« PoprzedniaDalej »
great Liberties, and departed from the original Text with Design, adding fome Things, and leaving out others wilfully to serve fome private Views of their own. And others will tell you that this has been done by the Jews; who out of Hatred to the Christians have malicioutly altered the Hebrew Copies. But I think it is unjust to charge either the Jews, who were the Keepers and Preservers of the Original Hebrew, or the LXX, who tranulated the Hebrew Scriptures into Greek, with any wilful Variations from the true and authentic Text, where those Variations may be otherwise accounted for in the Manner I have shewed they may be. However, I confess, there are some Variations which I think cannot be fo accounted for; the Difference being such as could hardly proceed from mere Mistake or Oversight. This particularly appears in the Genealogies of the Patriarchs in the fifth and eleventh Chapters of Genesis: Where almost every Patriarch is said to have lived an hundred Years longer before he begat his Son according to the LXX, than he is according to the present Hebrew Bibles. Such a long, regular Difference as this could not proceed from the Carelesness or mere Oversight of any Transcriber. However, we cannot say that the LXX did here wilfully vary from the Original, or that this Variation was not in the Hebrew Copies before the LXX made their Translation, and that these hundred Years might be in that Hebrew Copy from whence they translated; though at this Distance of Time we cannot account for it. We have just Reason to believe that in the Chronology of those Genealogies there was a Variation in the Hebrew Copies before the Days of Josephus, who lived at the Time when Jerufalem and the Temple were destroyed by the Romans: And therefore also might be in those Copies before the Version of the LXX.
For as Josephus was a Priest, who in his Course attended on the Temple to perform the Service of the Temple, we can scarce doubt but he had an Hebrew Copy of the Bible; nevertheless, in his Chronology, he differs from the present Hebrew Text, as he does also from the LXX. The Samaritan likewise (which is but another Copy of the Original Hebrew, written in the more ancient Hebrew Letter ; that which is now used by the Jews, being what they learned from the Chaldeans during their Captivity in Babylon) differs in its Chronology from the other three. From whence we may reasonably conclude, that the LXX were not the Authors of this Difference, but followed that Hebrew Copy from whence they translated.
Another great Difference between the present Hebrew Copies and the LXX, which may also fecm to have been done with Design, is the Transposition of Chapters or Parts of Chapters towards the latter End of the Book of Exodus. After you come to the End of the seventh Verse of the 36th Chapter in the LXX, you will find immediately following, what follows not in the present Hebrew, consequently not in our English Bibles, until you come to the 39th Chapter. And fo through the 36, 37, 38 and 39th Chapters, you will find that put in one Place of the LXX which stands in another place in the presenc Hebrew and English Bibles. The Occasion of these Transpofitions, and of the like in some other Places, Dr. Grabe, in his Letter to Dr. Milles, conjectures might probably proceed from thole who made up or stitched
together the Rolls or Leaves the Books after they were written, and by Mistake placed one Roll Leaf where another Ihould have been: Such Mistakes we find Bookbinders sometimes make now. And this Mistake having been made in the Hebrew Copy from whence the Verfion of the LXX was made, these Dislocations are found in all the Copies of the LXX.
Another Ocoasion of various Readings, particularly as to whole Sentences or Periods, is supposed to have risen froin marginal Notes, which private Persons sometimes made in their Bibles; Tome Copier transcribing from such Book, believing these Notes to have been sec there to supply an Omission of a Sentence by the former Copier, ha's put it into the Text of the Copy he writes, from whence other Copics being taken, this marginal Note becomes Part of the Text in those Copics which are transcribed from it. This might be done in Hebrew Bibles, before the Translation of the LXX, and from thence might be taken into that and other Translations.
Many various Readings also with regard to Words only between the LXX and other ancient Translations, and that of our English Bible and other modern Translations made from the present Hebrew Copies, have proceeded from the fewish Majorites, who having invented a Number of Vowel Points and Pauses, have thereby affixed a particular Reading and Senfe to many Words, different from that Reading and Sense in which they were understood by the LXX, and other ancient Translations made before the Invention of these Points. But of these Maforitic Points I shall have Occasion to say more hereafter.
