§ 7.24 p.m.
§ THE LORD ARCHBISHOP OF YORK rose to move, That this House do direct that, in accordance with the Church of England Assembly (Powers) Act 1919, the Prayer Book (Versions of the Bible) Measure be presented to Her Majesty for the Royal Assent. The most reverend Primate said: My Lords, the Measure before your Lordships, entitled the Prayer Book (Versions of the Bible) Measure, is not difficult of explanation; and I hope that at this hour of the evening I shall not have to detain your Lordships long in introducing it. The present position is that in the Book of Common Prayer as we now have it, all the passages of Scripture quoted in the services are taken from the King James Version of the Bible, the version of 1611, known as the Authorised Version. There is one exception to this, which is the Psalter: that is in the Cover-dale version of something like a century 795 earlier than the Authorised Version; and to that I shall come in a moment.
§ Language changes, as faces do, with the passing of the years. The English language has changed greatly with the passing of the three and a half centuries which separate 1611 from 1965. Instances will spring readily to mind. "Prevent", in 1611, meant what its constituent parts indicate; namely, "to come or go before". Today, it simply means "to stop or to hinder". "Charity" then meant "love", in its deepest sense; now it can be used of the coin tossed to the begger by a passer-by. The preposition "by" then meant "against"; now that meaning scarcely ever attaches to the word. So that, to quote a phrase from St. Paul, "I know nothing by myself" meant one thing in 1611 and means something entirely different in our own day.
§ One could go on multiplying instances; but I refrain. I have given enough to indicate that if the real meaning of passages of the Bible, as distinct from beauty of sound alone, is to be conveyed to modern audiences or congregations, it will often be conveyed in an up-to-date translation in a way in which it can never be conveyed in an ancient one.
§ Our day has been, and is, a day of translations. These translations, at their best, incorporate recent discoveries of linguists and theologians and make them available to the ordinary, unskilled reader. Some of these translations are useful for private study but they read badly in public; others are suitable both for private study and for public reading. The Measure before your Lordships, if passed into law, will make it permissible for some of these translations to be used with, as I believe, consequent enlightenment to those who hear. For it must be freely acknowledged that there are passages—not a few of them—especially in the Old Testament, which, in the 1611 version, make very little sense. It is not to be tolerated that these should continue to be read if there are available versions which both give the real sense and do so in dignified and beautiful English. I believe that such versions exist and that we should use them in our churches.
§ To take but one example. I think of that superb book of dramatic poetry, the Book of Job. It is a hook which 796 to Hebrew scholars has been notoriously difficult to understand and to translate. There are many parts of it, which, in the 1611 translation, are difficult, if not impossible, to understand. But I recently read a large part of this Book in a form very close to what will shortly appear in the Old Testament part of the New English Bible which is due to appear in a couple of years or so. I venture to think that it is superb. It combines the insights derived from remarkable strides recently made in Semitic scholarship with the sensitivity of touch shown by such people as the late Dean Milner White in rendering it into poetic English.
§ Now, I have said that some versions are unsuitable for public reading. That is perfectly true; and the Measure before your Lordships places safeguards in our way. First, the version or versions to be read must be authorised by the Convocations of Canterbury and York and must have the concurrence of the House of Laity. Secondly, the version or versions may not be used without the concurrence of the parochial church council; or in the case of what are known as Occasional Offices—that is to say. such services as Baptism, Burial and so on—it may not be used if any of the persons concerned objects. Thus congregations will be guarded from the use of unworthy translations and the rights of the laity will be maintained. Modern translations cannot be forced on unwilling congregations.
§ My Lords, I referred a moment ago to the fact that there was one part of the Book of Common Prayer in which the Authorised Version is not used, but the translation of Coverdale is used in its place. That part is the Psalms, and I must turn to that briefly for a moment. The Coverdale translation is one of very great beauty, sometimes of exquisite cadence, but it suffers from the fact that it was made many years ago, as I have said, possibly about a century or more longer ago than even the Authorised Version, and therefore cannot incorporate the findings of modern scholarship. To-day we know far more about the meaning of the Psalms than Coverdale did; and in many passages where he could scarcely make sense of the original, we can. These findings of modern scholarship have recently been incorporated into a new translation of the Psalms, which has succeeded, as I think, in maintaining the 797 beauty and rhythm of the Coverdale version and in giving it to us in a form which can easily be sung.
