OUR AUTHORIZED BIBLE VINDICATED
BENJAMIN G. WILKINSON, PH.D.
DEAN OF THEOLOGY,
WASHINGTON MISSIONARY COLLEGE
TAKOMA PARK, D.C.
JUNE, 1930FUNDAMENTALLY, ONLY TWO DIFFERENT BIBLES THE BIBLE ADOPTED BY CONSTANTINE AND THE PURE BIBLE OF THE WALDENSES THE REFORMERS REJECT THE BIBLE OF THE PAPACY THE JESUITS AND THE JESUIT BIBLE OF 1582 THE KING JAMES BIBLE BORN AMID THE GREAT STRUGGLES OVER THE JESUIT VERSION COMPARISONS TO SHOW HOW THE JESUIT BIBLE REAPPEARS IN THE AMERICAN REVISED VERSION THREE HUNDRED YEARS OF ATTACK ON THE KING JAMES BIBLE HOW THE JESUITS CAPTURED OXFORD UNIVERSITY WESTCOTT AND HORT REVISION AT LAST BLOW AFTER BLOW AGAINST THE TRUTH BLOW AFTER BLOW IN FAVOR OF ROME CATHOLICS REJOICE THAT THE REVISED VERSION VINDICATES THEIR CATHOLIC BIBLE THE AMERICAN REVISION COMMITTEE: ITS INFLUENCE UPON THE FUTURE OF AMERICA THE RISING FLOOD OF MODERNISM AND MODERN BIBLES CONCLUSION
This volume is written in the fervent hope that it will confirm and establish faith in Gods Word, which through the ages has been preserved inviolate. In these days when faith is weakening and the Bible is being torn apart, it is vital that we enter into fields which can yield up their evidence of how God, through the centuries, intervened to transmit to us a perfect Bible.
Much of the material given in this book was collected in response to the needs of the authors classroom work. In pursuing this line of study, he has been astounded and thrilled to find in historical situations, where he least expected it, evidences of special intervention and special purposes of God with regard to His Holy Word. His faith in the inspiration of the Bible has been deeply strengthened as he has perceived how down through the ages Gods true Bible has constantly triumphed over erroneous versions.
With regard to the different versions, it is necessary, while confirming the glorious inspiration of the Bible, to warn the people against Bibles which include false books, and, especially at the present time, against the dangers of false readings in genuine books. There are versions of the Bible, prepared by men of scholarship, with certain books and readings we cannot accept. Such versions may be of use for reference or comparison. In certain passages, they may give a clearer rendering. But it is unthinkable that those who use such versions would be unwilling to have the public informed of their dangers.
This work has been written under great pressure. In addition to the authors tasks in the Theological Department of the College, and his evangelical work as pastor of a city church, he wrote this book in response to urgent requests. It may be possible that there are a few technical mistakes. The author has strong confidence, however, that the main lines of argument are timely, and that they stand on a firm foundation. It is possible to know what is the true Word of God. The author sends forth this book with a fervent prayer that it may aid the earnest seeker after truth to find the answer to this all-important question.
B. G. WILKINSON
Takoma Park, D.C.,
FUNDAMENTALLY, ONLY TWO DIFFERENT BIBLES
"There is the idea in the minds of some people that scholarship demands the laying aside of the Authorized Version of the Bible and taking up the latest Revised Version. This is an idea, however, without any proper bases. This Revised Version is in large part in line with what is known as modernism, and is peculiarly acceptable to those who think that any change, anywhere or in anything, is progress. Those who have really investigated the matter, and are in hearty sympathy with what is evangelical, realize that this Revised Version is a part of the movement to modernize Christian thought and faith and do away with the established truth." The Herald and Presbyter (Presbyterian), July 16, 1924, p. 10.
IN ONE of our prominent publications, there appeared in the winter of 1928, an article entitled, "Who Killed Goliath?" and in the spring of 1929, an article named, "The Dispute About Goliath." Attention was called to the fact that in the American Revised Version, 2 Samuel 21:19, we read that Elhanan killed Goliath. A special cablegram from the "most learned and devout scholars" of the Church of England, said in substance, that the Revised Version was correct, that Elhanan and not David killed Goliath; that there were many other things in the Bible which were the product of exaggeration, such as the story of Noah and the ark, of Jonah and the whale, of the Garden of Eden, and of the longevity of Methuselah. The first article says that these modern views have been held and taught in practically all American theological seminaries of standing, and that young ministers being graduated from them, have rejected the old beliefs about these events whether the public knew it or not. This publication aroused a national interest and its office was "inundated," as the editor says, with letters as to whether this Revised Version is correct, or whether, as we have always believed, according to the Authorized Version, David killed Goliath. fa1
Is the American Revised Version correct on this point, or is the Bible, which has led the Protestant world for three hundred years, correct? Is the Revised Version correct in thousands of other changes made, or is the King James Version correct?
Back of this and other changes lie the motives and events which, in 1870, brought into existence the Committees which produced the Revised Versions both the English and the American. During the three hundred and fifty years following the Reformation, repeated attempts were made to set aside the Greek New Testament, called the Received Text, from which the New Testament of the King James in English and other Protestant Bibles in other languages were translated.
Many individual efforts produced different Greek New Testaments. Likewise furious attacks were made upon the Old Testament in Hebrew, from which the King James and other Bibles had been translated. None of these assaults, however, met with any marked success until the Revision Committee was appointed by the southern half of the Church of England under the Archbishop of Canterbury, although the same church in the northern half of England under the Archbishop of York, refused to be a party to the project.
This Revision Committee, besides the changes in the Old Testament, made over 5000 changes in the Received Text of the New Testament and so produced a new Greek New Testament. This permitted all the forces hostile to the Bible to gather themselves together and pour through the breach. Since then, the flood gates have been opened and we are now deluged with many different kinds of Greek New Testaments and with English Bibles translated from them, changed and mutilated in bewildering confusion.
Again, in the story of the dark hour when Jesus hung on the cross, the King James Bible declares that the darkness which was over the whole land from the sixth to the ninth hour was produced because the sun was darkened. This reason offers the Christian believer a testimony of the miraculous interposition of the Father in behalf of His son, similar to the darkness which afflicted Egypt in the plagues upon that nation.
In the New Testament, as translated by Moffatt and certain other modern Bibles, we are told that the darkness was caused by an eclipse of the sun. Of course, a darkness caused by an eclipse of the sun is very ordinary; it is not a miracle. Moreover, Christ was crucified at the time of the Passover which always occurred when the moon was full. At the time of a full moon, no eclipse of the sun is possible. Now which of these two records in Greek did God write: the miraculous, as recorded in the King James Bible and which we have believed for three hundred years; or the unnatural and impossible, as recorded in Moffatt's translation? Moffatt and the Revisers both used the same manuscript.
Some of those who had part in these Revised and Modern Bibles were higher critics of the most pronounced type. At least one man sat on the Revision Committee of 1881 who had openly and in writing denied the divinity of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. On this account, their chairman of high standing absented himself almost from the first.fa2 Also, men sat on the Revision Committee who, openly and in a critical hour when their word was of weight, had defended the great movement to Romanize the Church of England.
It is too late to beguile us with soothing words that all versions and all translations are of equal value; that nowhere is doctrine affected. Doctrine is seriously affected. So wrote Dr. G. V. Smith, a member of the English New Testament Revision Committee:
"Since the publication of the revised New Testament, it has been frequently said that the changes of translation which the work contains are of little importance from a doctrinal point of view... To the writer, any such statement appears to be in the most substantial sense contrary to the facts of the case." fa3
Life is bigger than logic. When it comes to the philosophy of life, scholarship and science are not the all which counts. It is as true to-day as in the days of Christ, that "the common people heard him gladly." If it be a question of physics, of chemistry, of mathematics, or of mechanics, there, scientists can speak with authority. But when it is a question of revelation, of spirituality, or of morality, the common people are as competent judges as are the product of the schools. And in great crises, history has frequently shown that they were safer.
Experience also determines issues. There are those among us now who would change the Constitution of the United States, saying: "Have we not men to-day who have as great intellect as Washington, Adams, Jefferson, and the others? Have we not much more light than they? Why must we be tied to what they taught?" We will not deny that there are men now living as brilliant as the founding fathers. But no men to-day ever went through the same experience as the framers of the Constitution. Those pioneers were yet witnesses of the vicious principles of the Dark Ages and their cruel results. They were called upon to suffer, to endure, to fight, that principles of a different nature might be established. Experience, not reading or philosophizing, had thoroughly wrought in them the glorious ideals incorporated into the fundamental document of the land.
