« EdellinenJatka »
respeetable. After acquiring the highest academical honors in science, and a just celebrity for classical knowledge, he devoted himself to the acquirement of the Arabic and Hindostanee languages. His mind was strongly impressed, at an early period, with the duty and importance of communicating the revealed religion to heathen nations. He had a spirit to follow the steps of Swartz and Brainerd, and preach to the natives in the woods; but his peculiar qualifications, as a critical scholar, have fixed him to the departinent of translation. He had not been long in Bengal before he was joined by Sabat and Mirza, and other learned natives; so that they now form an Arabic school, from which it is not pretended that there is any appeal in India.*
Mr. Martyn's own proper department is the Hindostanee language. Soon after his arrival, he translated the liturgy of the church of England into that tongue; being the first who introduced the church service to our native subjects in Bengal. He found that'many of the wives of the English soldiers were Hindostanee women, professing christianity, but who did not understand the English language, and being desirous to discharge faithfully the duties of his clerical office, he thought it proper to attempt such a translation. After reading prayers to the soldiers in English, he reads Hindostanee prayers to their wives, and to other natives. This original work, having received repeated revision and amendment, is esteemed by competent judges to be a perspicuous and faithful version of the sublime original. He also translated, about the same time, the parables and parabolic speeches, or apophthegms, of our Saviour, into the same language, with an explanation subjoined to each.
As Mr. Martyn and his associates at Cawnpore constiinte the Arabic sehood in India, for the translation of the scriptoresso Dr. Carey, and the Missionaries at Serampore, compose the Shanscrit school. See two memoirs lately published, and the proceedings of the Baptist Society, published annually.
But the grand work which has chiefly engaged the attention of this oriental scholar, during the last four years, is his translation of the whole Bible into the Hindostanee language. It has been often acknowledged, that a version of the scriptures into what is justly called “the grand popular language of Hindostan," would be the most generally useful in India. Mr. Martyn is in no haste to print any part of his work, being desirous that it should be first revised and approved by the best scholars. His chief difficulty is in settling the orthography of the language, and in ascertaining what proportion of Words ought to be admitted from the Persian and Arabic fountains; for the Hindostanee is yet in its infancy, as a written and grammatical tongue; and it is probable, that Mr. Martyn's work will contribute much to fix its standard. To evince the care and accuracy which he proposes to himself in this translation, it will be proper to subjoin his last official report on the subject, dated Dec. 1809.
“The Hindostanee New Testament has been finished some time, and submitted to the inspection of a variety of persons, in different parts of the country; but the opinions formed of the work have not hitherto appeared to justify its publication. I am perfectly convinced of the inutility of attempting to please all; yet I thought it better to withhold from the press what longer experience, and the possession of more efficient instruments, might enable me to send forth, in a form more calculated to give general satisfaction. The person, whose assistance I was inost anxious to obtain, has once more joined me, and I am now willing to hope that the word of God may be presented to the natives of India, so as to be intelligible to the generality of readers. The grammar of the language is nearly fixed by Mr. Gilchrist's learned and useful labors; but it is still difficult to write in it with a view to general utility. For the higher Mahomedans and men of learning
will hardly peruse, with satisfaction, a book in which the Persian has not lent'its aid to adorn the style. To the rest, a large proportion of Hindee is more acceptable. The difficulty of ascertaining the point equally removed from either extreme, would be considerably lessened, were there any prose compositions in the language, of acknowledged purityBut unfortunately no such standard exists: no works of any description indeed have been found but poems. Lately some translations in Hindostanee prose have issued from the college of Fort William; but as they have not yet stood the test of time, and are very little known in the country, they could not be safely referred to as a standard. Thus I have been left to the guidance of my own judgment far more than I could have wished.”
In regard to the Arabic and Persian translations, both of which Mr. Martyn superintends, as well as the Hindostanee, he thus writes.
