Sunday, June 26, 2011

Textual Critical Websites: Analysis

click for enlarging

Well, I was inspired by Nazaroo's use of a Venn-diagram, and the recent discussion of their use on TC-Alt for MS sorting; so I conjured up this self-critical look at Textual-critical blogging.   Hope you enjoy it: suggestions are welcome!


Thursday, June 23, 2011

Griesbach-Scholz GNT comparison

The following comparison between Griesbach and Scholz is given in the original English Hexapla (GNT + 5 translations):

Click to Enlarge: Backbutton returns here


Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Some Rare St. Augustine from Protestant Researchers



I just have to repost this great summary of Augustine on Scriptural Authority, posted as a comment (#136) back in May last year on the following post:

Whitaker on the Canon, Part 1

May 26, 2010 at 2:43 pm (Bible)

D. T. King said,

June 2, 2010 at 9:05 am
It is not hard to see how one ends up in either Geneva or Rome depending on his presuppositions. In one, scriptura(and necessarily the gospel, as in the formal principle of the Reformation leads to the material) defines the church, and in the other ecclesia leads to Rome and the church defines the gospel.
Interesting observation, to be sure. When I began my investigation of the ECFs some 15 years ago, I read everything I could beg, buy, or barter. I suppose we all have our interests, church history and patristics are mine. Most of the Augustinian corpus has been translated, and New City Press is in the process of providing new translations of all of his works. But of all the works of Augustine that have been translated, there is one work, De Unitate Ecclesiae that has never been fully translated into English; and although New City Press plans to do so, it has been postponed for some five years now due (I’m told) to the prolonged illness of the translator. May the Lord be pleased to give him the health to finish. But in his controversy with the Donatists, Augustine wrote this work to refute their schism from the Church Catholic. Notice how Augustine does not lodge his argument in an appeal to apostolic succession in this particular work, in fact he bids his adversaries not to look in the direction of human testimonies. Over and over, he argues with the Donatists that the church is to be found in and defined by the Scriptures. Obviously, Augustine did not share the skeptical pessimism of our present day opponents with respect to the testimony of Holy Scripture. Of Augustine’s writings and this one in particular, Johann Joseph Ignaz von Döllinger observed: “St. Augustine has written more on the Church, its unity and authority, than all the other Fathers put together. Yet, from all his numerous works, filling ten folios, only one sentence, in one letter, can be quoted, where he says that the principality of the Apostolic Chair has always been in Rome,—which could, of course, be said then with equal truth of Antioch, Jerusalem and Alexandria. Any reader of his Pastoral Letter to the separated Donatists on the Unity of the Church, must find it inexplicable, on the Jesuit theory, that in these seventy-five chapters there is not a single word on the necessity of communion with Rome as the centre of unity. He urges all sorts of arguments to show that the Donatists are bound to return to the Church, but of the Papal Chair, as one of them, he knows nothing. See Janus, The Pope and the Council, trans. from the German, 2nd ed. (London: Rivingtons, 1869), pp. 88-89.
I suppose, perhaps, that not many of my Reformed brethren have had the opportunity of reading the following list of citations from this particular work of Augustine, collated and organized in this manner, but where translations have been provided, I have arranged them in the following order in which they appear in this single work of Augustine. I think that when one can read them in this way, it gives something of a feel for the flow of this ancient African bishop’s argument. Bear in mind that this is how Augustine argued to call the Donatists back to the unity of the Church. And again, as Döllinger noted, never once does he posit that unity in the papal chair of Rome, or in its succession of bishops. There is an obvious difference in the modus operandi that Augustine employed in this work, and how our Roman disputants proceed with their contentions. Moreover, he does not ground his argument in the teaching authority of the church, but in Holy Scripture itself.
Augustine (354-430): Let us not hear, You [i.e., the Donatists] say this, I say that; but let us hear Thus saith the Lord. There are the Dominical books, whose authority we both acknowledge, we both yield to, we both obey; there let us seek the Church, there let us discuss the question between us. For trans., see William Goode, The Divine Rule of Faith and Practice, 2nd ed., (London: John Henry Jackson, 1853), Vol. 3, p 164.
Latin text: Sed, ut dicere coeperam, non audiamus, Haec dicis, haec dico; sed audiamus, Haec dicit Dominus. Sunt certe Libri dominici, quorum auctoritati utrique consentimus, utrique cedimus utrique servimus: ibi quaeramus Ecclesiam, ibi discutiamus causam nostram. De Unitate Ecclesiae, Caput III, §5, PL 43:394.
Augustine (354-430): Therefore let those testimonies which we mutually bring against each other, from any other quarter than the divine canonical books, be put out of sight. For trans., see William Goode, The Divine Rule of Faith and Practice, 2nd ed., (London: John Henry Jackson, 1853), Vol. 3, p. 164.
Latin text: Auferantur ergo illa de medio, quae adversus nos invicem, non ex divinis canonicis Libris, sed aliunde recitamus. De Unitate Ecclesiae, Caput III, §5, PL 43:395.
Augustine (354-430): I would not have the holy Church demonstrated by human testimonies, but by divine oracles. For trans., see William Goode, The Divine Rule of Faith and Practice, 2nd ed., (London: John Henry Jackson, 1853), Vol. 3, pp. 164-165.
Latin text: Quia nolo humanis documentis, sed divinis oraculis sanctam Ecclesiam demonstrari. De Unitate Ecclesiae, Caput III, §6, PL 43:395.
Augustine (354-430): Whoever dissents from the sacred Scriptures, even if they are found in all places in which the church is designated, are not the church. For trans., See Francis Turretin, Institutes of Elenctic Theology, 3 Vols., trans. George Musgrave Giger and ed. James T. Dennison (Phillipsburg: reprinted by Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Co., 1992), Vol. 3, pp. 109-110.
Latin text: Quicumque de ipso capite, ab Scripturis sanctis dissentiunt, etiamsi in omnibus locis inveniantur in quibus Ecclesia designata est, non sunt in Ecclesia. De Unitate Ecclesiae, Caput IV, §7, PL 43:395-396.
Augustine (354-430): We adhere to this Church; against those divine declarations we admit no human cavils. For trans., see William Goode, The Divine Rule of Faith and Practice, 2nd ed., (London: John Henry Jackson, 1853), Vol. 3, p. 165.
Latin text: Nos hanc Ecclesiam tenemus, contra istas divinas voces nullas humanas criminationes admittimus. De Unitate Ecclesiae, Caput XI, §28, PL 43:410.
Augustine (354-430): I have the most manifest voice of my pastor commending to me, and without any hesitation setting forth the church, I will impute it to myself, if I shall wish to be seduced by the words of men and to wander from his flock, which is the church itself, since he specially admonished me saying, “My sheep hear my voice and follow me”; listen to his voice clear and open and heard; who does not follow, how will he dare to call himself his sheep? Let no one say to me, What hath Donatus said, what hath Parmenian said, or Pontius, or any of them. For we must not allow even Catholic bishops, if at any time, perchance, they are in error, to hold any opinion contrary to the Canonical Scriptures of God. Francis Turretin, Institutes of Elenctic Theology, trans. George Musgrave Giger, ed. James T. Dennison, Jr., (Phillipsburg: P&R Publishing, 1992),Vol. 3, pp. 91-92 and William Goode, The Divine Rule of Faith and Practice, 2nd ed., (London: John Henry Jackson, 1853), Vol. 3, p. 165.
