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could he be so blind as not to recognise the hand which thus brought him help from afar.
In that spirit of faith which has distinguished his Missionary life, he engaged these learned men as fast as they were brought; and put the Sungskrit Bible, as the original from which they were to trauslate, into the hands of each. Each Pundit, thus furnished, and instructed also in the nature of the work of translation, now sat down, and began to render the divine word into his native dialect. He was assisted for some time by hints and directions from two learned Hindoos, prepared by Dr. Carey, and familiarized to the work of translation by having read the proofs of the Sungskrit and Bengalee with the Doctor; and then, from day to day, he was able to go on alone with his work. At an early period, his first attempts were brought to the test; for, after he had advanced some way, his manuscript was put to press, and the first sheet was examined by one of the initiated Native Assistants, sitting by the side of this original Native Translator. The first and second proofs were thus corrected, which brought the sheet as near as they could bring it to the original Sungskrit. The third proof was then carried to Dr. Carey by the Translator himself; and they went over it together, and over as many more proofs of the same sheet as the Doctor thought necessary, sometimes more and sometimes less; and after this, the sheet was ordered to press. This has been the constant and only process in these Translations, from the beginning."
From the Eighth Memoir of the Missionaries at Serampore.
"To expect that these editions will not be susceptible of many and various improvements, would be vain in itself, and contrary to universal experience. The English Version, which occupied the labor of the learned for seventy years, is by many deemed faulty at the present day: how must it, then, have appeared in the first twenty years, or in its first edition! Yet this did not prevent its being made the instrument of converting thousands, and of pouring forth such a flood of light as led to the correction of its own defects. They (the Missionaries) trust that the Versions they have put to press will be found intelligible to the great body of the people, and generally accurate. On the testimony of native critics, however, much dependence cannot be placed, as they must necessarily be ignorant of the Original Text, and of the peculiar phraseology of Scripture; while those phrases of Scripture which enter into the essence of Christianity, such as, living in Christ, crucified with Christ,' 'justified by faith,'' taking up the cross,' and numerous others, must be literally retained at whatever sacrifice of idiom. And as these terms are by no means intelligible to the bulk of mere nominal Christians even in Britain, it will not appear strange if they should not be immediately apprehended by Heathens. Should a native critic, therefore, withhold his unqualified testimony from any Version, this would be insufficient to prove that it might not still be inteligible to the body of his own countrymen. If, after reading a portion of it, an intelligent Native will seek for the volume and consider it a valuable gift, to men in his situation of life it must be intelligible; and the object of a first edition may be considered as secured. The Serampore Committee have reason to hope that this has been the case with the Versions which have been already sent into circulation. On this subject they subjoin a Letter sent to the Rev. Mr. Thomason, a few months ago, by Dr. Marshman (see Appendix, No. I.), in answer to his inquiries relative to the effect of circulating the Scriptures in Bengal; and another from Mr. J. T. Thompson, a Missionary who has travelled over a considerable portion of the country around Delhi. The Serampore Committee are still employed in ascertaining the character of these Versions, and will from time to time communicate to the Religious Public the result of their inquiries."
Extract from the Letter (No. I.) above referred to, from the Rev. Dr. Marshman. "Serampore, Feb. 20th, 1821.
"About three years ago, a number of persons were found inhabiting certain villages near Dacca, who had forsaken idolatry, and who constantly refused to Brahmans the usual honors paid to them beyond the other classes of the community. They were also said to be remarkable for the correctness of their conduct, and particularly for their adherence to truth. These were occasionally visited by several of our Christian Brethren, both European and Native, and were said to be scattered through ten or twelve villages, They were, however, the followers of no particular leader, as is the case with many sects among the Hindoos; but, from their professing to be in search of a true Gooroo, or Teacher, they were termed Sutya-Gooroos. Some of our native friends being exceedingly desirous of knowing from whence they had derived all their ideas, were at length told that they had imbibed them from a book which was carefully preserved in one of their villages. On arriving at this village, they were shown a book much worn, kept in a case (I think of brass) which had been made for the sake of preserving it, and which our friends were told had been there many years, although none of those present could say from whence it came. On exami nation, this book was found to be a copy of the FIRST EDITION OF The BenGALEE NEW TESTAMENT, printed at Serampore in 1800. After this, numbers of these Sutya-Gooroos came to Dacca, and, with Mr. Leonard, and various Native Christian Brethren there, described a number of things mentioned in the New Testament, particularly those which related to caste, and the distinction of food. This ended in three of them being baptized, in the course of a few months, on a profession of faith in Christ; who afterwards returned to their own villages. Our aged native brother, Kishnoo, (baptized in 1800,) went among them last August; and at the village where he was constrained to remain on account of the rains, he found a copy of THE SECOND EDITION OF THE BENGALEE NEW TESTAMENT, which they prized very highly, although they had not as yet made an open profession of Christianity."
