Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Tregelles (1850s) on Romanist Translation

S.P. Tregelles, in 1859 and 1860, wrote to the TBS,  referring to the practice of the British and Foreign Bible Society (BFBS) in circulating Catholic versions of
the Bible:
"The important question is not the mere number of copies that are put into circulation, but the character of those copies and their freedom from doctrinal corruption.   We should think but little of sermons preached, if we were only told that their number was very great, and we had reason to believe they did not set forth the Gospel of Christ, or if we knew that their object was to deny some foundation truth: one orthodox declaration of Jesus Christ crucified would be worth them all and more.
On the subject of the Romish versions, it seems however, to be peculiarly difficult to obtain a proper hearing, and to convince well-meaning persons that we are not justified in putting forth as the truth of God some known error in the hope of effecting some supposed extensive good... (September 12, 1860).  
"Those who defend the circulation of the falisified Romish Version of Holy Scripture contually speak as if the differences between such and honestly made translations were so slight that the question is one of but little practical importance...
"We may well ask, Is it important whether we consider our Lord Jesus Christ to be the bruiser of the serpent’s head, or attribute this to the Virgin Mary? Is it of no consequence that the second commandment be altered so as to make it only forbid the rendering of supreme worship to images?"
[Catholic doctrine makes this change in order to allow for the idolatry which goes on within Catholicism with its multitudes of statues, pictures, and holy trinkets which are worshipped by the followers of Romanism.] 
Are we to regard the substitution of penance in the place of repentance as of slight moment?  
[The Catholic versions make all of these corruptions in their official Scriptures, either in the text, or through their footnotes and “explanations.”] 
So I might go on with inquiry after inquiry, and the result would be the plain proof that the differences are serious indeed; for they substitute the false doctrine of Man for the truth inspired by the Holy Ghost, and they give apparent sanction of God to that which is so contrary to His Holy will.
Those who thus defend the corrupted versions show, that either they are really unacquainted with them, or else that they do not object to the false doctrine of Rome thus insidiously introduced. ...
But how do some engaged in circulating the Scriptures gain their experience? They would speak of copies sold, and of the individuals into whose hands they pass. But there is another kind of experience little known to such distributors or sellers, and the results of this I wish to state.  Let anyone who intelligently knows the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ have to do not only with Bible distribution but also with the reading of Holy Scripture himself to Roman
Catholics. ...
He will be made to feel, point by point, that a single perverted word becomes of consequence. ... I have been repeatedly so circumstanced as to be made to feel this painfully.  ... I speak from ample experience when I say, that there is no reasonable ground for regarding the differences as slight, unless, indeed, we seek to palliate Romish error." 
(S. P.  Tregelles, Sept. 17, 1859, quoted by Brown, The Word of God Among All Nations, pp. 41-44).
Excerpted from Unholy Hands on God's Holy Book, by D. Cloud, (2006)

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