Latin text: Habeo manifestissimam vocem pastoris mei, commendantis mihi et sine ullis ambagibus exprimentis Ecclesiam: mihi imputabo si ab ejus grege, quod est ipsa Ecclesia, per verba hominum seduci atque aberrare voluero; cum me praesertim admonuerit dicens, Quae sunt oves meae, vocem meam audiunt et sequuntur me. Ecce vox ejus clara et aperta: hac audita qui eum non sequitur, quomodo se ovem ejus dicere audebit? Nemo mihi dicat: O quid dixit Donatus, o quid dixit Parmenianus, aut Pontius, aut quilibet illorum! Quia nec catholicis episcopis consentiendum est, sicubi forte falluntur, ut contra canonicas Dei Scripturas aliquid sentiant. De Unitate Ecclesiae, Caput XI, §28, PL 43:410-411.
Augustine (354-430): All such matters, therefore, being put out of sight, let them show their Church, if they can; not in the discourses and reports of Africans, not in the councils of their own bishops, not in the writings of any controversialists, not in fallacious signs and miracles, for even against these we are rendered by the word of the Lord prepared and cautious, but in the ordinances of the Law, in the predictions of the Prophets, in the songs of the Psalms, in the words of the very Shepherd himself, in the preachings and labours of the Evangelists, that is, in all the canonical authorities of sacred books. Nor so as to collect together and rehearse those things that are spoken obscurely, or ambiguously, or figuratively, such as each can interpret as he likes, according to his own views. For such testimonies cannot be rightly understood and expounded, unless those things that are most clearly spoken are first held by a firm faith. For trans., see William Goode, The Divine Rule of Faith and Practice, 2nd ed., (London: John Henry Jackson, 1853), Vol. 3, p. 165.
Latin text: Remotis ergo omnibus talibus Ecclesiam suam demonstrent, si possunt, non in sermonibus et rumoribus Afrorum, non in conciliis episcoporum suorum, non in litteris quorumlibet disputatorum, non in signis et prodigiis fallacibus, quia etiam contra ista verbo Domini praeparati et cauti redditi sumus: sed in praescripto Legis, in Prophetarum praedictis, in Psalmorum cantibus, in ipsius unius Pastoris vocibus, in Evangelistarum praedicationibus et laboribus, hoc est, in omnibus canonicis sanctorum Librorum auctoritatibus. Nec ita, ut ea colligant et commemorent, quae obscure vel ambigue vel figurate dicta sunt, quae quisque sicut voluerit, interpretetur secundum sensum suum. Talia enim recte intelligi exponique non possunt, nisi prius ea, quae apertissime dicta sunt, firma fide teneantur. De Unitate Ecclesiae, Caput XVIII, §47, PL 43:427-428.
Augustine (354-430): We ought to find the Church, as the Head of the Church, in the Holy Canonical Scriptures, not to inquire for it in the various reports, and opinions, and deeds, and words, and visions of men. For trans., see William Goode, The Divine Rule of Faith and Practice, 2nd ed., (London: John Henry Jackson, 1853), Vol. 3, p. 165.
Latin text: Ecclesia, quam sicut ipsum caput in Scripturis sanctis canonicis debemus agnoscere, non in variis hominum rumoribus, et opinionibus, et factis, et dictis, et visis inquirere. De Unitate Ecclesiae, Caput XIX, §49, PL 43:429.
Augustine (354-430): For we do not say that we ought to be believed because we are in the Church of Christ, or because that Church to which we belong, was commended to us by Optatus, Ambrose, or other innumerable Bishops of our communion; or because miracles are everywhere wrought in it. . . . These things are indeed to be approved, because they are done in the Catholic Church, but it is not thence proved to be the Catholic Church, because such things are done in it. Our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, when He rose from the dead, and offered His body to be touched as well as seen by His disciples, lest there should be any fallacy in it, thought it proper to convince them, rather by the testimony of the Law, the Prophets, and the Psalms, showing how all things were fulfilled which had been foretold; and so He commanded His Church, saying, that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His Name, among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. This He testified was written in the Law, the Prophets, and the Psalms; this we hold, as commended from His mouth. These are the documents, these the foundations, these the strong grounds of our cause. We read in the Acts of the Apostles (Acts 17:11), of some believers, that they daily searched the Scriptures if these things were so. What Scriptures? but the canonical books of the Law and the Prophets; to which are added the Gospels, the Apostolical Epistles, the Acts of the Apostles, and the Revelation of St. John, Search, then, all these, and bring forth something manifest, by which you may prove the Church to have remained only in Africa, or come out of Africa in order that it might be fulfilled which the Lord said, “And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.” For translation, see Charles Hastings Collette, Saint Augustine: A Sketch of His Life and Writings, A.D. 387-430 (London: W. H. Allen & Co., 1883), pp. 48-49.
Latin text: quia nec nos propterea dicimus nobis credi oportere quod in Ecclesia Christi sumus, quia ipsam quam tenemus, commendavit Milevitanus Optatus, vel Mediolanensis Ambrosius, vel alii innumerabiles nostrae communionis episcopi; aut quia nostrorum collegarum conciliis ipsa praedicata est; aut quia per totum orbem in locis sanctis, quae frequentat nostra communio, tanta mirabilia vel exauditionum, . . . Quaecumque talia in Catholica fiunt, ideo sunt approbanda, quia in Catholica fiunt; non ideo ipsa manifestatur Catholica, quia haec in ea fiunt. Ipse Dominus Jesus cum resurrexisset a mortuis, et discipulorum oculis videndum, manibusque tangendum corpus suum offerret, ne quid tamen fallaciae se pati arbitrarentur, magis eos testimoniis Legis et Prophetarum et Psalmorum confirmandos esse judicavit, ostendens ea de se impleta, quae fuerant tanto ante praedicta. Sic et Ecclesiam suam commendavit dicens: Praedicari in nomine suo poenitentiam, et remissionem peccatorum per omnes gentes, incipientibus ab Jerusalem. Hoc in Lege, et Prophetis, et Psalmis esse scriptum ipse testatus est: hoc ejus ore commendatum tenemus. Haec sunt causae nostrae documenta, haec fundamenta, haec firmamenta. Legimus in Actibus Apostolorum dictum de quibusdam credentibus, quod quotidie scrutarentur Scripturas, an haec ita se haberent: quas utique Scripturas, nisi canonicas Legis et Prophetarum? Huc accesserunt Evangelia, apostolicae Epistolae, Actus Apostolorum, Apocalypsis Joannis. Scrutamini haec omnia, et eruite aliquid manifestum, quo demonstretis Ecclesiam vel in sola Africa remansisse, vel ex Africa futurum esse ut impleatur quod Dominus dicit: Praedicabitur hoc Evangelium regni in universo orbe in testimonium omnibus gentibus; et tunc veniet finis (Matth. XXIV, 14). De Unitate Ecclesiae, Caput XIX, §47-51, PL 43:430.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Anti-Semitism in Tacitus: Part I

We have highlighted in RED the sections in Tacitus below) in which Roman ignorant bigotry and anti-Semitism stand out prominently.  Many statements appear based on gleanings from Josephus, but tinted heavily by Tacitus' deep prejudice against the Jewish nation.   Tacitus contradicts himself several times, in his haste to exaggerate and attack the Jewish people; we have indicated these parts with [!] in a neutral color.


