Oct 16, 2010
Newman on Scholz
Excerpt for Review: , The British Critic, Vol. 51 , (London, 1839)
Newman on Scholz: A Review
Scholz - Horne, Porter, Abbott etc.
Steven Avery's note on this article introduces the work well:
"One of the more interesting discussions of internal evidences was printed in The British Critic of 1839. The BC editor looks to be the author, and some checking says this is likely John Henry Newman, and by my limited familiarity that fits the style and phrasing .. this is before the beginning of his back-and-forth conversions to the rcc [Roman Catholic Church], starting in 1845.
The article is a review of three textual books by Scholz, yet it really is a textual conceptual article on its own account. There are many interesting parallels to later themes, many points, made, even if we agree here and disagree there.
British Critic Volume 51 (July 1839 , p. 66)
Later, I may give my thoughts, internal evidence discussions are 68-70, 78-79 and 87. Simpler simply to read through.
Art. II. - Review:
1. Curee Criticee in Historiam Textus Evangeliorum. a J. M. A. Scholz. Heidelberga:, 1820.
2. Biblisch-Critisch Heise: nebst einer Geschichte des Textus des N. T. Leipzig und Soran, 1828.
3. Novum Testamentum, Greece, fyc. Curavit J. M. A. Scholz. 1830 - 36.
We hope our readers will not decide "peremptorily and at once," that this article can have no interest for them. We do not mean to annoy them unnecessarily with the technicalities of criticism, or to puzzle them with descriptions of uncial letters and itacisms, or to dwell minutely on the relative values of membranaceous and bombycinous codices.
Yet we do think it of importance that general readers should have some general notions of the difficulties which lie in the way of deciding about the text of the New Testament, in order that they may habituate their minds to believing, in spite of such objections as men may make out against the certainty of Revelation.
And one may be allowed to state, with regard to editions of books in general, that so difficult is the task of editing well, that few of those editors who take in hand a great multiplicity of authors, ever succeed: so much tedious investigation, so much patient viewing of the subject-matter in all its bearings, so thorough an acquaintance with the language, so perfect an instinct of what is the right of the case, resulting out of all these, is indispensable to oue who is to edit a book solidly and creditably.
Now these difficulties, which present themselves to all editors of ancient books, are greater, in a very considerable degree, to the editor of the New Testament. We will draw each of them out a little, before we proceed to consider the works before us.
First, as to the sort of investigation required : A reading in an important passage (we will say) is disputed: well, we go to manuscripts to decide the matter: [Professor] A. says,
"I have here an ancient manuscript which confirms the reading; it is written in large square letters, there are pictures, or ornaments, or other things, which help one to ascertain its date: there are no accents, or they are plainly the work of a later hand : it is written with great accuracy on the whole : every thing inclines one to believe that it is a very ancient manuscript; it supports my view of the text under examination. What have you to say in favour of the opposite reading?"
To this [Prof] B. may say,
"What you say is very true; I admit, to the full extent, all your criteria of an ancient MS. and allow your application of them to the present case: but I have got three or four MSS., which, though not so old, go the other way : and on the strength of these, I maintain the other reading: I allow this seems unreasonable at first sight; but one of my MSS. is written in a Greek hand, another has a Latin cast in its letters ; and another shows that the writer was in the habit of writing Anglo-Saxon. Further, the musical signs, and accents, and other things, ascertain these MSS. to have belonged to the particular Churches which the letters indicate. What I would argue from these converging testimonies is, that they must be the representatives of some old MS. which gave my reading ; and am disposed to think there must have been a time, when there was more than one such MS. which made against you."
This will give our readers a notion of the sort of difficulty. - But suppose further, that [Prof] A. could produce, not one MS. only, but several which were of the same date, or nearly; and that [Prof] B. had not three or four only, but some two or three hundred : - suppose too, that [Prof] A. found, that though his MSS. coincided with each other on the whole, yet that in some cases only one or two kept up a reading ; and [Prof] B. found also, that his were not unanimous in their differences from those of [Prof] A., but that sometimes only a few of them kept up a reading, which all the others,of both his and [Prof] A.'s, were without. If he adheres to his principle, these few may be the indices, or representatives, or types of a very large number now lost.
English and German Approaches to the NT Text
[Prof] A. may say, " See what uncertainty is introduced by your system ? who is to know when one is to take in a passage as genuine or not? - mine is a plain intelligible rule - to follow the oldest."
[Prof] B. may rejoin, that there are cases in which the antecedent probability in favour of a reading is so strong, that weak external evidence ought to be enough. This latter, we apprehend, will be found to be the characteristic mark of the mode in which English divines have treated the text: the former, of the mode in which German critics, and those who have followed them, have acted.
Next, in all cases of conflicting external evidence, this internal evidence must be allowed its weight: the scope for it will in a good measure vary with the degree of contrariety between the external evidence, although there plainly may be conceived to be cases where very weak external evidence should be attended to, where, for instance, from the vast importance of the subjectmatter, or its coherency with the context, we ought, reasoning from analogy, even to expect only weak evidence.
Skills in Theology
Now it follows from this that the critic ought to be a theologian, in order both to enable him to decide what is important subject-matter, and what bearings a thing apparently unimportant has or may have. We are quite aware of the existence of that half-awake sort of religion which pretends to be thankful about the various readings, and will not rouse itself sufficiently to realize the immense importance of one tittle or one jot of God's Word. This is quite of a piece with the religion of the day, in which fear is certainly no ingredient whatever. Of course the tendency of this temper is to give up things as unimportant, as though we were able to decide what is or is not important.
Reverence for Scripture
We can conceive an irreverent modern-minded Christian deciding that it was of no importance to have it stated explicitly, that the Son was, in some mysterious way, ignorant of the day of judgment (Mark, xiii. 32), if it happened that those words were absent in St. Mark as well as St. Matthew. Yet, in case the Apollinarian heresy reared its head again, this would be a very valuable weapon of defence, to say nothing of its higher uses.
So too, if the second Cainan were expunged from St. Luke, it would be thought of no importance, till we had to discuss the question of the quasi-inspiration of the Septuagint, which the Evangelist follows here, as well as throughout his writings. Men find it difficult to look upon themselves, as put in charge with a treasure for the whole Body of Christ, past, present, and to come, or to reflect on the interests unknown which may be involved in what they think dry genealogies, of no use to us. The denunciation in the Revelations, in the eye of any right-minded person, would of course extend to every book of Scripture, as showing God's law in one case, and so affording presumption enough to act upon, of what it is in all.
Knowledge of NT Greek
Again : a temper of this sort would lead men to be attentive to apparent minutiae, as believing one tittle to be of importance. Hence, a thorough acquaintance with the language of the New Testament would be a requisite for the critic. And this is not easy to attain. For the New Testament being written in a dialect, approximating, to say the least, to that of the Septuagint, it is not to be judged of by the rules applicable to ordinary Greek. It is significative enough, that things were so ordered, that this should be the language of the New Testament. All languages take a colouring from the neighbouring tongues. Greek, a Japhetic language, was thrown into the neighbourhood of Coptic, an Hamitic language, and, were it not beside the subject, might be shown to have been influenced by it. Then the Jews of the Semitic race had it put into their mouths, so to say, in order to write the Septuagint version with it. We shall say no more of this here, as we trust the drift of it will come out by and bye.
Knowledge of Other Languages
Once more: it would be plain that to gain an instinctive sense of what this language required, a man should have some knowledge of the other languages, which worked the Greek up into what we might call the sacred dialect. And this knowledge is also required with a view to the versions. But this perception or judgment, in what might be called the handling of the language, though indispensable, is not near so important as the perception or judgment which grows out of the other two points mentioned.
A Godly Life
We may seem to be going into a subject very different from that which we have undertaken, and shall be asserting, doubtless, what to many minds is nothing better than an irrelevant paradox ; still we are not afraid to say that a mere acquaintance with dogmatical theology, or ecclesiastical history, will not suffice for the critic without a life which, as it has been well expressed,'makes good God's word and comments on it.' The mere perseverance of an unspiritual mind, which is desirous of putting out an edition for critics to think highly of, will not supply the place of patience, pureness, and holiness. These, we dare to maintain, are necessary to clear up the sight of one that ventures to deal with God's word, and to create in one a spirit contrite enough to tremble at it. Men's senses must be exercised to discern good and evil, in order to appreciate internal evidence, which certainly is of some weight in the matter. And this is the more necessary for those who pay no regard to the teaching of the Church, in order that they may come to a nearer estimate of what the contents of Scripture are.
Purging and Correcting Doctrine
For as it is credible, that not Catholic doctrines only, but also Catholic opinions are contained in Scripture, though visible only to the eye purged by due preparation, so it is possible that a more systematic collation of manuscripts may prove much of the Church's teaching to be Scriptural, which to some men does not now seem so. For, putting party-spirit aside, men must allow that it is God's ordinary rule to teach by the Church first, and subsequently to let men see the proof in Scripture.
That it is no very easy task to come at such a collation of manuscripts as may be satisfactory, is plain from the diversity of opinions upon the matter. We need not inquire who was the prime mover of this yearning for collections of various readings, which, of late years, has infested the Church.
Labours of Recent Critics
Suffice it to say, that Mill collated a large number of manuscripts without any apparent attempt to systematize them or classify them ; that Bengel proposed to divide them into the Asiatic and African families, and that Griesbach conceived that there were three classes, the Alexandrine, the Occidental, and the Byzantine. Others may have suggested other theories, but they are not worth mentioning.
