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been, as Dr. Scrivener says, “to bring back the Greek text to the condition in which it stood in the sacred autographs, by separating the pure gold of God's word, from the dross which has mingled with it through the accretions of so many centuries.” (Introduction, 1883, p. 5.)

Dr. SCRIVENER admits, that notwithstanding the greatness of past efforts, difficulties still “defy all our skill and industry to detect and estimate aright.” (P. 520.) All these difficulties arise, either from wilful alterations, or from THE WANT OF EXACT COPYING, especially in the second century. Hence the extreme value of copies of the Peshito, which are proved to have been made with the greatest care and exactness from the first. This proof exists in the marvellous agreement of all early copies, wheresoever and by whomsoever made.

As DR. SCHAFF says, to restore infallibility to the Greek text, in doubtful places, BY MEANS OF GREEK COPIES, SEEMS TO BE “IMPOSSIBLE.” The only hope of knowing, in such places, what is true, and what is false, seems to arise from the exactness of the Peshito copies. Even the penmanship of some specimens of these, as given by Professor Adler, is of great exactness and beauty; and the Rev. D. T. Stoddard, an American missionary at Ooroomiah, in Persia, says of the Nestorian copies, They are sometimes very beautifully written, and the best type can never exceed, and perhaps not even rival them in elegance.” (Grammar of Modern Syriac, p. 21.) This is no slight proof of the care with which they have been written.

Dr. SCRIVENER says, “ The Pesbito-Syriac has not yet received that critical care on the part of editors which its antiquity and importance so urgently demand,” and “with such full means of information within our reach, it will not be to our credit if a good critical edition of the Peshito be much longer unattempted. (pp. 317-8.) But though a good critical edition is much to be desired, there is far greater need of readiness on the part of Biblical critics, to give to the Peshito the attention due to it, and the influence which it ought to exercise. No great changes are to be expected from a new critical edition, though such an edition is so much to be desired.

The Rev. G. H. GWILLIAM, M.A., of Oxford University, will, it is to be hoped, be enabled to complete his new critical edition of the Gospels of the Peshito, “ based on a number of copies of very great antiquity, and high critical value.” (Studia Biblica, 1885, pp. 153-4.) He has kindly told us in advance, that in this new edition, “A certain number of corrections will be made, but that these, for the most part, will be in comparatively unimportant points of grammar and orthography.” (Same, p. 161.)

Most critics of the Greek text have been TOO INDIFFERENT TO THE TESTIMONY OF RELIGIOUS BODIES, in reference to Greek

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manuscripts. They have trusted too much to copies which have no known support from the approval of any such societies. The result is, that instead of establishing a Greek text upon a sound historical basis, they have given us the result of theories, of speculations founded on probabilities, and on a comparison of copies which, as Dr. Scrivener says, “are perpetually at variance with each other," and “scarcely ever in unison.(Introd., p. 523.) These copies have been unreasonably supposed to be of supreme authority, because the substance on which they are written has survived that of other copies more in use, and has brought them down from times when Greek manuscripts, instead of being pure, were full of the errors, both of those, and of preceding centuries.

The lamentable result is, that by the latest Greek Text, Drs. Westcott and Hort seem to have done more harm than any

earlier Greek editors, by the selection of wrong readings, and by corrupting still more a text which they profess to improve. The statement of Dean Burgon may, with apparent reason, be regarded as lamentably true, that this text is "the most depraved which has ever appeared in print.” (Revision Revised, 1883, p. xxx.)

THE GREEK COPIES CALLED ALEPH AND B, are those on which Drs. Westcott and Hort chiefly rely. They say that the readings of these “should be accepted as the TRUE READINGS, until strong internal evidence is found to the contrary. Yet, as Dean Burgon has said, these copies “have come to us without a character, without a history, without antecedents of any kind,” (p. 14); except, indeed, such antecedents as Canon Cook, in his “ First Three Gospels, (1882),” has shown to be almost ascertained facts. He has shown it to be in the highest degree probable, that these Greek copies were made when Ărianism was in high favour, and under the superintendence of Eusebius of Cæsarea, whom. Jerome calls “ The standard-bearer of the Arian faction." (Cook, pp. 151, 164, 183.) Canon Cook says that the omissions and corruptions of these two Greek copies are “logically incompatible with an entire faith in the Saviour's proper and true Divinity.” (p. 177.) He says also, that these two oldest manuscripts, Aleph and B, are responsible for nearly every change which weakens or perverts the record of sayings and incidents in our Lord's life.” (p. 142.) Among these changes Canon Cook mentions the following. Drs. Westcott and Hort omit the leading point in the title of Mark's Gospel, “Son of God,' an act of singular temerity.” (p. 35.) They reject, as a forged addition, the account of our Lord's bloody sweat in Gethsemane ; Luke xxii. 44. They omit the doxology in the Lord's prayer, Matt. vi. 13, “For thine is the kingdom,”, etc. They reject the first words uttered by the Redeemer on the cross, Luke xxiii. 31, “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do." (Cook, p. 106.) They omit the last 12 verses of Mark, which Canon Cook calls á mutilation without parallel in the critical history of the New