Experience can throw some light also upon the relative value of Bible Versions. The King James Bible was translated when England was fighting her way out from Catholicism to Protestantism; whereas, the Revised Version was born after fifty years (18331883) of terrific Romanizing campaigns, when one convulsion after another rocked the mental defenses of England and broke down the ascendancy of the Protestant mentality in that empire. The King James Version was born of the Reformation; the Revised Versions and some modern Bibles were born of Higher Criticism and Romanizing activities, as this treatise will show.
We hear a great deal to-day about the Sunday Law of the Roman Emperor Constantine, 321 A.D. Why is it that we do not hear about the corrupt Bible which Constantine adopted and promulgated, the version which for 1800 years has been exploited by the forces of heresy and apostasy? This Bible, we regret to say, lies at the bottom of many versions which now flood the publishing houses, the schools, the churches, yes, many homes, and are bringing confusion and doubt to untold millions.
Down through the centuries, the pure Bible, the living Word of God, has often faced the descendants of this corrupt Version, robed in splendor and seated on the throne of power. It has been a battle and a march, a battle and a march. Gods Holy Word has always won; to its victories we owe the very existence of Christian civilization and all the happiness we now have and hope for in eternity. And now, once again, in these last days, the battle is being renewed, the affections and the control of the minds of men are being contended for by these two rival claimants.
Devotion to error can never produce true righteousness. Out of the present confusion of Bibles, I propose to trace the situation back to its origin, that our hearts may be full of praise and gratitude to God for the marvelous manner in which He has given to us and preserved for us the Holy Scriptures.
THE HEBREW TEXT OF THE OLD TESTAMENT
For the present, the problem revolves mostly around the thousands of different readings in the Greek New Testament manuscripts. By the time of Christ, the Old Testament was in a settled condition. Since then, the Hebrew Scriptures had been carried down intact to the day of printing (about 1450 A.D.) by the unrivalled methods of the Jews in transmitting perfect Hebrew manuscripts.
Whatever perplexing problems there are in connection with the Old Testament, these have largely been produced by translating it into Greek and uniting that translation to the Greek New Testament. It is around the problems of the Greek New Testament that the battle for centuries has been fought. We must, therefore, confine ourselves largely to the Christian Era; for the experience which befell the New Testament and the controversies that raged around it, also befell the Old Testament. Moreover, the Revisers, themselves, would have no one think for an instant that they used any other MSS. in revising the Old Testament than the Massoretic text, the only reliable Hebrew Bible. Dr. Ellicott, chairman of the English New Testament Committee, repeatedly recommends the story of the Old Testament Revision by Dr. Chambers.
Dr. Chambers says:-
"The more sober critics with one consent hold fast the Massoretic text. This has been the rule with the authors of the present revision. Their work is based throughout upon the traditional Hebrew. In difficult or doubtful places, where some corruption seems to have crept in or some accident to have befallen the manuscript, the testimony of the early versions is given in the margin, but never incorporated with the text." fa4
THE APOSTASY OF THE EARLY CHRISTIAN CHURCH
PREPARES THE WAY FOR CORRUPTING THE MANUSCRIPTS
Inspired by the unerring Spirit of God, chosen men brought forth the different books of the New Testament, these originally being written in Greek. For a few years, under the guidance of the noble apostles, believers in Christ were privileged to have the unadulterated Word of God. But soon the scene changed; the fury of Satan, robbed of further opportunity to harass the Son of God, turned upon the written Word. Heretical sects, warring for supremacy, corrupted the manuscripts in order to further their ends. "Epiphanius, in his polemic treatise the Panarion, describes not less than eighty heretical parties. "fa5 The Roman Catholics won. The true church fled into the wilderness, taking pure manuscripts with her.
When the apostle Paul foretold the coming of the great apostasy in his sermon and later in his epistle to the Thessalonians, he declared that there would "come a falling away," 2 Thessalonians 2:3; and then he added that the "mystery of iniquity doth already work." 2 Thessalonians 2:7. Later when he had gathered together, on his journey to Jerusalem, the bishops, those who were over the church of Ephesus, he said, "Of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears." Acts 20:30, 31.
Though there are many important events in the life of the great apostle which have been left unrecorded, the Holy Spirit deemed it of high importance to put on record this prophecy, to warn us that even from among the elders or bishops there would arise perverse leadership. This prophecy would be fulfilled, was fulfilled. Until we sense the importance of this great prediction of the Holy Spirit and come to recognized its colossal fulfillment, the Bible must in many things remain a sealed book.
When Paul was warned of the coming apostasy, he aroused the Thessalonians not to be soon shaken or troubled in spirit "by letter as from us." 2 Thessalonians 2:2. It would have been bold at any time to write a letter to a church and sign to it the apostles name. But how daring must have been that iniquity which would commit that forgery even while the apostle was yet alive! Even in Paul's day, the apostasy was built on lawless acts.
Later in his labors, Paul specifically pointed out three ways in which the apostasy was working;
1,by exalting mans knowledge above the Bible;
2,by spiritualizing the Scriptures away; and lastly,
3,by substituting philosophy for revelation.
1 FALSE KNOWLEDGE EXALTED ABOVE SCRIPTURE
Of the first of these dangers we read as follows: "O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called." 1 Timothy 7:20.
The Greek word in this verse which is translated "science" is "gnosis." "Gnosis" means knowledge. The apostle condemned, not knowledge in general, but false knowledge. False teachers were placing their own interpretations on Christian truth by reading into it human ideas. This tendency grew and increased until a great system bearing the name of Christianity, known as Gnosticism, was established. To show that this religion was not a theory without an organization among men, but that it had communities and was widespread, I quote from Milman:
"The later Gnostics were bolder, but more consistent innovators on the simple scheme of Christianity... In all the great cities of the East in which Christianity had established its most flourishing communities, sprang up this rival which aspired to a still higher degree of knowledge than was revealed in the Gospel, and boasted that it soared almost as much above the vulgar Christianity as the vulgar paganism. "fa6
The mysterious theories of these Gnostics have reappeared in the works of theologians of our day. The following words from the Americana, will prove the tendency of this doctrine to break out in our times. Note the place of "aeons" in their system:
"There have been no Gnostic sects since the fifth century; but many of the principles of their system of emanations reappear in later philosophical systems, drawn from the same sources as theirs. Plato's lively representation had given to the idea of the Godhead, something substantial, which the Gnostics transferred to their aeons. "fa7
In fact, the aeons system has found a treatment in the Revised Version.
Bishop Westcott who was one of the dominating minds of the English New Testament Revision Committee advocates that the Revised New Testament be read in the light of the modern aeon theories of the Revisers. He comments thus on the revised reading of Ephesians 3:21: "Some perhaps are even led to pause on the wonderful phrase in Ephesians 3:21, margin, for all the generations of the age of the ages, which is represented in English (A. V.) by to all generations forever and ever; and to reflect on the vision so open of a vast aeon of the which the elements are aeons unfolding, as it were, stage after stage, the manifold powers of one life fulfilled in many ways, each aeon the child (so to speak) of that which has gone before. "fa8
J. H. Newman, the Oxford divine, who was made a Cardinal after he had left the church of England for the Church of Rome, and whose doctrines, in whole or in part, were adopted by the majority of the Revisers, did more to influence the religion of the British Empire than any other man since the Reformation. He was invited to sit on the Revision Committee. Dr. S. Parkes Cadman speaks thus, referring to his Gnosticism:
"From the fathers, Newman also derived a speculative angelology which described the unseen universe as inhabited by hosts of intermediate beings who were spiritual agents between God and creation... Indeed, Newmans cosmogony was essentially Gnostic, and echoed the teachings of Cerinthus, who is best entitled to be considered as the link between the Judaizing and Gnostic sects. "fa9
The following quotation from a magazine of authority gives a description of this modern species of Gnosticism which shows its Romanizing tendency. It also reveals how Bishop Westcott could hold this philosophy, while it names Dr. Philip Schaff, President of both American Committees of Revision, as even more an apostle of this modern Gnosticism:
"The roads which lead to Rome are very numerous... Another road, less frequented and less obvious, but not less dangerous, is the philosophical. There is a strong affinity between the speculative system of development, according to which every thing that is, is true and rational, and the Romish idea of a self-evolving infallible church... No one can read the exhibitions of the Church and of theology written even by Protestants under the influence of the speculative philosophy, without seeing that little more than a change of terminology is required to turn such philosophy into Romanism. Many distinguished men have already in Germany passed, by this bridge, from philosophical skepticism to the Romish Church. A distinct class of the Romanizing portion of the Church of England belongs to this philosophical category. Dr. Nevin had entered this path long before Dr. Schaff came from Germany to point it out to him." fa10
2 SPIRITUALIZING THE SCRIPTURES AWAY
The next outstanding phase of the coming apostasy, spiritualizing the Scriptures away, is predicted by the apostle:
"But shun profane and vain babblings; for they will increase unto more ungodliness. And their word will eat as doth a canker: of whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus; who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of some." 2 Timothy 2:16-18.