As I said before, various Readings, and considerable ones too, wilt be found in all Books written before Printing was invented. And the more Copies of such Books have been written, the more various Readings there will be. And as more Copies of the Holy Scriptures have been written than of any other Books, it is no Wonder if more various Readings be found in them, than in Books lefs often transcribed. For except the Transcribers of the Holy Scriptures were all inspired, and preserved from Error by the Spirit of God, as the first Penmen of thofe sacred Books were, it is morally impossible but they should be guilty of fome flight Mistake or Oversight in so long a Work. And therefore, we find like various Readings in the Greek Copies of the New Testament, which you (by comparing the LXX and the English Versions) have done in the Old, though perhaps not so considerable. learned and industrious Dr. Milles has collected a very great Number of various Readings from several Manuscripts, in his excellent Edition printed at Oxford and published 1707. To give an Instance of one or two considerable ones. The Doxology at the End of the Lord's Prayer, Matth. vi. 13. is omitted in several MSS. And eleven whole Verses at the Beginning of the eighth Chapter of St. John's Gospel. Also the 7th Verse of the fifth Chapter of the first Epistle of St. John is omitted in almost all the MSS. now remaining in these western Parts of the World. So that the Doctor could not procure or be informed of one MS. that had it. Though Robert Stephens declares it to have been in some of the MSS. from which he publiched his neat and correct Edition of the New Testament 200 Years ago : Which Edition our present
printed Greek Testaments have generally followed. And as there are fuch Omiffions in some Copies, so there are also fome Additions of whole Periods or Sentences: As Axt. vi. 18. at the End of the Verse is added και επορεύθη είς έκαςος εις τα ίδια. . Now if our English Translation had been made from one of these Copies, you would have seen a Difference as to whole Periods or Sentences between our Translation and our common Greek Teftaments. And I doubt not but our common Greek Teftaments may be corrected from fome of the various Readings.
There is no Doubt but the Holy Scriptures, as written by the divinely-inspired Penmen, were without the least Mistake or Oversight. Therefore the five Books of Mofes, which were written with his own Hand, and reposited first in the Tabernacle, and from thence transferred to the Temple, were perfectly free from all Error, so much as in a single Letter. The same we are to believe of the other Books of the Old Testament, written by the Prophets or inspired Writers. The Originals of which we may also believe were from Time to Time reposited in the fame Place, from whence Copies were taken, for publick Use. For we read Deut. xvii. 18. that the King (when they should have one) was commanded to write him a Copy of the Law in 3 Book, out of that which is before the Priests and Levites
. And 2 Chron. xvii. 7, 8, 9. Jehosaphat sent his Princes, and with them be sent L vites, and they taught in Judah, and had the Book of the Law of the Lord with them, and went about throughout all the Cities of Judah, and taught the People. From hence it is manifest that there were many Copies of the Law, or of the five Books of Moses. And no Doubt but Copies were taken of the other sacred Books from Time to Time as they were written.
But when the Temple was destroyed, and the whole Nation of the Jews carried into Captivity by Nebuchadnezzar, then all the original Books written by Moles and the Prophets perished together with the Temple, and only Copies remained. However at their Return from the Captivity, when Cyrus had not only permitted, but gave them Protection and Encouragement to rebuild their City and Temple, God raised up Prophets at the same Time to encourage thein in their work, and to teach and direct them how to restore the divine Worship according to the Law ; which could not be done without having the Books of the Law, that is the Pentateuch, or five Books of Moses. And, I think, it is not to be supposed that they had not also Copies of all the other Books of Holy Scripture written before that Time, and to which the Prophets Haggai and Zechariah, who returned with the firft, added their own Books. After this, as we read Ezra vii. 1. 6. Ezra a ready Scribe in the Law of Moses went up from Babylon, and came 19 Jerusalem, in the Reign of Artaxerxes King of Persia, above seventy Years after the Restoration granted by Cyrus. He, as is confessed both by Jews and Christians, together with the Prophet Malachi and Nehemiah, another inspired Writer, having added their own Books to the former, did, together with the great Synagogue, collect all the inspired Writings, and compleat the Canon of the Old Testament. No P
phet beiog raised up amongst the Jews from the Death of Malachi until the Coming of St. John Baprift.
