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Extracted from an Appendix to a Malay Grammar, by G. H. Werndly, relative to the Translation of the Bible into the Malay Language. Translated from the Dutch.

§ 1. The proper Translators of the Bible into the Malay Language, were Melchior Leidekker and Petrus Van der Vorm.

Dr. Leidekker arrived in India in the year 1675, and was appointed to the ministry of the Dutch churches at Batavia in 1678. In the interval he made a trip to Java, and obtained several Malay books, copied by himself in the Malay character, which enabled him to perfect himself in that language. While he studied in what manner this language could be spelt in Roman letters, he concluded that no other words than those actually used by the Malays, and bearing the same signification which they attach to them, ought to be adopted. For which purpose he saw the necessity of a Grammar; and judged it advisable to compose one from the Malay authors. Having thus made considerable progress in the knowledge of the Malay language, he made an experiment to translate the Bible in that language; of which mention is made in a letter from the Honorable the Court of Directors, to the Government of Batavia, under date 8th October, 1685, an extract of which is recorded in the proceedings of the Consistory of Batavia, under date the 1st of June, 1686. After having commenced this work, he again desisted till the year 1691, when he was requested by the Consistory to proceed as he had commenced. Having consented thereto, the Government of Batavia was informed, in the end of 1692, that the Rev. Mr. Leidekker was again labouring on this important duty.

The capacity which this reverend Gentleman possessed, appears by his Malay and Dutch Dictionaries, and by his Notes upon the Hebrew and Latin Dictionaries of Johannes Cocceius, which he had interwoven with blank leaves, and made into three volumes. In these, amongst other things, he inserted many remarks on the Hebrew and other eastern languages, in Latin and Malay, with his own hands; which work is preserved in the church treasury at Batavia.

With the Translation itself he made slow progress, for he would not put down any thing without the closest examination. However, he translated <PG=357> the Books of Moses, the two Books of Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther, Job, and the Psalms, thrice, and the other Books of the Old Testament twice, except the Book of Ruth, of which only one Translation is found. In the New Testament, he translated the four Evangelists only once; but the Acts of the Apostles, the Epistles of Paul to the Romans, Corinthians, and Galatians, twice; and, while prosecuting this work as far as the 6th verse of the 6th chapter to the Ephesians, he was called by the Lord of life and death, from this important work, to enjoy the reward of a faithful servant, on the 16th of March, 1701.

After the demise of this diligent Translator, all the papers relating to the Translation of the Bible were locked up in a particular chest in the Vestryroom at Batavia, the key of which was kept by the oldest clergyman; after whose death it fell into the hands of the Secretary to the Government, without any of the clergy having access to these writings, and consequently they remained useless till the year 1718, when this key was delivered by the Government to the charge of the Malay Clergyman.

The second Translator was Petrus Van der Vorm, who, as the principal linguist among the Malay brethren, in May 1701, was requested by the Consistory to undertake the completion of the important work of the Translation, which was left by Dr. Leidekker, at Ephesians, 6th chapter; which he, with the consent of the Government, gladly accepted and completed; and in October, in the same year, delivered it to the Consistory, which received it thankfully, and promised to report it to the Government.

§ 2. It was considered adviseable, that such an highly important work as the Translation of the Bible, should not be left to the trust of one man, and that it should, previously to publication, be most carefully revised.—For this purpose, the revision of the Bible was proposed by the Consistory so early as the year 1698, to Dr. Petrus Van der Vorm and Factor Cornelius Mutter; a measure which, by the departure of the latter for Europe, was postponed.

In the year 1702, at a time when several brethren, who understood the Malay language, were present at Batavia, it was suggested in the Consistory, that it would be proper to propose to the Government to begin the revision of the Bible, already translated in the Malay language. The result of this motion I find not recorded, and the work remained dormant until the year 1718.

In that year, some questions respecting the Malay Bible were received by the Consistory at Batavia from the Honorable Court of Directors, composed by the divines of Amsterdam, to all of which a full reply was made, which produced the desired effect, both on the divines of Amsterdaam and the Court of Directors.

The Government of India, in the year 1722, was therefore directed, in terms of high commendation, to have the work prepared for the press. This order being received by the local Government of Batavia, and communicated to the Consistory, the Government, upon the proposal of the latter, appointed for Revisors of the Malay Bible, the two Batavian clergymen, Petrus Van der Vorm and Arnaldus Brants; calling in also the aid of Red Engelberties Cornelius Ninaber, from Amboyna, and George Heudrick Werndly, from Maccassar; concerning these four ministers, I shall state some remarks, before I give an account of their proceedings.