The Bible teaches the resurrection as a future event. One way these prominent teachers, full of vanity, could say that it was past, was to teach, as some of their descendants do to-day, that the resurrection is a spiritual process which takes place, say, at conversion. The prediction of the apostle was fulfilled in a great system of Bible spiritualizing or mystifying which subverted the primitive faith. Turning the Scriptures into an allegory was a passion in those days. In our day, allegorizing is not only a passion, but is also a refuge from truth for many leaders with whom we have to do.
3 SUBSTITUTING PHILOSOPHY FOR SCRIPTURE
The third way in which the apostasy came, was predicted by the apostle thus:
"Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ." Colossians 2:8.
The philosophy condemned in this passage is not the philosophy found in the sacred Word, but the philosophy which is "after the tradition of men."
Even before the days of Christ, the very existence of the Jewish religion was threatened by intellectual leaders of the Jews who were carried away with the subtleties and glamour of pagan philosophy. This same temptress quickly ensnared multitudes who bore the name of Christian.
"Greek philosophy exercised the greatest influence not only on the Christian mode of thought, but also through that on the institutions of the Church. In the completed church we find again the philosophic schools."fa11
The greatest enemies of the infant Christian church, therefore, were not found in the triumphant heathenism which filled the world, but in the rising flood of heresy which, under the name of Christianity, engulfed the truth for many years. This is what brought on the Dark Ages. This rising flood, as we shall see, had multiplied in abundance copies of the Scriptures with bewildering changes in verses and passages within one hundred years after the death of John (100 A. D.).
As Irenaeus said concerning Marcion, the Gnostic:
"Wherefore also Marcion and his followers have betaken themselves to mutilating the Scriptures, not acknowledging some books at all; and, curtailing the Gospel according to Luke, and the epistles of Paul, they assert that these alone are authentic, which they have themselves shortened. "fa12
FUNDAMENTALLY, THERE ARE ONLY TWO STREAMS OF BIBLES
Anyone who is interested enough to read the vast volume of literature on this subject, will agree that down through the centuries there were only two streams of manuscripts.
The first stream which carried the Received Text in Hebrew and Greek, began with the apostolic churches, and reappearing at intervals down the Christian Era among enlightened believers, was protected by the wisdom and scholarship of the pure church in her different phases; by such as the church at Pella in Palestine where Christians fled, when in 70 A. D. the Romans destroyed Jerusalemfa13; by the Syrian Church of Antioch which produced eminent scholarship; by the Italic Church in northern Italy; and also at the same time by the Gallic Church in southern France and by the Celtic Church in Great Britain; by the pre-Waldensian, the Waldensian, and the churches of the Reformation.
This first stream appears, with very little change, in the Protestant Bibles of many languages, and in English, in that Bible known as the King James Version, the one which has been in use for three hundred years in the English speaking world. These MSS. have in agreement with them, by far the vast majority of numbers. So vast is this majority that the enemies of the received Text admit that nineteen-twentieths and some ninety-nine one-hundredths of all Greek MSS. are of this class; while one hundred per cent of the Hebrew MSS. are for the Received Text.
The second stream is a small one of a very few manuscripts. These last MSS. are represented:
(a)In Greek: The Vatican MS., or Codex B, in the library at Rome; and the Sinaitic, or Codex Aleph (#), its brother. We will fully explain about these two MSS. later.
(b)In Latin: The Vulgate or Latin Bible of Jerome.
(c)In English: The Jesuit Bible of 1582, which later with vast changes is seen in the Douay, or Catholic Bible.
(d)In English again: In many modern Bibles which introduce practically all the Catholic readings of the Latin Vulgate which were rejected by the Protestants of the Reformation; among these, prominently, are the Revised Versions.
So the present controversy between the King James Bible in English and the modern versions is the same old contest fought out between the early church and rival sects; later between the Waldenses and the Papists from the fourth to the thirteenth centuries; and later still, between the Reformers and the Jesuits in the sixteenth century.
THE APOSTLE PAUL PREPARES TO PRESERVE THE TRUTH AGAINST COMING APOSTASY
In his later years, the apostle Paul spent more time in preparing the churches for the great future apostasy than in pushing the work farther on. He foresaw that this apostasy would arise in the west. Therefore, he spent years laboring to anchor the Gentile churches of Europe to the churches of Judea.
The Jewish Christians had back of them 1500 years of training. Throughout the centuries God had so molded the Jewish mind that it grasped the idea of sin; of an invisible Godhead; of mans serious condition; of the need for a divine Redeemer. But throughout these same centuries, the Gentile world had sunk lower and lower in frivolity, heathenism, and debauchery.
It is worthy of notice that the apostle Paul wrote practically all of his epistles to the Gentile churches, to Corinth, to Rome, to Philippi, etc. He wrote almost no letters to the Jewish Christians. Therefore, the great burden of his closing days was to anchor the Gentile churches of Europe to the Christian churches of Judea. In fact, it was to secure this end that he lost his life.
"St. Paul did his best to maintain his friendship and alliance with the Jerusalem Church. To put himself right with them, he traveled up to Jerusalem, when fresh fields and splendid prospects were opening up for him in the West. For this purpose he submitted to several days restraint and attendance in the Temple, and the results vindicated his determination."fa14
This is how Paul used churches in Judea as a base. "For ye, brethren, became followers of the churches of God which in Judea are in Christ Jesus: for ye also have suffered like things of your own countrymen, even as they have of the Jews." I Thess. 2:14.
"There is not a word here of the church of Rome being the model after which the other churches were to be formed; it had no such preeminence: this honor belonged to the churches of Judea; it was according to them, not the church at Rome, that the Asiatic churches were modeled. The purest of all the apostolic churches was that of the Thessalonians, and this was formed after the Christian churches in Judea. Had any preeminence or authority belonged to the church of Rome, the apostle would have proposed this as a model to all those which he formed, either in Judea, Asia Minor, Greece, or Italy."fa15
EARLY CORRUPTION OF BIBLE MSS.
The last of the apostles to pass away was John. His death is usually placed about 100 A. D. In his closing days, he cooperated in the collecting and forming of those writings we call the New Testament.fa16 An ordinary careful reading of Acts, Chapter 15, will prove the scrupulous care with which the early church guarded her sacred writings. And so well did Gods true people through the ages agree on what was Scripture and what was not, that no general council of the church, until that of Trent (1645) dominated by the Jesuits, dared to say anything as to what books should comprise the Bible or what texts were or were not spurious.fa17
While John lived, heresy could make no serious headway. He had hardly passed away, however, before perverse teachers infested the Christian Church. The doom of heathenism, as a controlling force before the superior truths of Christianity, was soon foreseen by all. These years were times which saw the New Testament books corrupted in abundance.
Eusebius is witness to this fact. He also relates that the corrupted manuscripts were so prevalent that agreement between the copies was hopeless; and that those who were corrupting the Scriptures, claimed that they really were correcting them.fa18
When the warring sects had been consolidated under the iron hand of Constantine, this heretical potentate adopted the Bible which combined the contradictory versions into one, and so blended the various corruptions with the bulk of pure teachings as to give sanction to the great apostasy now seated on the throne of power.
Beginning shortly after the death of the apostle John, four names stand out in prominence whose teachings contributed both to the victorious heresy and to the final issuing of manuscripts of a corrupt New Testament. These names are,
3,Clement of Alexandria, and
4,Origen. We shall speak first of Justin Martyr.