§ This version is the result of four years' work by a Committee over which I had the privilege of presiding. Its members included linguistic experts, musical experts, and two great English scholars, T. S. Eliot and C. S. Lewis. The translation was approved by the Convocations of Canterbury and York in October, 1963, with a view to legislation for its permissive use; and the Measure now before your Lordships, if passed, will enable us to use this version in the worship of the Church. This I believe is an end very greatly to be desired.
§ The special, new translation of the Psalms was called for inasmuch as the translations in, for example, the Revised Standard Version and the forthcoming New English Bible Old Testament, while designed to be read, were not specially designed to be sung; and those who know what is meant by "Anglican Chant" will appreciate at once their beauty and the very considerable demand which they make on those who sing them. A special kind of translation was called for and this has been provided, not I think unsuccessfully, in the revised Psalter.
§ The Measure the adoption of which I now have the honour to move is not, I think, a controversial one, but it is an important one, for it will enable men and women better to understand the Scriptures of their Old and New Testament as they occur in their services of public worship, and to offer to Almighty God worship more befitting intelligent men. On these grounds, I beg to move the Motion before your Lordships on the Order Paper.
§ Moved, That this House do direct that, in accordance with the Church of England Assembly (Powers) Act 1919, the Prayer Book (Versions of the Bible) Measure be presented to Her Majesty for the Royal Assent.—(The Lord Archbishop of York.)
§ 7.35 p.m.
§ LORD SOPER
My Lords, it may well be that this is the first time that the ministerial representative of one of the Churches that left the Anglican Communion, or was ejected from it, has had the opportunity of commending a Measure like this in your Lordships' House. 798 Whatever pleasure or otherwise it may give to my ecclesiastical brethren, it gives me great pleasure. I find it most agreeable, in that I can wholeheartedly support this Measure and would seek to do so. Yet, strictly speaking, as a Methodist this is none of my business. Indeed, to use that much used and maligned quotation, "Sub specie aeternitatis", I do not believe it is the business of your Lordships' House either. The domestic affairs of the Prayers of the Church should not, it seems to me, in the ideal State, come before a secular court at all. However, there are perhaps two modifications of those two comments. I, as a Methodist, must look at the Prayer Book very much in the same way as the pious look at the harp: though not much involved with it at the moment, they hope to be much more involved with it later on.
I would not pretend that we in Methodism have no liturgy. We have our liturgy. In the Church of England you have the posture of kneeling, or genuflection. We have the Nonconformist crouch. You have your various forms of liturgical service. We create our own. The Presbyterian prays into his hat, as many a member of the Church of England will pray or sing his liturgical exercises. And yet I hope, and I believe it would be the hope of the majority of those who are Methodists as I am, that the day is not far distant when we shall he recovered into the fold of the Church in England, as it was most felicitously described by the previous Archbishop of Canterbury. And I hope very much, for that reason, that my words now will not be out of place in my looking forward to that delectable time. I hope that mutual improvements will come to both Churches when they re-unite. It is for that reason that I have to declare a practical interest in what happens to the Prayer Book, which sooner or later will be a Prayer Book shared, I hope, by myself and those who are with me in a new and united Church in England.
In the second place since it is a matter that is brought before your Lordships' House I should like to make one or two observations about this Measure. I take it that the object of the exercise is preeminently evangelical, for I do not think very much harm comes to those who are hardened church-goers by some of the difficulties they find in appreciating the 799 Meaning of some of the services in which they take part. I should, at least, think that that is secondary to what is most needed: a recovery of faith in the Christian religion; and one of the means whereby that recovery may be promoted is in liturgical worship and the proper use of the Prayer Book.
I take it that there are two quite simple and distinguishable elements in that liturgical process: the one is to clarify what is now obscure, and the other is to interest people in what they now appear to think irrelevant. Let us not put too much hope in the effects of clarity. I am reminded of a delicious comment made by one of the great favourites that I hold in the literary field, none other than Mark Twain. I looked it up to-day. He said:Most people are bothered by those passages in Scripture which they cannot understand, but as for me, I always notice that the passages in Scripture which trouble me most are those which I do understand.I think that unexceptionable; and it may well be that the clearer the message the more dubious it may appear to those who already have what they assume to be reasonable doubts for casting their aspersions on its veracity. I have never believed that those who take a keener interest will necessarily become converted. The keenest interest may be in the finding of more substantial reasons for rejecting what on first sight they have just been dubious about. Therefore I do not believe that in principle we have very much to hope from this particular Measure if it is regarded as isolated from a far more general evangelical attack on the ungodly, which I hope will be promoted and will be assisted by this Measure.
