A PLAIN DISCOURSE, Proving the DIVINE AUTHORITY OF THE Holy Scriptures; WHEREIN The late Bold Attempts and Aspersions of Jesuits and other Missionaries of the Church of Rome are Confuted;

And all their OBJECTIONS Against our English Bible Are fully and clearly Answered.

By a Reverend Prelate of the Church of England.

LONDON: Printed, and Sold by Randall Taylor, near Stationers-Hall, 1688.


May it please Your GRACE,

I Have presumed to In­title Your Grace to this small Piece, not out of con­ceit of its Merits, but sense of mine own Obligations. People use to pay their debts as they are able; and when All they can do is in effect Nothing, to have publickly [Page] acknowledged themselves In­solvent, is, to have aimed at being Just.

May then Your GRACE please to Accept of my having intended well, both in the Book and Dedication: And to believe amongst the Numerous Votaries to Your Illustrious Self and Family, he who brings only this mite of Gratitude, has as much Zeal to approve his full Duty, and as industri­ously watches opportuni­ty to do so, as any man li­ving.

[Page]MY LORD,

I shall never fail daily, till. Your GRACE shall be above such Services, to of­fer up to that God, whom You have imitated in hum­bling Your self to raise the poor out of the dust, my most cordial Supplications, for the encrease of Your Glo­ries and Felicities. The Su­preme Lord, the Master of the whole Family in Heaven and in Earth, will repay, what his poor Menials can­not, all the Good Your GRACE [Page] has done to his House, and therein, to the unworthiest of his Vassals,

YOUR GRACES Ever Bounden Orator and Servant, E. Cork and Rosse.


WHILE the late At­tempts made on Scri­pture by two or three Persons, of some Learning, but too much Leisure, remained in the Lan­guage wherein they were written, I hoped, that for the main, they would only be read by men of Judg­ment, past the danger of a shock; or at worst by some young Students in the Ʋniversities, where the Pro­found Judgment and Vigilance of those, who preside, would soon stifle any mischief that could pro­ceed from them. But when they began to fly about in English, and [Page] that even in these remoter parts, into the hands of all sorts, consider­ing how greedily most Men catch at Novelties, what Patience the most curious and delicate Tempers have for Discourses which pretend to Re­lax the Obligations that some Priests say, lye on Mankind; and withal how great the Number of those, who are, or are ready to be, Tainted, every where is, I could no longer totally temperate either Tongue or Pen.

I thought no Wounds to Religion more dangerous, than those which fall on Scripture; for that these affect the very Vital Fountains of the common Christianity. Hence still my concernment grew on me, which I desire may be admitted in excuse for Exposing this Remedy, how weak soever. It is what for the present I had: I ought not to be [Page] wanting to my Duty; and if what I thus have done should prove ef­fectual to the staying up but one Tot­tering Person, I am assured, the Righteous Judge of all will one day acquit me from the Imputation of having been Impertinent, or over-busie.

My extreme Brevity is from De­sign, not Sloth, I look upon the Cause I defend, as such, which Pleads its self when once heard, nor needs more words than just suffice to Open it. And besides, I had a mind to Gratifie those, who cannot obtain from themselves Leisure or Patience for perusing Books on this Subject, were they of length proportionable to those they answer.

The Time the Reader adven­tures on this Discourse is very little, the Argument and Concern very great: and he may without Impo­sition [Page] on himself, conclude, such Person must write very ill indeed, who pretending to entertain men for an hour on this Theme, should therein give them occasion to repent of loss of time.

Be pleased therefore to resolve to go through the whole with a placid, free and unbyast Mind, and then judge as you list. God guide us all, above Error, and our present Crepuscular Knowledge, into Light and Glories Eternal.


PAge 42. line 18. read false.) In—. Pag. 52. lin. 21. blot out, so absolutely. pag. 79. lin. 15. and 21. for, xxxviii, read xlviii. pag. 105. l. 6. r. [...]. p. 121. l. 20. r. [...]. p. 122. l. 1. r. [...]. p. ibid. l. 7. for Hezekias r. Hesychius. p. 129. l. 10. r. [...].