The year in which the apostle John died, 100 A.D., is given as the date in which Justin Martyr was born. Justin, originally a pagan and of pagan parentage, afterward embraced Christianity and although he is said to have died at heathen hands for his religion, nevertheless, his teachings were of a heretical nature. Even as a Christian teacher, he continued to wear the robes of a pagan philosopher.
In the teachings of Justin Martyr, we begin to see how muddy the stream of pure Christian doctrine was running among the heretical sects fifty years after the death of the apostle John. It was in Tatian, Justin Martyrs pupil, that these regrettable doctrines were carried to alarming lengths, and by his hand committed to writing. After the death of Justin Martyr in Rome, Tatian returned to Palestine and embraced the Gnostic heresy. This same Tatian wrote a Harmony of the Gospels which was called the Diatessaron, meaning four in one. The Gospels were so notoriously corrupted by his hand that in later years a bishop of Syria, because of the errors, was obliged to throw out of his churches no less than two hundred copies of this Diatessaron, since church members were mistaking it for the true Gospel.fa19
We come now to Tatian's pupil known as Clement of Alexandria, 200 A. D.fa20 He went much farther than Tatian in that he founded a school at Alexandria which instituted propaganda along these heretical lines. Clement expressly tells us that he would not hand down Christian teachings, pure and unmixed, but rather clothed with precepts of pagan philosophy. All the writings of the outstanding heretical teachers were possessed by Clement, and he freely quoted from their corrupted MSS. As if they were the pure words of Scripture.fa21 His influence in the depravation of Christianity was tremendous. But his greatest contribution, undoubtedly, was the direction given to the studies and activities of Origen, his famous pupil.
When we come to Origen, we speak the name of him who did the most of all to create and give direction to the forces of apostasy down through the centuries. It was he who mightily influenced Jerome, the editor of the Latin Bible known as the Vulgate. Eusebius worshiped at the altar of Origen's teachings. He claims to have collected eight hundred of Origen's letters, to have used Origen's six-column Bible, the Hexapla, in his Biblical labors. Assisted by Pamphilus, he restored and preserved Origen's library.
Origen's corrupted MSS. of the Scriptures were well arranged and balanced with subtlety. The last one hundred years have seen much of the so-called scholarship of European and English Christianity dominated by the subtle and powerful influence of Origen.
Origen had so surrendered himself to the furore of turning all Bible events into allegories that he, himself, says, "The Scriptures are of little use to those who understand them as they are written."fa22 In order to estimate Origen rightly, we must remember that as a pupil of Clement, he learned the teachings of the Gnostic heresy and like his master, lightly esteemed the historical basis of the Bible. As Schaff says, "His predilection for Plato (the pagan philosopher) led him into many grand and fascinating errors."fa23 He made himself acquainted with the various heresies and studied under the heathen Ammonius Saccas, founder of Neo-Platonism.
He taught that the soul existed from eternity before it inhabited the body, and that after death, it migrated to a higher or a lower form of life according to the deeds done in the body; and finally all would return to the state of pure intelligence, only to begin again the same cycle as before. He believed that the devils would be saved, and that the stars and planets had souls, and were, like men, on trial to learn perfection. In fact, he turned the whole law and Gospel into an allegory.
Such was the man who from his day to this has dominated the endeavors of destructive textual critics. One of the greatest results of his life, was that his teachings became the foundation of that system of education called Scholasticism, which guided the colleges of Latin Europe for nearly one thousand years during the Dark Ages.
Origenism flooded the Catholic Church through Jerome, the father of Latin Christianity. "I love... the name of Origen," says the most distinguished theologian of the Roman Catholic Church since 1850, "I will not listen to the notion that so great a soul was lost."fa24
A final word from the learned Scrivener will indicate how early and how deep were the corruptions of the sacred manuscripts:
"It is no less true to fact than paradoxical in sound, that the worst corruptions to which the New Testament has ever been subjected, originated within a hundred years after it was composed; that Irenaeus (A. D. 150), and the African Fathers, and the whole Western, with a portion of the Syrian Church, used far inferior manuscripts to those employed by Stunica, or Erasmus, or Stephens thirteen centuries later, when moulding the Textus Receptus."fa25
The basis was laid to oppose a mutilated Bible to the true one. How these corruptions found their way down the centuries and reappear in our revised and modern Bibles, the following pages will tell.
THE BIBLE ADOPTED BY CONSTANTINE AND THE PURE BIBLE OF THE WALDENSES
CONSTANTINE became emperor of Rome in 312 A.D. A little later he embraced the Christian faith for himself and for his empire. As this so called first Christian emperor took the reins of the civil and spiritual world to bring about the amalgamation of paganism and Christianity, he found three types of manuscripts, or Bibles, vying for supremacy: the Textus Receptus or Constantinopolitan, the Palestinian or Eusebio-Origen, and the Egyptian of Hesychius.f1 The adherents of each claimed superiority for their manuscript. Particularly was there earnest contention between the advocates of the Textus Receptus and those of the Eusebio-Origen text.f2
The defenders of the Textus Receptus were of the humbler class who earnestly sought to follow the early church. The Eusebio-Origen text was the product of the intermingling of the pure word of God and Greek philosophy in the mind of Origen. It might be called the adaptation of the Word of God to Gnosticism.
As the Emperor Constantine embraced Christianity, it became necessary for him to choose which of these Bibles he would sanction. Quite naturally he preferred the one edited by Eusebius and written by Origen, the outstanding intellectual figure that had combined Christianity with Gnosticism in his philosophy, even as Constantine himself was the political genius that was seeking to unite Christianity with pagan Rome.
Constantine regarded himself as the director and guardian of this anomalous world church, and as such he was responsible for selecting the Bible for the great Christian centers. His predilection was for the type of Bible whose readings would give him a basis for his imperialistic ideas of the great state church, with ritualistic ostentation and unlimited central power. The philosophy of Origen was well suited to serve Constantine's religio-political theocracy.
Eusebius was a great admirer of Origen and a deep student of his philosophy. He had just edited the fifth column of the Hexapla which was Origen's Bible. Constantine chose this, and asked Eusebius to prepare fifty copies for him. Dr. Ira M. Price refers to the transaction as follows:
"Eusebius of Caesarea (260-340), the first church historian, assisted by Pamphilus or vice versa, issued with all its critical marks the fifth column of the Hexapla, with alternative readings from the other columns, for use in Palestine. The Emperor Constantine gave orders that fifty copies of this edition should be prepared for use in the churches."f3
The Vaticanus Manuscript (Codex B) and the Sinaiticus Manuscript (Codex Aleph #) belong to the Eusebio-Origen type, and many authorities believe that they were actually two of the fifty copies prepared for Constantine by Eusebius. Dr. Robertson singles out these two manuscripts as possibly two of the fifty Constantine Bibles. He says:
"Constantine himself ordered fifty Greek Bibles from Eusebius, Bishop of Caesarea, for the churches in Constantinople. It is quite possible that Aleph (#) and B are two of these fifty."f4
Both these manuscripts were written in Greek, each containing the whole Bible, we think, though parts are missing in them now. The Vatican MS. Is in the Papal Museum at Rome; the Sinaitic MS. is in the Soviet Museum at Moscow, Russia.