Ezra then and his Companions of the great Synagogue, First, made a Collection and Canon of the sacred Books.' Secar diy, As he and some others who joined with him were divinely inspired, that is, guided by the Holy Ghost, who preserved them from Error in this great Work, the Copy written by them and lodged in the Temple was perfect and without Miftake. Thirdly, They changed the old Hebrew Letters for those of the Chaldeans, as better known to the Jews, who had lived so long at Babylon : And besides, as they resolved to have no Dealings with the Samaritans, who, as much as they were able, had hindered the 'rebuilding of Jerufalem and the Temple, they would not write with the same Letters which the Samaritans niade use of, that the Samaritans might not read the Jewish Books, nor the Jews any of the Samaritans. Fourthly, They added some Connections and Explications. Thus we find in the Pentateuch several Things which we may be convinced were not written by Moses. As Gen. xxxvi. 31. These are the Kings that reigned in the Land of Edom, before there reigned any King over the Children of Israel, The Author of this Verse and of the Catalog'ie of the Kings of 'Edom preceding it, must live at the Time when there were or had been Kings of Israel, since he denotes the Time, when the Israelites began to have Kings. Again, it is said Gen. xiv. 14. That Abraham pursued the Kings he had overcome unto Da". Now the Name of Dan was not given to this Place until a long lime, not only after Abraham's Days, but also after the Days of Moles, when 600 Men of the Tribe of Dan took Laish, as we read Yunes xviii. 29. These and many other like Passages have been urged by some Persons to prove that Moses was not the Writer of the Pentateuch, since even in the historical Parts there are several Things mentioned which happened not until after his Death. But these Things may reasonably be sup: posed to have been put in by Ezra, an inspired Writer, and the great Synagogue, for the better Information of their Contemporaries, when they made this new and compleat Edition of the Canon of all the Holy Scriptures as delivered to the Jews. Which contained those, and only thofe, which our Church in her fixth Article holds to be Canonical in the Old Teftament. This Edition of Ezra, an inspired Write', being written by him, a ready Scribe, and reposited in the Temple, was certainly without Fault or Mistake. And from thence man Copies were foon taken for the Use of the Synagogues and private Persons,
But this Original Book of Holy Scripture written by Ezra, and repofired in the Temple, was destroyed by that bloody Perfecutors the Fews (the only Church of God at that Time) Antiochus Epiphanes, who, as we read i Maccab. i. 21. 56. entered proudly into the anktua”y, and took away the golden Altar, and the Candlestick of Light, a' t ad the Velle's thereof. And when they had torn in Pieces thé Bock ow, they burnt them with Fire. But when Judas Maccubeus recovert : the City and the Temple, (2 Maccab. x. 1.) and cleansed and jurified the temple, we cannot doubt but he provided a Book of the Lawan: the
fè "hets to be there reposited as before ; either one which belongưa to of t.
His Father Mattathias, or one very fairly and correally transcribed from the best Copies that could be procured: And took good Care also to fupply the Synagogues whole Books were destroyed as well as those of the Temple. But none of these could be equally free from all Miftakes, as was that of Ezra, an inspired Writer. And thesc also were for the moft Part destroyed by the Romans, when the Temple and Synagogues of Judea were burnt by the Soldiers of Vefpafian and Titus. Whether that particular Book, which to the Time of this final Destruction had been reposited in the Temple, was any where preserved, is uncertain.
Jofephus, who was taken Prisoner by the Romans at that Time, and was an Eye-witness of the Desolation and Destruction of his Country, in his Account of his own Life (c. 75.) tells us, that having had Leave given him by Titus, to take whatever he pleased out of the Ruins of his Country, says, that he valued nothing to much, after Liberty for himself and Family, as the sacred Books which he accepted as a Present from Titus. Again, in his seventh Book of the Wars of the Fews, (c. 5.) he makes mention, that the Copy of the Law, which they had taken from the Temple, or out of some Synagogue, was last in order carried in Triumph at Rome, after the golden Table and Candlestick ; and that Titus commanded the same Copy, together with the purple Veils of the most holy Place, to be carefully reposited in the Temple of Peace. The former PadTage gives not the least Hint, that Josephus fought or took out of the Temple the facred Books granted him by the Favour of Titus: And the latter Testimonies do directly contradict and deny it. Which I think proper to observe, becaule some have asserted that Iosephus oltained' froin Titus the authentick Copy reposited in the Temple. But i conceive it is evident from yosephus's own Account of the Matter, that neither he nor any of the Jews had the Happiness to preserve the Copy there reposited.
I have already observed to you, that in Books copied by writing from others, there will be Mistakes made, unless the Transcribers are guided by an infallible Spirit. I must now also observe that this has also actually happened in the Hebrew Bibles, as well as other Books.
This has not only been asserted by Ludovicus Capellus, and others, who may be thought not to have that due Respect which we ought to have for the present Hebrew Copies: For even Buxtorf, Arnold Boot, and the Lord Primate Usher, the most zealous Affertors of the Integrity of the present Hebrew Text, have acknowledged that Text has not been free from such Errors as Transcribers are liable to make : And this they have been obliged to, by the various Readings which are found in the several Manuscripts of the Hebrew Bible.
Some have indeed gone so far as to have accused the Jews of having wilfully altered the Hebrew Text. But this is certainly an unjust Accusation. Had they made any such Alterations before the Coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, he and his Apoftles, who fo freely taxed the Scribes and Pharisees with their other Crimes, would not have failed to have taken Notice of one so heinous as the corrupting the Holy Scripteres, by changing the Text to support their false Doctrines. But our blessed Saviour was to far from laying any such Thing to their Charge, A4