Of these Mill was certainly a theologian ; his prolegomena are a valuable introduction to the study of the New Testament. The student may meet with those which have more modern advancements in criticism, and more modern advancements in rationalism and narrow views too. We have heard it said that a first-rate critic of the day thinks very little improvement in the text has been made since Mill's time.
Bengel also was a man of considerable theological acquirements: it tells well for his tone of mind, that he was disposed to mystify, as moderns call it: he dwelt a good deal upon internal evidence, as, indeed Griesbach* also did, though David Schulz, who edited his Greek Testament after his death, complains that he practically neglected it. His principles were examined and exposed in an able tract by the last Archbishop of Cashel.
Of Griesbach, and,indeed, Wetstein, we cannot do better than use Bishop Bull's account of Grotius and Erasmus:
" Uterque nescio quo fato ad loca Scriptural illustriora quaeque pro Filii divinitate (quam tamen et ipsi agnovisse videntur) convellenda natus !" A sort of men, we could conceive, who would talk about impartiality and disliking weak arguments, and betray the other signs of unearnest tempers.
These remarks premised, we proceed to give some account of the system adopted for his arrangement by the author [Scholz] of the three works with which we have headed this article.
* Sjm[Prof] B. Cr. 11. p. 90, p. 638, et alibi.
The system of M. Scholz is simple enough, and, if it can be substantiated, is a very tranquillizing one: for it would relieve one in a good measure of the embarrassment which the supposed uncertainty of the received test tends to create in some minds. Of course it leaves room for cavillers to cavil, be it ever so true. Human systems of all sorts are fleeting and removable. They come forward for a time only, bring a portion of truth with them, are replaced by fresh ones,gradually are forgotten, or leave only in men's memory so much of them as was false, while the part they have done in their day towards the advancement of truth, is too often thanklessly forgotten. Our author divides the whole body of manuscripts into two classes; the Constantinopolitan, or Byzantine, or Asiatic, which he considers the repository of the most ancient and genuine text; and the Alexandrine, or Egyptian, or African, which he views as the source of all corruptions. Readers who have some little notion of different families of manuscripts, will, perhaps, incline to think this too great a simplification to be true, and fancy they are going to be cheated out of their belief, much as men must have thought of old, when the philosophers told them that all the points of the wind were 7rapx/3ao-sis, or deviations, of the North and the South. However, we will let our author speak for himself.
"The distinction of the two classes is easy. The vouchers of the first class (the Constantinopolitan) seldom disagree amongst themselves, but all the documents of the latter class have a good number of readings peculiar to themselves : but yet they are of the same character, have most of their readings in common, and seem not to owe their origin to any difference of native country; and for these reasons, I thought fit to refer them to one class, [i. e. not to assume an Alexandrine and an Occidental, as Griesbach had done].
To the former class belong pretty nearly all the codices which have been written within the last eight centuries, and all the editions. You will find it hard to meet with any reading in which those vouchers agree, without your being able to hit on the very same reading in some few codices of the eighth and ninth century; in the Philoxenian Syriac version, the Gothic, Georgic, and Sclavonic, and also in the Holy Fathers and Church writers who lived in Asia and the Eastern part of Europe - either in all or most of them - that is, if they happen to have quoted the passage in such of their writings as are now extant.
To the second class are assigned most codices yet remaining, which are written in uncial letters, and a few more recent ones. You will scarcely find these codices harmonizing in any reading without your discovering the same reading in all, or at least in most of the Coptic and Latin versions ; in the Ethiopic, the holy Fathers and Church writers that lived in Africa and the western part of Europe. Now this distinction of the critical documents is very serviceable towards a history of the text: for I think that by the help of it we have presented to us the means of restoring, in a certain degree, countless lost documents."
The learned reader will observe that the Peschito-Syriac and the Armenian versions are here omitted. The latter was made in the fifth, the former in the third century. We notice these two versions by way of pointing out how widely the Alexandrine text exercised its influence. That the Syriac was within that influence seems pretty plain from the circumstance that the Coptic, which belongs to the Alexandrine class (if we may judge from the preface to Wilkins's edition of it), agreed a good deal with that version; and, it may be observed, we have evidence of intercourse between the Egyptian and Syriac churches in the fact of St. Ephrem's works being translated into Coptic from the Syriac. Granting then that this Syriac version was of a mixed character, yet still the influence of the Alexandrine text was one of the causes which went to make it so. And since the Armenian Church depended much upon the Syrian Church, the Alexandrine influence would at this rate be conveyed through the Syriac into the Armenian versions.
Now a person with this before him might naturally feel disposed to raise an a priori objection to our author's classification of the following kind:
"The text which you condemn as least to be depended upon, is allowed then to have been the text provided for the purest parts of the Church, and to have been very widely circulated in the Church, or, where not actually circulated itself, at least to have considerably influenced the text that was circulated. Is there not then a ground for suspecting a theory of classification which would exclude a text so widely circulated from our confidence?"
We own an objection of this sort rose in our own minds at first thought: but we cannot help giving Dr. Scholz credit for seeing through difficulties of this sort. At all events the state of the case is not improved by giving a preference to the opposite class of manuscripts.
This side of the question has been adopted by Lachmann, whose edition of the New Testament is now making a stir in Germany. Now Lachman gives up all hopes of coming at the original text, and is content with the tradition of the Church as he calls it; a reading that can be shown to have been in wide circulation (erweislick verbreiteteti), is a good reading to him. He finds great fault with Scholz for giving up his own Church's vulgate, as he virtually does in making it belong to the Alexaudrine family ; he talks of the " fabulous notion" of the Alexandrine grammarians being correctors of the text, and disclaims all but the oldest codices.
Well, and where does this Rationalist lead us? We are upon his principles to give up the concluding verses of St. Mark as certainly spurious, and to make the Gospel conclude with ; and (to give one other instance) to eject the account of the agony of the Garden as spurious also (Luke 22:43-44).
Yet this passage of St. Luke was surely spread far and wide: for St. Jerome, who allows that these verses were absent in some MSS., yet retained them himself, as did St. Hilary in the West, and (to go the other end of the Church) St. Ephraem in the East.
Is this Lachman's way of going by the tradition of the Church?
Conclusions of this sort make one think an author's theory must be wrong, wherever the fallacy lies. Faith would reject it much as she would any moral philosophy, which, if consistently followed out, would make parricide and adultery in certain cases excusable. (...to use St. Augustine's words,)
" Has argumentationes, quibus impii nostram simplicem pietatem, ut cum illis in circumitu ambulemus, de via recta conantur avertere, si ratio refutare non posset, lides irridere deberet!"
More Plausible of the Two Options
So we will return to the adopted classification by Scholz, and see what can be said to meet objections against it.
The Syriac version seems, from what we have said, to be of a mixed character. Parallel to this would be certain MSS., such as those marked by Scholz G. H. and M. among the earlier MSS., together with several later ones. Of this class he says:
" Besides the MSS. which belong to both these classes, there are also some which approximate sometimes to this class, and sometimes to that, and have also some peculiar readings, and yet on account of their want of a marked character (Characterlosigkeit), form no separate class.
Several MSS. (above described) teach us also how this mixed text arose. Many copyists were not contented to copy one ancient MS. correctly, but from several MSS. which they had laid before them, and in which marginal notes were already found, they formed themselves a text as theirs, just as they chose either the Egyptian exemplar as the standard, and only called in the Constantinopolitan in difficulties; or conversely followed the latter, and only availed themselves of the former now and then in their work."
In the same place he had noticed that the Alexandrine MSS. were less used in the churches, which would of course be one reason why older MSS. of that class have survived. The wear of daily service would gradually destroy the copies so employed.
We will here cite what our author has said against an objection, which may be raised.
"People should not rejoin, that the whole is a mere hypothesis in which as much may be said for as against us, since the text of the majority of MSS. fluctuates. This objection can naturally be only refuted a posteriori, and therefore I have compared the greatest part of several MSS., although I had already determined the character of their text from some chapters. If then in eighty MSS. I find repeated nearly throughout the same additions and the same omissions, in a word, the same deviations from the received text, (some oversights of the transcribers, and some unimportant variations apart) ; and then in from fifteen to twenty chapters of different books of holy Scripture find their readings again in three or four hundred MSS., then I am fairly entitled from these fifteen to twenty chapters to make a conclusion to the remaining part of these MSS., and from these four hundred documents a conclusion to the whole; viz. that all which were copied under the same circumstances contain also the same text, and therefore that those which were written in the circuit of the patriarchate of Constantinople, and were used in Church, repeat also the same text - the text which we call Constantinopolitan."
This to English readers is perhaps no very clear account of these mixed MSS.; we will try to throw our author's meaning into other words, as follows:
" - There are a large number of MSS. of this compound character, of this text, seemingly distinct from that of the two classes specified; an induction is instituted in order to determine the nature of the variations by comparing them with the MSS. decidedly of one class. It is found by this process, that the additions and omissions are for the most part of a similar character; deduct then these additions and omissions, and we have left a substratum to which they were gathered or from which they were taken - a nucleus which they formed themselves on or were dropped from.
This substratum tallies with the Constantinopolitan family, those additions, with the Egyptian family, or the converse. Therefore, going by this induction, the theory assumed to account for the existence of MSS. of this mixed class is a fair one: it is proved by a posteriori evidence, by matter of fact; there is no need to assume a third family independent of these two; the inter-marriages, so to say, of these two will abundantly account for the variety of complexion in their offspring.