It is on the other side of the picture, it is in the thinking and attitude of those who come to the Scriptures or come to Prayers or come to liturgical exercises or come to church, and find what they discovered there to be largely irrelevant, that I believe this Measure will go a long way to recovering interest and stimulating a sense of reality. I do not believe, necessarily, thatBeauty is truth, truth beauty",And. I certainly would take issue with Keats that we do not need to know anything else besides those two rather bald statements.
I am however, persuaded that the beauty of the Elizabethan language is no 800 Substitute. for the sense of relevance that can be promoted in a book like the book of the Acts of the Apostles when it leaps into modern life in modern language. And when these various phrases and texts and these various passages of Scripture are translated into what seems to me sometimes, in some translations (which I hope will not be included in the general permit of the Ecclesiastical authorities) jargon, they have at least the commendable virtue of being up to date and, if you will permit in your Lordships' House such a phrase, "with it". This is no final argument, but I think it is an important contribution .For if I may count upon forty years of some kind of evangel exercise in the open air, I am perfectly well persuaded that the supreme initial problem of church communication and church evangelization is this problem of relevance. There is, it seems to me, a first-rate opportunity in this Measure of bringing to those who care to hear and take part in liturgical services, something of the relevance that is immediately stimulated by a contemporary language.
I would add one other thing, if I may. It is this. If this particular exercise strikes a blow at the canard, as well as at the heresy, of verbal infallibility, then it will do untold good in a generation where a totalitarian view of the Bible is still widely held and we are regularly submitted to evangelical jamborees in which we are told what the Bible says. We know that the Bible says anything you would like it to say, if you take the precaution of looking up the appropriate text after you have made up your mind what you are going to do. There is no doubt at all that the Bible is an incomparable servant, but I believe, quite sincerely and I hope without offence, that it is an intolerable master. Therefore, if this Measure does at least strike a blow, as I believe it will, and open doors to the understanding of this incomparable set of documents which are for our learning and for our edification and a means of grace to bring us into touch with our Saviour, then I, for one, believe that this Measure will be amply justified and I have the greatest pleasure in recommending it.
§ 7.42 p.m.
§ LORD ELTON
My Lords, I am, I hope, a loyal, and even a well disciplined, 801 member of the Church and I readily accept that, since this Measure is desired by the leaders and spokesmen of the Church, both those who occupy its pews and we who sit on these Benches must submit to their judgment. Nevertheless, and although I accept and agree with about nine-tenths of what has already been said, I do not think that this Measure ought to pass through your Lordships' House without some voice, however feeble, being raised to draw attention to what appear to me to be certain grave dangers inherent in the wider use in public worship of the New English Bible—that is, the New English Bible New Testament—which is, I suppose, one of the principal objectives of this Measure.
This is all the more necessary, it seems to me, since the gravest of these dangers is the frequency—I am almost tempted to say the ubiquity—in the New English Bible of passages in which the translators, in their determination to produce a lively contemporary paraphrase, have in fact impoverished or distorted the true meaning of the Greek words. And this at a time when I suppose not one in 10,000 of the general public, and probably not very much more than one in 10,000 of Church members, has the slightest familiarity with Hellenistic Greek. I dare not speculate on what the proportion among right reverend Prelates may be—indeed, I am respectfully taking for granted that they are all erudite Greek scholars. Nevertheless, the formidable fact remains that the vast majority of the faithful today are wholly unable to judge for themselves to what extent the New English Bible will remove them from the direct contact with the true meaning of the Greek text.
Let us admit at once that the new version will remove the biblical characters from their stained glass windows—and that will be all to the good. Let us admit at once that we stand on the shoulders of the men of 1611; that we know a good deal more than they about the ancient manuscripts and about the history and archæology of the biblical age. We know, too, that biblical exegesis has traveled far, If not always In the right direction, since their day, and all these are great gains and have resulted in valuable modernizations and correc- 802 Tions., of which the most reverend Primate, the Lord Archbishop of York, mentioned one or two. But all this, It seems to me, valuable though It Is, is counterbalanced by the two all-pervading defects of our new version.
