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persons condemn, because they were not allowed to correct the Old Testament after the Septuagint; and because they have not been successful in the corrections which they have made in the New. The versions which were made of it into several languages before they corrected it, prove that what they added is spurious. In this preface therefore I promise to give you the four Gospels corrected by the ancient Greek copies, with which they have been collated : But that the Latin may not differ too much from the vulgar translation, we have kept a medium, which is, to correct only such things as make an alteration in the sense, and to leave the rest in the same state wherein it was before. It must be owned that there is a great deal of confusion in our copies of the Gospels, because our interpreters have often added what one Evangelist had said over and above to another Gospel, WHERE THEY THOUGHT IT WAS WANTING, and have often corrected the expressions of one by those of another Evangelist. Hence has arisen that confusion, and is the reason why in St. Mark we meet with a great many passages taken out of St. Luke and St. Matthew, and in St. Matthew, a great many passages taken out of St. Mark and St. John, and so of the rest.
This, my Lord, gives us a pretty specimen of the condition of the word of God in the first ages, and of the handling of that word of God by priests. Such a passage needs very few comments; it explains itself. Tis a religious task, says St. Jerome; that is to say, to correct the word of God, or to bring it into a reasonable or decent condition, was a religious task. What he meant must be evident to any comprehension. And says St. Jerome, “our interpreters hare often added what one Evangelist had said over and above to another Gospel, where they thought it was wanting, and have often corrected the expressions of one by those of another Evangelist.” I shall say nothing about the expression “ where they thought it was wanting ”, as if
the Holy Ghost omitted saying something which It ought to have said. I leave all inferences to be drawn by my readers.
And he tells us, that in correcting the word of God, he kept a medium; that is to say, he did not correct it too much. I before noticed the nonsense of a medium between truth and falsehood. But he kept a medium, that is to say, this Father did not correct the word of God too much for fear he should be accused of forgery and sacrilege. There is one thing however in this Preface which requires some explanation; and that is, where mention is made of having recourse to the Greek originals; that is to say, in order to correct the Latin versions the Greek originals must be taken as a standard. May I ask, my Lord, what St. Jerome meant by Greek originals? Í can produce the testimony of Du Pin and others that there were no Greek originals at that time.
The only originals therefore that St. Jerome could refer to, would be copies of the originals; and with respect to St. Matthew's Gospel, it would be a translation, or a copy of a translation, for it was first written in Hebrew. And so far from these being fit to be taken as standards of reference, they were full of varieties and differences in different copies, as Du Pin declares in an extract in this Letter, page 33, owing to priests having struck out, added or changed what they thought necessary. How then could St. Jerome correct his Latin version? I have no room in this Letter to give your lordship the testimony of Du Pin and others to the effect just mentioned, that in St. Jerome's time there were no Greek originals, but I shall do this in my next; and I shall demonstrate, that such were the differences in the Greek copies of the four Gospels, that it was unknown which the true copy was.
In the meantime,
C. J. HASLAM. Salford, June 25th, 1840.
C. J. HASLAM, PRINTER, SALFORD.
TO THE BISHOP OF EXETER:
MATERIALS FOR DECIDING THE QUESTION,
WHETHER OR NOT
THE BIBLE IS THE WORD OF GOD?
BY C. J. HASLAM.
PRINTED AND PUBLISHED BY THE AUTHOR,
79 ST. STEPHEN-STREET, SALFORD.
Price one Penny.
At the conclusion of my last Letter I stated, that in this Letter I should give you the testimony of Du Pin and others, that in St. Jerome's time there were no Greek originals of the four Gospels; and that I should demonstrate, that such were the differences in the Greek copies of these Gospels that it was unknown which the true copy was. I shall now proceed to do these. What I mean by originals are those Gospels which were written by the Evangelists themselves, for all others were mere copies, and altered as priests thought necessary. The following passage then I take from the work of Du Pin:
“ We do not find that the two greatest men of the
Church, I mean Origen and St. Hierom, who had searched the ancient copies of the Scriptures with so much care and diligence, and have visited so Churches in the east, have ever spoken of the originals of the New Testament, written with the hands of the Apostles, which they would not have failed to do, if there had been any in their times.
Origen and St. Hierom, according to Du Pin, would not have failed to have spoken of the originals of the New Testament, had there been any in their times, and since they have so failed in speaking of these originals, the inference is, that there were no such originals
. The time of Origen was nearly 200 years antecedent to the time of St. Jerome, consequently, if the originals of the New Testament were not extant in the time of the former, they could not be extant in the time of the latter. And again Du Pin says:
“But it hath been already made appear elsewhere, that it is no wonder that the primitive Christians, who had not a regular body of a state in which they lived. and whose assemblies were on the contrary furiously disturbed by the Jews and Pagans, HAD LOST THE ORIGINALS
THEIR BOOKS. Besides the Apostles had no order from Jesus Christ to write their books, as hath been above observed.”
We shall leave the last sentence of this passage to be considered by-and-by. We shall attend first to that which relates to the question before us. Here Du Pin tells us that it is no wonder that the primitive Christians had lost the originals of their books; and he assigns the reasons why. If, my Lord, it was no wonder that they had lost the originals of their books, the question is very soon settled, whether they lost them or not. Here then I have shown, that in St. Jerome's time there were no originals of the four Gospels, that they were lost or destroyed, and no where to be found. The question thén arises, how did St. Jerome correct his' Latin versions ?
He corrected them, I beg to answer, by comparing them with copies of the lost originals, or pretended copies of the originals, which, according to Du Pin, had heen altered as priests thought necessary; and which differed so widely from each other, in different copies, that nò one could tell which the true copy was, supposing the possibility of a true copy. I am aware that some will ask, how could St. Jerome correct his Latin versions by a reference to such sources ? But let them remember that he regarded the work as a religious task, and this clears away all mystery on the subject.
Let us now, my Lord, attend a little to the latter part of the passage above cited. “Besides (says Du Pin) the Apostles had no order from Jesus Christ to write their books, as hath been above observed.
One meets with many strange things in one's progress through life, and this is one of them: for if the Apostles had no order from Jesus Christ to write their books, Jesus Christ must have seen no necessity for those books; that is to say, Jesus Christ must have seen no necessity for the word of God. The word of God, we are told, is necessary to our salvation, yet Jesus Christ saw no necessity for that word of God. He never ordered the Apostles to write it, and if the Apostles had not undertaken the work themselves, without his orders, we should have had no word of God; at least we should have had no New Testament, and this is the main thing essential to our salvation; so we are told. May I ask, my Lord, if the New Testament can be a properly authorised work, while as Du Pin says, it wants the authority of Jesus Christ? How enormous are the absurdities that here present themselves! Jesus Christ and God are one, according to John the Apostle, and this one God, comprehending both, besides the Holy Ghost, wrote the New Testament, or caused
it to be written, yet Jesus Christ never ordered the Apostles to write their books. Jesus Christ wrote the books, yet he never ordered the books, to be written. How such matters can be recon