Its Corrupted Nature
Now it is natural to ask, how the Alexandrine text became so corrupt, as it is here assumed to be; what evidence is there to show that it was so corrupt? In order to get a fair view of this matter, we must weigh the evidence upon it in connection with the evidence for the priority of the Constantinopolitan text. Byzantium then stood in a position particularly favourable to its obtaining a pure text. Asia Minor and Greece were favoured with the largest number of churches to which epistles were sent: hence a place situated upon the confines of them would be well situated for obtaining manuscripts of them; there would be a less number of links between their copies and the autographs. This then would obviously be the case in regard to the epistles which were the first Christian writings. With regard to the Gospels it should seem that they were not originally intended for public circulation. St. Luke's obviously was not, for he directs it to Theophilus, an individual.
When the oral Gospel 1 was fresh, there would be no need of written ones; and so they may all have been written for individuals, save St. John's. St. Mark's then would alone be connected with Alexandria. St. Matthew's is perhaps as nearly connected with the one as with the other. St. Luke's is more likely to have been addressed to a resident in Greece.
However, in Constantine's 2 time Eusebius was directed to get the best MSS. together for Constantinople, and so he would have recourse as well to Palestine as to Alexandria. Hence, if the two Gospels of St. Matthew and St. Mark were ever so distantly connected with Byzantium, and had ever so many links to pass in coming from the autograph, yet then there would be an opportunity of correcting them, were it needful.
Farther, putting this evidence as low as we choose, there seem to have been particular reasons to expect a corruption at Alexandria, which reasons do not hold against Constantinople. Alexandria was much more of a school of learning than Constantinople was; grammatical studies were much in vogue there, and if those employed in transcribing MSS. had some grammatical learning, as one may suppose they would have, they would a priori be likely to soften down the solecisms of Hebraistic Greek. Now the character of many of the deviations of the Alexandrine from the received text, is precisely in confirmation of this probability. The phraseology, the order of words, and so forth, is altered by the Alexandrian MSS. to a greater conformity with the Grecian notions of propriety.
1. See a very able essay by Gieseler, the ecclesiastical historian, entitled "HistorischCritischer Versnch iiber die Enstehung und die fruhesten Schicksale der SchrifUichen Etangelien." (Leipzig, 1818). After giving a sketch of the countless theories about an original Gospel, whence the others were drawn, he shows that an oral Gospel (assumed as the real basis of all of them, and as the reason of their coincidences and apparent discrepancies) would keep men clear of those perplexed (and somewhat profane) a priori theories for the purpose, which have little or no historical evidence on behalf of them.
2. V. Const, iv. 36. Scholz, Prol. p. clii.
Not A Mere Conjecture
Nor is this a fancy of our author's struck out in order to support a theory; for Griesbach, the great champion of the Alexandrian family, allows this most distinctly. (Prol. p. liXiii)
The drift of a remark of ours just now upon the Septuagint dialect, as it may be called, will now appear. A language which had been wrought up out of three distinct families of languages, would obviously have a peculiar plasticity for the translator. The more it kept its mixed character, the more capable it would be of translations into all languages, the more vivid and striking would be the likeness of the translation to the original. And this might be one reason why the Septuagint was appointed as the vehicle of God's Word to so many nations, in preference to the original.
Be this as it may, the Alexandrian critics cannot be excused for their attempts at refinement; they certainly did not faithfully hand over what was entrusted to them, however much they might have fancied they were doing a service to religion by ameliorating the Greek.
Scrupulousness on little points is generally to be commended; in matters of a religious kind it is of great importance. For besides that which we have just mentioned, viz. the diminished translateableness of the Gospels, other reasons for exactness in these matters may be suggested.
Subtle Doctrinal Expressions at Stake
It is a good opportunity of pointing out the importance of what men call trifling matters, and so we will suggest two or three reasons. This faithlessness then was an injury to the generations yet to come. For it was depriving those who might hereafter know Hebrew, of so many little ties and knots which link up the Old and New Testament into one whole; it was taking from out of their view those glancings back upon the old covenant, which a partial conformity to its language would have in the face of it; it was bereaving those who should hereafter be possessed of an adequate knowledge of Hebrew, of sundry occasions, in which such knowledge is not a sleeping habit, but a living energy putting itself forth the more practically, because almost unconsciously.
Nor, again, would any one who has ever striven to blend a high tone of theology with the minutiae of sacred criticism, be willing to lose these seemingly small things. How much of the Bible which is not obviously so, does turn out to be what may be called (if the word may reverently be used) a discoursing between the Persons of the ever-blessed Trinity.
One should be fearful then lest by some judgment, we might be found to be displacing somewhat of the posture, so to say, of that form in which He was going to have revealed himself. Or how little do we know of the mysterious connection between the Word as personal and as written, or of the bearings upon principalities and powers in heavenly places, of what seem to lis small things. Possibly too, these minutiae might have been intended to have guided men in the more mystical study of grammar, if Christians ever come to study it in a more religious manner.
What we would observe is, that however hastily moderns may go over the text of Scripture neglecting minutiae, as unworthy of attention, this certainly would not have been the case either with the older Jews or with the Fathers. We have no hesitation in saying that they would have been very severe upon wilful corruptions however small.
Alleged Corruption in the Early Fathers
Now Scholz has noticed that the complaints to be met with in the Fathers concerning corruptions of the text, are always to be found in those who would use manuscripts of what he calls the Alexandrine family. This, as it is a confirmation of his theory, so it is also of the observation now made upon the scrupulousness of the Fathers.
Moderns may say that they were careless about the written word: it is easy to talk in this way, when we have never read a syllable of their commentaries, or given their circumstances (e.g. persecutions, burnings of sacred books, &c.) a single thought. It is easy to disparage tradition and to talk lightly about having the law orally handed on by the priests' lips, and thus written on fleshly tables of the heart.
Yet, still might those blessed men have diligently preserved even to a syllable slight things by oral teaching, since that could not so easily be snatched from them as books could, and still withal be very zealous for the written word, when and wheresoever they could have it. Far be it from us then to think amiss of their fidelity - it could not be from any want of care on their part that these deviations on little points first took their rise. Of the early transcribers of the autographs we know nothing.
Of the love and earnestness and needfulness of the Alexandrine Fathers we know much, and therefore would willingly betake ourselves to any explanations of such various readings, rather than seek it in them, whom to suspect of unfaithfulness were most unreasonable.
Corruption by Unscrupulous Copyists
Origen * himself complains of men's boldness in altering the sacred text, and even Jerom, in all his bitterness against Origen, says nothing to show how he corrupted the text, nay, does but sorrily answer Rufimus's f arguments to show that Origen's own writings were corrupted. Heresy was rife then; men went out from the Alexandrian school who were not of it, who did practise similar frauds on other writings. (Jerom admits:) "Athanasius Episcopus sic Dionysii defendit errorem." [merged small][ocr errors]
But the truth may have been as Mill * suggests in one case,
"that certain later subscribers handling these sacred matters without reverence, took leave to mark right words, sometimes with figures, sometimes with one or more letters."
The persons employed by the booksellers might not always have been Christians at all, or they might have the little grammatical knowledge which their art required and they might be proud to display, and they might fancy marginal notes were corrections of mistakes in the copy given them, and introduce them in perfect simplicity of heart. Booksellers would have to supply the demand as they could, and if they t were fraudulent, as we know they were at Constantinople, why not at Alexandria, where the trade was larger? They would get copies finished off for sale too expeditiously to be correct.
And this would, we conceive, fully account for those cases in which words have been altered to suit allegorical interpretations. We need not speak disparagingly of the Alexandrian school with our author in order to account for them. They may have been adopted by an imperite scribe, from the margin where they had been written as a clue, as a sort of memoria technica of such an allegorical explanation of a passage.
Possible Bias from Scholz' Roman Catholicism
Did Dr. Scholz think to be severe upon allegorical interpretation because, if admitted, it would bear hard upon his Church's teaching in some points, e.g. in regard to the pre-eminence of two sacraments? Or are we to think he was infected with that narrowminded judiciousness (as rationalism calls itself) which would condemn allegory as fanciful and dangerous? We fear there are marks of this in his Travels.
We have given then some of the proofs to show that the Alexandrine family is corrupt, and suggested some of the means by which such corruptions may have been brought about. Now there appears to us, so far as we can recollect, a defect in our author's mode of stating his theory which we should say has also influenced his application of it.
It is this: he ought to have stated very distinctly (as others had indeed done) that no class could be implicitly followed, as the guide to the right reading in all cases. It is improbable to the last degree, that a whole family should not here and there, or even pretty often, have kept up the true reading.
• In Jo. xix. 14.
t Sec Reise, p. 171, where he quotes Chrysostom.
But here internal evidence would of course be necessarily appealed to, and this the Germans are practically very shy of; they construct a text upon numerical and mechanical principles.
Now what constitutes the importance of internal evidence is this, viz. that while a very great degree of internal improbability is overcome by a very small amount of external evidence, on the other hand, a very great degree of internal probability is confirmed, almost to a moral certainty, by a still less amount of the same.
This is the mode in which Providence brings home to our minds rules" for conduct in life, in the natural course of things: and this being so begets a presumption, that the same will be the case in regard to this mode of bringing before our minds portions of revealed truth.
And internal probability can only be judged of by a theologian - a person whose mind is habituated to meditating upon these things and giving himself wholly unto them. This is a subject which it is much to the purpose to enlarge upon, though to do so we must take it up, in the critic's phrase, "paulo altius."
It is well known that the Marcionists of old made the God of the Old Testament different from the God of the New, and in order to make some of their positions good, they are accused pretty generally by the Fathers of corrupting the Scriptures. This must show, in a broad outline, the tendency which particular opinions have to make men wish away portions of Scripture, which they find not to fall in with their theory.
