Hutchinson’s Cantonese translation (1878)

The Book of Common Prayer and Administration of the Sacraments and other Bites and Ceremonies of the Church, according to the use of the Church of England; the Psalter, or Psalms of David; and the Form and Manner of Making, Ordaining and Consecrating Bishops, Priests and Deacons.—Translated into Cantonese by the Rev. Arthur B. Hutchinson, Church Missionary Society. Hongkong: 1878.

THIS is a bulky volume of 221 Chinese pages, equal to 442 foreign pages. It contains all that a Chinese Episcopal Church needs in the way of liturgical service. Mr. Hutchinson has done a good service for Cantonese Episcopalians in giving them the prayer book in their own language. The colloquial dialects are the language of the people—the speech in which parental instruction is given to childhood, the speech in which all business transactions are carried on, the living language of all classes and conditions. One of the deadest performances imaginable is that of Chinese congregations repeating prayers and singing hymns in Wên-li. It is hardly extravagant to say that an English congregation might as well say its prayers in Latin, as a Chinese congregation in Wên-li. It is well, therefore, that a Cantonese church, using a liturgy, should have that liturgy in the Cantonese dialect. We are not qualified to judge how well Mr. Hutchinson has done his work; we are assured by friends, whose knowledge of Cantonese justifies them in expressing an opinion, that it is exceedingly well done, and will be very useful. The book is a very good specimen of neat and clear printing from blocks. From a cursory examination, we think it would not be difficult to make the necessary changes required by the different dialects; and thus use the book as a basis of colloquial translations of the Book of Common Prayer wherever they are needed.

From The Chinese Recorder and Missionary Journal, May-June, 1878, pp. 242-243.

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