THE most Sacred sort of §. I. Oracle, among the Jews, was reputed a voice imme­diately from Heaven; and there­with was our Saviour own'd se­veral times, and particularly at his Transfiguration on the Mount, Matt. xvii. 5. & 2 Pet. i. 17. Then and there, he received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the ex­cellent glory; This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased. With which miraculous attesta­tion [Page 2] the Apostle S. Peter, there comparing the proofs, that the Scriptures of the Old Testament, and especially the Prophetical ones, gave, of his being the Son of God (the Messias, or Saviour of the World) affirms, in the 19th verse, those Scriptures to be the surer and stronger evidence of the two, and commends the believing Jews for attending to them, and admitting them as such. And yet so bold a vein of Scepticism, shall I say, or Atheism, has possest some, who would appear to be of the most knowing, if not infalli­ble part of the Christian world, as that it has been publickly con­tended; and now of late with fresh earnestness, and new-started Pleas some endeavour to justifie, that there is no certainty at all in Scripture, especially in that of [Page 3] the Old Testament: and all per­sons are reproached as fools, illi­terate and of short judgment, who pin their Faith on Holy Writ. For neither Original, say some, nor any Version whether old or new, cry others, are to be depended upon. The Language in which the Scriptures were written is lost, the Copies corrupt, the Versions imperfect, and the newest, which some believe to be the exactest, are really, say they, the worst; so that nothing of them must be relied upon: but Tradition (that is, what a Party of cunning men have agreed to tell us) is the on­ly sure foundation of Faith. On occasion of these importunate in­stances, I crave leave to say, after the Apostle, and speak a few words for the Old sure word of Prophecy, and I hope I shall make [Page 4] it out, that they do well who take heed thereto.

To which purpose I shall en­deavour, §. II. 1. Positively to establish the certainty of the Scripture; and chiefly of the Old Testament, or the demonstrative Evidence it bears. 2. To answer the new-devised, or fresh-started Objections, against its certainty. 3. To lay down such Rules, by which we may from Scri­pture be certain of our Faith. And if the conclusion be by urging or advising such practice as may most naturally comport with the de­sign of the Discourse, it may be hoped the pious Readers patience will not be tired in that last so short Stage.

And First, That the word of §. III. Prophecy is sure, or the Scriptures [Page 5] of the Old Testament a more de­monstrative evidence that Christ was the Messias, than was that miraculous voice from Heaven.

For a foundation we will take it for granted (what cannot be denyed) that no man of com­mon reason who reads the Old Testament, can question, but that these things were explicitly, and as good as in terms, foretold; that the Messias should be born of a Vir­gin; that the place of his birth should be Bethlehem; the time, while the second Temple was stand­ing; that he should live a most holy, modest, and humble, but yet a mean and despised, life; that he should make his soul an offering for sin; and be cut off, but not for him­self; that he should rise again be­fore his body could see corruption; that he should ascend into heaven, [Page 6] and give gifts to men, (impower sundry sorts of people to super­natural acts, by a miraculous ef­fusion of the Holy Ghost;) that some time after this, the City of Jerusalem and the Sanctuary should be destroyed, and desolations were determined upon them; the nation of the Jews should be disperst, and live as vagabonds, and accursed upon the face of the earth. The Original, and generally all Tran­slations agree in these, and such like material Prophecies of the Messias, as these; nor can it be pretended there are such ambi­guities of Words, varieties of Sen­ses and Versions, or discrepancies of Copies, that all these, and many other like points predicted of the Messias, are uncertain. Now this being admitted, I say, that these things being thus foretold of Je­sus [Page 7] Christ, so many hundred years before his Nativity; and being also exactly verified of him in the fulness of time, the Records which predict them are a greater and surer proof of his being the Son of God, and Saviour of the world, than the miraculous voice from heaven. For,

1. This Prediction was no less a §. IV. miracle than that immediate voice. By a Miracle we mean, a sensible effect surpassing the power of nature: Now what power (especially at such a vast distance of time) could foretel these particularities, but his, by whose counsel they were effected? that is, they were Divine, that is, Supernatural and Miraculous. Besides,

2. These Predictions are a more publick and lasting Miracle. That [Page 8] voice was only heard by a few (Peter, James, and John,) attested but by three or four witnesses, and transient: This, known to thousands, to myriads, an evi­dent miracle, in actual being to this day, and likely to continue such as long as men shall live on the face of the earth; or, indeed, to survive the world.