Indeed, the whole of St. Irenaeus is valuable in this way (as well as others) as giving us a broad and rough-drawn type of many a modern heresy. Thus Luther, in spite of his solicitous maintenance of the written word, as the sole and perfect source of revealed truth, at one time wished to be well rid of St. James's Epistle, and so we suppose must many modern thinkers who belong to his or Calvin's school.
In like manner some talk of the spirit of the Psalms not being Christian, which is very like the Marcionist notion just mentioned. Now where this amount of Marcionist spirit exists, it will of course have a tendency to exert itself in a similar way; it would like interpretations and readings which made Christianity a harmless, inoffensive sort of religion, not at all intended to send fire and a sword upon the earth. Owing to the same paltry views of religion, as is very obvious, men speak amiss of the Athanasian Creed and the Commination Service, or explain them away.
The partialities then of a particular school would dispose a man to lean towards the reading which favoured the school; they would distort his reason, and prevent him from seeing the evidence for the two or more readings, or against them, in a fair light.
Insight of the Early Fathers Essential
But suppose a critic not to be biassed by any human school, and suppose him to believe in a system of tradition antecedent to the written word, and to imbibe so much of that tradition as he fairly can out of the writings of the Fathers, not to read them merely to get critical matter out of them; the importance of this tradition would, we contend, be very forcibly brought out in the case before us: for it would furnish the critic's mind with many preliminary requisites; - with the proper tone for assaying the sacred text, with the knowledge requisite for appreciating the internal probability of any given reading, with a capacity for tracing up to a common source apparent discrepancies, and so for seeing which, of two readings, is likely to have been the original one.
In illustrating this we trust also to illustrate the working of our author's theory, and to show the sort of difficulties there often are in the way of determining a single text. Of course, the difficulty of deciding upon the whole number of various readings will not be an exact multiple of the difficulty of deciding upon one.
Twenty readings will not present twenty times the difficulty that one does. It would be unfair to represent it so. But yet, there is a sense in which it is not certain, that all is written text which we call so.
Text vs. Tradition
There are difficulties in the way of the written text as well as in the way of tradition. Patient investigation is often required to clear them away, sometimes they remain difficulties after all.
A Christian of the popular school thinks he knows the difficulties in the way of tradition, and forgets or is utterly ignorant of those in the way of the written word.
When a critic is to assay the text, in order to do so satisfactorily, his mind ought to be thoroughly furnished with tradition, as found in the Fathers' writings and liturgies.
Again, when a man is to assay tradition, he must be thoroughly furnished with a knowledge of Scripture. We may view him in this position or that, as standing in the former or the latter, but it is only a view we take of him:
It is absurd, to the degree of being ridiculous, to pretend that a man can divest himself of the one or the other. Let modern divines talk what they may about going unprejudiced to the Bible with a grammar and a dictionary! We shall take the liberty of preferring a catechism and a liturgy, and pass on and leave them to think us poor mistaken deluded creatures.
Now the allegorical readings we noticed before might serve to illustrate our point. In such readings is to be found one of the many evidences which show that that system of interpretation was once very widely received. And the same of course would hold of other readings: they often furnish evidence of the common reception of a doctrine.
Thus when St. Optatus and St. Hilary and St. Ambrose and others gave the reading .... , instead of ...., a. x., in Rom. 12:13, it shows that they held the doctrine of the profitableness of commemorations of the dead by the living; or that it was believed in the Western Church.
We are tempted to put down here a parallel which occurs to us from the Old Testament. It will show the similarity there is between the deviations of various readings and those of versions, in one instance. In Ps. 149:5, the psalmist says -
"Let the saints rejoice in glory."
The Syraic renders it - "May the righteous be strengthened in glory;", thus implying the belief that though departed, they might receive increase of strength and wax richer in glory.
A Catholic tone of mind enables a critic to enter into men's feelings in those days, which led to such readings. Hence he appreciates the weight to be attached to them, and to learn moreover from them the full drift and comprehensiveness of the sacred text, instead of treating Holy Scripture as a book to be edited, and complaining of corruptions in the transcription.
But in days when men firmly believed in the communion of saints, and felt that the spirits and souls of the righteous were bound up into one whole with those yet in the flesh, such an alteration might have easily come in from a mistake in copying a MS. A copyist who thought or knew of it at the time, would easily have given the visible words, if obscurely written, such a form as fell in with his thoughts.
And this would be a reason for its being found in St. Chrysostom also, not indeed when he is commenting upon the text, but in his Commentary upon 2nd Tim. 1:1, where he argues from it. He might not have thought it worthwhile to compare MSS. in order to be quite sure of a doctrine which no one but the heretic Aerius and the unbaptized Constantine denied; he would have felt safe enough in the ordinary known method of appealing to the Church's teaching, not to man's guesses, as to what was scriptural or not.
Now as Scholz 1 has noticed that St. Chrysostom paid great respect to Origen's text, of course the evidence of this reading belonging to the Constantinopolitan family is but small, and we may therefore conclude that this is not an objection to his theory, but a confirmation of it. For, on the face of it, it would seem like an objection, to find a Constantinopolitan Father agreeing with western Fathers, and that too when in the Roman text even before Jerome there seems 2 to have been the other reading. St. Ephrem in the East 3 does not adduce this passage among those which he gave to prove the duty of prayers for the dead.
Mill 4 felt persuaded that Clemens Romanus had it in his text, and thought it was the genuine reading, though he gave a reason for it which we cannot acquiesce in. He thought so upon the ground of the improbability of ....; being substituted for .... - but this improbability does not exist, if we remember the universality of the practice to which the words allude.
Sabatier also mentions a missal of Milan in which the reading of "memoriis" is adopted. And St. Augustine also in one place uses it, in another the reading of ..... This latter reading would of course take in the other. The fact that God permitted so many holy men to believe in this reading and this application of it, is alone and in itself worthy of the attention of all who are not of, what Bishop Butler calls, a dissolute, immoral temper of mind. 5
This then would illustrate that the matter cannot be decided by a mere mechanical parade of MSS.
1. Carae Crit., p. 41.
2. Sabaticr, in loc.
3. Assem. 15. i. p. 133.
4. Prol. 441, ond in loc.
5. See the Analogy, p. 318.
Another instance may perhaps make it yet more clear, - that internal evidence is of some importance, and that no one class of MSS. can be implicitly followed in all cases. In St. Luke 9:55-56, the received text runs as follows:
This passage has been thought to exclude anathemas and imprecations from the Christian scheme, to declare against the spirit of them. Of course a person who trusts to the guidance of the Church, would think objections to her teaching from individual passages of small weight, particularly as objections of this sort might be brought against the highest and most sacred doctrines of the Gospel.
But for one who thinks that Scripture, not tradition, is the guide (be it observed, not the proof of, but the guide) to truth, the case would be different. In the passage before us then, the law and the Gospel can be shown to be opposed only upon the ground of the words ..... For, though it be easy in English to slur the pronoun over, in Greek the .... is obviously emphatical, as though it had been said :
"What Elias did, was done in a good spirit: had it not been, my heavenly Father would not have answered him by fire; but ye act not in his spirit: ye breathe revenge and not zeal, fierceness, not considerate anger, which sinneth not."
We hope we may not seem irreverent in venturing to paraphrase our Lord's words. - Now if any thing gave them the definite meaning which some would give them, it must be the addition ...., &c.
By the way, it is curious to see how much people who teach for doctrines the traditions of men can make of one text, when it serves their turn: whereas those who teach the commandments of God as handed onward by the Holy Catholic Church, are cautioned by these same persons not to build too much on isolated passages. To a Catholic these words would remain a difficulty perhaps: but an Ultra-protestant ought to be very sure about them before he builds on this one text.
The Textual Evidence
Now let us see what authority there is for them. Ten very ancient MSS., and a large number of others of both classes, and several Fathers and versions, omit the whole clause, so as to leave only .....
The Syriac and Coptic (i. e. as Wilkins printed it, for Scholz gives it otherwise) and Latin have the addition. Only the latter two omit the yap, which would be naturally accounted for if the whole was originally a marginal gloss, subsequently received into the text, and then made to unite with it by the further addition of a .....
As for internal probability, Mill says of the words .... -
" The thing speaks for itself that it was written on the margin by some student by way of comment, and thence was transferred into the text. For who, in his senses, could have cancelled so great a saying?"
If this can be said of the words just specified, which some few MSS. omit, why should it not apply to the sentence in question? The .... is omitted by several MSS.
This is allowed by Matthaei, who defends the text, as he seems disposed to do most which Griesbach omits, and that in no very charitable spirit. St. Cyprian and St. Ambrose are cited by Sabatier in defence of it, and Matthaei seems to wish one to think St. Chrysostom went the same way. However, his citations (which we have verified) lead one to think, that that Father only had the words - .... twice, and .... once.
He also mentions the absence of it from the Scholia, and has no earlier authority than Euthymius Zigabenus to adduce for the addition, who indeed asserts that he first took away, and afterwards added the words upon the authority of St. Chrysostom, having at first mistaken him. The addition might easily have been formed from St. Matt.,xviii. 11, and St. Luke, vi.9.&c. An ancient MS. then, and one other, and one ancient Latin MS. give, with St. Chrysostom, this reading : ..... This, with the ...., (added from some good MSS. which have the received text we suppose,) is the text as edited by Scholz.
