste by its study, have gained the mastery in our modern literary world. Say what we will, since the time of Burke, the Celtic genius, aided by French influence, has been triumphing over the old Anglo-Saxon; and pompousness of diction, and difuseness of style, have taken the place of terseness and simplicity. These facts render it impracticable for even our best scholars to produce a new translation of the Scriptures that could ever equal, in literary merit, the Protestant version.

It is true, the version called the "Douay Bible" was made and published before that of the translators designated by King James,- the New Testament, at Rheims, in 1582, and the Old Testament, at Douay, in 1609; but it was made under great disadvantages, by Englishmen exiled from their own country, living, and, in part, educated abroad, and habitually speaking a foreign langauge. They were learned men, but they had, to a great extent, lost the genius and idioms of their own language, and evidently were more familiar with Latin and French than with their mother tongue. We give all honor to their memory, and we laud from our hearts their earnest and well-meant efforts; but we are unwilling to accept their translation even as they left it, as that in which the English speaking world should study the Scriptures, far less as remodeled and emasculated by the excellent but tasteless Bishop Challoner, in which English and American Catholics now generally study them. In literary merit it can in no respect compare with the Protestant version; compared with that, it is weak, tasteless, and inharmonious. We might prove this by illustrations taken anywhere; but take, as it first occurs to us, the first verse of the first Psalm. In the Douay it reads: "Blessed is the man who hath not walked in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stood in the way of sinners, nor sat in the chair of pestilence." In the Protestant version it reads: "Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful." In this last version the parallelism of the Hebrew is better preserved, and the moral idea is carried out without change or interruption. But, in the first, the moral continuity is broken, and there is a sudden transition from the moral to the physical order, by substituting "the chair of pestilence" for "the seat of the scornful," which is not only better English, but a more faithful rendering of the original. Take another illustration, from the prayer of Habakkuk. In the Douay version it reads: "O Lord, I have heard thy hearing, and was afraid. O Lord, thy work, in the midst of the years, bring it to life. In the midst of the years thou shalt make it known: when thou art angry, thou wilt remember mercy. God will come from the South, and the Holy One from Mount Pharan. His glory covered the heavens, and the earth is full of his praise. His brightness shall be as the light: horns are in his hands. There is his strength hid: death shall go before his face. And the devil shall go forth before his feet." The Protestant translation reads: "O Lord, I have heard thy speech, and was afraid: O Lord, revive thy work in the midst of the years, in the midst of the years make it known: in wrath remember mercy. God came from Teman, and the Holy One from mount Paran. Selah. His glory covered the heavens, and the earth was full of his praise. And the brightness was at the light; he had horns coming out of his hand: and there was the hiding of his power. Before him went the pestilence, and burning coals went forth out of his feet."

Perhaps neither version can here be accepted as faultless; but certainly "I have heard thy speech" is better English than "I have heard thy hearing." "God will come from the South and the Holy One from mount Pharan." Why translate the word Teman, a proper name in Hebrew, and not the corresponding word Paran? Why interpret the symbol used by the prophet in one instance, and leave it uninterpreted in the other? There is no question as to which of these two translations is the most elegant and genuinely English; but a better translation than either is, perhaps, the following, from Dr. Noyes, excepting that we prefer the word "Lord" to the word "Jehovah."

"O Jehovah, I have heard thy words, and tremble.
O Jehovah, revive thy work in the midst of the years
In the midst of the years make it known,
In wrath remember mercy!
God cometh from Teman,
And the Holy One from mount Paran;
His glory covereth the heavens,
And the earth is full of his praise.
His brightness is as the light;
Rays stream forth from his hand,
And there is the hiding-place of his power.
Before him goeth the pestilence,
And the plague followeth his steps."

"Rays stream forth from his hand" is better either than "horns are in his hands," or "he had horns coming out of his hand;" yet the word stream is, perhaps, too modern, and we should, perhaps, prefer the rendering suggested in a note to the Douay Bible, "beams of light came forth from his hand." The great fault of Dr. Noyes' translation is in his too wide departure from the phraseology of the Protestant version, and the too modern cast which he gives to his language. We speak, of course, from the purely literary point of view, offering no opinion as to the fidelity, or want of fidelity, to the original of the author's rendering. It may seem remarkable, however, to the English reader that, of the three translations cited, the first renders the original in the past tense, the second the future, and the third in the present.

The Protestant version almost always uses the words righteous and righteousness, and the Douay uses the words just and justice. These terms are not synonomous in our language, and should never be used indiscriminately. When we speak of a man who has been rendered righteous by the merits of Christ, we should use the term just, as implying, not only that the man is righteous, but that he is so through justification. But when we speak generally of the quality, or the state in which a man is placed by its possession, it is better English to say righteous and righteousness, than it is to say just and justice. We are glad to find that Archbishop Kenrick translates the agite poenitentiam of the Vulgate by the English word repent, which, though it does not fully express the force of the original Greek term, better expresses the sense of the Latin, than the do penance adopted by the English translators. The archbishop well remarks, that "do penance is by usage determined to signify the practice of penitential works, rather than the exercise of the virtue itself." Repent is a consecrated English word, and is far more agreeable to our ears than the awkward phrase do penance, unless where direct reference is had to the performance of penitential works. We wish, therefore, in any future edition of a translation to be used by Catholics, whether done on the basis of the Protestant version or not, the revisers will allow themselves a discreet liberty in following the real genius of the English language, and make such changes in regard to terms heretofore used, as that genius demands. In the technical language of our religion, there must necessarily be great differences between us and Protestants; but we think it desireable that the differences should be no greater than is absolutely necessary to express the differences of our faith and worship, our practices and usages. We ought, as far as possible, to speak a common language, which, to a great extent, we may do; because, however far Protestants may have strayed from the unity and integrity of the faith, they still retain much in common with us.

We have no intention, in any thing we have said, to derogate from the authority of the Latin Vulgate. That text, corrected or amended according to the most authentic copies, is authoritative for all Catholics, and is, according to the judgment of the most imminent critics, upon the whole, the nearest approach to the exact reading of the original Scriptures which is now possible. It is, and must be, for Catholics, authority in all doctrinal discussions. We have not been speaking of it, but of an English translation, which may be read by English readers with pleasure and profit; but not of a translation that is ever to supercede for the theologian the Vulgate, or to be clothed with authority in controversies. Our simple suggestion is, that such translation should be made on the basis of the Protestant version, but, conforming to the readings of the Vulgate where they differ from those of the received Greek and Hebrew texts. Such a translation, we think, would gradually come into general use, and ultimately supplant, in the English-speaking world, the Protestant version now in use. It would quietly settle the dispute between Catholics and Protestants as to the use of the Scriptures in the public schools, remove a great objection which Catholics now have to those schools, and go far to relieve us from the necessity we are now under of establishing separate schools for ourselves. But, however this may be, we cannot close these desultory remarks, without urging upon all Catholicsthe most attentive and assiduous study of the Holy Scriptures, as the best means of enlightening and confirming their faith, of elevating their piety, and giving robustness and vigor to their religious life.