The first, Petrus Van der Vorm, arrived in India in 1688, and proceeded to Amboyna the following year, where he learned the Malay language, and preached in it in May 1690, whence he was removed to Batavia in 1698. In 1701, the venerable Consistory of Batavia gave him this testimony, that they were convinced of his ability and proficiency in the Malay language; of which he gave full proof in composing a Malay Grammar, translating Outrein's First Rudiments, and bringing to perfection the Dutch and Malay Dictionaries, by Hearnius and Guinier, and principally by his Translation of the whole New Testament, and part of the Old, from the Arabic into Malay, not to speak of other services rendered by him, in which his abilities were conspicuous.

The second, Arnaldus Brants, arrived in India in 1700, and proceeded the following year to Ternate, where he studied the Malay language, performing <PG=358> Divine service in it, from the year 1704, until his departure from Amboyna in 1709, where he continued faithful in the work of the ministry, till 1718, when returning to Batavia, he was at first appointed to the Dutch congregations ; but soon after removed to the Malay church.

The third, Engelbertus Cornelius Ninaber, arrived in India, and at Amboyna in the year 1715, where he studied the Malay language, and preached in it in 1718.

The fourth is the author of this work, George Hendrick Werndly, who is obliged to speak now of himself, because the subject requires it. I arrived in India in 1718, and visited the same year the West Coast of Sumatra, at Padang. I was appointed for Maccassar; but the ship having sailed, I staid a year longer. This interval I applied, exclusive of other service, to the learning of the Malay language; so that, previous to my departure for Maccassar, I preached at Batavia; a practice which I continued at Maccassar every Sabbath-day afternoon, (the forenoon I preached in the Dutch language,) exclusive of other services which I had to perform in that language. I constantly studied how to conciliate the natives, in order to acquire the more easily a knowledge of their language, and to question them about what I read in their books.

In June, 1723, the four persons abovementioned, with great encouragement and zeal, for the first time met in order to begin the revision of the Malay Bible, translated by Dr. Leidekker and Dr. Van der Vorm ; but in the end of that year, in consequence of the increasing weakness of Dr. Van der Vorm, the heaviest part of the work devolved upon me. I was assisted with all possible energy by the other brethren: we assembled three or four days in each week, from eight to eleven o'clock, at the vestry-room, for the purpose of examining the drafts made by us; and as it was necessary for one of us to make a transcript, resulting from a comparison of what we had written, this was performed by Dr. Van der Vorm, to the end of the Book of Numbers, and, as stated before, finished by me.

For the drafts so made by Dr. Van der Vorm and myself, we adopted the following mode: First, we read the original text in the Hebrew and Greek, with the Latin Translations of Arias Montanus and others; then the Dutch, and after that the Malay Translation, and when no difficulty arose we entered it in our draft. But if the least difficulty occurred, we consulted the Chaldee, Syriac, and particularly the Arabic translation; the Translation of the Septuagint and the Persian were of some service to us; after that, the German, by Lutherus and Piscator, the French, the English, and sometimes the Spanish, together with our old Dutch Translation. We further read what had been written on those subjects in the Biblia Critica, and the Synopsis Criticorum, by Polus; to which we added several ancient and modern authors, to ascertain the true meaning of the words; and then we considered the Malay Translation, together with the other written or printed Translations in Malay, that were in our possession. We would have availed ourselves also of that of Dr. Valantyn, (although much cannot be said in its favour,) had it been in our possession.

I always made memorandums in my Concordance (by Trommius) how we translated a word, that in future, if possible, for an original word, we might be able to use a Malay word. Thus I made my drafts, and carried them to our Meetings.

Our Meetings commenced always with prayers for the enlightening of the Holy Spirit to a right understanding of the Word of God, and concluded with thanksgivings.

Dr. Van der Vorm always attended when in good health; and, when unable to attend from indisposition, he examined the draft at his own house, and noted down his remarks.

' The Meetings were almost always complete, and were sometimes attended by other brethren, who lent us their aid. In these Meetings, one always read the original text and the Dutch Translation; after that the Translation of Dr. Leidekker and Dr. Van der Vorm, or the draft made from it, and then we resolved unanimously how the Translation should stand, which was immediately noted down in the draft.

Concerning difficult texts and words, we had always at hand the Synopsis <PG=359> Criticorum, by Polus, from which we read the opinion of those divines, and then reasoned with one another concerning them. Whenever we did not immediately agree, we postponed our decision until we had first individually considered the subject in our private studies; so that we never decided hastily, but always after long deliberation; sometimes several months elapsed before we gave our final decision; in which interval we consulted other brethren on the subject.

The language in which the Translation is made is the common Malay language, such as is used for the Malay books; consulting, for that purpose, various manuscripts. We were often obliged to have recourse to the living voice of the Malays, whom we visited, or to whom we submitted our questions, and who sometimes attended to give us counsel in their language; but we never depended upon their assertion without ground, but demanded from them convincing proof, that we might advance safely, as well with respect to the idiom, as to the investigation of the meaning of the Word of God.