As then the whole is absent from so many MSS., and as those who attempt to account for its exclusion (Grotius and Wetstein and after them Matthaei) do it by supposing that the Fathers took it away, as favouring Marcion's theory, which is excessively improbable, to say the least; and as Scholz has admitted a portion of it which, though it exists in several MSS. along with the words ...., yet exists but in three or four without them, and m St. Chrysostom ; it follows that he must in some measure have gone by what seemed to him the internal probability of the reading, and not from the mere external evidence. In this the most curious point, perhaps, next to the silence of so many Fathers and versions, is the fact that the AEthiopic and Coptic, which generally agree, here differ, the former leaving out the whole.
On the Basis of Internal Evidence
We are far from wishing hastily to determine upon taking away any part of what has been handed down to us as belonging to the Book of Life : only we think that those, who are for concluding from this single verse that the spirit of the Old Testament and of the New Testament differ, cannot with any consistency find fault with us for not ejecting this from the text: they, of all people, have no right to say,
" If you really find that the evidence is against the passage, why not reject it?"
They cannot complain of our reading it still as a part of the word of God given to Christians. For they read the Psalms still, many of which, they complain, are unchristian in their tone and temper. They nevertheless palm them off on the vulgar as fit parts of Christian worship, much as the Papists do their idols. Both of them have a way of explaining their own systems to themselves, though both must allow that they are in a fair way to deceive common, honest minds.
We who do not think the spirit of the Old Testament contrary to the New, can use the Psalms alluded to in the plain sense which plain men would naturally give them. As for this single text, we cannot be blamed for misleading people by it, since, as we have said elsewhere, single texts may be found against any one doctrine or view of Scripture whatever. Sufficient proof, no doubt, a single text ought to be of the truth or falseness of any doctrine, unless it was a doctrine proved by a number of others.
The truth is, people wish for a laxer discipline than the Old Testament will allow them in, and in this temper it is no wonder if they snatch at hasty conclusions from single texts against whole portions of God's word.
" I know that, whatsoever God doeth, it shall be for ever: nothing can be put to it, nor any thing taken from it: and God doeth it, that men should fear before Him." - Eccles. iii. 14.
We cannot go through a great multiplicity of passages, to exhibit the working of our author's theory. The orthodox will be glad to hear that it has enabled him to restore ...., Acts, xx. 28, for Griesbach's ....; and .... , 1 Tim. iii. 16, for ..... Men, with Griesbach, console themselves for the loss of such texts as these, and say the thing is to be proved from numerous other passages.
This might not be so much amiss if it was accompanied with a distinct avowal, that we depended for our knowledge of the doctrines contained in them upon the Church's teaching, and that therefore it was of no great importance, if the proofs of them were obscure and scattered here and there in Holy Scripture.
But these men in fact throw themselves upon the capacities of individuals not only for receiving the proof but for finding the doctrines, upon each man's own power of discerning in other passages what is more clearly stated here. But these passages are valuable in many ways (as what is not which proceedeth out of the mouth of the Most High ?) for instance, as indicative of the early existence of formal statements of doctrine and as giving Scripture sanction to such statements, not to mention the blessedness of being allowed to meet with them while reading God's Word, and the effects they may have, as upon others, so especially upon some who, from very untoward circumstances of education, would be deserving of compassionate consideration.
No Excuse for Excising Passages
For as for those who talk about their conscience being wounded at not seeing a thing they are to believe, in the Bible, they only mean their pride by their conscience, and are not worth considering.
This we say not to give an undue weight to evidence in favour of such formal statements of doctrine in Scripture, but to rouse people out of that cold phlegmatic drowsy kind of thankfulness, in which they give up important passages, and are unwilling to hear the question about controverted passages mooted again, and would give up every thing rather than have their sluggard ease disturbed.
1st John: 5:7-8 etc.
This premised, we are desirous to say a few words upon the famous test concerning the Heavenly Witnesses [1st Jn. 5:7-8], which Scholz has given up. Bishop Burgess has, we think, pretty distinctly shown, in his Tract upon the subject, that there is reason to think that it existed all along in the Carthaginian Church.
When or how it came into the Vulgate might not be so easy to determine. It seems of old to have existed in the Italic version only in a reverse order - the eighth verse before the seventh. Now even Wetstein allows, that
"...sometimes the reading of the few codices is to be preferred to the many, nay a reading which is found at this day in no Greek codices;"
- of course, he insists on great caution in preferring such a reading. He allows then the possibility of such a reading existing, though unknown for many ages to the Church at large.
Sidebar: A partial illustration of this may be given from an addition found in several Latin MSS. on St. Matthew, xx. 28. It is as follows : - " Vos autem quaeritis de pusillo crescere et de majore minores fieri. Inlroeuntes autem el rogati ccenare," etc, as in St. Luke. We omit variations, &c.
This was found in one Greek manuscript, and that manuscript was then pronounced to be what was called a Codex Latinizans, till the Jerusalem Syriac version was discovered, which has a note here by the translator, stating that he had found it in Greek copies (Adler's proposed correction to the singular is a gratuitous one, [Adler, Vers. Syr. denuo exam. p. 91.]), though not in the oldest of them, and so he had introduced it. Now it is possible that something of this sort may happen in regard to the Complutensian text.
But to proceed: we allow the passage usually adduced from St. Austin will tend in some good degree to obscure the evidence for this text. It runs as follows:
"Search the Canonical Scriptures old and new, and find if thou canst, where it said of any things they are one, (ubi dicta sunt aliqua, unum sunt), which are yet of a different nature and substance.
Indeed, I would not have you mistaken in the Epistle of the Apostle St. John, where he says - there are three witnesses, spirit, water and blood, and three are one, lest perchance you should say spirit, water and blood are diverse substances, and yet that it is said three are one.
I noticed it for this reason - lest you should be mistaken. For these are mystical words (sacrumenta sunt), in which one always attends not to what they are, but to what they indicate. But if we would search into the things hereby signified, then, without any incongruousness, there meets us the Trinity.
Itself one, only, very, most high God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, of whom most truly could it be said, ' They are three witnesses,' and ' Three are one:' so that we should take the name of Spirit to signify God, concerning the worship of whom the Lord spake, when He said God is a Spirit; the name of blood of the Son, because the Word is made flesh ; and the name of water to be the Spirit, &c.
But that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, are witnesses who that believes the Gospel would doubt?"
Again, Facundus (A.D. 547) says that St. Cyprian understood them of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. He might have understood them so; it might be said that he understood them so: but this does not amount to more than saying that he thought each of the mystical words had the meaning here attached to it.
We do not see that it proves that the words which explained the mystical meaning were not in the text of St. Cyprian, or St. Augustin, or St. Facundus. St. Augustin might have had reasons for withholding this text, which we know nothing of, not to mention that in 434 A.D. Eucherius, and in 484 Vigilius Tapsensis, positively quote it.
And as for the mystical interpretation, the application of the blood to the Son, is, we suppose, the only one which will occasion any difficulty. Some confirmation of this will be found in Lauretus' Sylva Allegoriarum, under the word, and, from Jewish sources, in Knorr's Cabbala Denudata, p. 250, books which the student of allegorical theology may be glad to know of.
But to proceed: upon the supposition that theologians are the persons to judge of internal evidence, the fact that Bishop Bull, Bp Pearson, Bp Stillingfleet, Cave, Mill, & Grabe, were in favour of the genuineness of this text, is greatly deserving of consideration :
- that the opinion of mere sciolists in theology like Porson (one cannot mention him without thinking of St. Basil's λογος δε πας ο και μυριαις κηλισι την ψυχην στιγματισας) ought to be of little value in comparison with that of those before mentioned; that Dissenters were the chief defenders of its omission in this country, who (to speak with fear), if aliens from the Church may be therefore wanting in those gifts of discernment which belong to the members of it;
And, lastly, that this text having been so long in obscurity is no argument against it, if we judge from analogies:
For as Bishop Butler observes :
"Remedies existing in nature, have been unknown to mankind for many ages; are known but to few how great has been and is the obscurity and difficulty in the nature and application of them. Circumstances seem often to make them very improper, where they are absolutely necessary. It is after long labour and study, and many unsuccessful endeavours, that they are brought to be as useful as they are; after high contempt and absolute rejection of the most useful we have, and after disputes and doubts which have seemed to be endless."
Possible Socinian Heresy
A little thought will show that there is not a syllable in this passage which does not apply to the case in point. For instance: this text seems a very improper remedy for Socinianism, but is absolutely necessary, since what they have to learn is to believe upon doubtful evidence.
"Ii sumus qui omnibus veris falsa quaedam adjuncta esse dicamus, tanta similitudine, ut in iis insit nulla judicandi et assentiendi nota; ex quo existit et illud multa esse probabilia: qua?, quanquam non perciperentur tamen quia visum haberent quendam insignem et illustrem, his sapientis vita regeretur."
The discussions concerning any reading turn partly, as we have implied, upon the authority of the Fathers and the versions. Now of both of these authorities, it may be conceived that they represent a text prior to any existing manuscript, or prior to the majority of them; of the versions, that they would also exhibit a text removed out of the reach of subsequent influence of Greek or of Latin authorities, or of both, as the case may be. But this conception must be limited in many ways.
Of the Fathers, Archbishop Laurence (Tract on Griesbach, p. 38.) well observed that the transcribers of them may very possibly have adopted, inadvertently or otherwise, the reading of such manuscripts as they were used to themselves.
Some other cautions are so well thrown together by our author [Scholz] in his prolegomena that we shall quote his words:
"But in one's way of using them great caution is requisite, lest you look for various readings in passages, where the writer has adapted the words to the construction he puts on the passage, or to his own opinion, or, again, where he has quoted from memory.
The writers of the Church are in the habit of citing their texts by recollection without looking at the manuscripts : and this is why we can be so very seldom certain whether those allegations are faithful representatives of the very ancient books, or whether the variety of reading thus to be met with owes its origin to a slip of memory, and inertness on the part of those who cite them.
