At the earnest solicitation of large numbers of the religious bodies and laity, we
herewith beg leave to introduce to the public a most convenient edition of the Sacred
Scriptures, approved by his Eminence, the Cardinal Archbishop of Baltimore, whose
recommendation we herewith append.
The Sacred Scriptures form a part of divine revelation; the other part being contained
in the depository of the Church, and designated as the unwritten word of God.
This distinction is most happily found couched in the language of St. Paul (2 Thess. 2.
14), " Wherefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which you have
learned, whether by word or by our Epistle." The Apostle of the Gentiles thus s gives
precedence to the unwritten word of God presented to man by the Church, whilst she, under
the influence of the Holy Spirit, assumes the office of sole interpreter of the written
word, thereby rendering her the sole guardian of the deposit of divine e revelation in its
On the written revelation, it is highly appropriate that we should here address a few
remarks to our readers.
As the book about to be once more presented to the public in a new form claims for
itself an origin exclusively divine, we deem it not out of place to furnish, in outline at
least, the grounds of that claim.
The work is divided unequally into two parts, viz., the Old and New Testaments.
The Old Testament is a record of God's relations with man antecedently to the advent of
the incarnate Son of God, our Lord Jesus Christ. The New Testament contains a compendium
of the lives of our Saviour and his Apostles, as recorded by the Evangelists and
As to the first part, or Old Testament, the version always recognized by the Church
contains many more books than that used by other than Catholics. The reason of this
discrepancy is that the Church's version, the Septuagint, the Greek translation fro m the
original Hebrew, and which contained all the writings now found in the Douay version, as
it is called, was the version used by the Saviour and his Apostles and by the Church from
her infancy, and translated into Latin, known under the title of Latin Vulgate, and ever
recognized as the true version of the written word of God.
Hence the Old Testament, containing as it does all embraced in the Septuagint, is not
only genuine and authentic, but having the approbation of our Saviour and Apostles, who
quoted it exclusively whilst on earth, has superadded to it the supreme character of
divine inspiration, which it possesses to the exclusion of all other versions. It stands,
therefore, before the world as the sole claimant for integrity, genuineness, authenticity,
and inspiration; in a word, as the possessor of every attribute ne cessary to constitute
what no other work can lay claim to, viz., a divinely inspired volume.
Of the genuineness and authenticity of the more recent part of this sacred book, viz.,
the New Testament, there exists no doubt; but as to its inspiration, the gravest doubts
may exist unless an infallible witness thereof can be produced. Whatever grounds may exist
vouching for the inspiration of the Apostles as writers, no security whatsoever can be
forthcoming for the inspiration of the quotas furnished by Sts. Mark and Luke; the former
the writer of a Gospel; the latter also the writer of a Gospel and of the Acts of the
Apostles; these quotas, forming a prominent part in the composition of the New Testament,
remain uninspired, their authors not being Apostles. The only solution to this difficulty
is to be found in the testimony of the Church of Christ , which He commands us to "
hear," and against which He pledges Himself that " the gates of hell cannot
prevail." Her decision, by virtue of the guaranty of her Founder, exalts the New
Testament to the dignity of a divinely inspired production, and as she vouches also for
the divine character of the Old Testament, we submit to our readers a work that, alone of
all publications, comprises, with all the evidences of infallible certitude, the only
divine production on earth. The Church of Jesus Christ, by virtue of her divinely endowed
infallibility, vouches for the divine origin of the Sacred Scriptures, and as such we
respectfully, but confidently, submit them to the public.