Dr. Gregory, a recent scholar in the field of manuscripts, also thinks of them in connection with the fifty. We quote from him:
"This Manuscript (Vaticanus) is supposed, as we have seen, to have come from the same place as the Sinaitic Manuscript. I have said that these two show connections with each other, and that they would suit very well as a pair of the fifty manuscripts written at Caesarea for Constantine the Great."f5
The following quotation is given as evidence that the Sinaitic Manuscript was the work of Origen:
"It (Sinaitic MS.) seems to have been at one time at Caesarea; one of the correctors (probably of the seventh century) adds this note at the end of Esdras, (Ezra): This Codex was compared with a very ancient exemplar which had been corrected by the hand of the holy martyr Pamphilus (d. 309); which exemplar contained at the end, the subscription in his own hand: "Taken and corrected according to the Hexapla of Origen: Antonius compared it: I, Pamphilus, corrected it"... The text of Aleph (#) bears a very close resemblance to that of B."f6
Two outstanding scholars, Burgon and Miller, thus express their belief that in the Vaticanus and Sinaiticus MSS. we have two of the Bibles prepared by Eusebius for the Emperor:
"Constantine applied to Eusebius for fifty handsome copies, among which it is not improbable that the manuscripts B and Aleph (#) were to be actually found. But even if this is not so, the Emperor would not have selected Eusebius for the order, if that Bishop had not been in the habit of providing copies: and Eusebius in fact carried on the work which he had commenced under his friend Pamphilus, and in which the latter must have followed the path pursued by Origen. Again, Jerome is known to have resorted to this quarter."f7
Both admirers and foes of the Vaticanus and Sinaiticus Manuscripts admit and contend that these two Codices are remarkably similar. They are so near together as to compel one to believe that they were of common origin. Dr. Philip Schaff says:
"The Roman editors contend, of course, for the primacy of the Vatican against the Sinaitic MS., but admit that they are not far apart."f8
Eusebius, the author of the Vaticanus, was a great admirer of Origen, as noted above, transmitted his views, and preserved and edited his works. Whether or not the Vaticanus and Sinaiticus were actually two of the fifty Bibles furnished by Eusebius for Constantine, at least they belonged to the same family as the Hexapla, the Eusebio-Origen type. So close were the relations of Origen, Eusebius, and Jerome, that Dr. Scrivener says:
"The readings approved by Origen, Eusebius, and Jerome should closely agree."f9
It is evident that the so-called Christian Emperor gave to the Papacy his indorsement of the Eusebio-Origen Bible. It was from this type of manuscript that Jerome translated the Latin Vulgate which became the authorized Catholic Bible for all time.
The Latin Vulgate, the Sinaiticus, the Vaticanus, the Hexapla, Jerome, Eusebius, and Origen, are terms for ideas that are inseparable in the minds of those who know. The type of Bible selected by Constantine has held the dominating influence at all times in the history of the Catholic Church. This Bible was different from the Bible of the Waldenses, and, as a result of this difference, the Waldenses were the object of hatred and cruel persecution, as we shall now show. In studying this history, we shall see how it was possible for the pure manuscripts, not only to live, but actually to gain the ascendance in the face of powerful opposition.
A CHANNEL OF COMMUNICATION FROM THE CHURCHES IN JUDEA CARRIED PURE MANUSCRIPTS TO THE PRIMITIVE CHRISTIANS IN WESTERN LANDS
Attentive observers have repeatedly been astonished at the unusual phenomenon exhibited in the meteoric history of the Bible adopted by Constantine. Written in Greek, it was disseminated at a time when Bibles were scarce, owing to the unbridled fury of the pagan emperor, Diocletian. We should naturally think that it would therefore continue long. Such was not the case.
The echo of Diocletian's warfare against the Christians had hardly subsided, when Constantine assumed the imperial purple. Even so far as Great Britain, had the rage of Diocletian penetrated. One would naturally suppose that the Bible which had received the promotion of Constantine, especially when disseminated by that emperor who was the first to show favor to the religion of Jesus, would rapidly have spread everywhere in those days when imperial favor meant everything. The truth is, the opposite was the outcome. It flourished for a short space. The span of one generation sufficed to see it disappear from popular use as if it had been struck by some invisible and withering blast. We turn with amazement to discover the reason for this phenomenon.
This chapter will show that the Textus Receptus was the Bible in possession and use in the Greek Empire, in the countries of Syrian Christianity, in northern Italy, in southern France, and in the British Isles in the second century. This was a full century and more before the Vaticanus and the Sinaiticus saw the light of day.f10
When the apostles of the Roman Catholic Church entered these countries in later centuries they found the people using the Textus Receptus; and it was not without difficulty and a struggle that they were able to displace it and to substitute their Latin Vulgate. This chapter will likewise show that the Textus Receptus belongs to the type of these early apostolic manuscripts that were brought from Judea, and its claim to priority over the Vaticanus and Sinaiticus will be established.
EARLY GREEK CHRISTIANITY WHICH BIBLE?
First of all, the Textus Receptus was the Bible of early Eastern Christianity. Later it was adopted as the official text of the Greek Catholic Church. There were local reasons which contributed to this result. But, probably, far greater reasons will be found in the fact that the Received Text had authority enough to become, either in itself or by its translation, the Bible of the great Syrian Church; of the Waldensian Church of northern Italy; of the Gallic Church in southern France; and of the Celtic Church in Scotland and Ireland; as well as the official Bible of the Greek Catholic Church. All these churches, some earlier, some later, were in opposition to the Church of Rome and at a time when the Received Text and these Bibles of the Constantine type were rivals.
They, as represented in their descendants, are rivals to this day. The Church of Rome built on the Eusebio-Origen type of Bible; these others built on the Received Text. Therefore, because they, themselves, believed that the Received Text was the true apostolic Bible, and further, because the Church of Rome arrogated to itself the power to choose a Bible which bore the marks of systematic depravation, we have the testimony of these five churches to the authenticity and the apostolicity of the Received Text.
The following quotation from Dr. Hort is to prove that the Received Text was the Greek New Testament of the East. Note that Dr. Hort always calls it the Constantinopolitan or Antiochian text:
"It is no wonder that the traditional Constantinopolitan text, whether formally official or not, was the Antiochian text of the fourth century. It was equally natural that the text recognized at Constantinople should eventually become in practice the standard New Testament of the East."f11
EARLY SYRIAN CHRISTIANITY WHICH BIBLE?
It was at Antioch, capital of Syria, that the believers were first called Christians. And as time rolled on, the Syrian-speaking Christians could be numbered by the thousands. It is generally admitted, that the Bible was translated from the original languages into Syrian about 150 A.D.f12 This version is known as the Peshitto (the correct or simple). This Bible even to-day generally follows the Received Text.
One authority tells us that,
"The Peshitto in our days is found in use amongst the Nestorians, who have always kept it, by the Monophysites on the plains of Syria, the Christians of St. Thomas in Malabar, and by the Maronites, on the mountain terraces of Lebanon."f14
Having presented the fact, that the Bible of early Greek Christianity and early Syrian Christianity was not of the Eusebio-Origen or Vaticanus type, but the Received Text, we shall now show that the early Bible of northern Italy, of southern France, and of Great Britain was also the Received Text. The type of Christianity which first was favored, then raised to leadership by Constantine was that of the Roman Papacy. But this was not the type of Christianity that first penetrated Syria, northern Italy, southern France, and Great Britain.f15 The ancient records of the first believers in Christ in those parts, disclose a Christianity which is not Roman but apostolic. These lands were first penetrated by missionaries, not from Rome, but from Palestine and Asia Minor. And the Greek New Testament, the Received Text they brought with them, or its translation, was of the type from which the Protestant Bibles, as the King James in English, and the Lutheran in German, were translated. We shall presently see that it differed greatly from the Eusebio-Origen Greek New Testament.
EARLY ENGLAND WHICH BIBLE?
Onward then pushed those heroic bands of evangelists to England, to southern France, and northern Italy. The Mediterranean was like the trunk of a tree with branches running out to these parts, the roots of the tree being in Judea or Asia Minor, from whence the sap flowed westward to fertilize the distant lands. History does not possess any record of heroism superior to the sacrifices and sufferings of the early Christians in the pagan West.
The first believers of ancient Britain nobly held their ground when the pagan Anglo-Saxons descended on the land like a flood. Dean Stanley holds it against Augustine, the missionary sent by the Pope in 596 A.D. to convert England, that he treated with contempt the early Christian Britons.f16 Yes, more, he connived with the Anglo-Saxons in their frightful extermination of that pious people. And after Augustine's death, when those same pagan Anglo-Saxons so terrified the papal leaders in England that they fled back to Rome, it was the British Christians of Scotland who occupied the forsaken fields. It is evident from this that British Christianity did not come from Rome.