3. In these Predictions there is no possibility of our being, or of mens pleading that we can be, imposed upon. Collusion, Fiction or Mistake, might be at least pleaded in case of the immediate voice: In one instance of it (John xii. 29.) the people that heard it, said, it thundered, others that an Angel spake to him: but neither could thunder promulge, nor An­gel, either foretel or verifie these things (1 Pet. i. 12.) Angels desired [Page 9] to look into these things, but knew them not, till revealed.

In summ then, these predi­ctions being no less a Miracle than that immediate voice upon the Mount, and as a Miracle having these three advantages of the other, that they are a more publick, more lasting, and more un­exceptionable miracle than that, we may say with the Apostle, in ha­ving the Scriptures of the Old Testament, we have a more sure word of Prophecy, than was the voice from heaven.

And having thus proved the §. V. certainty of the Old Testament, by way of Corollary we may infer the truth of the New. For this containing partly the History of the things predicted; partly a Scheme of Doctrine asserted, in [Page 10] the Old; by reason of its accord with the Old, must be true, if that be true. At least nothing can be justly pretended against its truth, except the matter of Fact should be deny'd, viz. that such a person lived as Jesus of Nazareth; and that he did such things, and had such things done unto him, as are there recorded. Now as to this, besides the undeniable credit of Histories, there are in being a people disperst over all the world, who profess such a person to have been of their Na­tion, and that they executed him, and prosecuted his follow­ers, and still execrate both; as in­deed we read in those books. Now this matter of fact being admit­ted, it is sure no power could ef­fect such things for fulfilling of those Prophecies, but that Divine [Page 11] power from whence the Prophe­cies first came. To predict things hundreds of years before they come to pass, and in pursuance of those Predictions, at such di­stance to effect them, are both of the same omnipotence: Therefore the Relations contained in the New Testament are true: there­fore the historical Records of them must be true, because containing a relation of things truly done, and by the finger of God. And the Doctrinal part must be true, because according with, and as­serted by the Old Testament, which was before proved true. Therefore seeing both Historical and Doctrinal parts are true, the whole New Testament is a sure word. We have then (God be blessed) both a sure word of Prophecy, and a sure word of Gospel too, and they [Page 12] do well who take heed thereto.

But I conceive I may upon the §. VI. Apostles authority affirm, they do not so, who imploy their wits and learning to traduce and over­throw the certainty of this sure word of Prophecy. For if the surer be uncertain, what will be­come of the other? Nay, what of all evidences of Christianity? May I therefore take leave to answer the new-form'd (at least new­trim'd) Objections against the cer­tainty of the Old Testament: which it is (therefore) now more ne­cessary to do, because the books that proclaim those Objections to the world are made English, and in the hands of the very common people. The summ of those Ob­jections I may reduce to three heads; the Imputations of Cor­ruption; [Page 13] of different Readings; and of the none or indeterminate Sense of the Originals.

Objection I. We have not the §. VII. books of the Old Testament as they were written by the first Au­thors, but certain pieces, and contractions of them, and those too very mutilate and corrupt.

