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doos, by their own converted countrymen ;-namely, the Persian and Arabic versions by SABAT the Arabian; and the 'Telinga version, by ANANDA RAYER, the Telinga Brahmin. The latter has translated the four Gospels, and the Acts of the Apostles. The progress of Sabat in his translations will be noticed hereafter.
The Baptist Mission, in Bengal, commenced about the year 1793; and to it chiefly belongs the honour of reviving the spirit for promoting Christian knowledge, by translations of the Holy Scriptures. By the cultivation of the Shanscrit language, which is the parent of many others, they find it easy to superintend versions in the cognate tongues, such as the Orissa, Mahratta, Bengalee, Carnata, and Guzerattee. The primeval Shanscrit, like an aged Banian Tree, has many daughters growing round her in Hindostan. Dr. Carey is distinguished for his acquisitions in this language, and has published a copious Grammar of it.
He has also composed short Grammars in the Mahratta and Bengalee tongues ; and, in conjunction with his fellow-missionary, Mr. Marshman, has translated into English two volumes of the ancient Shanscrit work, called the Ramayuna ; and performed various other services to Oriental literature. The labours of Mr. Marshman in the Chinese, have been already noticed.
The following is the state of the translations at the Mission Press at Serampore, as extracted from the last Report.
New Testament printed ;
and part of the Penta
The whole Bible printed. ORISSA...... New Testament printed ;
and part of the Old
Testament. MAHRATTA........ Gospels and Acts printed. HINDOSTANEE...... New Testament printed
to the end of the Romans.
Besides these languages, and the Chinese before-mentioned, translations had been commenced in the Seik, the Carnata, Telinga, Guzerattee, and Burman.
It has been objected that the same persons cannot possibly arrive at a critical knowledge of so many languages. And it is true that every one of the above is as difficult to acquire and pronounce, as French, Greek, or Latin; and, perhaps, there is no instance on record of a man being able to preach or composé, in more than two languages well. But it is to be understood that the natives themselves are properly the translators ; and if we have confidence in the integrity of the man, we may depend with some certainty on the integrity of the translation. Besides, it is well known that it does not require a profound knowledge of a language, to superintend a translation in it, and to detect wilful and flagrant error. For instance, a scholar in England may judge of the accuracy of a version from the Greek language, though he cannot preach in Greek. Another consideration is, that no translation can be absolutely perfect. Our English translation is not perfect; nor is it necessary that it should. Slight variations in words affect not the essential doctrines, or important facts, of the Bible, any more than spots in the sun obscure its light. The light of truth still shines upon us, the Will of God is still revealed to us, though the idiom of the language in which it is con
veyed, be changed from age to age; or though some of the original words, in which that Will was first given, be lost from the page for ever.
It is, moreover, to be considered how important it is that even the smallest portion of Holy Scripture be translated into a new language.“ All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, " and is profitable for instruction in righteous“ ness.”—2 Tim. iii. 16. A single book, a single chapter has often been blessed to the conversion of individuals, both in England and in India; and they have died in the faith without knowing much of other parts of the Bible. How many excellent Christians in our own country die in early life, without knowing any thing of the prophetical books?-How many remain ignorant, even to advanced years, of the spiritual analogies of the Levitical Law? We have no hesitation in laying down this position: The more translations of the Scriptures the Missionaries commence, the better. Even in their most imperfect state, like Wickliffe's version in a remote age, they will form a basis for gradual improvement by succeeding generations. Besides, the very best translation must, in the lapse of ages, change with a changing language, like the leaves of a tree which fall in autumn and are renewed in spring. The two original languages of Revelation are by the Providence of God preserved to us, (how wonderful that Providence !) and remain constant; but the living tongues will be ever varying, and flowing, like a stream, to the end of time.
In the island of Ceylon, the population under the British Government amounts, according to the best authorities, to upwards of a million and a half; and one third is supposed to profess Christianity. This population was divided by the Dutch, while they had possession of the island, into 240 church-ships, and three native schoolmasters were appointed to each churchship. The Dutch government never gave an official appointment to any native who was not a Christian; a distinction which was ever considered by them as a wise policy, as well as a Christian duty, and which is continued by his Majesty's Government in Ceylon. Perhaps it is not generally known in England, that our Bengal and Madras Governments do not patronise the native Christians. They give official appointments to Mahomedans and Hindoos, generally, in