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E. A: REPASS
BOOK OF CONCORD,
THE EVANGELICAL LUTHERAN CHURCH;
COMPRISING THE THREE CHIEF SYMBOLS, THE UNaltered augsburg Confession, THE
ARTICLES OF VISITATION.
TO WHICH IS PREFIXED
AN HISTORICAL INTRODUCTION.
TRANSLATED FROM THE GERMAN.
PUBLISHED BY SOLOMON D. HENKEL AND BRS.
Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1851, by
In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States for the
The Book of Concord, comprising the Symbols of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, has as yet enjoyed but a limited circulation in the United States. Wrapped in the obscurities of its original dialects,— the Latin and German languages,-that venerable relic of the Reformation has been left to slumber almost entirely in silence and neglect. Numerous causes have contributed to prolong this neglect. The descendants of German emigrants in America, have never cultivated the language and literature of their fathers with due interest; many of them are unable to read German; while many, able to read, and occupying exalted stations, have never manifested a laudable zeal for the doctrines of the church. The most obvious cause, however, seems to be, that the larger portion of Lutherans in America, are accustomed to read the English language only, and consequently have never had an opportunity to appreciate the value of their Symbols.
Yet we cherish the anticipation of a brighter day in the Lutheran church. In a land of freedom, of science and art, where the generous spirit of political wisdom encourages the exercise of reason, and guards the decisions of conscience; where industry, energy, and enterprise, though daily attaining fresh prospects of future improvement, are continually unburying the sacred treasures of the past; we believe that the doctrines of our church will ultimately be reclaimed, and that men of our western clime will enter into the investigation of these doctrines with all the avidity natural to a love for the truth. That these doctrines and these principles of immutable truth, are congenial with the tastes and feelings of the American mind, we may fearlessly deduce from recent facts. Within the last few years, the Book of Concord and Luther's House-Sermons have been reprinted in this country; and several of Luther's works have lately been translated into the English language, and circulated extensively.
It was, therefore, reasonable to presume, that a faithful translation of the Book of Concord into the English language, was loudly demanded by the necessities of the times, and would effectually cooperate with these laudable exertions. Partial translations indeed
of the Augsburg Confession had been made at different times; but it' had never been fully rendered into English until 1831, when a translation was completed by the Rev. CHARLES HENKEL, assisted by professor SMITH, of Columbus Seminary, Ohio; and several small fragments from the Book of Concord, were subsequently translated by others.
At the urgent solicitation of many zealous members of the church, we announced, Oct. 9, 1845, our resolution to procure a correct English version of the entire work, and publish it as soon as practicable. Since that period no time or labor has been spared to fulfil our promise.
We have had to engage the talents not only of men familiar with the Lutheran doctrine, as well as with the German and English languages, but, in consequence of the obsolete style in which the German copy of this work was originally written, we have constantly had recourse to men who were able to consult the Latin copy whenever it was requisite. And here we feel bound in justice to the industry and valuable abilities of those who contributed their friendly aid, to specify the several portions furnished by each.
The Augsburg Confession, the Apology, the Articles of Smalcald, the Appendix, and the Articles of Visitation, in a version purely literal, were furnished by the Rev. AMBROSE and SOCRAtes Henkel, The Larger Catechism was translated, in the same manner, by the Rev. J. STIREWALT; the Epitome by the Rev. H. WETZEL; and the Declaration by the Rev. J. R. MOSER. The Smaller Catechism was copied mainly from the translation by the Rev. DAVID HENKEL, published in 1827. Much assistance in reviewing the proofsheets throughout the publication of the work, was rendered by JOSEPH SALYARDS, principal of the New Market Academy, who has long cultivated the study of science and general literature; and he likewise furnished translations of all the prefaces, from the Latin, and of the Historical Introduction, from the German.
All these translations when collected, were carefully compared with the original by the Rev. AMBROSE HENKEL, and afterwards, with the exception of the Historical Introduction and the prefaces, were revised, transcribed, and prepared for the press by the Rev. SOCRATES HENKEL. We have derived considerable assistance, too, in the progress of the work, from the Rev. L. EICHelberger.
The principal translations were made from the German edition of 1790, published at Leipsic; and, being favored by the Rev. C. P. KRAUTH, with a copy of the original German Dresden edition of 1580, we were enabled to compare them with that also, The Latin
copy, to which uniform reference was made in comparing the translations, was that published by HASE in 1846; and from this the prefaces were all translated. Whenever the German copy presented insuperable obscurities, recourse was also had to this edition in numerous passages. The Appendix was taken from the German and Latin edition published by MÜLLER, printed at Stuttgard, 1848, from which the Historical Introduction was also translated.
Deeming it most compatible with the nature of the work,-the subjects being chiefly of a didactic and doctrinal character,—we have endeavored throughout to preserve as just and uniform a medium as possible, between a translation purely literal, and one which admits all the freedom and elegance of English composition. We have labored to be faithful, and yet not to offend the fastidious ear. We have been anxious to preserve the serious tone and spirit of the pious original. But, as imperfection is the fate of all human efforts, the candid reader will no doubt discover many inaccuracies. Any friendly suggestion, therefore, pointing out such defects, will be received with gratitude, and enable us to render a second edition more worthy of an intelligent public.
May our labors be the instrument, in the hands of Providence, for promoting an acquaintance with the Book of Concord, the norm of all genuine Lutherans since 1580, and for extending the doctrines taught by the illustrious Reformer!
NEWMARKET, Shenandoah, Va.,