“In the Persian and Arabic translations there are happily no such difficulties. The valuable qualities of our Christian brother, Nathaniel Sabat, render this part of the work comparatively easy. As he is, I trust, a serious Christain, the study of the word of God, and the translation of it, are of course a matter of choice with him, and a rigid adherance to the original a point of duty.* As a scholar, his acquirements are very considerable. He was educated under the care of the most learned man in Bagdad; and having continued to exercise himself in composition, he has acquired in consequence a critical acumen, and great command of words: His ill state of health renders it impossible to say exactly when the work
• The solicitude of these tran rs to infase the true meaning of the origiDalinto their versions, and not to trust entirely to the English Translation, wil! appear from the following observations of Mr. Martyn in his last letter. "The Psalms we must lea e till the end of the New Testainent, for this solid reason, that I do not understand a considerable portion of that book. Much of the pre sent translation is certainly unintelligible. It appears to me, that the tuo royal authors have suffered more from the plebeian touch of their interpreters, than even the Prophets, or any others but job. Hebrew has been of late my constant meditation."
he has undertaken will be finished; but if nothing untoward happen to interrupt us, you may expect the New Testament in the three languages, in the course of two years."
There are three remarkable prophecies concerne ing the Jews.
1. "The children of Isreal shall abide many days without a king, and without a prince, and without a sacrifice, and without an image, and without an ephod, and without teraphim," Hos. iii, 4..
2. "The Lord shall scatter thee among all people, from the one end of the earth even unto the other,! Deut. xxix, 64. And yet, “the people shall dwell alone, and shall not be reckoned amongst the nam tions,” Num. xxiii, 9.
3. “Thou shalt become an astonishment, a proverb, and a bye-word among all the nations whither the Lord shall lead thee. Among these nations shalt thou find no ease, niether shall the sole of thy foot have rest," Deut. xxviii, 37. 65.
The first of these prophecies is very remarkable; for who ever heard of a nation “abiding many days" without its civil and religious polity, and surviving its political existence? The very assertion seems to involve an absurdity. Did the Egyptian, Chaldeans, Greeks, or Romans, survive their civil and religious polity? The second prediction is not less singular than the former; for if the Jews were to be received among the nations of the earth, why should they not be reckoned with the nations?” Would any man, in a remote age, venture to foretell that there was a certain nation, which, in the ages to come, would be re
ceived and tolerated by all other nations, merely to be persecuted?*
But the third prophecy is such as must afford contemplation to infidelity, to the end of time. The Jews were to become, "an astonishment, and a proverb, and a bye-word among all the nations," because they shed the blood of the Savior of the world: Now it is not surprising that Christians should reproach them for such a crime. But how should we expect that they should be “trodden down to the heathen world," who never heard of such a Savior? Behold the Hindoo, at this day, punishing the Jew, without knowing the crime of which he has been guilty!
These three prophecies have been manifestly fulfilled; and if we had no other evidence this is sufficient to prove "that there is a God, and that he hath made a revelation to man."
There is a fourth prophecy concerning this peo . ple, which will shortly be accomplished. The Prophet Hosea, after foretelling that the children of Israel should abide many days without a king, adds these words: “Afterward shall they return, and seek the Lord their God, and David their king; and shall fear the Lord and his goodness in the latter days," Hosea iii, 5.
The question, which is now in the mouth of eve, ry Christian, is that which was asked in the vision of the prophet Daniel on the same subject; “How long shall it be to the end of these wonders?” Dan. xii, 6. When shall the "indignation against the holy
.To this day the Jows "are not reckoned with the English nation. The propoetical record influenced the last parliamentary proceeding respecting them. lo one thousand seven hundred and fifty-three, a bill was pessed to na. turalize tbe Jews; but after a few month, it was repealed, the voice of the people demanded that the devoted nation should not be reckoned with them.” So true it is that our last national deliberation coneerning this people was influenced by the ancient propheey. The time is now come when parliament may restore to the Jesus the franchise of a fellow.creature, without contravening the divine decrees. It is prophesied again, that "Israel shall returu to the Lord their God," and that the period of this cvent is not far remote In obedience then to the dictate of this prophecy, let our Christian nation proceed, without delay, to take away the reproach of the Jewish people; and pronounce the act in the most public and solemn manner, as an example to the rest of the world..