In what must have seemed a moment of deep irony for whoever had to edit it, the Church Times “100 Years Ago” column this week is a real cracker!
HAVING done our best to bury that version of the English Bible known, for some occult reason, as the “Authorized”, we are now invited to whiten its sepulchre. In other words, apart from exact dates, the year 1911 being the three hundredth year since the issue of King James’s version of 1611, we are invited to observe the tercentenary by sermons and meetings, and other ways dear to the British public, at home and abroad. The occasion is doubtless of great interest. The work of the translators of 1611 has made its mark throughout the world; the gracefulness of their diction will never be displaced by that of their successors, and their language has penetrated into quarters, as the Chancellor of the Exchequer [Mr David Lloyd George] has shown us, where it would have been most desirable to have marked its absence. Nevertheless, in view of the undoubted affection of the English for the diction of their Bible, and in the hope that that affection may prompt a more worthy acceptance of the teaching contained in the Church’s scriptures, we look forward with interest to March 26, when the celebration is appointed to commence. But in addition to the meetings and sermons and addresses invited from clergy and “ministers”, that is of all denominations, it would perhaps be to the advantage of the souls of the people, if a great act of penitential worship could be arranged to sue for pardon for the disregard, so often flagrant, of the authorized teaching contained in the sacred writings.
Could you see the Church Times writing stuff like that today? Not likely. How the mighty have fallen.