Tacitus  - Histories

Book V

1  At the beginning of this same year (1) Titus Caesar, who had been selected by his father to complete the subjugation of Judea, (2) and who had already won distinction as a soldier while both were still private citizens, began to enjoy greater power and reputation, for provinces and armies also vied with one another in enthusiasm for him. Moreover, in his own conduct, wishing to be thought greater than his fortune, he always showed himself dignified and energetic in the field; by his affable address he called forth devotion, and he often mingled with the common soldiers both at work or on the march without impairing his position as general. 
He found awaiting him in Judea three legions, Vespasian's old troops, the Fifth, the Tenth, and the Fifteenth. He reinforced these with the Twelfth from Syria and with some soldiers from the Twenty-second and the Third which he brought from Alexandria; these troops were accompanied by twenty cohorts of allied infantry, eight squadrons of cavalry, as well as by the princes Agrippa and Sohaemus, the auxiliaries sent by King Antiochus, (3) and by a strong contingent of Arabs, who hated the Jews with all that hatred that is common among neighbours; there were besides many Romans who had been prompted to leave the capital and Italy by the hope that each entertained of securing the prince's favour while he was yet free from engagements. 
With these forces Titus entered  the enemy's land: his troops advanced in strict order, he reconnoitred at every step and was always ready for battle; not far from Jerusalem he pitched camp. 

2  However, as I am about to describe the last days of a famous city, it seems proper for me to give some account of its origin. (4)
It is said that the Jews were originally exiles from the island of Crete who settled in the farthest parts of Libya at the time when Saturn had been deposed and expelled by Jove. An argument in favour of this is derived from the name: there is a famous mountain in Crete called Ida, and hence the inhabitants were called the Idaei, which was later lengthened into the barbarous form Iudaei
Some hold that in the reign of Isis the superfluous population of Egypt, under the leadership of Hierosolymus and Iuda, discharged itself on the neighbouring lands: 
Many others think that they were an Egyptian stock, which in the reign of Cepheus was forced to migrate by fear and hatred. 
Still others report that they were Assyrian refugees, a landless people, who first got control of a part of Egypt, then later they had their own cities and lived in the Hebrew territory and the nearer parts of Syria. 
Still others say that the Jews are of illustrious origin, being the Solymi, a people celebrated in Homer's poems, (5) who founded a city and gave it the name Hierosolyma, formed from their own.

3  Most authors agree that once during a plague in Egypt which caused bodily disfigurement, King Bocchoris (6) approached the oracle of Ammon (7) and  asked for a remedy, whereupon he was told to purge his kingdom and to transport this race into other lands, since it was hateful to the gods. So the Hebrews were searched out and gathered together. 
Then, being abandoned in the desert, while all others lay idle and weeping, one only of the exiles, Moses by name, warned them not to hope for help from gods or men, for they were deserted by both, but to trust to themselves, regarding as a guide sent from heaven the one whose assistance should first give them escape from their present distress. They agreed, and then set out on their journey in utter ignorance, but trusting to chance. 
Nothing caused them so much distress as scarcity of water, and in fact they had already fallen exhausted over the plain nigh unto death, when a herd of wild asses moved from their pasturage to a rock that was shaded by a grove of trees. Moses followed them, and, conjecturing the truth from the grassy ground, discovered abundant streams of water. This relieved them, and they then marched six days continuously, and on the seventh they seized a country, expelling the former inhabitants; there they founded a city and dedicated a temple.  (8) 

4  To establish his control over this people for all time, Moses introduced new religious practices, quite opposed to those of all other religions. The Jews regard as profane all that we hold sacred; on the other hand, they permit all that we abhor. They dedicated, in a shrine, a statue of that creature whose guidance enabled them to put an end to their wandering and thirst, (9) sacrificing a ram, apparently in derision of Ammon.  (10)  They likewise offer the ox, because the Egyptians worship Apis
They abstain from pork, in recollection of a plague, for the scab to which this animal is subject once afflicted them. By frequent fasts even now they bear witness to the long hunger with which they were once distressed, and the unleavened Jewish bread is still employed in memory of the haste with which they seized the grain.  (11)
They say that they first chose to rest on the seventh day because that day ended their toils; but after a time they were led by the charms of indolence to give over the seventh year as well to inactivity. (12)  
Others say that this is done in honour of Saturn, (13) whether it be that the primitive elements of their religion were given by the Idaeans, who, according to tradition, were expelled with Saturn and became the founders of the Jewish race, or is due to the fact that, of the seven planets that rule the fortunes of mankind, Saturn moves in the highest orbit and has the greatest potency; and that many of the heavenly bodies traverse their paths and courses in multiples of seven. (14)
5  Whatever their origin, these rites are maintained by reason of their antiquity: the other customs of the Jews are base and abominable, and owe their persistence to their depravity. 
For the worst rascals among other peoples, (15) renouncing their ancestral religions, always kept sending tribute and contributions to Jerusalem, thereby increasing the wealth of the Jews: 
Also, the Jews are extremely loyal toward one another, and always ready to show compassion, but toward every other people they feel only hate and enmity. 
They sit apart at meals, and they sleep apart, and although as a race, they are prone to lust, they abstain from intercourse with foreign women; yet among themselves nothing is unlawful. 
They adopted circumcision to distinguish themselves from other peoples by this difference. Converts to their ways follow the same practices, and the earliest lesson they receive is to despise the gods, to disown their country, and to regard their parents, children, and brothers as of little account.  
However, they take care to increase their numbers; for they regard it as a crime to kill any late-born child, (16)  and they believe that the souls of those who are killed in battle or by the executioner are immortal: hence comes their passion for begetting children, and their scorn of death. 
They bury the body rather than burn it, thus following the Egyptian custom; they likewise bestow the same care on the dead, and hold the same belief about the world below.  
But their ideas of heavenly things are quite the opposite. The Egyptians worship many animals and monstrous images; the Jews conceive of one god only, and that with the mind alone: they regard as impious those who make from perishable materials representations of gods in man's image; that supreme and eternal being is to them incapable of representation and without end. 
Therefore they set up no statues in their cities, still less in their temples; [!?] this flattery is not paid their own kings, nor this honour given to the Caesars. 