Of these the lesser, grave though it remains, is the jettisoning of the dignity and beauty and the rhythm of the Authorized Version and the substitution of what T. S. Eliot—and he was a good judge of written English, if ever there was one—described as "a combination of the vulgar, the trivial and the pedantic". Eliot instanced the vulgar Americanism of the new version's substitution, for the Authorized Version'sCast not your pearls before swine",ofDo not feed pearls to your pigs";and many such examples could be adduced.
The avowed object of the new version is to be more intelligible. I wonder very much whether that object has been achieved. For some eighteen years I have taught a village Bible class of boys and youths, ranging in age from 12 to 19, about one quarter of them hailing from the local grammar school, and I have tried them repeatedly with the new version of the Gospels and the Acts. There is no doubt whatsoever that these ordinary and typical young Englishmen find the Authorized Version very much easier to understand than the New Bible. For their purposes the language of the New Bible resembles much too closely that of a leader in the old Manchester Guardian. They understand at once when they meet with "deny" in the Authorized Version, but three quarters of them are completely floored when it becomes "repudiate" in the New Bible. Learned men are not always in close contact with the man in the street, and are apt not to realize how restricted his vocabulary can be. And, quite apart from the question of intelligibility, on each of the numerous occasions when I have asked my class which version they preferred, the vote has invariably gone, either unanimously or by an overwhelming majority, in favour of the Authorized Version. That is why I sometimes question to myself the validity of the constant statements we hear as to the greater intelligibility and the greater popularity of the new version. I can 803 Only. speak from my own limited experience, but it is at any rate direct experience of the sort of people at whom the new version is aimed.
But much the gravest danger in the increasing use in public worship of the New English Bible is the simple fact that it is not so much a translation as a paraphrase, frequently introducing words and phrases which are totally absent from the Greek text or arbitrarily by-passing the plain sense of the Greek words. I venture, very briefly, to give two examples. In Matthew 5, v. 3, the Authorized Version'sBlessed are the poor in spiritis an exact translation of the Greek original, and I am glad to see that it has been retained intact in the recent American Revised Standard Version. But to our translators the words "poor in spirit" presumably seemed to be obscure, although for centuries in countless works of devotion, both non-Christian and Christian, they have been understood to signify "humble, self-mortified." The translators have accordingly substituted for "Blessed are the poor in spirit",Blessed are those who know that they are poor ".They have thus introduced the words "who know that" which are totally absent from the Greek text and have wholly ignored the Greek words "to pneumati", "in spirit", which are present in the Greek text. As to the meaning of their end product, "Blessed are they who know that they are poor", I do not myself feel at all confident; but it certainly has been not infrequently understood by simple men in the streets to signify, "Blessed are those who are shrewd enough to realize that they have not got as much money as they deserve." Or, to take one more instance, in Romans XV, verse 1, the Authorized Version has:We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak",again an exact translation of the Greek original. It does not require much effort of the imagination to perceive that this verse refers to what St. Paul has just been saying about the duty of the Christian not to offend the conscience of weaker brethren by eating certain kinds of meat. But here he has, deliberately no doubt, used general terms—"the strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak"—without 804 (and this is the point) any special reference to meat-eating, in order to link the narrower exhortation as to meat-eating which he has just concluded with the infinitely wider principle that the strong must always be ready to shoulder the infirmities of the weak, whatever they may be. And doubtless down the centuries countless Christians have drawn this wider and nobler lesson from his words.
But the New English Bible, laboriously and unnecessarily emphasizing the already obvious link with what has been said immediately before about meat-eating, expands St. Paul's words into:Those of us who have a robust conscience must accept as our own burden the tender scruples of weaker men.Needless to say, neither "conscience" nor "tender" nor "scruples" appears in the original Greek. And by these pedestrian interpolations into the Greek text, the translators have arbitrarily confined it to the narrower context of first-century menus, thus robbing the words of nine-tenths of their moral glory and significance. Scores of such examples could be adduced.
I know that to all such criticism it can be unanswerably replied, even by those who know no word of Greek themselves, that this is the work of the most distinguished scholars of the day; and, further, that it is the latest version and therefore must be presumed to be, in that most dangerous of fashionable phrases, "truly contemporary". I will only say, with every respect, indeed with the deepest respect, that I can hardly believe that anyone who has impartially and carefully studied the Greek text in relation to the two versions could fail to agree, at least, that with the New English Bible we are substituting linguistically, a paraphrase for a translation, and, stylistically, a humdrum paraphrase for a numinous translation. I can only hope that, in years to come, the Church may think again about the dangers of paraphrase. For on that path many pitfalls await us.