Things related at length they often throw into a compendious form, and things told in a compendious way they open out into a full and diffuse account. They give rather the contents than the individual words of the passages cited, as their memory suggested, and the occasion allowed of their doing so : hence they bring forward the same passage in different ways in different parts of their works." - 135.
And, after giving some specimens, he adds: -
"The same negligence in citing passages from holy Scripture, is observable in the writings of the other holy Fathers and Church-writers. Nor is there any reason why we should make this a charge against them, since the same is usually done by every one who recollects particular portions of the sacred book, and quotes them by memory.
And on these grounds we must make a careful distinction between these passages and such as they produce verbatim from Holy Scripture. And the context will often enable us to determine with good probability, whether the writer is quoting word for word, or only in a random way.
Learned men are usually of opinion, that much weight is to be attached to those citations which occur in the Commentaries of the holy Fathers: that for critical purposes, the dogmatical and polemical books are neither so extensively useful nor so trustworthy as the former, and that the homilies are scarcely at all available, unless the reading they give is confirmed from other sources.
But this does not hold in an equal degree of all writers : for in the copying out places of Holy Writ, some authors are much more diligent, and more studious of accuracy than others. The writers generally follow their copies more closely in quotations, properly so called, than in allusions.
We may feel very certain about the reading of such passages as the author of any commentary is engaged in the interpretation of. Those quotations too are to be held as accurate which have attached to them some distinct appeal to MSS., or some declaration that the reading stands thus, not the other way, etc. etc."
One quotation more shall be given from the learned and pious Benedictine, Sabatier, which will be found to be in part confirmative, and in part corrective of our author's language and spirit in treating of the Fathers. It is taken from the preface to his Biblia Italica, and runs as follows :
"Though I would not deny that the Holy Fathers adduced the words of Scripture from memory occasionally, as in those addresses which they made to the people as time and opportunity offered; yet I do contend that it ought to be held for an absolute certainty, that in their other books, concerning the faith, whatsoever texts tbey adduce from Holy Scripture were copied out exactly from the MSS. they had at hand, and looked into at the time.
For is it credible that the holy doctors would have alleged the Holy Scriptures in a negligent way, from memory, as Fell thinks, when they apply them for the confirmation of the doctrines of our faith against the heretics. Certainly the holy doctors were too prudent willingly to give the ill-disposed any handle for calumnies, and rather used an over-great diligence in quoting Scripture against the enemies of the faith, than forebore such as was necessary.
And this caution there was need to use, that the divine words which they produced might be upon the authority of written copies, and those as correct as possible, and not only thus correct, but such as bad a translation (the Italic he means), which was so entirely received and agreed upon by all men, that no one would venture to set himself against it."
Nevertheless, even quotations, faulty in point of accuracy, may be, and often are, indications of a tone of mind thoroughly penetrated with, and as it were haunted by, a certain system of teaching now neglected, even where they are of little direct critical value.
Syriac and Latin
As we shall notice a few important early variations in what follows, we proceed to the versions. A few remarks only will be offered, and those chiefly upon two, the Syriac and the Latin.
The Syriac versions have been examined by Adler, but there yet remains much to be done here. We should be glad to see the text of the Peschito (the oldest) carefully re-edited, with various readings, as some MSS. may contain important variations (e.g. Adler mentions one which had the reading Θεου in Acts 20:28 [Vers. Syr.. p. 17.]), and wish it could be distinctly shown that this was not emended by subsequent collation with Greek MSS., or with other Syriac versions : since its value as an evidence for a reading would depend upon this being distinctly made out. If it were made out, new light might be thrown upon such readings of this version as seem to indicate a fluctuation between the two classes of MSS. The Philoxenian is a painfully literal version, by Thomas of Heraclea, in the 7th century. The Jerusalem Syriac is written in a dialect between Chaldee and Syriac, and possibly its dialect would approach to that which was used by our Blessed Lord. Adler gives a specimen of it: and Scholz mentions that Dr. Wiseman had a design of publishing it.
Our author mentions in his Travels (p. 148) some Syriac MSS. at Jerusalem, which we could wish were collated. The monks in that neighbourhood were shy of letting him see things, owing to some rich Englishmen having borrowed out MSS., and never having restored them. We fear this is not unlikely to be true, and so will, by way of warning, give what Mabillon justly says of the imprecations at the end of MSS.
"Forsooth, so great and so headstrong is men's covetousness of the goods of others, specially of those of the Church, so great in the case of most men is the disregard of the intentions of the more religious kind, that they are with difficulty to be held back from a violation of bequests and donations, save by the application of extreme remedies, such as are the terrors of religion and the laws.
And certainly these imprecations, levelled against the infringers of wills, the Councils and Fathers, did approve, in a special manner, supposing that, of all human things, nothing should be of a more inviolable nature than men's dying wills and intentions."
But a word or two more on the Syriac versions: there is a curious fact which our author mentions, which would account for considerable similarity between the codices of the East, and the absence of discrepancies. Books in the East used to be corrected in meetings, at which one dictated, and several others corrected each a manuscript at the same time.
In Arabic and Syriac codices the point to which the correction was carried, is noted in the margin. Antonius Atidas, a Maronite priest, told Jahn of this fact. (Curae Cr., p. 20.)
Of course, for all this corruptions would creep in, as the fact of their wanting correction implies. An Arabic version was made however from the Philoxenian-Syriac, which would be another check upon corruption, as exhibiting a text earlier than most manuscripts. But this again might be corrupted, either from the source from which it had been first taken, which source was subsequently corrupted, or from other Arabic versions; for we know of two more at least, one from the Coptic, and one from the Latin.
Thus it is then - spite of all that is said of the certainty of the written Word, in comparison with Tradition, - guard the Greek by the Syriac, and this may be corrupted: and guard this by the Arabic, and this again may be corrupted.
As to the Latin, it is probable, from several grounds, that there were more than one old Latin version. St. Austin tells us of translations, "jam inde a primis fidei temporibus and Mill has thought, upon considerable grounds, that the translations were made, as the Greek texts appeared, by separate hands - in a rude but very forcible dialect. St. Austin seems to have given the preference to some one version, though he mentions several done by private hands.
Corruptions having got in, in process of time, Pope Damasus employed St. Jerome to correct them, who, as Mill observes, did it far too hastily, to do it thoroughly.
Mill, indeed, thought that the Roman Church would not have needed a Latin version till after Pope Pius, and Sabatier scarcely has any ground for denying the probability of this opinion. (See Sabatier, Praef. p. xi.)
Yet a version of Irenaeus (Mill, Pr. 608 ; and see 377, seqq.), with the quotations tallying with the Italic, which Tertullian used, seems to have existed pretty early. ([Prof] A.d. 208.) Now this version abounds in unusual words and expressions, such as would seem to intimate that it was the produce of some colony. Possibly it might have been made in Spain or Carthage at an early period : reasons might be given for the name of Italica, if we were disposed to enter into them in this place ; and though we do not profess to be well informed on the subject of municipal and colonial Latin, yet it would be an important thing that it should be made out which country the dialect used in the citations of Tertullian, and the interpreter of Irenaeus, pointed too ; - what connexions may have existed early between Alexandria and Carthage, how far the remains of the Punic tongue collected by Gesenius may throw light upon this supposed dialect ; how far the Pcenulus of Plautus, or any thing in Terence's style, might assist us. We think we have sometimes got over difficulties in Tertullian by turning his words into Hebrew, though that might be accounted for upon other grounds.
However, if the early version could be traced to this source, we should see how it is possible for this version to have kept up a reading which, amid the persecutions and burnings of Christian books, was lost to other Churches.
Bengel says of the Latin texts generally, -
" The critic (let him be ever so hostile to the Latin version) will not easily bring himself to approve any reading worth considering out of the Greek manuscripts and Fathers, and the Oriental versions, without his finding either in the Latin manuscripts or Fathers some traces of it at all events, which traces will, probably, gain their proper weight from those very Greek and Oriental authorities."
We quit this version with observing that Walton and Mill have defended it in the warmest way - and beg to refer our readers to Sabatier's admirable preface to it.
To conclude then our observations upon the versions. It. is clear enough that a hasty and shallow temper of mind differs from a thoughful and deep one chiefly in this, that the latter discerns the truth which attaches to apparent error, while the former is shrewd and acute in detecting falsehoods : the one loves to believe if possible, the other to disbelieve. A deep mind is seldom what is called a shrewd mind: a shrewd mind has mostly a tinge of profaneness in it. We might commend the commentaries of the meek and deeply learned Pocock as teaching ignorant persons not harshly to despise a version which seems wide of the text: we might tell them, that the belief of the inspiration of the Septuagint rests on evidence, the same in kind as is adduceable for the canon of the New Testament, there being also no early disputes about it: we might show, from our own version, what seemingly conflicting meanings may be given to one passage : but we ourselves strongly believe that in all the versions, as wholes, an exact agreement with the original, as a whole, will be found by the calm and patient examiner, even where the deviations seem at first sight the most absurd, careless, and ignorant mistakes possible.
Moderns may say, "inepte vertit Syrus," or the like - but they would do well to consider, that it is not impossible that these versions may bear some influence of inspiration upon them, lest haply they be found to speak a word against the Holy Ghost. Of old, great minds were afraid of this; now fools rage, and are confideut that the sin cannot be done in our days! People who talk with scorn about the versions in parts, where they seem greatly to deviate from the original, would do well seriously to lay to heart the early variations of the text itself in different parts of God's Church. Speculative difficulties of this kind have been permitted, and are permitted; and they occur where we should least expect them, if we allowed ourselves to judge on a priori grounds. Such grounds, indeed, were often taken, but not very happily.