But since their priests used to chant to the accompaniment of pipes and cymbals and to wear garlands of ivy, and because a golden vine was found in their temple, some have thought that they were devotees of Father Liber, the conqueror of the East, in spite of the incongruity of their customs. For Liber established festive rites of a joyous nature, while the ways of the Jews are preposterous and mean. 

  Their land is bounded by Arabia on the east, Egypt lies on the south, on the west are Phoenicia and the sea, and toward the north the people enjoy a wide prospect over Syria. (17)   The inhabitants are healthy and hardy. Rains are rare; the soil is fertile; its products are like ours, save that the balsam and the palm also grow there. The palm is a tall and handsome tree; the balsam (18) a mere shrub: if a branch, when swollen with sap, is pierced with steel, the veins shrivel up; so a piece of stone or a potsherd is used to open them; the juice is employed by physicians. 
Of the mountains, Lebanon rises to the greatest height, and is in fact a marvel, for in the midst of the excessive heat its summit is shaded by trees and covered with snow; it likewise is the source and supply of the river Jordan. (19) This river does not empty into the sea, but after flowing with volume undiminished through two lakes is lost in the third. (20)  
The last is a lake of great size [the Dead Sea]: it is like the sea, but its water has a nauseous taste, and its offensive odour is injurious to those who live near it. Its waters are not moved by the wind, and neither fish nor water-fowl can live there. Its lifeless waves bear up whatever is thrown upon them as on a solid surface; all swimmers, whether skilled or not, are buoyed up by them. 
At a certain season of the year the sea throws up bitumen [tar, oil], and experience has taught the natives how to collect this, as she teaches  all arts. Bitumen is by nature a dark fluid which coagulates when sprinkled with vinegar, and swims on the surface. Those whose business it is, catch hold of it with their hands and haul it on shipboard: then with no artificial aid the bitumen flows in and loads the ship until the stream is cut off. Yet you cannot use bronze or iron to cut the bituminous stream; it shrinks from blood or from a cloth stained with a woman's menses. Such is the story told by ancient writers, but those who are acquainted with the country aver that the floating masses of bitumen are driven by the winds or drawn by hand to shore, where later, after they have been dried by vapours from the earth or by the heat of the sun, they are split like timber or stone with axes and wedges. 

7  Not far from this lake is a plain which, according to report, was once fertile and the site of great cities, but which was later devastated by lightning; and it is said that traces of this disaster still exist there, and that the very ground looks burnt and has lost its fertility. In fact, all the plants there, whether wild or cultivated, turn black, become sterile, and seem to wither into dust, either in leaf or in flower or after they have reached their usual mature form. Now for my part, although I should grant that famous cities were once destroyed by fire from heaven, I still think that it is the exhalations from the lake that infect the ground and poison the atmosphere about this district, and that this is the reason that crops and fruits decay, since both soil and climate are deleterious. (21)
The river Belus also empties into the Jewish Sea; around its mouth a kind of sand is gathered, which when mixed with soda is fused into glass. The beach is of moderate size, but it furnishes an inexhaustible supply. (22) 

8   A great part of Judea is covered with scattered villages, but there are some towns also; Jerusalem is the capital of the Jews. In it was a temple possessing enormous riches. (23)   The first line of fortifications protected the city, the next the palace, and the innermost wall the temple. (24)  Only a Jew might approach its doors, and all save the priests were forbidden to cross the threshold. 
When the East was under the dominion of the Assyrians, Medes, and Persians, the Jews were regarded as the meanest of their subjects: but after the Macedonians gained supremacy, (25) the Greek King Antiochus endeavoured to abolish Jewish superstition and to introduce Greek civilization; the war with the Parthians, however, prevented his improving this basest of peoples; for it was exactly at that time that Arsaces had revolted. (26)
Later on, since the power of Macedon had waned, the Parthians were not yet come to their strength, and the Romans were far away, the Jews selected their own kings: (27)   These in turn were expelled by the fickle mob; but recovering their throne by force of arms, (28) they banished citizens, destroyed towns, killed brothers, wives, and parents, and dared commit every other kind of royal crime without hesitation; but they fostered the national superstition,  for they had assumed the priesthood to support their civil authority. 

9  The first Roman to subdue the Jews and set foot in their temple by right of conquest was Pompey; (29) thereafter it was a matter of common knowledge that there were no representations of the gods within, and that the place was empty and the secret shrine contained nothing.   The walls of Jerusalem were razed, but the temple was left standing. 
Later, in the time of our civil wars, when these eastern provinces had fallen into the hands of Mark Antony, the Parthian prince, Pacorus, seized Judea, but he was slain by Publius Ventidius, and the Parthians were thrown back across the Euphrates: (30)  the Jews were subdued by Gaius Sosius. (31) Antony gave the throne to Herod, and Augustus, after his victory, increased his power. After Herod's death, a certain Simon (32) assumed the name of king without waiting for Caesar's decision. He, however, was put to death by Quintilius Varus, governor of Syria; the Jews were repressed; and the kingdom was divided into three parts and given to Herod's sons. (33) 
Under Tiberius all was quiet. Then, when Caligula ordered the Jews to set up his statue in their temple, they chose rather to resort to arms, but the emperor's death put an end to their uprising. 
The princes now being dead or reduced to insignificance, Claudius made Judea a province and entrusted it to Roman knights or to freedmen; one of the latter, Antonius Felix, practised every kind of cruelty and lust, wielding the power of king with all the instincts of a slave; (34) he had married Drusilla, the grand-daughter of Cleopatra and Antony, and so was Antony's grandson-in‑law, while Claudius was Antony's grandson. 

10   Still the Jews' patience lasted until Gessius Florus became procurator: (35) in his time war began. When Cestius Gallus, governor of Syria, tried to stop it, he suffered varied fortunes and met defeat more often than he gained victory. 
On his death, whether in the course of nature or from vexation, Nero sent out Vespasian, who, aided by his good fortune and reputation as well as by his excellent subordinates, within two summers occupied with his victorious army the whole of the level country and all the cities except Jerusalem. 
The next year was taken up with [Roman] civil war, and thus was passed in inactivity so far as the Jews were concerned. When peace had been secured throughout Italy, foreign troubles began again; and the fact that the Jews alone had failed to surrender increased our resentment; at the same time, having regard to all the possibilities and hazards of a new reign, it seemed expedient for Titus to remain with the army. 