Answ. I crave leave to make answer for the Scriptures of the Old Testament out of those of the New. The Apostles pronounced the Scripture as extant in their days, A surer word of Prophecy (as we have seen) given by inspiration of God, able to make men wise unto Salvation, perfect, throughly furnish­ed to all good works, (2 Tim. iii. 15, 16, 17.) Now we say, They are the same at present as to all sub­stantial points (variations of Spel­ling [Page 14] and Orthography we are not to account for) as they were then. They then consisted of the Law, Prophets, and Psalms or Poe­tical books (at least) the third part was the [...], or HAGIO­GRAPHA, wherein the Psalms are (Luke xxiv. 44.) They con­sist of the same still; and, as far as can appear, in the self-same order. Act. xiii. 33. It is written in the second Psalm, Thou art my son, this day have I begotten thee. These words are in our second Psalm to this day. And again he saith in another Psalm, thou shalt not suffer thine Holy one to see corrup­tion, v. 35. these words are in that o­ther Psalm (viz.) Psal. xvi. 10. And again, David himself saith in the book of Psalms, The Lord said unto my Lord, sit thou on my right hand till I make thine enemies thy foot­stool, [Page 15] Luk. xx. 42. That passage is also in our Psalms, and in a Psalm inscribed to David, as the Author, viz. in Psal. cx. Not to instance in more passages, as might be done abundantly.

Besides, it is not credible (as §. VIII. S. Hierom in his time, out of Ori­gen answered those who objected the falsification of the Old Testa­ment) it is not credible, I say, that our Lord, and his Apostles, who so sharply reproved the other crimes and vices of the Scribes, and the several Sects of the Jews, should have been silent of this, which was the greatest of all (be­ing false in the greatest DEPOSI­TUM) taking from, or corrup­ting the Divine Oracles commit­ted to their charge. And this Argument though from Negative [Page 16] Authority, is the more consider­able upon the score of S. Austin's Doctrine, who gives it as a ge­neral Rule, that where there is a fit place in Scripture to say a thing, if it were so, and it is not said, the ar­gument is good though from Nega­tive Authority, that it is not so. Now what more fit places can be ima­gined, than where our Lord ap­peals to the Scriptures touching his Mission and Doctrine; when he commands his hearers to search the Scriptures; when he tells his Disciples and the multitude, The Scribes and Pharisees sit in Moses's seat, and requires them to observe and do what they bid them, but not to do after their works; for they say and do not. In all appearance what they said as from Moses, or sitting in his seat (the Scripture as repor­ted or delivered by them) was ge­nuin [Page 17] and sincere enough, how­ever vitious their practices were. Who here can imagin, that, had the Scribes then (and Scribes must do it, or none could) had they, I say, then falsified, corrupted or curtail'd the Scriptures, we should not in some of these and like pla­ces have heard of it? Would not some Caution or other have been annext, to this purpose; Search, but take heed of corruptions in such a place: Know there are defalca­tions in such. In a word, and to speak out, Our Lord had not been faithful in the house of God, had he not warned the family, of such an evil. I know a certain Person has pretended to reply to this answer, but his reply is em­pty and frivolous.