"That the all-wise Providence of God should have watched with greater care (says Wetstein), over the accents of the Hebrews in the Old Testament, than over the Greek punctuations in the New, credat Judaeus apclla, uou ego ! for since the doctrine comprised in the New Testament is salutary to the whole human race, and more perfect and good than the Jews' religion, it is, indeed, absurd to say that that which was more worth caring for, had less care taken of it, and that that which was less worth caring for, was the object of greater care."
Now here he first assumes three-fourths of the Bible to be better than one-fourth, and then argues as if we were judges of how God should act! and this we think in the teeth of facts.
Some specimens will explain what we would say: though we feel that it would require volumes to exorcise moderns of their low notions of the law satisfactorily. A priori it would be thought that the Lord's Prayer would have been guarded by Divine Providence from various readings, yet, as matter of fact, this is far from being the case. First, as to the doxology, we believe all the editors from Mill to Scholz (save Matthaei) have rejected it as a spurious addition from the liturgies.
To be sure if it occurs in all the liturgies there would be no doubt about its divine original. People may have known that it was a part of the original traditionary teaching which they were to hold fast, just as they may have known those quotations in the early Fathers which have now only been preserved in the apocryphal writings, to have been a genuine part of the oral Gospel (Compare Acts 20:35), or as the Jews may have known the quotation from Jeremiah in St. Matt. 27:9, to have been an orally received prophecy of his: but this is not enough; the importance of these words lies, as we shall endeavour to show, in their having come from our Lord's own lips.
Now the internal evidence usually adduced against this reading is, we conceive, of very little weight. It is said by Scholz:
" who can possibly persuade himself that a doxology so full of confidence is added so by the way, that the 14th verse fits on to the 12th without harshness?"
So far from thinking this of any weight, we rather contend that doing so would be quite in character with our Lord's usual manner, if we may venture to say so. This objection then, being removed, we will give the reason we have for thinking this a very important text, insisting as we have all along done upon the due importance of internal probability.
In old times the very mention of three things, would have brought the most Holy Trinity to men's minds. The power of God is a name of the Son, the glory of God of the Holy Ghost. They are names of them as put forth, or, to use theological language, as προφορικοι not as ενδιαθειοι.
It may be then that there is some great mystery concerning the Father hidden under the word kingdom, something too awful to attempt to embody in words. Something of the sort seems alluded to in Ps. 103:19 - "The Lord hath established His throne in heaven and His kingdom ruleth overall" (for throne is a mystical name of the Son [Orig. de Orat. 16]); with the following verses.
But that delivering up of the kingdom spoken of in 1 Cor. 15, is more clear to the purpose, and upon it we cannot do better than cite the words of St. Zeno of Verona, who thus shows the real drift of the petition - "Thy kingdom come" and so of the word kingdom in the doxology.
"St. Paul spoke of the kingdom of [the Son of] Man which is for a time, in which He is to come and judge the quick and the dead, as the whole tenor of Scripture bears witness, for it teaches that Christ must reign with his saints until all principality and power and might and dominion are made null, and all enemies are put under his feet, and death, our enemy, is destroyed, for He told us to pray daily that the Father's kingdom may come."
Now the doxology will refer most pointedly to this mystery if it be spoken by our Lord himself, as well as the petition, " Thy kingdom come." Its dignity and importance turns upon this; its mysteriousness hinges chiefly upon its having been said by our Saviour himself, upon its not being an addition from any Liturgy.
By weak evidence we mean not, no evidence at all, or even evidence which, viewed singly and alone, would not be strong, but evidence with strong objections against it for faith to overcome. This is what, reasoning from analogy, we should expect.
We proceed then to state the evidence there is for it. St. Chrysostom is the first person, we believe, who is known to have commented upon it; and yet it is said not to have been used in the Constantinopolitau Liturgy. It exists in the following versions : the old Syriac, the Persian, and the Armenian (which contain a mixed text); in the CEthiopic and the Jerusalem Syriac, which follow the Alexandrine text, and in the Philoxenian Syriac, the Gothic, Georgian and Slavonic versions, which follow the Constantinopolitan. Several manuscripts of both classes seem to have it.
The Latin version, and Fathers who wrote on the Lord's Prayer, have it not. Origen, of the Alexandrine family, and St. Maximus of the Constantinopolitan, omit it, as do St. Cyril of Jerusalem and St. Gregory of Nyssa, whose quotations, however, are of such a cast as to preclude determining of what family the manuscripts they used were, though probably Constantinopolitan.
Chrysostom, and after him Isidore of Pelusium, and Theophylact and Euthymius, have it. We ought to mention that Euthymius reckons it not a part of the genuine text, but added by the Fathers from Liturgies.
The evidence then against it lies chiefly in its not being mentioned by the Fathers who have commented upon the Lord's Prayer, which is certainly very extraordinary. Yet it is also extraordinary that St. Chrysostom should comment upon it, when it is not in his Liturgy (See Morinus, Ex. Bib. p. 74.). Perhaps then, this is a clue to the whole matter.
The absence of the doxology from the Latin Fathers is sufficiently accounted for by its absence from the Latin versions; its absence from the Latin versions would be accounted for, if it happened that they were made from a text out of which the transcriber, being used himself to a Liturgy without it, might have dropped it:
The Greek Fathers were not commenting upon the text, but writing a book upon the Lord's Prayer, and the very first Greek Father we have left who comments upon the text has the doxology; so that if it so happened that they were used to a Liturgy without it, they might omit it.
If the Liturgies they used now have it, is it less likely that they were interpolated, than the Gospel of St. Matthew? It will be seen, too, that the authorities for it are chiefly Constantinopolitan ; now how comes our author to have deserted his usual authority ? because many of its manuscripts have it only in the margin.
Yet, how came it into so many versions? In his German commentary on the place he gives the old translations as authorities against it, which they certainly are not by his own showing, save the Latin; neither are the Alexandrine manuscripts, as a body, unless they all happen to be defective here, for he only cites three of the most ancient.
Doubtless he would make it clear why he deserts the Constantinopolitan here, if we could ask him ; but for ourselves, we profess we should be inclined to keep this text even if the external evidence in its favour were much less. Manuscripts made for Church use containing lessons for particular seasons, Lectionaria as they are called, would naturally omit the clause, if it was omitted in their Liturgies; and this, we say again, would be a reason of its omission in so many codices.
Origen, Austin, Basil
To notice a few more of the variations in the Lord's Prayer : Origen mentions that a petition was absent from St. Luke; Tertullian alone changes the position of two petitions; St. Gregory of Nyssa had ελθετω το Πνευμα in his manuscript of St. Luke;
St. Augustine and others had, "ne sinas nos induci in tentationem", which looks at first like an expedient to remove the difficulty. But we have no room to discuss each and all of these, and so we shall content ourselves with giving St. Austin's own instructive way of reflecting on the differences he found in the two copies of the Prayer: -
"The Evangelist Luke comprised in the Lord's Prayer, not seven but five petitions, and yet he did not differ from St. Matthew, but hinted, by his very conciseness, how those seven are to be understood. Thus the name of God is hallowed in the Spirit; but the kingdom of God is to come in the resurrection of the flesh. And so St. Luke, showing the third petition to be, in a certain way, a repetition of the two former ones by passing it over, made it to be better understood. Then he adds three others of daily bread, of the forgiveness of sins, and of the avoiding of temptation. That which the other put last,' but deliver us from evil,' he has not given, that we might understand that it pertaineth to that former which speaks of temptation. Thus then, he says, ' but deliver,' not and deliver, as though to show that the petition is one, do not this, but this, so that every one may know that then he is delivered from evil, when he is not led into temptation.
To give another instance, St. Basil (against Eunomius, ii. 17), has the following words:
"But charging the Ephesians as being indeed one with him, who Is, (τω οντι) in fulness of knowledge he gives them the peculiar name of those that are (οντας), saying, 'to the saints, which are, τοις ουσι, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus,' for thus, both those before us have delivered it on to us, and we also have found it in the ancient copies."
It must be observed he is arguing with a heretic and so would be careful of what he said ; he has tradition aud manuscript authority for this reading ; he does not doubt, as some make out, that the Epistle is to the Ephesians, but leaves out εν Εφεσω, and explains τοις αγιοις τοις ουσι as nearly the same with τοις οντως αγιοις.
We will not trouble the reader with objections against the goodness of the Greek. St. Basil was a profound scholar and a better judge than moderns as to these matters, we must venture to think. Some have thought with Marcion, that it was the Epistle to the Laodiceaus.
The passages they quote from Tertullian (Marc. v. 11, 17) prove clearly enough that it was thought in that Church also to be written to the Ephesians, but they do not prove that the words εν Εφεσω were in the text.
Rev. 2:2-4, might be urged as tending to favour St. Basil's interpretation, as St. Paul wrote a good deal earlier, and St. Ignatius calls them συμμυσται Παυλου του ηγιασμενου.
Now, St. Basil's witness is a remarkable one ; he lived not so far from the place: his reading is even now confirmed by one manuscript, and that an Alexandrine one, though with the words appended in the margin. We should remember that the oldest Asiatic manuscripts have perished confessedly, and that St. Jerome, who followed the other class, would be for that reason no very strong authority against St. Basil's reading, though he does of course serve as witness in favour of the inscription to the Ephesians.