11   Therefore, as I have said above,36 Titus pitched his camp before the walls of Jerusalem and displayed his legions in battle array: the Jews formed their line close beneath their walls, being thus ready to advance if successful, and having a refuge at hand in case they were driven back. Some horse and light-armed foot were sent against them, but fought indecisively; later the enemy retired, and during the following days they engaged in many skirmishes before their gates until at last their continual defeats drove them within their walls. 
The Romans now turned to preparations for an assault; for the soldiers thought it beneath their dignity to wait for the enemy to be starved out, and so they began to clamour for danger, part being prompted by bravery, but many were moved by their savage natures and their desire for booty. 
Titus himself had before his eyes a vision of Rome, its wealth and its pleasures, and he felt that if Jerusalem did not fall at once, his enjoyment of them would be delayed. But the city stands on an eminence, and the Jews had defended it with works and fortifications sufficient to protect even level ground; for the two hills that rise to a great height had been included within walls that had been skillfully built, projecting out or bending in so as to put the flanks of an assailing body under fire. (37)  The rocks terminated in sheer cliffs, and towers rose to a height of sixty feet where the hill assisted the fortifications, and in the valleys they reached one hundred and twenty; they presented a wonderful sight, and appeared of equal height when viewed from a distance. (38)  An inner line of walls had been built around the palace, and on a conspicuous height stands Antony's Tower, so named by Herod in honour of Mark Antony. (39)

12  The temple was built like a citadel, with walls of its own, which were constructed with more care and effort than any of the rest; the very colonnades about the temple made a splendid defence. Within the enclosure is an ever-flowing spring; (40)   in the hills are subterraneous excavations, with pools and cisterns for holding rain-water. The founders of the city had foreseen that there would be many wars because the ways of their people differed so from those of the neighbours: therefore they had built at every point as if they expected a long siege; and after the city had been stormed by Pompey, their fears and experience taught them much. 
Moreover, profiting by the greed displayed during the reign of Claudius, they had bought the privilege of fortifying the city, and in time of peace had built walls as if for war. The population at this time had been increased by streams of rabble that flowed in from the other captured cities, (41)  for the most desperate rebels had taken refuge here, and consequently sedition was the more rife. 
There were three generals, three armies: the outermost and largest circuit of the walls was held by Simon, the middle of the city by John, and the temple was guarded by Eleazar. (42) John and Simon were strong in numbers and equipment, Eleazar had the advantage of position: between these three there was constant fighting, treachery, and arson, and a great store of grain was consumed. Then John got possession of the temple by sending a party, under pretence of offering sacrifice, to slay Eleazar and his troops. So the citizens were divided into two factions until, at the approach of the Romans, foreign war produced concord. 

13  Prodigies [misfortunes, omens?] had indeed occurred, but to avert them either by sacrifices or by vows is held unlawful by a people which, though prone to superstition, is opposed to all propitiatory rites. (43) 
Contending hosts were seen meeting in the skies, arms flashed, and suddenly the temple was illumined with fire from the clouds. Of a sudden the doors of the shrine opened and a superhuman voice cried: "The gods are departing": at the same moment the mighty stir of their going was heard. (44)  Few interpreted these omens as fearful; [!] the majority firmly believed that their ancient priestly writings contained the prophecy that this was the very time when the East should grow strong and that men starting from Judea should possess the world. (45) This mysterious prophecy had in reality pointed to Vespasian and Titus, [so goes Josephus' story]  but the common people, as is the way of human ambition, interpreted these great destinies in their own favour, and could not be turned to the truth even by adversity. 
We have heard that the total number of the besieged of every age and both sexes was six hundred thousand; there were arms for all who could use them, and the number ready to fight was larger than could have been anticipated from the total population. Both men and women showed the same determination; and if they were to be forced to change their home, they feared life more than death.
Such was the city and people against which Titus Caesar now proceeded; since the nature of the ground did not allow him to assault or employ any sudden operations, he decided to use earthworks and mantlets; the legions were assigned to their several tasks, and there was a respite of fighting until they made ready every device for storming a town that the ancients had ever employed or modern ingenuity invented.

Loeb Editor's Notes:

1 70 A.D.
2 Cf. II.4; IV.51.
3 Agrippa was prince of Trachonitis and Galilee; Sohaemus, king of Sophene and prince of Emesa in Syria; while Antiochus was king of Commagene and of a part of Cilicia. Cf. II.81.
4 Tacitus in this brief and somewhat confused account of the Jews apparently followed the Alexandrian historians, Chaeremon and Lysimachus.
5 Il. VI.184; Od. V.282.
6 King Bocchoris reigned in the eighth century B.C., whereas the exodus seems to have taken place about five centuries earlier. But the account of the exodus as given in the Old Testament requires much revision in the light of modern historical scholarship. Vid. Cambridge Ancient History, II, 352 ff.
7 The famous Egyptian oracle in the oasis Siwah, in the Libyan desert.
8 Cf. the story in Genesis with this fantastic account, which Tacitus took chiefly from Lysimachus.
9 That is, an ass. The same charge of worshipping an ass was frequently made against the Christians later.
10 The Egyptian god was represented in art with a ram's horns.
11 Cf. Exod. xii.15‑20, 34‑39.
13 The seventh day being Saturn's day.
15 The proselytes, whose contributions were important. The tribute amounted to two drachmae a head each year, according to Josephus, Bell. Iud. VII.218 (Niese).
16 The word here used, "agnatus," means a child born after the father had made his will, or one that was not desired. Cf. Germ. 19.
17 Looking from Lebanon, over Coele-Syria.
18 Famed for its medicinal qualities and fragrance. Strabo XVI 763; Pliny XII.111.
19 The source of the Jordan is on Mt. Hermon, which Tacitus apparently identifies with Lebanon.
20 The marshy Lake Merom, then Gennesareth, and finally the Dead Sea.
21 With this description compare that of Josephus, Bell. Jud. IV.8.4; Strabo XVI 763 f.; and Pliny, N.H. V.71 f., VII.65.
22 Cf. Pliny, NH XXXVI.190 ff. The river Belus (Naaman), which rises in the highlands of Galilee and empties in the Mediterranean near St. Jean d'Acre, really belongs to Phoenicia.
23 It will be observed that Tacitus is writing after the destruction of the temple.
24 Tacitus is somewhat inexact here, for the walls were not concentric.
25 The Seleucid dynasty is meant.
26 It was under Antiochus II (260‑245 B.C.) that Arsaces revolted; but Tacitus may be confusing the revolt of Arsaces with the Maccabaean war of 167‑164 B.C.
27 The Hasmonean line.
28 This may refer to the war between King Alexander and the Pharisees that began in 92 B.C. and lasted for six years; or to the struggle for the throne that followed on the death of Alexander's widow, Salome, in 70 B.C.
29 In 63 B.C.
30 Pacorus advanced on Judea in 40 B.C., but two years later he was killed.
31 Both Ventidius and Sosius were lieutenants of Antony. Aided by Sosius, Herod defeated the last of the Maccabees in 37 B.C., and thenceforth the throne of Judea was held by princes friendly to Rome.
32 One of Herod's former slaves.
33 Archilaus, as Ethnarch, ruled Judea, southern Idumea and northern Samaria; Herod Antipas, as Tetrarch, had Galilee and Perea; while Philip, as Tetrarch, received the district east of the Jordan.
34 Antonius Felix, the brother of Claudius's notorious favourite Pallas, was procurator of Judea 52‑60 according to Josephus, Ant. XX.7.1, but seems to have governed the southern half before 52. Cf.  Tacitus, Ann. XII.54.
35 Procurator 64‑66 A.D.
37 The two hills meant are apparently Acra and Bezetha, which were included within Herod's wall.
38 The outer circuit of fortifications had 90 towers; there were in all 164, according to Josephus, Bell. Iud. V.4.3.
39 The palace stood on Zion, the temple on Moriah. At the north-west corner of the temple enclosure Herod built Antony's Tower.
40 It is possible, but not probable, that Tacitus means the Pool of Siloam; for the context seems to show that he is thinking of the temple.
41 i.e. taken by Vespasian and Titus in 67 and 68 A.D.
42 Simon had carried on guerilla warfare east of the Jordan, but had been called in by the Idumean party in 68 A.D., when he was greeted as a saviour by the people; John of Gischala headed the Galilean zealots; and Eleazar led the patriotic war party.
43 Cf. Jerem. x.2: Thus saith the Lord, learn not the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven, for the heathen are dismayed at them.
The word religiones probably refers to the formal ceremonies by which the Romans warded off (procurare) the evil effect of prodigies; but it may have a wider connotation here.
44 Cf. Verg. Aen. II.351 f.; excessere omnes adytis arisque relictis / di quibus imperium hoc steterat; and the remarks by Macrob., Sat. III.9 on these verses. Josephus, Bell. Iud. VI.299 (Niese) relates that at Pentecost the priests heard repeatedly a cry from the innermost part of the temple: μεταβαίνομεν ἐντεῦθεν.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Wordsworth - Misc. (1879, V2) Biblical Inspiration