Lastly, as to this Objection; I §. IX. say, 'tis morally impossible since our Saviours time, and indeed for many hundred years before that, that the Scriptures should have been corrupted: for the multi­tude of Copies was then such, has been since much more such, and so far dispersed, that neither one man, nor one body of men, could ever get them into their hands to corrupt them; and if some few, or many Copies, had been cor­rupted, but not all, the sincere number would have detected the corrupt. To give a parallel in­stance, which will easily be un­derstood by all, who can read English. Our English Bibles, in sundry impressions of this age, are corrupted in Act. vi. 3. Chuse se­ven men, whom ye may appoint, [Page 19] YE falsly for WE [ [...],] The corruption may be found in the later Edinburgh, Cambridge, and since very ordinarily in divers (in­deed most) London Editions. Now this being done, not till the Facti­on had crumbled it self into seve­ral minute parties, all pretending Scripture for their several distin­ctive little opinions, 'tis not im­probable it might be done at first with design, and particularly of those, who would establish the peoples power, not only in Elect­ing, but even in Ordaining, their own Ministers. Mean while let it be done by whom it might, Take an Edinburgh Edition of 1636. a Cambridge one of 16. a London one of 1642. being it was not possible for the Faction to get all these Copies and a multitude more in, as being so vastly nume­rous; [Page 20] the true old Copies exa­mined and compared, discover the Variation from them, that is, the Corruption; and a more Au­thentick one than any of them, that is, the Original Greek, if any doubt remain, decides the whole Controversie. In like manner, there were amongst the Jews, even in our Saviour's days, and much more since, a vast number of Co­pies of the Old Testament (for they read in their Synagogues eve­ry Sabbath day both Law and Pro­phets (Act. xiii. 27, & xv. 21.) wherefore besides what they had for private use, they must at least have as many publick Books as Synagogues, and Synagogues they had divers in every City. ('Tis incredible, almost, what their Au­thors report of the number of Sy­nagogues in Jerusalem it self) And [Page 21] there were amongst them several Sects too, and Scribes of every Sect, all sufficiently watching over one another, had there been any false dealing of this kind. Nay, the very Ten Tribes upon their Secession, and, in probability, much more after their dispersion, had Copies of the Law, to which we owe the present Samaritan He­brew Text. But it is certain the Jews and Samaritans were mortal enemies; would not eat, converse, discourse together. Now that all their several Sects and Syna­gogues, that these two last named adverse and mutually incensed Nations, should conspire to bring all their Copies together, to vary or corrupt them all alike, and the world never hear of this combi­nation, and the reconcilement of the Parties in order thereunto, is [Page 22] not morally possible. But if all were not brought together and altered alike, as before said, one must convince another of falshood. And there being, as shall be pre­sently made out, no Variations of any considerable moment betwixt the Copies of the Old Testament, which we now have in common use, and the most antient or sin­cere ones, that can be produced, (at least none having made it ap­pear there is any such Variation) but in the stead thereof a marve­lous agreement, there can be no such corruption, as the Objection pretends. And this brings us to the

Second Objection. There are in §. X. the Hebrew Originals actually pro­duced, say some, different Readings, and both cannot be true, (for [Page 23] truth is but one) therefore the one of them must be corrupt.

Answ. There are indeed different Readings, and some too, as preten­ded, from famed different Tradi­tions. Rabbi Ascher setting up one way, and R. Naphthali another: and from them the Oriental Jews observing one Lection, the Occi­dental another. And all these are collected by diverse, and particu­larly are now extant in the Appen­dix to the English Polyglott. But yet all these Diversities make only a great noise, are indeed of no considerable importance. For the instances of Diversity are such as no one, but a superstitious Jew, or some person who had a mind to unsettle foundations, and for want of Arguments were con­cern'd to catch at any shadows of Probability, would contend about [Page 24] them. They are such mighty mat­ters as these; Whether the same word should be written with a long E or a short A; whether another should be written with their longest O, or with one somewhat shorter; whether it should have an Accent of this kind, or of that; whether a supernumerary (which they call a Quiescent) letter should be written, or whether, being it might with­out dammage be spared, it should be omitted.

Not much unlike hereto is also the noise made with what they call the Keri and the Ketib, that is, the Marginal and the Textual Reading: as if there were some great repugnancy betwixt these: Whereas, in brief, the thing, or matter, is still the same in both, the manner of expression a little dif­ferent. And this occasioned part­ly [Page 25] by the Superstitious modesty of some Rabbies, putting into the Margin certain words, which they thought more honourable to be read, instead of some other broader term in the Text [as, 2 Kings xviii. 27. they would not read it Pisse, but the water of their feet, forsooth] partly by reason of some letters, or words, dubiously written in some venerable antient Copies, and so variously read. From which Antient Copies, out of reverence, they would vary nothing in tran­scribing, but copying the text ex­actly and entirely as they found it, that which was by the most learn­ed, in ages of old, judged the more correct reading, they put in the Margin, and called it Keri. So that the summ of the diffe­rence is, 'tis one way in some Co­pies, 'tis otherwise in others; and [Page 26] which way soever we take, the matter is of no great moment; we have liberty without danger to take either reading, which pleaseth us best. Now, under fa­vour, such various readings as these, are not Arguments of the Scri­ptures corruption, but of Gods Providence and Humane industry to preserve Scripture from corruption. And in conclusion of this point, I may boldly aver, there is not one Article either of Faith, or Chri­stian practice, concern'd in all the various Hebrew Lections in the World. The knowledge of them, to use the Rabbinical phrase, is only an Hedge about the Law: and our care to read aright, in matters of the smallest concern, keeps us from reading amiss in the greater.