Furthermore, Dr. Adam Clarke claims that the examination of Irish customs reveals that they have elements which were imported into Ireland from Asia Minor by early Christians.[18 (sic)] Since Italy, France, and Great Britain were once provinces of the Roman Empire, the first translations of the Bible by the early Christians in those parts were made into Latin. The early Latin translations were very dear to the hearts of these primitive churches, and as Rome did not send any missionaries toward the West before 250 A.D., the early Latin Bibles were well established before these churches came into conflict with Rome. Not only were such translations in existence long before the Vulgate was adopted by the Papacy, and well established, but the people for centuries refused to supplant their old Latin Bibles by the Vulgate. "The old Latin versions were used longest by the western Christians who would not bow to the authority of Rome e. g., the Donatists; the Irish in Ireland, Britain, and the Continent; the Albigenses, etc."f19
God in His wisdom had invested these Latin versions by His Providence with a charm that outweighed the learned artificiality of Jerome's Vulgate. This is why they persisted through the centuries. A characteristic often overlooked in considering versions, and one that cannot be too greatly emphasized, needs to be pointed out in comparing the Latin Bible of the Waldenses, of the Gauls, and of the Celts with the later Vulgate. To bring before you the unusual charm of those Latin Bibles, I quote from the Forum of June, 1887:
"The old Italic version into the rude Low Latin of the second century held its own as long as Latin continued to be the language of the people. The critical version of Jerome never displaced it, and only replaced it when the Latin ceased to be a living language, and became the language of the learned. The Gothic version of Ulfilas, in the same way, held its own until the tongue in which it was written ceased to exist. Luther's Bible was the first genuine beginning of modern German literature. In Germany, as in England, many critical translations have been made, but they have fallen stillborn from the press. The reason of these facts seems to be this:
"that the languages into which these versions were made, were almost perfectly adapted to express the broad, generic simplicity of the original text. Microscopic accuracy of phrase and classical nicety of expression may be very well for the student in his closet, but they do not represent the human and divine simplicity of the Scriptures to the mass of those for whom the Scriptures were written. To render that, the translator needs not only a simplicity of mind rarely to be found in companies of learned critics, but also a language possessing in some large measure that broad, simple, and generic character which we have seen to belong to the Hebrew and to the Greek of the New Testament. It was partly because the Low Latin of the second century, and the Gothic of Ulfilas, and the rude, strong German of Luther had that character in a remarkable degree, that they were capable of rendering the Scriptures with a faithfulness which guaranteed their permanence."f20
For nine hundred years, we are told, the first Latin translations held their own after the Vulgate appeared.f21 The Vulgate was born about 380 A.D. Nine hundred years later brings us to about 1280 A.D. This accords well with the fact that at the famous Council of Toulouse, 1229 A.D., the Pope gave orders for the most terrible crusade to be waged against the simple Christians of southern France and northern Italy who would not bow to his power. Cruel, relentless, devastating, this war was waged, destroying the Bibles, books, and every vestige of documents to tell the story of the Waldenses and Albigenses.
Since then, some authorities speak of the Waldenses as having as their Bible, the Vulgate. We regret to dispute these claims. But when we consider that the Waldenses were, so to speak, in their mountain fastnesses, on an island in the midst of a sea of nations using the Vulgate, without doubt they knew and possessed the Vulgate; but the Italic, the earlier Latin, was their own Bible, the one for which they lived and suffered and died. Moreover, to the east was Constantinople, the center of Greek Catholicism, whose Bible was the Received Text; while a little farther east, was the noble Syrian Church which also had the Received Text. In touch with these, northern Italy could easily verify her text. It is very evident that the Latin Bible of early British Christianity not only was not the Latin Bible of the Papacy, that is, the Vulgate, but it was at such variance with the Vulgate as to engender strife.
The following quotation from Dr. Von Dobschutz will verify these two facts:
"When Pope Gregory found some Anglo-Saxon youths at the slave market of Rome and perceived that in the North there was still a pagan nation to be baptized, he sent one of his monks to England, and this monk, who was Saint Augustine, took with him the Bible and introduced it to the Anglo-Saxons, and one of his followers brought with him from Rome pictures showing the Biblical history, and decorated the walls of the church in the monastery of Wearmouth. We do not enter here into the difficult question of the relations between this newly founded Anglo-Saxon church and the old Iro-Scottish church. Differences of Bible text had something to do with the pitiful struggles which arose between the churches and ended in the devastation of the older one."f22
Famous in history among all centers of Bible knowledge and Bible Christianity was Iona, on the little island of Hy, off the northwest coast of Scotland. Its most historic figure was Columba. Upon this island rock, God breathed out His Holy Spirit and from this center, to the tribes of northern Europe. When Rome awoke to the necessity of sending out missionaries to extend her power, she found Great Britain and northern Europe already professing a Christianity whose origin could be traced back through Iona to Asia Minor. About 600 A.D. Rome sent missionaries to England and to Germany, to bring these simple Bible Christians under her dominion, as much as to subdue the pagans. DAubigne has furnished us this picture of Iona and her missions:
"DAubigne says that Columba esteemed the cross of Christ higher than the royal blood which flowed in his veins, and that precious manuscripts were brought to Iona, where a theological school was founded and the Word was studied. Erelong a missionary spirit breathed over this ocean rock, so justly named "the light of the Western world." British missionaries carried the light of the gospel to the Netherlands, France, Switzerland, Germany, yea, even into Italy, and did more for the conversion of central Europe than the half-enslaved Roman Church."f23
EARLY FRANCE WHICH BIBLE?
In southern France, when in 177 A.D. the Gallic Christians were frightfully massacred by the heathen, a record of their suffering was drawn up by the survivors and sent, not to the Pope of Rome, but to their brethren in Asia Minor.f24 Milman claims that the French received their Christianity from Asia Minor.
These apostolic Christians in southern France were undoubtedly those who gave effective help in carrying the Gospel to Great Britain.f25 And as we have seen above, there was a long and bitter struggle between the Bible of the British Christians and the Bible which was brought later to England by the missionaries of Rome. And as there were really only two Bibles, the official version of Rome, and the Received Text, we may safely conclude that the Gallic (or French) Bible, as well as the Celtic (or British), were the Received Text. Neander claims, as follows, that the first Christianity in England, came not from Rome, but from Asia Minor, probably through France:
"But the peculiarity of the later British church is evidence against its origin from Rome; for in many ritual matters it departed from the usage of the Romish Church, and agreed much more nearly with the churches of Asia Minor. It withstood, for a long time, the authority of the Romish Papacy. This circumstance would seem to indicate, that the Britons had received their Christianity, either immediately, or through Gaul, from Asia Minor, a thing quite possible and easy, by means of the commercial intercourse. The later Anglo-Saxons, who opposed the spirit of ecclesiastical independence among the Britons, and endeavored to establish the church supremacy of Rome, were uniformly inclined to trace back the church establishments to a Roman origin; from which effort many false legends as well as this might have arisen."f26
THE WALDENSES IN NORTHERN ITALY WHICH BIBLE?
That the messengers of God who carried manuscripts from the churches of Judea to the churches of northern Italy and so on, brought to the forerunners of the Waldenses a Bible different from the Bible of Roman Catholicism, I quote the following:
"The method which Allix has pursued, in his History of the Churches of Piedmont, is to show that in the ecclesiastical history of every century, from the fourth century, which he considers a period early enough for the enquirer after apostolical purity of doctrine, there are clear proofs that doctrines, unlike those which the Romish Church holds, and conformable to the belief of the Waldensian and Reformed Churches, were maintained by theologians of the north of Italy down to the period, when the Waldenses first came into notice. Consequently the opinions of the Waldenses were not new to Europe in the eleventh or twelfth centuries, and there is nothing improbable in the tradition, that the Subalpine Church persevered in its integrity in an uninterrupted course from the first preaching of the Gospel in the valleys."f27
There are many earlier historians who agree with this view.f28 It is held that the pre-Waldensian Christians of northern Italy could not have had doctrines purer than Rome unless their Bible was purer than Rome's; that is, was not of Rome's falsified manuscripts.f29
It is inspiring to bring to life again the outstanding history of an authority on this point. I mean Leger. This noble scholar of Waldensian blood was the apostle of his people in the terrible massacres of 1655, and labored intelligently to preserve their ancient records. His book, the "General History of the Evangelical Churches of the Piedmontese Valleys," published in French in 1669, and called "scarce" in 1825, is the prized object of scholarly searchers. It is my good fortune to have that very book before me. Leger, when he calls Olivetan's French Bible of 1537 "entire and pure," says:
"I say pure because all the ancient exemplars, which formerly were found among the papists, were full of falsifications, which caused Beza to say in his book on Illustrious Men, in the chapter on the Vaudois, that one must confess it was by means of the Vaudois of the Valleys that France today has the Bible in her own language. This godly man, Olivetan, in the preface of his Bible, recognizes with thanks to God, that since the time of the apostles, or their immediate successors, the torch of the gospel has been lit among the Vaudois (or the dwellers in the Valleys of the Alps, two terms which mean the same), and has never since been extinguished."f30
The Waldenses of northern Italy were foremost among the primitive Christians of Europe in their resistance to the Papacy. They not only sustained the weight of Rome's oppression but they were successful in retaining the torch of truth until the Reformation took it from their hands and held it aloft to the world. Veritably they fulfilled the prophecy in Revelation concerning the church which fled into the wilderness where she hath a place prepared of God. <661206>Revelation 12:6, 14. They rejected the mysterious doctrines, the hierarchal priesthood and the worldly titles of Rome, while they clung to the simplicity of the Bible.