This work was composed in European letters by Dr. Van der Vorm and myself, in conformity with the Malay letters, of which an account is given in this Grammar, page 17 to 23. Two copies were prepared, one for the Compositor, and the other to be carefully preserved, which was performed by several native masters; the same is, beside this, once copied in the Malay letters by Dr. Brants, while Dr. Hardholt, myself, and sometimes a native master, assisted, in order to complete the work in due time.

On the 2nd of October, 1725, when half of the work was finished, our diligent and zealous brother, Engelbertus Cornelius Ninaber, departed this life; and Dr. Johannes Hardholt, who arrived at Batavia in the year 1722, and was from that time appointed to study the Malay language, succeeded Mr. Ninaber. He was a man of very good expectation; but was not allowed to see the end of this work, having died in the year 1728, previous to the completion of this revision.

Nevertheless, in the month of October, 1728, through the Lord's goodness, we finished the Translation or Revision of the Bible, and were further employed in comparing the copies, as well those written with Malay, as with European letters, for which purpose we made use of the Heidelberg Catechism, the Dutch Confession of Faith, the Compendium of the Christian Religion, and the forms used by the reformed churches in the Netherlands, as far as those had been translated in the Malay language, adding to it such as was wanting, and were assisted by Dr. Carolus Georgius Serruns, all of which was brought to a close in the end of September 1729.

§ 3. But in order that this work, which cost the Translators and the Revisors so much trouble and labor, should be of general use, it was necessary that it should pass through the press. The Honorable Court of Directors therefore, on a proposal by the Honorable divines of Amsterdam, consented to its publication, and resolved that it should be printed in Holland, and that two ministers versed in the Malay language, together with two Malay masters, should come over from India to Holland to superintend the work. The Honorable Court were pleased to nominate Engelbertus Cornelius Ninaber and myself, (Rev. G. H. Werndly.) On the receipt of these orders in India, Dr. Ninaber being no more, and the aforesaid Dr. Hardholt having succeeded him, the venerable Consistory of Batavia had requested the Government to propose him to the Court of Directors, in the room of Dr. Ninaber; but before their answer on the subject arrived, Dr. Hardholt, as already mentioned, instead of returning to his native country on earth, was removed to a better country in heaven. In the mean time, Dr. Carolus Georgius Serruns, who arrived in India in the year 1711, proceeded the next year to Banda, and arrived in the year 1715 at Amboyna, where he performed Divine Service in the Malay language, having requested to return home, the Honorable the Court of Directors, on this occasion, united him with me, to superintend the printing of the Malay Bible in Europe, together with the two Malay chaplains, named Johannes Hekhol and Paulus Anthonisz de Monte.

The transcript of the Bible, for the use of the compositor, was given in charge to Dr. Serruns; while I carried the joint drafts of Dr. Van der Vorm and myself, with the alterations therein made, and also the copy written with Malay letters, for the purpose, if possible, to have that also printed.

<PG=360> Thus we embarked for Europe, on board two separate ships; and, by the Lord's blessing and protection, we arrived there in safety in 1730. We immediately made preparations for the work, engraving punches to cast an entire new type for the purpose. As soon as some of them were ready, we began to print the Catechism; with which, and with the casting of the types, that year passed away. The next year we began and finished the New Testament ;—after that we took in hand the Old Testament, and finished it before the end of the year 1733. Thus was the whole Bible completed, in large quarto, in two columns, with a beautiful title page. The title of the New Testament, separately, is thus: "Elkhawlu 'Ldjadid, 'ija 'itu, Segala surat Perdjandje an Baharuw. Atas titah segala Tuwan Pemarentah Kompanija tersalin kapada bahasa Malajuw. Dibendar 'Amisterdam, tertara, awleh R. dan Dj. Wet'istejn, penara p kompanija, MDCCXXXI;" which signifies: The New Testament, i. e. all the Books of the New Covenant, by the orders of the Lords the Directors of the Honorable the East India Company, translated into the Malay language, and printed in the city of Amsterdam, by R. and G. Westein, printers to the Honorable Company, 1731.

The title of the whole Bible is thus: "Elkitab, 'ija, 'itu segala surat Perdjandjian lama dan baharuw. 'Atas titah segala Tuwan Pemarentah kompanijaa tersalin kapada bahasa Malajuw. Dibendar 'Amisterdam, tertara awleh R. dan Dj. Wetistein, penara p kompanija, MDCCXXXIII;" signifying: Biblia, i. e. all the Books of the Old and New Testament, by order of the Lords the Directors of the Honorable the East India Company, translated into the Malay language, and printed in the city of Amsterdam, by R. and G. Westein, printers to the Honorable Company, 1733.

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