The Third Objection is, The Ori­ginal §. XI. is insignificant: For, besides that None, no not the very Jews themselves, can read it; the words of that Language are Equivocal, and so the Translations all vain, and not to be credited; as being taken from an Original, which is in a manner whatsoever people will make it, and much different from what it was, as used by our Lord and his Apostles, while on earth.

To be as brief and distinct as may be in Answer to this Ob­jection, as to its several parts:

First, It is a pleasant thing to §. XII. perswade men they cannot read, when actually they do read, and themselves know, and others hear them so to do: Or, that now of old that way of Reading has been [Page 28] lost, which yet has been trans­mitted as all Ordinary Arts are (but with infinitely more care) from hand to hand, by people who have in their Generation made it their whole business (as to this day many Jews do) meerly to read and write their Law. It is sure, and some of the fiercest of our Contradictors confess, the true way of reading was known in Origen's time: for he transcribed the Hebrew text, both in He­brew Characters, and exprest a­gain, as well as it could be, in Greek letters into his Hexapla. It was known in Hierom's time: For he had that Hexapla, and a­mended his Copy of it by the more Authentick one in the Library of Caesarea; and out of the Hebrew text, by help of that Copy, made his Translation. Thus, for at least [Page 29] 400 years after Christ, we are, as I think it must be acknowledged, secure. About the year 1000 at furthest, if not sooner, all men confess the Tradition of the pre­sent reading to have been in use, and sithence, at least, to have been currant in the world, by the in­dustry of the Masorites of Tiberias. In the interval then of 600 years, this the old Art of Reading must be lost, and a new one invented, by that people whose Original native Language this Hebrew was. Which negligence first, and af­terwards most laborious Artifice of the Jews, how improbable it is, especially seeing we have left to us the several Prophecies, at least so many several Prophecies of the Messias, and of the Jews dealing with him, so intire in the text, even against the supposed inven­tors [Page 30] themselves; is so notorious that I need not speak. Besides, what cause, or even appearance and likelihood of any cause, can in any History be shewn, why in that Period of time, rather than any other, the Jews should lose the Reading of their Language? In­deed considering, that their Law, that is, their Religion, was written in this Language, considering they ever were, and to this day are, a Nation so stubbornly tenacious of their Religion and Law; con­sidering, lastly, that no small numbers amongst them, as just now was said, made the Reading and Copying of their Law, the business of their life, (did so in our Saviours time, have done so since) it is not credible, the Read­ing of it should in that period have been lost: And if not then lost, never. [Page 31] Secondly, As to Hebrew words §. XIII. having several significations, 'tis very sure some of them have: but so have the words in all Langua­ges, which are known to have been commonly spoken upon the face of the Earth; at least 'tis no­torious the same may be said, of either Greek or Latin. And we know, even in them, as well as in the more modern Lingua's, we are daily put to it, from the juncture of some words with other, &c. to de­termin the true acceptation or sense. Which in our Translating the Hebrew text, if we cannot do, we ordinarily set down both, or all the senses, one in the Text and the other in the Margin of our Translations. So that this is no just plea, either against the He­brew, [Page 32] or our Translations there­of: We may take the Hebrew, where dubious, in all senses it will bear: and our Translations (the modern ones especially, and above others, the English) set down the several senses. So does not the Septuagint (however high­ly contended for by some) which always confines us to one of the several senses, and sometimes misses all of them. In a word, our Tran­slations have, or may have, all the Senses the present Originals can bear, and besides them, any which Antient Versions or Glosses can probably affix to the Originals. But it is to be feared, some men are enemies, for Enmities sake.