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Testament,” (p. 120); and one which removes Mark's account of the ascension, removes the only statement in the Gospels that Christ is seated at God's right hand; removes an emphatic statement of the necessity of faith, “and the most emphatic statement in the New Testament as to the importance of baptism.” (pp. 121-2.)

The following eminent critics have endeavoured to CORRECT THE TEXT OF THE GREEK TESTAMENT, and have published editions of it. John Mill, 1707; John Jacob Wettstein, 1751-2 ; Griesbach, 1771-5; Lachmann, 1842-50 ; Tregelles, 1857-1879; Tischendorf, 8th ed., 1869-1872; Westcott and Hort, 1881. Most of these have treated the Peshito. Syriac as of little importance.

Dr. John Mill, 1707, is spoken of by Dr. Scrivener as having rendered “services to Biblical criticism, which surpass in extent and value those rendered by any other, except, perhaps, one or two men of our time.” (Intro. p. 448.) He did not know Syriac, but he collected the readings of the Peshito, relying on translations of it, and was sometimes misled. (Wichelhaus, p. 246.) He speaks of the Syrians as gloryifing their version too much in saying that it was madeby Thaddæus and other Apostles ;" but he seems to concur with Bishop Walton and many of the learned, in conjecturing that it was “made by Apostolic men in the age next to that of the Apostles. He says that “ beyond all doubt it was used by the Syrians not long after the beginning of their church,” which must have been begun about A.D. 35. (Prol., sec. 1237.) He trusts to conjecture, and rejects Syrian testimony.

WETTSTEIN says, that “ if you listen to some men, this version is the most ancient of all, and made by an Apostle, or Apostolic

This is untrue, as will appear from what I subjoin.” His proofs consist of differences between it and the Greek text. He regards it as the work of an uninspired translator, who, instead of always following “the Greek text closely, used licentious liberty in substituting some things for others, and in too frequently giving a paraphrase.” (Prol., p. 109.) The insufficiency of such reasons has been shown in the preceding section, with reference to like objections by Wichelhaus.

GRIESBACH supposed that there had been three recensions, or rectifications of the Greek text, one of which he calls Alexandrian, another Western, and the third Constantinopolitan. He says of the Syriac Version, “ As printed, it is like none of these recensions, and yet it is not wholly unlike any of them. In many things it agrees with the Alexandrian, iu more with the Western, in some also with the Constantinopolitan. It therefore seems to have been again and again revised at different times, according to very different Greek copies. (Prol., sec. iii. 15 pp. lxxi.-ii.) These revisions of the Syriac are all pure conjectures ; and he admits that his whole Greek text “is only his own judgment of various readings." Wichelhaus says, “Ought not Griesbach to have distrusted

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his recensions, when he found that the text of the Syriac version combined the readings of those three recensions ? a version which is held to be older than the time when those recensions had their origin But men are accustomed to distrust all things rather than their own opinion of them.” (p. 240.)