The agents of the Papacy have done their utmost to calumniate their character, to destroy the records of their noble past, and to leave no trace of the cruel persecution they underwent. They went even farther, they made use of words written against ancient heresies to strike out the name of the heretics and fill the blank space by inserting the name of the Waldenses. Just as if, in a book written to record the lawless deeds of some bandit, like Jesse James, his name should be stricken out and the name of Abraham Lincoln substituted. The Jesuit Gretser, in a book written against the heretics of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, put the name Waldenses at the point where he struck out the name of these heretics.f31 Nevertheless, we greet with joy the history of their great scholars who were ever a match for Rome.
In the fourth century, Helvidius, a great scholar of northern Italy, accused Jerome, whom the Pope had empowered to form a Bible in Latin for Catholicism, with using corrupt Greek manuscripts.f32 How could Helvidius have accused Jerome of employing corrupt Greek MSS. If Helvidius had not had the pure Greek manuscripts? And so learned and so powerful in writing and teaching was Jovinian, the pupil of Helvidius, that it demanded three of Rome's most famous fathers Augustine, Jerome, and Ambrose to unite in opposing Jovinian's influence. Even then, it needed the condemnation of the Pope and the banishment of the Emperor to prevail. But Jovinian's followers lived on and made the way easier for Luther.
History does not afford a record of cruelty greater than that manifested by Rome toward the Waldenses. It is impossible to write fully the inspiring history of this persecuted people, whose origin goes back to apostolic days and whose history is ornamented with stories of gripping interest. Rome has obliterated the records. Dr. DeSanctis, many years a Catholic official at Rome, some time official Censor of the Inquisition and later a convert to Protestantism, thus reports the conversation of a Waldensian scholar as he points out to others the ruins of Palatine Hill, Rome:
"See, said the Waldensian, a beautiful monument of ecclesiastical antiquity. These rough materials are the ruins of the two great Palatine libraries, one Greek and the other Latin, where the precious manuscripts of our ancestors were collected, and which Pope Gregory I, called the Great, caused to be burned."f33
The destruction of Waldensian records beginning about 600 A.D. by Gregory I, was carried through with thoroughness by the secret agents of the Papacy.
"It is a singular thing," says Gilly, "that the destruction or rapine, which has been so fatal to Waldensian documents, should have pursued them even to the place of security, to which all, that remained, were consigned by Morland, in 1658, the library of the University of Cambridge. The most ancient of these relics were ticketed in seven packets, distinguished by letters of the alphabet, from A to G. The whole of these were missing when I made inquiry for them in 1823."f34
ANCIENT DOCUMENTS OF THE WALDENSES
There are modern writers who attempt to fix the beginning of the Waldenses from Peter Waldo, who began his work about 1175. This is a mistake. The historical name of this people as properly derived from the valleys where they lived, is Vaudois. Their enemies, however, ever sought to date their origin from Waldo. Waldo was an agent, evidently raised up of God to combat the errors of Rome. Gilly, who made extensive research concerning the Waldenses, pictures Waldo in his study at Lyon, France, with associates, a committee, "like the translators of our own Authorized Version."f35 Nevertheless the history of the Waldenses, or Vaudois, begins centuries before the days of Waldo.
There remains to us in the ancient Waldensian language, "The Noble Lesson" (La Nobla Leycon), written about the year 1100 A.D., which assigns the first opposition of the Waldenses to the Church of Rome to the days of Constantine the Great, when Sylvester was Pope. This may be gathered from the following extract:
"All the Popes, which have been from Sylvester to the present time." (Que tuit li papa, que foron de Silvestre en tro en aquest.)f36
Thus when Christianity, emerging from the long persecutions of pagan Rome, was raised to imperial favor by the Emperor Constantine, the Italic Church in northern Italy later the Waldenses is seen standing in opposition to papal Rome. Their Bible was of the family of the renowned Itala. It was that translation into Latin which represents the Received Text. Its very name "Itala" is derived from the Italic district, the regions of the Vaudois. Of the purity and reliability of this version, Augustine, speaking of different Latin Bibles (about 400 A.D.) says:
"Now among translations themselves the Italian (Itala) is to be preferred to the others, for it keeps closer to the words without prejudice to clearness of expression."f37
The old Waldensian liturgy which they used in their services down through the centuries contained "texts of Scripture of the ancient Version called the Italick."f38
The Reformers held that the Waldensian Church was formed about 120 A.D., from which date on, they passed down from father to son the teachings they received from the apostles.f39 The Latin Bible, the Italic, was translated from the Greek not later than 157 A.D.f40 We are indebted to Beza, the renowned associate of Calvin, for the statement that the Italic Church dates from 120 A.D. From the illustrious group of scholars which gathered round Beza, 1590 A.D., we may understand how the Received Text was the bond of union between great historic churches. As the sixteenth century is closing, we see in the beautiful Swiss city of Geneva, Beza, an outstanding champion of Protestantism, the scholar Cyril Lucar, later to become the head of the Greek Catholic Church, and Diodati, also a foremost scholar. As Beza astonishes and confounds the world by restoring manuscripts of that Greek New Testament from which the King James is translated, Diodati takes the same and translates into Italian a new and famous edition, adopted and circulated by the Waldenses.f41
Leger, the Waldensian historian of his people, studied under Diodati at Geneva. He returned as pastor to the Waldenses and led them in their flight from the terrible massacre of 1655.f42 He prized as his choicest treasure the Diodati Bible, the only worldly possession he was able to preserve. Cyril Lucar hastened to Alexandria where Codex A, the Alexandrian Manuscript, is lying, and laid down his life to introduce the Reformation and the Reformers pure light regarding the books of the Bible.
At the same time another group of scholars, bitterly hostile to the first group, were gathered at Rheims, France. There the Jesuits, assisted by Rome and backed by all the power of Spain, brought forth an English translation of the Vulgate. In its preface they expressly declared that the Vulgate had been translated in 1300 into Italian and in 1400 into French, "the sooner to shake out of the deceived peoples hands, the false heretical translations of a sect called Waldenses." This proves that Waldensian Versions existed in 1300 and 1400. It was the Vulgate, Rome's corrupt Scriptures against the Received Text the New Testament of the apostles, of the Waldenses, and of the Reformers.
That Rome in early days corrupted the manuscripts while the Italic Church handed them down in their apostolic purity, Allix, the renowned scholar, testifies. He reports the following as Italic articles of faith: "They receive only, saith he, what is written in the Old and New Testament. They say, that the Popes of Rome, and other priests, have depraved the Scriptures by their doctrines and glosses."f43
It is recognized that the Itala was translated from the Received Text (Syrian, Hort calls it) ; that the Vulgate is the Itala with the readings of the Received Text removed.f44
Four Bibles produced under Waldensian influence touched the history of Calvin: namely, a Greek, a Waldensian vernacular, a French, and an Italian. Calvin himself was led to his great work by Olivetan, a Waldensian. Thus was the Reformation brought to Calvin, that brilliant student of the Paris University. Farel, also a Waldensian, besought him to come to Geneva and open up a work there. Calvin felt that he should labor in Paris. According to Leger, Calvin recognized a relationship to the Calvins of the valley of St. Martin, one of the Waldensian Valleys.f45
Finally, persecution at Paris and the solicitation of Farel caused Calvin to settle at Geneva, where, with Beza, he brought out an edition of the Textus Receptus, the one the author now uses in his college class rooms, as edited by Scrivener. Of Beza, Dr. Edgar says that he "astonished and confounded the world" with the Greek manuscripts he unearthed. This later edition of the Received Text is in reality a Greek New Testament brought out under Waldensian influence. Unquestionably, the leaders of the Reformation, German, French, and English, were convinced that the Received Text was the genuine New Testament, not only by its own irresistible history and internal evidence, but also because it matched with the Received Text which in Waldensian form came down from the days of the apostles.