§ 7.54 p.m.
§ LORD DENHAM
My Lords, T cannot follow the noble Lord, Lord Elton, into the intricacies of Greek translation, but, like him, I give only a limited welcome to this Measure. I hope that the most reverend Primate and the Church of England will bear in mind the very 805 great affection for the Authorized Version that is held in this country; and I hope that the Church of England, as a whole, and individual parsons who have to carry out these changes, will only make the change to a different translation where the obscurities of the language demand it, or in cases where faulty translation has given the wrong meaning, and not make changes for the sake of change.
The New English Bible is sometimes no clearer, and seldom as beautiful, as the versions that are at the moment in the Prayer Book. If I can give your Lordships one small example, I would take the opening of the Epistle for next Sunday. That starts:Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say Rejoice.Let your moderation he known unto all men.Those words may be archaic, but they definitely mean something: they certainly mean something to me. But I am not sure whether the New English Bible translation means more:I wish you all joy in the Lord. I will say it again, all joy be yours. Let your magnanimity be manifest to all.It is probably no less clear. I think that when people get used to the new version, the new version will be as clear as the old version. But I certainly think it is not as beautiful. So I hope that, as far as the New English Bible is concerned, it will be used only in cases where it is absolutely necessary.
The new Psalter is very much closer, as the most reverend Primate has said, to the Coverdale text as in the Psalter in the Prayer Book. Only slight variations are given. But I think many of those variations—and I hope the most reverend Primate, who had so much to do with this, will forgive me for saying it—do not make a great deal of difference to the sense, hut merely change the words and the imagery which are known and loved. To give one small example in what I think is one of the most beautiful psalms, the 121st Psalm,so that the sun shall not burn thee by day: neither the moon by nightis changed to,so that the sun shall not strike thee by day …".It is a very small point, but it is a change, and I feel an unnecessary change. I think your Lordships might be slightly 806 upset if you had a look at the 67th Psalm, which we have in your Lordships' House for Prayers every day, to see the number of small but very noticeable changes, which are really not changes in substance and meaning but only changes in small words.
Having said that, I quite appreciate the reasons for this Measure, and I very much welcome the safeguard that permission has to be sought from the parochial church council. I should like to ask two questions. First, once the parochial church council have given their agreement to this and have heard the new versions used, if they should then change their minds can they ask to revert to the original? The second thing is this. Can the most reverend Primate assure us that this safeguard—the permission of the parochial church council—will be complied with? Because in many cases a parson has used alterations to the text of the service without permission, and sometimes against the wishes of his parishioners. Is it certain that, if the parochial church council do not like these changes, they will not be made? Having said that, may I thank the most reverend Primate for explaining this Measure to us, and welcome it inasmuch as it will clear up obscurities of language?
§ 8.0 p.m.
§ THE EARL OF IDDESLEIGH
My Lords, I stand at a rather greater distance from the most reverend Primate than did the noble and reverend Lord, Lord Soper—a greater distance in space and a greater distance in time: time past and, I suppose, time future. But I am able very largely to make my own the words that fell from the lips of the noble and reverend Lord in welcoming and commending this Measure to your Lordships. I am quite unable to follow my noble friend Lord Elton and the noble Lord, Lord Denham, into the detailed criticisms of the new version. I have read it in no small measure, and I like it; but my scholarship is not as great as the noble Lord's.
Of course, I remember the kind of criticisms that were made, and the kind of reluctance that affected people, when the Knox version of the Bible was introduced into the services of my Church. Nobody likes, and everybody looks unwelcomingly upon, an alteration in the 807 services that they have learned to love. But now this poor fox really has lost its tail; for a year ago the Bishops of my Church took away my beautiful and dignified Latin; and, like many of my co-religionists, I was extremely critical of the alteration. After a year's experience, I have come, reluctantly, and somewhat surprisingly, to the conclusion that this is a subject of which my Bishops might possibly know better than I do. And I hope that the most reverend Primate and his brethren will be equally successful in convincing their laity that the reforms, though as unwelcome as ecclesiastical reforms always tend to be, are still quite sensible in the long run.