Thirdly, As to the difference §. XIV. pleaded betwixt our present Read­ing, and what is pretended to [Page 33] have been our Saviour's and his Apostles rendring the Hebrew text, this may indeed stumble or gra­vel some who do not consider the following particulars. (1.) That it is a great mistake to say, our Lord himself made use of the Sep­tuagint, or, as far as can be proved, any other Greek Version imagina­ble; because the Authors of the Scriptures of the New Testament have done so. For he being by Nation a Jew, and preaching only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel, as being an Apostle of the Circum­cision (according to S. Paul's term of him) certainly spoke the Lan­guage of the then Jews, and preached to them therein; which haply, though not strictly He­brew, was yet a Dialect of it, namely, Syriack. And this ap­pears from a multitude of passages [Page 34] spoken by him, extant in the Greek Testament without change, as often as those Authors thought fit to record the numerical sylla­bles uttered by him: such are Ra­cha, Mammon, Corban, Cephas, Bar­jona, Talitha Kumi, Ephphatha, Eli Eli lamma sabactani, &c. There­fore he in his ordinary preaching, made no use of the Septuagint. And it is most plain from Acts vii. 2. &c. and from ch. xxi. 40. and from diverse other places, that the Apostles, and their Adjutants, when they preached to the Jews, used the Hebrew tongue, that is, the Language then common to the Jews, called, as a-fore sug­gested, in a large sense, Hebrew. And when they preached to others, they had nothing to do to alledge Scripture, much less therefore then did they use Greek Versions. [Page 35] Therefore neither did the Apo­stles, even in their ordinary preaching to the Jews, ordinarily use the Septuagint. (2.) The main body of the Jewish Nation persisting in infidelity, and the Gospel designing the Call of the Gentiles, it was necessary the New Testament should be written in an­other Language than that where­in either the Doctrine of the Old, was first recorded, or the Do­ctrine of the New, as we have seen, at first, preached: and the Greek being then, and in that part of the world, the most uni­versal language, was the fittest for this purpose. On this occasion was the New Testament written in Greek. Now the Old Testa­ment having been before known to have been publickly made Greek, by a Council of LXXII Jews, (the [Page 36] number of the Elders in a great Sanhedrim) who by the way de­signed no strict Translation, but rather such a Paraphrastical one as might best recommend their Law and Nation to Foreigners; the Authors of the New Testa­ment finding that Version suffici­ently clear, true, and exact for their purpose, chose often times to make use of that, as being known, and in all mens hands, and confest by all to contain the body of the Jewish Religion, rather than to translate a-new, accord­ing to strictness, which would have been disputed and contra­dicted. And on this account the Septuagint, or old Greek Tran­slation, was used so often by the Penmen of the New Testament. So often, I say; for those who bear the World in hand that the Sep­tuagint [Page 37] Version is See the Appen­dix to this pur­pose, A. always ob­served by the Authors of the New Testament, or even by the Evan­gelists themselves, it is to be feared, are abused persons, or have not been at pains to examine the particulars. For, it is evident to all persons of consideration and diligence in such studies, that these Sacred Authors took a See Appen­dix, B. la­titude, contenting themselves with the general sense of the Text, not servilely following words: of which, would this Discourse admit, I would give (and possibly here­after shall subjoin) instances nu­merous enough.

In the mean while (3.) That any Translation should be of more Authority than the Original, and the Original as prior, so not derive Authority to the Translation, is a piece of sense only becoming such [Page 38] Doctors, who scorn all mens rea­sons but their own, or are re­solved to set up their own Au­thority without reason. If a Re­cord, Decree, or Sentence were to be produced, translated into another Language than that wherein it was conceived, it would certainly be adjudged of so much the more validity, by how much more strict accord it could be proved to have with the Original. And the same being to be con­cluded of all Translations in like cases, the Hebrew text must, for that reason, be of more Authority than the Septuagint, or any other Translation of, or from it self.