 We here post the Table of Contents of Vol 2 of C. Wordsworth's Miscellanies (1879), in which he presents a long and structured statement of Biblical Inspiration.  The TC of the volume provides a handy outline of his argument:



Ancient Fresco-painting, from the Roman Catacombs,
a symbolical representation of the doctrine concerning
the Inspiration of the Bible; and of the divine method
for diffusing and interpreting it .......................................1, 2

In considering this question we must begin
with proving the God head of Jesus Christ ..................... 2

To do this it is to be shown, first,
that the Gospels are true histories;
Next since the Gospels are true histories
it follows that Christ is God..............................................2,3
Next let us learn to behold Christ holding
in His hands the Old Testament,
And as avouching its Truth and Inspiration .................... 3
Evidence of this testimony of Christ to the
Old Testament Christ's guarantee to us ..........................3, 4

Of the Truth and Inspiration of the New Testament.........4, 5

What are the grounds of our reverence for the testimony of the
Church Universal to the Truth and Inspiration of the Bible.

What that testimony amounts to.
Summary of the argument . . . . . . . .5

Corroborative evidence
1. From God's providential care for the Bible ;
       Antiochus Epiphanes ; Diocletian ..............................6
       His care for the Bible in England ...............................8
2. From the fulfilment of the Prophecies in the Bible ......... 9
3. From the Continuity and Symmetry of the Bible ............10
4. From the class of persons employed in writing it ...........11
5. From the moral effects produced by the Bible ..............12

Moral uses of difficulties in the Bible ................................15
Conclusion ..........................................................................16


Need of this inquiry ....................................................17, 18
Historical reference to the methods applied (especially in Germany)
to the Interpretation of the Bible ..................................18

The Dogmatists and Confessionists ..................................18
Succeeded by the Pietists (Spener and others) ...............19
The Pietists, followed by the Eationalists ......................20
Theory of Accommodation ..............................................21

The relation of Kant's Philosophy to the Bible ...............22
Practical Reason, Moral sense, inner Consciousness,
proposed as Interpreters of the Bible (Semler) ...............22, 24

Rationalism superseded by Spiritualism (Strauss)
leading to Pantheism .......................................................25,26

History of Biblical Interpretation in Germany ........................27
Its theories derived from England
(Tindal, Woolston, Morgan, Toland) .......................................28

Practical inferences from this review (Bemet, Neander) . . 31
Resemblance of errors, old and new ..................................... 33
Almost every Heresy involves some truth ..............................33

What is the office of the Church as
the Guardian and Keeper of Scripture..................................33

What are the proper means for the Interpretation of the Bible . . 35

Conscience, what its office is (Sanderson) .........................35
Human Reason when used reasonably ........................35
Limits of its use ...............................................................36
Reason leads on to Faith .............................................37
Faith and Science  (Hooker) .........................................38, 39

Nature and the Bible, two Books of God (Lord Bacon) . . .39

Use of Biblical Criticism ..............................................40


Differences between a priori Infallibility
and a posteriori Inerrancy ...........................................90, 91

Why we reject the peculiar dogmas of Rome....................91

The Roman Church is not the Catholic Church ;
and the Romish Faith is not the Catholic Faith ..............92, 93

Our Catholic safeguards against Rome ........................... 91 93

 Analogy between the divine plan for assuring us of the Inspiration
of Scripture, and for guiding us in its Interpretation ............9
Recapitulation ......................................................................100

ON THE REVISION OF THE Authorized Version   ..........103  
Cautions and Suggestions with respect to it ................... 104

17th-18th century textual critics and commentators

Here's a quick list for further exploration:

John Rogers Pitman (1782-1861), English Anglican theologian, writer, editor, preacher, educator, wit, best known for A Critical Commentary and Paraphrase on the Old and New Testament and the Apocrypha.
Simon Patrick (1626-1707), English Anglican theologian, preacher, poet, writer, bishop of Chichester and Ely, works include the controversial, A Friendly Debate between a Conformist and a Nonconformist and its parts.

William Lowth (1660-1732) English Anglican theologian, writer, biblical scholar, rector of Buriton, Hampshire, father of Robert Lowth, works include various biblical commentaries, treatise, discourses and sermons.

Richard Arnald (1700-1756), English Anglican theologian, prebendary, works include The Parable of the Cedar and Thistle and commentary on the Apocryphal books published in continuation of Patrick and Lowth.

Moses Lowman (1680-1752), English dissenting clergyman, theologian, works include An Argument to Prove the Unity and Perfections of God A Priori, Paraphrase and Notes on the Revelation, and other commentaries.

Daniel Whitby (1638-1726), English Anglican theologian, writer and biographer, Arminian minister with Arian and Unitarian tendencies, anti-Calvinistic, wrote commentaries, systematized postmillennialism.