The following advertisement,' (say the Committee of the Baptist Missionary Society, in their Report for 1819,) which is copied from the" Friend of India," a Monthly Publication printed at Serampore, will prove how desirous the Missionaries are of procuring all the assistance they can towards the improvement and completion of the Versions of the Holy Scriptures which are preparing by them :'
66 August, 1818.
"In the beginning of this month was finished at press the New Testament in the Pushtoo and the Kunkun Languages, under the superintendence of the Missionaries at Serampore. The Pushtoo Version was seven years in the press. This language is spoken by the nation of the Affghans, beyond the Indus, who have been by some supposed to be descended from the Ten Tribes carried away by Salmaneser. It is printed in the Arabic Character, and contains 782 pages. The Kunkun is spoken on the western coast of India, from Bombay to Goa. It is printed in the Nagree Character, and contains 706 pages. It has been about five years in the press. The Missionaries will esteem it a favor if any Gentlemen acquainted with these languages will examine either of these Versions of the New Testament, and favor them with corrections and emendations, with a view to a second and improved edition. The following are the points to which they would particularly request their attention.
"They would feel greatly obliged if any one would examine the style, and compare it with that of other books in the language, the style of which is allowed to be good. In doing this, it will be useful to avoid general obser
vations, which, however easily made, are of no service in the improvement of a Version; one observation drawn from practical knowledge, and supported by authorities brought forward from works of repute, contributing more to illustrate the true nature of any language or dialect, than a thousand general observations, unsupported by examples.
"They also beg such as are sufficiently acquainted with these languages, kindly to examine the construction, and to point out particular instances wherein they think it improper; in doing which, it will be of great utility to adduce examples of a different and superior mode of construction, drawn either from valuable works or from practical observation.
"They further entreat that Gentlemen will examine the rendering of particular passages, and kindly instance such as may appear to them inadequate, or obscure. In doing this, they beg leave to suggest the still more urgent necessity of adducing emendatory passages and phrases; which, they trust, will appear evident, when it is considered, that, in the New Testament particularly, there must occur many ideas which are almost wholly new in these languages: and it can scarcely be expected, that in dialects as yet so little cultivated, there should be found all those terms in divinity which the Greek Language furnished in such abundance. Many phrases and terms, therefore, must be created for the occasion, or accommodated as nearly as possible: and hence, though a term may be uncouth, if we would express the idea, it must still be retained until a better can be found. Important service will, therefore, be rendered by any Gentleman suggesting terms or phrases more adequate, or better understood, in the room of any which may appear objectionable; as, by this method, a number may be brought forward, from which a selection may be made to the highest advantage. And it may be hoped, that, by this course, should those who are best able thus kindly contribute their aid, the various Versions of the Scriptures in the Languages of India may ultimately be brought to a considerable degree of perfection."
This was afterwards succeeded by the following Circular Address, subjoined to the Seventh Memoir of the Missionaries, 1820:
"The Brethren who form the Committee for conducting Translations at Serampore, having been for many years engaged in the Translation of the Scriptures, have felt convinced, in proportion as they have applied to this work, that in no way can the best interests of India be more effectually promoted than by a Version of the Scriptures being given, if possible, in the dialect of every Province and Tribe in India, notwithstanding the difficulties which attend the completion of the work.
"With these difficulties it is impossible that they should be unacquainted, engaged in the work, as they have been, for so many years. But if difficulties are suffered to deter from an undertaking of this nature, there can be little hope that light will ever be diffused throughout India, or that the numerous Tribes of Eastern Asia, which comprise a full half of mankind, will ever enjoy those blessings with which Britain is so highly favored. They have found in the course of their work that the dialects of India and of Eastern Asia, numerous as they appear, may almost be traced to two sources, the Sungskrita and the Chinese; and, therefore, that a knowledge of these two languages sheds a prodigious degree of light over the various languages of India. This circumstance, among other things, enables them to view the difficulties in the way of accomplishing it as easily surmountable, by a course of steady perseverance; particularly if steps be taken to bring into operation that knowledge of the various dialects of India already possessed by our countrymen here. They humbly trust that the College
recently established at Serampore, in which Native Youths of talent and ability, conversant with the various languages of India, will be instructed in the languages wherein the Scriptures were originally written, as well as in heir own classic tongue, will prove highly important in this great work, which can be brought to due perfection only by efforts continued through a succession of years. But they feel assured that assistance of the most important kind may also be obtained from their countrymen in various parts of India; and it is with the view of respectfully soliciting this assistance in the Improvement of the Versions of the Scriptures they have already published, that you are now addressed.