LACHMANN did not know Syriac, and he asks, “ Of what use would it have been to me to have learned the language of the Syrians, while the most ancient copies of the Peshito, and those worthy of trust, have not yet been classed and presented to view, in the way in which I have divided the Latin ones P” (Pref. p. 24.) This question has for suitable answer, that those who know Syriac, have not only printed editions, but access also to ancient manuscript copies. Wichelhaus says of those who act thus, “ Even those who appear to have laid up all store of learning, and to have searched all library-shelves, that nothing may adhere which is 'false or foreign to the text of the Bible, care not to study that version of it, which all those who are most skilled in it say is most ancient; the numerous copies of which are of wonderful age, and easily viewed, and which has been found to be equally one and the same, not only in printed editions, but in manuscript copies, and throughout the churches of the whole East.” (p. 240.) Lachmann says of the Received Greek Text, that no learned man deems it genuine. How is it then, asks Wichelhaus, that the Ancient Syriac Version does not represent those readings which our critics call ancient, genuine, best and true, but represents the Received Greek text ? (p. 268.) “Lachmann praises what is ancient; he wishes that nothing be received which is not proved to be ancient. I wonder, therefore, why he does not think it worth while even to refer to our [Syriac] Version. If his will is to form a [Greek] text by readings from Origen, and the most ancient Greek copies; he will not deny that if we produce as a witness the Eastern Syriac Version, we have in it documents more ancient still.” (p. 268.) Wichelhaus gives cases from Luke, in which he contends that the Peshito is right, and Griesbach and Lachmann are evidently wrong. (pp. 268-9.)

Dr. TREGELLES is more daring still. He makes a statement which Syriac copies prove to be utterly groundless, namely, that “The Peshito-Syriac was frequently modernized from time to time.” (Gk. Test. Introductory Notice, p. v.)

TISCHENDORF said in an edition of the Gk. T., dated 1858, that “The Peshito was made in the second century.” Of this he gives no proof, nor have I seen any clear evidence of it given by others.

Drs. WESTCOTT and HORT assert in their Gk. T., that a foundling Syriac fragment which has no known, nor seeming connection with the Peshito, “ renders its revised character a matter of certainty.' Dean Burgon's rebuke of this untruth has already been given at p. xxv. Dr. Scrivener says, “Of this formal transmutation of the

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Curetonian Syriac into the Peshito, (for this is what Dr. Hort means, though his language is a little obscure), .

not one trace remains in the history of Christian antiquity; no one writer seems conscious that any modification of this translation was made in or before their times.(Introduction, p. 533.) On Dr. Scrivener's testimony we may fully rely,

This, then, is the state of the conflict :- These critics have ALL REJECTED the uniform Syrian testimony on a question of fact,the very testimony on which the rules of evidence teach us to rely, as the only sure means of knowing the truth on points which we cannot ourselves investigate. Dr. John MILL “was a friend of truth," and he received the Peshito as a witness of what the Greek copy was, from which, as he supposed, it was made, and said, that except in some passages,

“ there could be seen in it, as a mirror, the natural face of the Greek text, from which it was formed.” (Prol. sec. 1243.). But most of the other Greek editors speak evil of the Peshito, though they give no proof of the evil; this evilspeaking is disproved by known facts. These charges being all both unproved and disproved, the Peshito ought to be free from suspicion of being marred and mis-shapen, as it has been said to be. Meanwhile the Syrian testimony in its favour, remains uniform and universal. “No clear evidence is adduced against that testimony," as Bishop Walton says. (Prol. xiii. 16.). The credit of the Peshito stands in reality all the higher, for its having passed through the ordeal of having had to meet many charges, and being untouched by any of them. The conduct of the accusers is viewed with surprise and indignation. The harm they thought to do it, falls on their own heads. They are distrusted. They are felt to be unsafe, if not even dangerous guides.

On the other hand, THE MOST ELABORATE ATTEMPTS TO RESTORE THE GREEK TEXT TO PURITY by the comparison chiefly of Greek copies, is admitted to have been hitherto a failure. Dr. Scrivener asks, as if almost in despair, “ Is it true that we are thus [by past failures] cast upon the wide ocean, without a compass or a guide ? Can no clue be found that may conduct us through the tangled maze? Is there no other method of settling the text of the New Testament than by collecting, and marshalling, and scrutinizing the testimony of thousands of separate documents, now agreeing, now at issue with each other." “ Elaborate systems have failed, as might have been looked for from the first. It was premature to frame them in the present stage of things.” “The delicate and important process, whereby we seek to determine the comparative value, and trace the mutual relation, of authorities of every kind, upon which " the attempt to restore " the original text of the N. T. is based, . . . will (as we trust) gradually develop facts which will eventually put us on the right road, although, for the present, we meet with much that is uncertain, perplexing, ambiguous." (Introduction, 1883, pp. 520-1.)

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