John Mill (1645-1707), English Anglican theologian, biblical scholar and textual critic, various readings numbering about thirty thousand, were attacked by Whitby in his Examen as destroying the validity of the text.

It is interesting (perhaps ironic) that Whitby (Arian and potential Unitarian) was a vocal objector to John Mill (conservative?) in regard to examining, collating and publishing manuscript variants.  Later, it would be the Unitarians that jumped on the bandwagon for extensive (over-)editing of the NT text, while the Trinitarians balked at the wild and irreverent handling of Holy Scripture.


Friday, June 10, 2011

Wordsworth on Islam and Revelation (Part 1)

The following is extracted from Christopher Wordsworth's Miscellanies, Vol 3 (1879):



"THE decline of the Mohammedan Power (which was the subject of the foregoing paper), will, it is probable, be coincident in time with a great extension of Christianity, and will be conducive to it.

Recent events in Eastern Europe and Asia, the acquisition of the island of Cyprus by England, opening the East to Christian Missions, the military successes of her forces in North-Western India, against a Mohammedan power all these seem to point in the same direction. It is remarkable that the passing away of Mohammedanism is connected in the prophecies of  the Apocalypse (in the same chapter, the ninth), with the spread of the Gospel, which is there represented as following it.  The former of these subjects occupies the first twelve verses; the latter is described in the remainder of that chapter.Both these topics are now deservedly arresting public attention, and it may be profitable to examine those prophecies consecutively in reference to them.  Having considered the former prophecy in the foregoing pages, I will now proceed to the examination of the latter.   Rev. ix. 13 15,  
"And the sixth Angel sounded, and I heard a voice from the four horns of the golden altar which is before God, saying to the sixth Angel which had the Trumpet, Loose the Four Angels which are bound (have been bound) in the great river Euphrates. And the Four  Angels were loosed, which were prepared for an hour (the hour) and a day, and a month, and a year, for to slay the third part of men. " 
In this Book, the Book of Revelation, Seven Angels have been introduced in succession, each sounding a Trumpet. These Seven Trumpets announce successive divine judgments; and they end with the seventh or Last Trumpet, which will awaken the dead from their graves, and will summon the world to the Judgment-Seat of Christ.  The last three of these seven trumpets are called in this book Woe-Trumpets, because they proclaim three judicial Woes, with which God will visit those who do not believe and obey the Gospel.In the former part of this ninth chapter, the fifth Angel sounds the fifth Trumpet; which is the first of these three Woe Trumpets.

The Woe announced by that Trumpet (as has been shown in the previous paper) was Mohammedanism.   After describing the ravages perpetrated by it, the prophecy foretells that in God's time it will pass away.  Then the sixth Angel is introduced sounding the sixth Trumpet.  This is the subject before us.  
"The sixth Angel sounded, and I heard a voice from the four horns of the golden altar which is before God, saying to the sixth Angel which had the trumpet, Loose the four Angels which have been bound in (or at) the great river Euphrates."  
The voice proceeds from the four horns of the golden altar, the altar of incense (the type of prayer), which is before God. Therefore this is a divine voice, and is an answer to prayer  .This has been observed by ancient Expositors. 1 And this preamble is tantamount to a declaration that what is here alone in obedience to this Voice from the holy altar is done by the command of God and cannot be an evil act.The Divine Voice says to the sixth Angel, "Loose the four Angels which have been bound at the great river Euphrates."

What are these Angels? The word Angel means messenger, and Evangelium or Gospel means a good message, a message of God; and wherever the word Angel is introduced in Scripture, absolutely, as here, without any epithet, it signifies a good Angel, an Angel of God.   The voice from the golden altar is a divine voice, it speaks to an Angel who is a divine messenger of God, and commands him to loose the four Angels who are also messengers of God. Therefore the act here done is an act of God, working by His own agents. This was the opinion of ancient authors, mentioned by one of the most learned Greek Expositors, Andreas,   who wrote in the sixth or seventh century.

Observe also these holy Angels or Messengers who are loosed are four. In the Apocalypse the number four symbolizes Universality of space, and is applied to the four Gospels (Evangelia), which are called the four living creatures in the fourth chapter,  and represent the living power of Evangelical preaching to the four quarters of the Globe.

In the seventh chapter we see in like manner four Angels ( vii. 1,2), and these are clearly Angels of God. The prophecy therefore before us foretells that the decline of the Mohammedan power will be followed by the loosing of four heavenly Messengers ; in other words that it will be a signal for a diffusion of the Gospel throughout the world.  This is also revealed in another passage of the Book of Revelation which speaks of the signs of the latter days, and illustrates the present prophecy.   Says St. John (Rev. xiv. 6), 
"I saw an Angel flying in the midst of heaven, having the Everlasting Gospel (Evangelium) to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, kindred,tongue, and people, saying, Fear God, for the hour of His judgment is come ;"
- an expression, be it observed, which explains the words in the present prophecy, viz. "that the four angels have been prepared for the hour " (such is the true translation), "and for the day" that is for the Day of Judgment.  As our Lord says "The word which I have spoken unto you, that shall judge you at the last day" (John xii. 48). 

In the prophecy before us the Four Angels are described as having been bound at the great river Euphrates.  What does this mean?  Many modern Expositors, deviating from the ancient interpretation, and marring the analogy of language in this wonderful book (which is composed with perfect accuracy and exquisite precision) imagine that the word Euphrates is here used literally) and signifies the Eastern river bearing that name.  And yet which is strange the same Expositors rightly say that the word Babylon (whose river the Euphrates was), which is used six times in this book, is never used in a literal sense.  If the word Euphrates is to be understood in this book literally, and signifies the Eastern river, then the word Babylon, which was on the river Euphrates, is also to be understood literally, and means the Eastern, Assyrian, city.

But this is impossible ; and these Expositors own it to be out of the question. And they truly say that the word Babylon in the Apocalypse is to be understood spiritually, and means the City and Church of Rome; as we have already seen to be the case.  But if the word Babylon is to be understood spiritually (as is certain), then the word Euphrates, which was the river of Babylon, is no less surely to be understood spiritually also.  And further, on principles of analogy, the word Euphrates here represents something which bears the same relation to the spiritual Babylon (i. e. to the Church of Rome) as the literal river Euphrates bore to the literal Babylon.  The literal Euphrates was the cause of the strength and the channel of the commerce and wealth of the literal Babylon.

No ancient Expositors (such as Andreas, Arethas, (Ecumenius among the Greeks, or such as Tychonius, Bede, Haymo, Ainbrosius Ansbertus among the Latins) interpret Euphrates literally. They suppose it to mean the power of the spiritual Babylon.  And what, let us ask, has been the cause of power andwealth to the spiritual Babylon?  It is its Papal Supremacy.  That Supremacy has been flowing onward in a strong, deep, and wide flood for many centuries, and has been the means of the wealth and aggrandisement of the Spiritual Babylon.

