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T a time when much attention is drawn to the Revised Version of the New Testament, it may
not be uninteresting to our readers to see a specimen
of the English Bible, as written five hundred years ago.
It is taken from Wycliffe's translation of the Gospel according to Luke, and will serve to show how much alteration our language has undergone during the last five centuries.
It will show also, that although the way of expressing them was so widely different from our own, the great and blessed truths contained in the chapter are identical with those found in our later versions.
The parables of the lost sheep, the piece of silver, and the prodigal son, can never lose their beauty, however differently worded. The love of the Great Father to His wandering children is exemplified in Wycliffe's translation quite as forcibly as in any more recent revision.
Men and nations may die out, languages may change or become entirely obsolete; yea, heaven and earth shall pass away ; God's word shall not pass away. And so long as it is God's word that we take for our guide, it matters not in what language we read it.
LUK. CHAP. XV. And Pupplicans and synful men weren neighinge to him ; to heere him. And the farisees and the scribes grucchiden : seiyinge, for this resseyueth synful men : and etith with hem. And he spak to hem this parable, and seide, What man of you that hath a hundred scheep, and if he hath lost oon of hem : wher he leeueth not nynty and nyn in desert : and goth to it that perischide : till he fynde it? And whanne he hath foundun it: he joyeth and leith it on hise schuldris, and he cometh hoom. & clepith togider hise frendis and neighboris and seith to hem be ye glade with me : for I haue founden my scheep that hadde perischid. And I seye to you so joye 'schal be in heuene on o synful man doinge penaunce : more than on nynty and nyne juste that han no nede to penaunce.
Or what womman hauynge ten besauntis, and if sche hath lost oo besaunt : wher sche teendith not a lanterne and turneth upsadoun the hous, and sekith diligently til that sche fynde it? And whanne sche hath founden sche clepith togedre frendis and neighboris and seith, be ye glad with me : for I haue founden the besaunt that I hadde lost. So I seye to you joye schal be bifore aungels of God: on oo synful manne doinge penaunce.
And he seyde a man hadde twey sones : And the younger of hem seide to the fadir, fadir geue me the porcioun of catel that fallith to me, and he departide to hem the catel. And not after manye dayes, whanne alle thingis weren gederid togider : the yonger sone wente forth in pilgrimage into a fer cuntree and ther he wastide hise goodis : in lyuynge lecherously. And after that he hadde endid alle thingis a strong hunger was maad in that cuntree and he bigan to haue nede, And he wente and drough him to oon of the cytesynes of that cuntre, and he sente him into his toun : to feed swyn. And he coueitide to fille his wombe of the coddis that the hoggis eeten, and no man gaf him. And he turnede agen into himsilf: and seide, how manye hirid men in my fadris hous had plente of looues : and I perisch here thorou hungur! I schal rise up and go to my fadir and I schall seye to him : fadir I have synned into heuene, & bifore thee, and now I am not worthi to be clepid thy sone : make me as oon of thin hirid men. An he roos up and can to his fadir and whanne he was yet afer : his fadir sigh him, and was stirid by mersy, and he ran : and fel on his necke and kisside him. And the sone seide to him, fadir I have synned into heuene and bifore thee; and now I am not worthi to be clepid thy
And the fadir seide to his seruantis, swithe brynge ye forth the first stole : and clothe ye him, and gyue ye a ring in his hand ; and schoon on his feet. And brynge ye a fat calf and sleygh ye ; and ete we, and make we feeste. For this my sone was deed : and hath lyued agen, he perischide ; and is founden, and alle men bigunnen to ete But his eld sone was in the feelde and whanne he cam, and neighede to the hous he herde a symfonye and a croude. And he clepid oon of the seruantis ; and axide what these thingis weren. And he seyde to him, thi brother is comen : and thy fadir slough a fatt calf, for he resseyuede him saaf. And he was wrooth : and wolde not come yn, therfor his fadir gede out; and bigan to preye him. And he answerde to his fadir ; and seyde, lo so manye yeeris I serue thee': and I neuere brak thy commaundement, and thou neuere gaue to me a kide : that I with my frendis schulde haue etun. But aftir that this thi sone that hath deuourid his substance with hooris, cam, thou has slayn to him a fat calf. And he seide to him, sone thou art euermore with me : and alle my thingis be thine. But bihofte to make feest : and to haue joye : for this thi brother was deed and lyuyde agen, he perischide and is founden.
N anchor is a good stay to a ship in a storm. What
would the mariner do without it? So, hope in God through Christ is a stay to the soul of the
believer in the day of trouble, and without it would be in danger.
An anchor takes hold of something out of sight; so hope enters into the veil, and takes hold of things which are unseen to the carnal and natural eyes.
An anchor, when it takes hold of a rock or firm ground, holds the ship secure; so hope, taking hold of Christ, the Rock of Ages, preserves the soul from spiritual shipwreck.
An anchor would be of no use without the cable to which it is fastened; so hope without faith is of no use, and cannot avail the soul in time of need.
An anchor, to be of service to the ship, requires skilful management; so does hope. It must be cast within the veil whither the Forerunner is for us entered.
Two celestial thrones of glory
Soon new occupants contained ; Climax of his wondrous story,
There with Christ the sinner reigned. With the Lord through trouble passing,
Cheered by Him in dying hour, I shall rise to bliss surpassing,
Sharing in His royal power.
His Name ... Jesus. J
ESUS, my Saviour, oh, let me
Ever by faith cling close to Thee !
M. S. R.