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THE BIBLE IN FRENCH.
of Luther, in the one department, and of Melancthon in the other. The latter was supplied by Calvin, who had settled at Geneva ; and the former by Olivetan, the pupil of Lefèvre, and uncle of Calvin. Olivetan's version was completed in 1535, and printed at Neuchâtel. In 1540, it was printed again at Geneva, after being revised by Calvin. In 1588, the edition was published which is now generally known as the Geneva French Bible. It is substantially Olivetan's, corrected by the pastors and professors of the reformed church in that city, among whom may be mentioned Jacquemot, Bertram, and Beza. History reckons upwards of twenty other French versions, Protestant and Catholic. The chief are the version of De Sacy, the Port Royalist, and the versions of Martin, a native of Languedoc, and Ostervald, both founded on the Geneva Bible Ostervald's is in use among the Protestants of Switzerland, while Martin's is preferred by those of Belgium, Holland, and southern France. De Sacy's has been largely circulated among Roman Catholics by the British and Foreign Bible Society.
The use of so many versions among French Protestants (there being no less than ten versions still in circulation) is an evil, and has done mischief to the Protestant cause. De Sacy's version, it may be added, we owe, as we owe Luther's, to imprisonment. The Jesuits threw him into the Bastile in 1666, and there he laboured for two years and a half at his version of the Scriptures. He finished it
BIBLE-CIRCULATION IN FRANCE.
on the evening previous to his liberation. The Jesuits condemned it as too favourable to Protestantism. In France it is regarded by very many " as the most perfect version in French, or in any other tongue.”
The extent of these labours in France, and their results, are both remarkable. Le Long reckons, between the years 1550 and 1600, no fewer than one hundred and fifty-seven editions of the entire Bible or Testament printed in French. Of those, one hundred and four editions were printed at Geneva, and forty-three elsewhere.* The results we gather from Ranke. The doctrines of Calvin, he tells us, were early spread through France, and in defiance of persecution, the French churches modelled themselves on the type of that of Geneva. They held a numerous synod in 1559, and in the year 1561, the Venetian ambassador Micheli finds "not one province free from Protestantism, and three-fourths of the realm filled with it." “In many places," he says, “meetings and preachings are held, and rules of life laid down, exactly after the pattern of Geneva, without the least regard to the royal prohibitions." "Every one,” he adds, "has adopted these opinions ; even, what is most remarkable, the clergy; not only priests, monks, and nuns—there may be a few convents uninfected by tk 3m—but the very bishops, and many of the more eminent prelates, have." He finds it unavoidable that religious
* Townley's Illustrations, vol. iii. p. 89.
THE BIBLE IN GENEVA.
freedom should be accorded to the French Protestants," at least for an interim," as he expressed it, " if a deluge of blood was to be avoided." In fact, this report was followed by the edict o: January, 1562, which granted a recognised existence to Protestantism in that country, and is the basis of the privileges it has since enjoyed there.
The zeal of neighbouring countries was stimulated by this example, and Geneva especially aided them in their work. The spirit of inquiry in northern Italy, which had called for nine editions of the Scriptures by Malermi before the year 1500, called for as many as thirteen more within seventy years it while an edition by Bruccioli had been reprinted eleven times before 1579. At Geneva, also, an Italian version was published for the use of Protestants in 1561 ; and early in the seventeenth century, Diodati, of a noble Italian family, and professor of Hebrew at Geneva, prepared and published, at his own expense, his Italian version, one of the most important translations of modern times. It is remarkably clear, and peculiarly suited for circulation among the poorer classes of his countrymen. In 1562, the New Testament was also translated into Romanese, the whole Bible being translated in 1679. This dialect is spoken in the Grisons by a population amounting to about ninety thou
sand. The printed versions in other dialects of that district, the Piedmontese, the Catalan, and * Ranke, book v.
| Le Long.
GENEVA AND CONSTANTINOPLE.
the Vaudois, belong to the nineteenth century, and are among
inany trophies of the labours of the British and Foreign Bible Society. In the Daco-Romano, or Wallachian language, (a mixture of the classic and Sclavonic,) the New Testament was published at Belgrade as early as 1648, and the Old Testament was published at Bucharest, the capital, in 1668. The people are members of the Greek church, and amount to about three millions.
At Geneva, moreover, was printed the first edition of the Scriptures in modern Greek. The version was made by Callipoli, 1638, and is remarkable for its close adherence to the Greek text. In one of the prefaces to it, written by Cyril Lucar, the patriarch of Constantinople, who had studied at Geneva, he strongly insists upon the "necessity of presenting the Scriptures in a language intelligible to the people:" therein speaking the sentiments of the whole Greek church. This edition has been frequently reprinted. The Old Testament was not prepared till the year 1819, when Hilarion, the archbishop of Tronovo, completed a version for the British and Foreign Bible Society. This, however, is now superseded by a revised version, printed by that Society at Athens, in 1848. It is curious and interesting to trace, from Paris and the teaching of Lefèvre, the progress of the Bible, till we find it, as we thus do, in the midst of the Mohammedan power in the east.
These last facts we have grouped together, partly because they are connected with Geneva,
THE BIBLE IN SCLAVONIC AND RUSSIAN.
and partly because the languages to which they refer constitute, with the Spanish and Portuguese, the principal members of the Græco-Latin family of tongues.
The Reformation having established the principle that the Bible is the final appeal on every question of religious faith, the work of translation extended on all hands. We have already marked its progress in Germany, in France, and Switzerland, among the Teutonic and GræcoLatin families of speech. One family more in Europe of the Indo-EUROPEAN class still remains to be noticed the Sclavonic.
The Sclavonic nations and their descendants now number upwards of sixty millions of people, and they occupx a third of Europe. We find them from Petersburgh to the borders of Greece, from Trieste to Adrianople, from Prague to the banks of the Volga. One chief language of these people was in ancient times the Sclavonic, but that is now used exclusively for ecclesiastical purposes. Its various dialects, or, more properly, cognate dialects, (all formed from a yet older tongue,) are the Bohemian, the Russian, the Polish, the Bulgarian, the Carniolan, and the Wendish. All the nations using those tongues needed and must have the Bible.
The history of the old Sclavonic version we have traced. Portions of it were printed, as we have seen, at Cracow, and at Montenegro, before the close of the fifteenth century ; various editions of the Gospels were also printed between 1512 and 1562. In 1553, the czar Ivan caused