But what (it may be asked) is the meaning of the FourAngels having been bound at this river of the Papal Euphrates, and being now loosed ?  The answer is easy. For many centuries the Gospel has been bound as a captive at Home.  As Israel of old was bound as a captive at the literal Euphrates, the waters of Babylon, and hung up its harp on the willows there,   so the Christian Church, with the Scriptures in her hands, has been bound as a captive on the banks of the Papal Babylon.  Do you ask a proof of this ?  Take one or two out of many.  Although Rome calls herself the Holy City, the Centre of Unity, "the Mother and Mistress of all Churches," and although it is the special duty of a Church to diffuse God's Word, yet not a single copy of the original Hebrew of the Old Testament has ever been printed in the city of Rome ; and not a single copy of the Greek original of the New Testament was printed in the city of Rome for four centuries and more after the invention of Printing.

Both Testaments were kept bound in prison at the Euphrates of the Papal Babylon.  It is doubtful whether a single copy of any Translation of the Holy Scriptures into any modern language has ever issued from the Papal Press in the City of Rome.  By the fourth rule of the Roman "Index Expurgatorius,"  the liberty to read the Bible is flatly denied to all except under very strict conditions which almost amount to a prohibition.  And the Papal Bull Unigenitus (A.D. 1713) condemned the proposition "that the Holy Scriptures were written for all, and ought to be read by all."  The word Euphrates has the same spiritual meaning in another passage of the Apocalypse. Rev. xvi. 12. Thus the four Angels have been bound as prisoners at the great river, the Papal Euphrates.  Thus also Papal Rome has dealt worse with God's Word than Pagan Rome did. Though Pagan Rome bound the Apostles, it placed no restrictions on the circulation of their Epistles or Gospels, so that St. Paul writing from Rome itself was able to say "the Word of God has not been bound" (2 Tim. ii. 9).  By the good Providence of God a greater freedom is now about to be given to the circulation of the Scriptures, by the passing away of the Mohammedan Power in the East.  For, let us remember that wherever the Moslem rule is dominant no Church of Christ is permitted to be built.   And by a remarkable coincidence a similar emancipation has by God's mercy been effected for His Word in the West, especially at Rome.  Since the taking of Rome by the forces of Victor Emmanuel, King of Italy, on Sept. 20, 1870, and the weakening of the temporal power of Rome, Bibles in the vernacular tongue may now be freely circulated in that country.  Truly we may say that the four Angels, which for many centuries had been bound as captives at the river Euphrates, have now been loosed.  Here, however, it may be said, Be it so, but is not the free circulation of God's Word an inestimable blessing?  How is this reconcilable, with the name given to the sixth trumpet in the chapter before, which is called a Trumpet of Woe?
The answer to this question is ; Every gift of God, which is a blessing to those who thankfully receive it, is also a woe to those who reject it.  And the greater the blessing is to the one, the greater the woe is to the other.  Observe that these last Trumpets are introduced with the solemn preamble, '' Woe, Woe, Woe to the inhabiters of the earth!" (Rev. viii. 13.) Remark those words, "the inhabiters of the earth," (this is the phrase in the Apocalypse for worldly men ; those who are "of the earth, earthy" those who have not their "conversation in heaven," Phil. iii. 20) ;

  " by reason of the other voices of the trumpet of the threeAngels, which are yet to sound."   Observe also that in this Book the Seventh Trumpet, which announces the Resurrection of the Dead and the future Judgment, is called a Woe,  the third Woe.   And yet what greater blessing can be imagined to the righteous than the Resurrection of their bodies from their graves ?  It will be the consummation of their bliss, and bring them to everlasting life - and glory in heaven.  But it will be a terrible Woe to the Wicked. It speaks of " Come, ye blessed " to the one, but it speaks also of " Depart from Me, ye cursed" to the other.   And therefore the sounding of the Seventh Trumpet, the Trumpet of Resurrection and Judgment, is called the third or last Woe. Indeed the characteristic attribute of all the Trumpets of the Apocalypse is that they warn a careless and godless world of the punitive character of God's visitations.'
 ( - C. Wordsworth, Miscellanies, Vol. 3 p. 100 fwd)

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Tregelles (1850s) on Romanist Translation

S.P. Tregelles, in 1859 and 1860, wrote to the TBS,  referring to the practice of the British and Foreign Bible Society (BFBS) in circulating Catholic versions of
the Bible:
"The important question is not the mere number of copies that are put into circulation, but the character of those copies and their freedom from doctrinal corruption.   We should think but little of sermons preached, if we were only told that their number was very great, and we had reason to believe they did not set forth the Gospel of Christ, or if we knew that their object was to deny some foundation truth: one orthodox declaration of Jesus Christ crucified would be worth them all and more.
On the subject of the Romish versions, it seems however, to be peculiarly difficult to obtain a proper hearing, and to convince well-meaning persons that we are not justified in putting forth as the truth of God some known error in the hope of effecting some supposed extensive good... (September 12, 1860).  
"Those who defend the circulation of the falisified Romish Version of Holy Scripture contually speak as if the differences between such and honestly made translations were so slight that the question is one of but little practical importance...
"We may well ask, Is it important whether we consider our Lord Jesus Christ to be the bruiser of the serpent’s head, or attribute this to the Virgin Mary? Is it of no consequence that the second commandment be altered so as to make it only forbid the rendering of supreme worship to images?"
[Catholic doctrine makes this change in order to allow for the idolatry which goes on within Catholicism with its multitudes of statues, pictures, and holy trinkets which are worshipped by the followers of Romanism.] 
Are we to regard the substitution of penance in the place of repentance as of slight moment?  
[The Catholic versions make all of these corruptions in their official Scriptures, either in the text, or through their footnotes and “explanations.”] 
So I might go on with inquiry after inquiry, and the result would be the plain proof that the differences are serious indeed; for they substitute the false doctrine of Man for the truth inspired by the Holy Ghost, and they give apparent sanction of God to that which is so contrary to His Holy will.
Those who thus defend the corrupted versions show, that either they are really unacquainted with them, or else that they do not object to the false doctrine of Rome thus insidiously introduced. ...
But how do some engaged in circulating the Scriptures gain their experience? They would speak of copies sold, and of the individuals into whose hands they pass. But there is another kind of experience little known to such distributors or sellers, and the results of this I wish to state.  Let anyone who intelligently knows the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ have to do not only with Bible distribution but also with the reading of Holy Scripture himself to Roman
Catholics. ...
He will be made to feel, point by point, that a single perverted word becomes of consequence. ... I have been repeatedly so circumstanced as to be made to feel this painfully.  ... I speak from ample experience when I say, that there is no reasonable ground for regarding the differences as slight, unless, indeed, we seek to palliate Romish error." 
(S. P.  Tregelles, Sept. 17, 1859, quoted by Brown, The Word of God Among All Nations, pp. 41-44).
Excerpted from Unholy Hands on God's Holy Book, by D. Cloud, (2006)