My particular purpose in rising is to welcome very sincerely the fact that the new translation has been almost completely accepted by the authorities of the Church to which I have the privilege to belong. I believe there are some three or four passages in the New Testament where our scholars cannot agree with the scholars responsible for this text; but at any rate we are in very close agreement. I believe that we have published a Roman Catholic edition of the new translation, which I hope will sometimes, at least, be used in our services. Certainly I hope that it will be largely used in education, so that boys and girls whose parents are of different religious traditions will be able at least to speak to one another in the same biblical language. In the terminology now fashionable in my own Communion, I would say that this translation is a work of agernainento—that is, bringing the Christian religion up to date: a most necessary thing to do in this age where we are speaking not to a church-going population but to those who have not "received our report", and with whom we have to hold a dialogue. I commend the spirit which lies behind this new translation in making our faith intelligible to the world.
I myself (I do not expect the most reverend Primate to answer this, but I throw out the suggestion) have sometimes felt that Christians are handicapped, not only by the archaic form of the Scriptures, but by the English translation of the Lord's Prayer. That Prayer was translated into English in its present form some 420 years ago. I feel that in some respects it is about 250 years out of date. 808 It contains archaistic grammar and at least one word—the word "trespass"—which is no longer used in that particular sense. Though I shall probably not live to see it, I hope that one day the authorities of the Christian Churches in England will come together and consider a re-translation of that Prayer. The version of the Prayer contained in the Sixth Chapter of St. Matthew in this New English Bible seems to me very well adapted for the purpose.
§ 8.6 p.m.
THE LORD ARCHBISHOP OF YORK
My Lords, I warmly welcome the contributions to this debate, two of them from members of the Anglican Church, one from a member of the Methodist Church, and one from a member of the Roman Catholic Church, and all of them, on the whole, supporting the Measure before your Lordships. May I comment very briefly upon some of the points that have been made?
I particularly welcome the forward look of the noble Lord, Lord Soper—looking forward to the day of reunion which both he and I hope is shortly to come upon us. I need say no more about his most interesting and helpful contribution. As to the comments of my noble friend Lord Elton, to which I listened with the deepest interest and respect, may I say just two or three things? First, and quite naturally, our debate has fastened on the New English Bible, only the New Testament of which, of course, has as yet appeared. That, I would hazard a guess, will almost certainly be one of the versions to which the Convocations will naturally look when they are legislating as to what version shall be allowed to be read in the public worship of our Church. But they will, I doubt not, look at other versions—for example, the Revised Standard Version and not only at the New English Bible.
Having said that, may I add this comment? When the noble Lord, Lord Elton, takes his country lads on from the Gospels and the Acts to the Epistles—as no doubt he has already done—he will find them much more illumined by the New English Bible than in the case of the much more easily understood Acts and Gospels. Certainly when the time comes for him to take them to the Old Testament, where the English is often extraordinarily obscure, I think that may 809 come as something of a revelation to them. May I give one instance. If he were trying to explain the Christian use of money or stewardship, in that particular passage of it, as expounded in the VIII and IX Chapters of the Second Epistle to the Corinthians, he would find that the Authorized Version made very little sense to them. But it is almost luminously clear in such a version as that in the New English Bible.
With regard to the element of paraphrase, I would not try to gainsay what the noble Lord has said. I well remember the searing criticism which T. S. Eliot passed on this. But we must bear in mind, I think, that the Greek itself is a translation of Hebrew thought, and you cannot always find a Greek word, nor can you find an English word, which will convey the nuance of a Hebrew way of thinking. You have, therefore, a double difficulty to face in any English translation: that of translating the Greek, which is itself a translation of thought from the Hebrew—a very complex and difficult operation.
I turn to the points made by the noble Lord, Lord Denham. I should think that in answer to the first of his two questions a parochial church council might well change their mind after a period of experimentation. My own judgment would be that they have every right to ask to go back. I cannot dogmatize on that, but I should myself think that that was perfectly legitimate. As to the noble Lord's second question, and whether a parson will always ask his 810 parochial church council as to what he will do, I cannot shut my eyes to the fact—for which I am profoundly thankful—that a Britisher is a very independent person, and a British parson no less independent than his laymen; and I should not like for a moment to promise that always and without fail this request will be made before a version is raised. But that perhaps reflects more on the make-up of the British public than on anything else.
My Lords, I must not keep you longer. This debate has been to me a source of great encouragement, for every one of the speakers in it, though they have their own minor doubts and difficulties and in one case a major criticism of one version—I refer to the criticism of the noble Lord, Lord Elton—has, if I may put it this way, given his blessing to the Motion before you; and for that I am indeed grateful.
§ On Question, Motion agreed to, and ordered accordingly.