"This request they feel encouraged to make, from the consideration that the Word of God or denomination they may be known. It is indeed to men that this glorious equally the portion of all Christians, by whatever name revelation is made; and every man who loves his race, is bound to interest himself to the utmost of his power in causing to be made for his fellow-men of every nation, a faithful and perspicuous Version of the Divine Writings. The Committee for conducting Translations at Serampore, therefore, wish to interest in this important work every friend to the Scriptures in India who feels willing to contribute his aid in the improvement of even a single Version; with whom they wish to exchange ideas on the subject in the most free and candid manner, for the sake of improving the various Translations of the Divine Word which they may conduct.
"How to secure this, so as to bring to bear on the Sacred Writings that knowledge of the dialects of India now possessed by Gentlemen who reside in its various provinces, has long been with them matter of serious consideration, particularly as they wish to include the assistance of Learned Natives in various parts of India in examining and judging relative to the style of such Versions as are made in their respective dialects. The unavoidable distance of those so capable of affording this assistance, from them and from each other, increases the difficulty of frequent communication. They, however, humbly trust that the following plan will obviate most of the difficulty which exists in the presen case. They respectfully propose
"1. That every Gentleman willing to correspond with them on the subject of Translations, be entreated thus to contribute his aid to the improvement of some one of the Indian Versions, and therein to obtain the aid of every Learned Native over whom he has influence.
"2. That such Gentlemen be not called on to incur any expense in examining any Version of the Scriptures; but that, whatever expense they may thus incur, be defrayed by the Committee for Translations at Serampore.
"3. That an interleaved copy of any one Version of the Sacred Scriptures, or of a single book in the language with which any Gentleman may be best acquainted, be sent him, on his kindly requesting it.
"By thus combining all the help procurable in examining the various Versions, as editions are successively printed, most of the Translations of the Scriptures will, they trust, ultimately be brought to a happy degree of perfection. But whether it be sooner or later, the Committee feel determined, by Divine assistance, never to withdraw their attention from this object till it be accomplished. They beg leave to observe, however, that in thus attempting to promote this important work, they have no wish to interfere with any friend who may be already conducting a Translation in any of the dialects of India; on the contrary, to every such friend they cheerfully tender that assistance they respectfully solicit from others; their grand wish being, to see the work accomplished, by whomsoever it be done.
"They therefore respectfully entreat your assistance, Dear Sir, and that
of any friend near you, whether European or Native, in examining any one
The following Extracts are from the latest Publication received from the Missionaries-their Ninth Memoir of Translations. After giving a list of the different Versions printed, with the date of each, they say
"From this view of the Translations, and of the time when they were respectively begun and finished at press, it will be evident that none of them have been brought hastily through the press. Seven years have formed the shortest period which has been occupied, even by those in which the terminations were the nearest akin to those in the neighboring dialects; and with the exception of the Bengalee, which, as the first, occupied almost undivided attention, it was not till those in the chief cognate languages of India (the Bengalee, the Hindee, the Mahratta, &c.) had been finished, that the secondary Versions were suffered to pass through the press even in so small a space as seven years. The chief cognate branches, it will be evident, occupied, in general, above ten years each; and to those wherein the discrepancy was very great, (as, for example, the Chinese, the Telinga, and the Kurnata,) nearly twelve were given. It is however a fact, that above threefourths of the words in most of the secondary cognate languages were understood, in all their bearings, through the Sungscrit, the Bengalee, and Hindee, before those secondary languages were begun; and in some of them even seven-eighths of the words, to say nothing of the construction, the idiom, and the usual figures of speech, in which there is little variation throughout the whole of the Indian family."
"An assemblage of Pundits, learned in the various languages of India, and engaged in making new Translations from Versions already existing, afforded (to the Missionaries) advantages for ascertaining the correctness of Versions when made, which are not easily met with elsewhere. Each of those, who carefully perused another Version for the sake of ascertaining the exact meaning of every passage, became a more unexceptionable witness to its accuracy or its incorrectness, than any Native can possibly be who cursorily examines only a few passages. While the latter can do little more than testify to the correctness of the idiom and the general perspicuity of the language, the Pundit, after spending month after month in examining it in order to obtain the literal meaning of each sentence for practical purposes, is a voucher for the accuracy of the rendering in a way that no Native beside can be, till he become acquainted with the original text, or at least obtain a very thorough knowledge of the Scriptures in some other way. As it is impossible that any one of these Pundits could guess beforehand what sense the European Translator might wish him to find in the Version he examines, (for this would have been equivalent to guessing, in nearly every instance, the exact meaning of the original,) it must follow, that the meaning he brought out of each passage, and expressed in his own rough draft, was precisely the meaning he found in that Version: and this, brought to the European Translator, enabled him at once to judge of the Version thus examined.
"This may be illustrated by an example. The Bengalee Version of the New Testament being the first that was finished, when the Orissa Pundit commenced his labors some years after, as he understood Bengalee nearly as well as his own vernacular tongue, he of course took the Bengalee Version