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A FEW RETROSPECTIVE REMARKS OF THE TRANSLATOR.
When I was called on, by my brethren, to undertake the translation of the foregoing pages, from the German language, in which that part which contains the articles of our Confession of Faith has for several centuries been in print, I thought, from a firm persuasion that many excellent passages of gospel truths were contained therein, that it might be useful, and conducive to the benefit of the church of Christ, by reflecting more light on some controverted points in holy writ. And as our creed has never fully appeared in the English language, we were often misrepresented-wrong and unfavorable ideas were taken up concerning our church-misconstructions were made by comparing us to others, whose leading principles differ materially with ours. And moreover, as we hold with adult baptism, and several pamphlets have recently been issued from the press, in our section of country, in the English language, wherein is maintained the doctrine of infant baptism, with which we cannot hold, though our mode in administering it is also by sprinkling or pouring, it was thought to be a duty incumbent upon our church, to maintain the scriptural ground of our mode and practice which is contained in
our Confession of Faith, by a publication of it in the English language.
And as this is done not with any intention of reflecting censure, or bearing on the feelings of our fellow christians of other denominations and branches of the church of Christ; I thought it to be in perfect accordance with Christian duty, to lend my feeble aid, by engaging in the translation of the work, notwithstanding my humble qualification for an undertaking of this kind; and which would require profound erudition, to bring out a fluent English translation, from so ancient a German copy as the one from which the pages of our Confession of Faith are translated; and also from the inanuscript written by our beloved pastor, whose profession, as a writer, is but humble. Consequently the pious reader, it is hoped, will consider the difficulties under which a translator must have laboured, under these circumstances: inasmuch also, as it is an acknowledged fact, "That the best scholars have found it difficult to write with perspicuity and simplicity with a German model before them." Moreover, several noted errors have also escaped notice at the press; owing I presume, to the unsettled stata in which the printing establishment was during a part of the time in which this work was in press.
And farthermore, as I profess to be a member of this church, and hold with the general system of our Confession of Faith as being ge
nuine; with the exception of a few things therein maintained, and phrases used,—it is a duty which I owe to my own feelings, to make a few remarks concerning the present situation of our church. For, while engaged in translating the foregoing pages, how often did my heart burn with a desire that our life and conversation were in accordance with the scripture truths which we pretend to maintain. But, however scriptural our Confession of Faith may be, it is a lamentable fact that our church, espe cially in some parts of the country, has degenerated very much, and fallen from her primitive and former practical purity,and Christian graces. Where is now the love of the brethren and dis ciples of Christ, which He so warmly inculcates, and whereby His disciples are to be known? Where that holy zeal for keeping the commandments of Christ and promoting the cause of his church? Where that holy walk and conversation with which we should adorn the doctrine of his gospel? Where is that light which should shine forth from our good werks, as a city that is set on a hill cannot be hid ?-(Matth. 5: 14--16.) How is her silver become dross, and her wine mixed with water? (Is. 1: 22.) But with these reflections we would not give pain to those true members of our church, who are the salt of the earth; and who are of ten the most retired, hidden, and obscure; pressing onward in the narrow path of life, and praying in secret, that they may be rewarded
openly of whom, we trust, there is still a greater number than would appear to a superficial observer.
Now concerning the members of different branches of the church of Christ, who agree in the fundamental and principal parts of the doctrine of the Bible, yet differ in some external things of minor importance; is it not too often the case that between them there is too much opposition and party spirit manifested? And while one denomination is sowing the good seed of the word of God, and confirming believers in the faith of Jesus Christ, others of a different opinion, and too often from selfish and sinister motives, and to increase the number of their own party, sow the seeds of discord, and extend their influence to destroy the good secd thus sown, and eradicate its growth from the heart. How much good would result, if all the different denominations, who agree in the fundamental principles of christianity, would lay aside their disputes about external things of minor importance-and uniting together to promote the redemption of Christ, by the spread of his glorious gospel, and the extension of his kingdom from shore to shore?~That the good LORD grant, that believers be united in the bonds of charity, and thus labour together, till the earth be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea, (Heb. 2: 14.) is the ardent wish of May 19, 1838. THE TRANSLATOR.