The other three Bibles of Waldensian connection were due to three men who were at Geneva with Calvin, or, when he died, with Beza, his successor, namely, Olivetan, Leger, and Diodati. How readily the two streams of descent of the Received Text, through the Greek East and the Waldensian West, ran together, is illustrated by the meeting of the Olivetan Bible and the Received Text.
Olivetan, one of the most illustrious pastors of the Waldensian Valleys, a relative of Calvin, according to Leger,f46 and a splendid student, translated the New Testament into French. Leger bore testimony that the Olivetan Bible, which accorded with the Textus Receptus, was unlike the old manuscripts of the Papists, because they were full of falsification. Later, Calvin edited a second edition of the Olivetan Bible. The Olivetan in turn became the basis of the Geneva Bible in English, which was the leading version in England in 1611 when the King James appeared.
Diodati, who succeeded Beza in the chair of Theology at Geneva, translated the Received text into Italian. This version was adopted by the Waldenses, although there was in use at that time a Waldensian Bible in their own peculiar language. This we know because Sir Samuel Morland, under the protection of Oliver Cromwell, received from Leger the Waldensian New Testament which now lies in Cambridge University library. After the devastating massacre of the Waldenses in 1655, Leger felt that he should collect and give into the hands of Sir Samuel Morland as many pieces of the ancient Waldensian literature as were available.
It is interesting to trace back the Waldensian Bible which Luther had before him when he translated the New Testament. Luther used the Tepl Bible, named from Tepl, Bohemia. This Tepl manuscript represented a translation of the Waldensian Bible into the German which was spoken before the days of the Reformation.f47 Of this remarkable manuscript, Comba says:
"When the manuscript of Tepl appeared, the attention of the learned was aroused by the fact that the text it presents corresponds word for word with that of the first three editions of the ancient German Bible. Then Louis Keller, an original writer, with the decided opinions of a layman and versed in the history of the sects of the Middle Ages, declared the Tepl manuscript to be Waldensian. Another writer, Hermann Haupt, who belongs to the old Catholic party, supported his opinion vigorously."f48
From Comba we also learn that the Tepl manuscript has an origin different from the version adopted by the Church of Rome; that it seems to agree rather with the Latin versions anterior to Jerome, the author of the Vulgate; and that Luther followed it in his translation, which probably is the reason why the Catholic Church reproved Luther for following the Waldenses.f49 Another peculiarity is its small size, which seems to single it out as one of those little books which the Waldensian evangelists carried with them hidden under their rough cloaks.f50 We have, therefore, an indication of how much the Reformation under Luther as well as Luther's Bible owed to the Waldenses.
Waldensian influence, both from the Waldensian Bibles and from Waldensian relationships, entered into the King James translation of 1611. Referring to the King James translators, one author speaks thus of a Waldensian Bible they used:
"It is known that among modern versions they consulted was an Italian, and though no name is mentioned, there cannot be room for doubt that it was the elegant translation made with great ability from the original Scriptures by Giovanni Diodati, which had only recently (1607) appeared at Geneva."f51
It is therefore evident that the translators of 1611 had before them four Bibles which had come under Waldensian influence: the Diodati in Italian, the Olivetan in French, the Lutheran in German, and the Genevan in English. We have every reason to believe that they had access to at least six Waldensian Bibles written in the old Waldensian vernacular.
Dr. Nolan, who had already acquired fame for his Greek and Latin scholarship, and researches into Egyptian chronology, and was a lecturer of note, spent twenty-eight years to trace back the Received Text to its apostolic origin. He was powerfully impressed to examine the history of the Waldensian Bible. He felt certain that researches in this direction would demonstrate that the Italic New Testament, or the New Testament of those primitive Christians of northern Italy whose lineal descendants the Waldenses were, would turn out to be the Received Text. He says:
"The author perceived, without any labor of inquiry, that it derived its name from that diocese, which has been termed the Italick, as contradistinguished from the Roman. This is a supposition, which receives a sufficient confirmation from the fact, that the principal copies of that version have been preserved in that diocese, the metropolitan church of which was situated in Milan. The circumstance is at present mentioned, as the author thence formed a hope, that some remains of the primitive Italick version might be found in the early translations made by the Waldenses, who were the lineal descendants of the Italick Church; and who have asserted their independence against the usurpation of the Church of Rome, and have ever enjoyed the free use of the Scriptures. In the search to which these considerations have led the author, his fondest expectations have been fully realized. It has furnished him with abundant proof on that point to which his inquiry was chiefly directed; as it has supplied him with the unequivocal testimony of a truly apostolical branch of the primitive church, that the celebrated text of the heavenly witnesses was adopted in the version which prevailed in the Latin Church, previously to the introduction of the modern Vulgate."f52
HOW THE BIBLE ADOPTED BY CONSTANTINE WAS SET ASIDE
Where did this Vaudois Church amid the rugged peaks of the Alps secure these uncorrupted manuscripts? In the silent watches of the night, along the lonely paths of Asia Minor where robbers and wild beasts lurked, might have been seen the noble missionaries carrying manuscripts, and verifying documents from the churches in Judea to encourage their struggling brethren under the iron heel of the Papacy. The sacrificing labors of the apostle Paul were bearing fruit. His wise plan to anchor the Gentile churches of Europe to the churches of Judea, provided the channel of communication which defeated continually and finally the bewildering pressure of the Papacy. Or, as the learned Scrivener has beautifully put it:
"Wide as is the region which separates Syria from Gaul, there must have been in very early times some remote communication by which the stream of Eastern testimony, or tradition, like another Alpheus, rose up again with fresh strength to irrigate the regions of the distant West."f53
We have it now revealed how Constantines Hexapla Bible was successfully met. A powerful chain of churches, few in number compared with the manifold congregations of an apostate Christianity, but enriched with the eternal conviction of truth and with able scholars, stretched from Palestine to Scotland. If Rome in her own land was unable to beat down the testimony of apostolic Scriptures, how could she hope, in the Greek speaking world of the distant and hostile East, to maintain the supremacy of her Greek Bible? The Scriptures of the apostle John and his associates, the traditional text, the Textus Receptus, if you please, arose from the place of humiliation forced on it by Origens Bible in the hands of Constantine and became the Received Text of Greek Christianity. And when the Greek East for one thousand years was completely shut off from the Latin West, the noble Waldenses in northern Italy still possessed in Latin the Received Text.
To Christians preserving apostolic Christianity, the world owes the Bible. It is not true, as the Roman Church claims, that she gave the Bible to the world. What she gave was an impure text, a text with thousands of verses so changed as to make way for her unscriptural doctrines. While upon those who possessed the veritable Word of God, she poured out through long centuries her stream of cruel persecution. Or, in the words of another writer:
"The Waldenses were among the first of the peoples of Europe to obtain a translation of the Holy Scriptures. Hundreds of years before the Reformation, they possessed the Bible in manuscript in their native tongue. They had the truth unadulterated, and this rendered them the special objects of hatred and persecution... Here for a thousand years, witnesses for the truth maintained the ancient faith... In a most wonderful manner it (the Word of Truth) was preserved uncorrupted through all the ages of darkness."f54
The struggle against the Bible adopted by Constantine was won. But another warfare, another plan to deluge the Latin west with a corrupt Latin Bible was preparing. We hasten to see how the world was saved from Jerome and his Origenism.
NOTE: The two great families of Greek Bibles are well illustrated in the work of that outstanding scholar, Erasmus. Before he gave to the Reformation the New Testament in Greek, he divided all Greek MSS. into two classes: those which agreed with the Received Text and those which agreed with the Vaticanus MS.f55
THE TWO PARALLEL STREAMS OF BIBLES
The King James from the Received Text has been the Bible of the English speaking world for 300 years. This has given the Received Text, and the Bibles translated from it into other tongues, standing and authority. At the same time, it neutralized the dangers of the Catholic manuscripts and the Bibles in other tongues translated from them.