Contrasted with Heresy & Skepticism
The tradition of the Church here, as elsewhere, will set our minds at rest as to that, whatever difficulties moderns may raise from fancied internal improbabilities and the like. That tradition is the only foot upon which the canonicity of any book of Scripture can be established, and therefore we should trust it for other points and allow that our ignorance is an answer to the difficulties raised against us.
The passage which Lachmann has bracketed as 'not genuine', above noticed, would be another case in point. But we will forbear to multiply instances of early discrepancies and omissions. Those given are enough to show that the written word is not so certain as to preclude all doubt, which they
have also given us some scope for animadverting upon our author's theory and its bearings.
We can easily conceive an infidel to say much as modern arguers against tradition do, that:
"If all these fluctuations and variations exist, an uncertainty is thrown over the whole; that it is extremely unlikely, if there were any truth in the revelation, those who found great variations on important parts should not have known where to go to find the original codices; that such variations are allowed to have existed in the second century; that if the reverence you Christians pretend to have for the Gospels, &c. had existed in those times, they would have been sure to have preserved the autographs, instead of which there is not a vestige of them."
Nay, the infidel might, if he had a mind to proselytize, use this as an argumentum ad hominem with an Ultra-Protestant; he might put the case as a striking parallel. The infidel might say,
"You reject tradition, and why not reject Scripture too; aud reject it on the same grounds as you reject tradition. You make use of Scripture against the Fathers, and I make use of the Fathers against Scripture, who quote it differently from what it is now found.
You complain that men talk a great deal of jargon about disciplina arcani as being the cause why some important doctrines are not mentioned earlier, and I complain that men talk a great deal of jargon about Gospels being written by the four Evangelists, whom they pretend to have lived at the time; whereas we find no mention of such writings having been seen in early times.
You desiderate the mention of certain doctrines, I of certain writings; you say tradition is so uncertain and easily corrupted, I bring the matter of fact, that the thing which was to be so certain was corrupted after all, and that in important parts too, and in early times:
Besides I do not care for your distinction of important and unimportant; it seems to me to be all unimportant together: if you were to be honest, you would just say the same. Let us be consistent; let us both be men of sense; let us both shake off the fetters of priestcraft at once, and be honest freethinkers."
Thus it is: when we stand at a distance, we think we see our sour neighbour Ultra-Protestantism; but when we come quite close up and look it full in the face, it is nobody in the world but our old enemy infidelity; it is freethinking stooping itself down low, and making believe that it is a child, but when we come fairly up to it, it stands up and we see who it is, full grown infidelity in disguise with a cloak of religion about it, because it keeps it warm, which however it means to put off as soon as it is convenient; of course while the wind is so strong against it, putting off the cloak does not come into its head at all.
We do not wish to be harsh upon the Ultra-Protestants, but we do really believe it to be true mercy to remind people whose steps they are walking in. Religion is brought home to us by the Church. The Bible is the means of proof:
There are difficulties about tradition in spite of which a Christian must believe; and there are difficulties about the Bible in spite of which an infidel must believe. Truth of a moral nature does never come to us without such difficulties, if we like to dwell on them: ανευ πιστεως ουδε ο νους δυναται οραν τα νοουμενα said Aristotle, even in intellectual matters we begin by belief. And this holds on through our state of probation; there is a continual recurrence of a similar trial.
An infidel who has to trust to the Bible, as the standard of truth, will find difficulties owing to various readings and early disputes about texts or passages of importance; and an Ultra-Protestant who has to trust the Church, is not to expect that the having got beyond the stage of infidel, difficulties will leave him at liberty to go on straightforward without any trials of the same sort.
As well might a youth, who had escaped from the confmement of school-boy days, imagine that now there would be nobody in the world to interfere with him and check him, and try his temper.
Men cannot be wide awake who talk in the way they do against the Fathers and Tradition. They really are fairly getting themselves round into the second childhood of infidelity, and they ought to be told so in severe, plain-spoken language.
But to take a look back upon the ground we have been going over. We have given the reader a sketch of our author's principles, and some specimens of them as carried into practice; we have shown the intricacies of the matter for the benefit of those who boast of themselves as Bible Christians. We have shown how we must be thrown upon the Fathers and versions, how important they are in deciding what is Bible and what is not: not merely what is right interpretation and what not; but the very document itself of proof depends in parts upon them, and has, in parts, scarce any substantive existence out of them. We have hinted that the versions are in fact tradition, and that, we take the liberty of thinking (from experience of the difficulties found where such tradition is wanting, either altogether or in mutual agreement,) a safer sort of tradition than a Bible Christian is likely to meet with in rationalistic grammars and dictionaries. And lastly, we came to some specimens of early difficulties about important passages. We must again repeat that we do not believe, that a single iota of Scripture is unimportant.
The faithfulness of the Jews in their preservation of the text, is gainsayed by some and ridiculed by others; but it can be denied on no good grounds. However, it may be, that it was intended that men should be brought to see that the whole of the New Testament is involved in and wrapped up in the Old, and that this should be a measure aud fixed standard to correct the other by.
Things may have been so ordered, that the text of the New Testament should become confused and unsettled, so far as it is so, in order to call men's minds forcibly back to the importance of Tradition generally, and of the Mosaic and Prophetic Tradition in particular, as having in it, perhaps, the whole of Christian doctrine, but certainly a very large portion of it indeed, and that professed to be handed on from Moses, and appealing for proof to the law, as our Tradition professes to be handed on from the Apostles, and appeals for proof to the Gospel.
Further, it might have been designed, that when a standard system was so worked out of the law, detached portions of the New Testament should be recognized as such, having been found only in particular Churches, and particular Churches may have been allowed to be the only keepers of them, in order to bring out a spirit of confidence between the particular branches of the whole Catholic Church, and with a view to it. The natural government of the world falls in with this hypothesis, and confirms it:
For what Herbert says of interpretations, may be true of texts, families of MSS. and the like:
"The country parson doth assure himself that God in all ages hath had his servants to whom He hath revealed His truth as well as to him, and that as one country doth not bear all things that there may be a commerce, so neither hath God opened nor will open all to one that there may be a traffic in knowledge between the servants of God, for the planting both of love and humility." (Cap. vi.)
By the way we wish people would read this wonderful author, not to call him very beautiful, but to think about and practise his stern, meek holiness.
But if these things come to pass, we expect it will be by a careful study of the Liturgies of the Church, as developing and ascertaining these classes of MSS., and their respective mutual bearings, since the Church ever goes before the Bible, facts before the proof of them, in the order of knowledge.
We have bad collections of MSS. enough; we want method and arrangement, and think our author has gone a step towards it, and that he deserves great thanks for this, whatever his feelings in particular cases may be. Παντα γαρ σχεδον ευρηται, αλλα τα μεν συνηκται τοις δ' ου χρωνται γιγνωσκοντες. . We will urge the remarks of another member of his Church upon our author, and indeed upon all the restless gatherers of various readings. We think them of vast importance, and fully concur with them.
"Those deviations in the translations rest then upon no variation in the originals, but have their origins in the manifold meaning, and in the endless never-to-be exhausted depth of Holy Writ. And this is the reason why there is no translation which is capable of fully expressing the sense of the originals. Every translation gives only one single sense, and must consequently necessarily vary from the other.
The old translators, whom men now often so bitterly blame for their deviations from the original, and object to them not unfrequently ignorance, and defective MSS., certainly had more knowledge and more careful accuracy than men usually give them credit for. When therefore they differ from each other, their deviations are in fact no inward real contradictions, but only different modes of treating one and the same thing, which sure enough may all of them consist with each other in peaceful agreement.
As then men in the bygone philosophical century have troubled themselves with great diligence, to the undermining of genuine religious faith, in tracing out the variations in the original codices and ihe versions, and therefore have displayed the expensive collations of various readings; may the time now soon come when men, led by a better spirit, may, to the triumph of faith, set forth all these seeming contradictions in the original and in the versions, in their inward agreement."
This is, we think, a very just and right-minded view of the variations. It is as though, in full confidence in God's mercy, one believed that portions of Scripture may have different ways of looking at us without losing their own personality; nay (to word it so as to take in additions and omissions, as they seem to be), as though parts had slided and shifted themselves away into some other position, so that by one who looks, not for the physical form of the countenance of the divine word, but for its expression, it is clearly recognized to have the same looks of love and solemnness.
We hope our readers will not think us irreverent for throwing what we feel into these inadequate words. On these grounds we should fully agree with Mill's wish, that the text of the Complutensian had been made the standing unalterable text:
" For to what purpose would change be - (as he well says) - if for the sake of a purer text, when all editions subsequently got up, are at fault in diverse places, and not unfrequently depart from the genuine writing of the Apostles; it had been a far better plan to have appended to the margin of this first edition, assumed as a fixed basis, such readings as were esteemed preferable, than after taking the old ones away, to have incorporated these new ones with the text in their stead."
This method would have left us something fixed to judge by, whatever became of theories of MSS. and their classes and families: we then should have believed men who talked about no doctrine being invalidated by various readings, and we should have been better able to recognize the identity of the text, as a whole, however its parts might accidentally shift themselves, in whatever array they might happen to draw themselves up, in this or that set of manuscripts.
And this, we think, with the help of the Church's teaching, might have been done; for who but the bride could understand the changes of her Lord's countenance? But we check ourselves; moderns are so little used to recognize the inscrutable connection between the written and the personal Word. If we lean affectionately upon the Church, these variations and difficulties will not disturb us.
While the critical world disputes, we shall still beseech Him by His awful merits. While they are arguing, we may be using doxologies; while they are showing how rude and wise they can be in rejecting unauthorized additions, we shall be confiding in her and growing poor in spirit.
"The Lord hath founded Zion, and the poor of his people shall trust in her."
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