But that which must for ever §. XV. take off the force of this part of the Objection is, (4.) that the New-Testament-reading of any [Page 39] Texts, which are taken out of the Old, does, if duly examined, at the last result, and in effect, accord with the Old; and however different the words appear, the sense is co­incident, and the matter comes to the same pass. I will instance in a Text of importance, wherein, at first sight, the sense seems very different, yet upon a little consi­deration, proves, as to matter, the same. It is, Psal. xl. 6. We read, David there, in the person of Christ, thus addressing himself to God, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, &c. but mine ears hast thou opened [Digged, saies the Margin, or rather Bored.] Then said I, lo I come, &c. to do thy will, O Lord. This the Apostle to the Hebrews, following the (Modern Editions, probably, not the Antient Ver­sion of the) Septuagint, reads, [Page 40] But a body hast thou prepared me. Now Opening, Digging or Boring ears, and Preparing a Body, seem at first widely distant Notions: but in regard of our Lord's in­carnation and obedience to death, even the death of the Cross, (the subject he had in hand) they are in effect much identick or equi­valent. In other terms, ‘That I might in all things accomplish and be obedient to thy will, thou hast framed me an Or­ganised body, in which particu­larly thou hast made me passa­ges for the receiving (or hear­ing) thy commands; that is, thou hast digged or bored my ears.’ Framing of ears was a part of framing the body, and so Synecdochically the same. And he had reason rather to take that part of formation, than any other, [Page 41] for the whole, because he design­ed thereby to express propheti­cally the Messias's quickness and promptness to Obedience, and offering himself up upon the Cross. Or otherwise; Mine ears hast thou bored, that is, ‘according to the Ceremony of perpetua­ting mens services, thou hast, by my free consent and volun­tary proposition, taken me as thy Servant, which that I might be, it was necessary I should take the form of a Servant, the Hu­mane Nature: wherefore thou hast prepared me a body, which I may offer in obedience to thy will.’ The preparing the Son a body was as plain a Testification that he was made a Servant, as to the ordinary Menial was the Bo­ring of the Ear. By either of these short Paraphrases (others have [Page 42] made larger) we see the discre­pancy is naturally removed, ei­ther phrase being the same in ef­fect, and both pertinent to the scope or design of the whole Pa­ragraph. And the like accom­modation might be made of other seemingly discordant passages, would the bounds of this dis­course permit.

To put into one, all which has §. XVI. been said to this last Objection. The summ of our Answer is: Our Saviour and his Apostles, in their ordinary preaching to the Jews, used not the Septuagint, (part therefore of what our Ad­versaries object is false) in the Penning of the Gospel or New Testament; because a then re­ceived, though not exact, Version, was [Argumentum ad Homines] a [Page 43] fit proof to many of that age and people, and would, besides, serve well enough for all in general; the Version of the Septuagint was used ordinarily, and yet very See herein the Ap­pendix, A. frequently deserted. (There is therefore still more falsity in our Adversaries clamours.) But it were Non-sense to infer hence, as some do, that therefore the Sep­tuagint is more Authentick than the Hebrew, that is, a Translation than its Original. Besides, after all this coil, the authority both of Old Testament and New stands firm, above the attempts of its enemies, Wit, Learning or Ma­lice. For generally in both, the Sense is the same, the way of ex­pressing only different. The Old Testament, as extant in our Eng­lish Bibles is translated Gramma­tically, or, in a manner, word for [Page 44] word: What is produced out of the Old, in the New Testament, is often a Paraphrase of the Ori­ginal text, as being translated from a kind of Greek Paraphrase (rather than a simple Version) commonly called the Septuagint, and thence arises that seeming discrepancy.

I conclude therefore, upon the whole, the Scriptures of the Old Testament to be a sure word of Prophecy, notwithstanding those loud imputations of Corruptions, of various Readings, of None or Indeterminate sense: All which imputations, for the main, are false; and where they are not, affect not any considerable sub­stantial part of Scripture (that is, of DIVINE VERITY) or point of Christian Faith and Practice. And the same by the premises is [Page 45] conclusible also of the New Te­stament: Therefore Scripture is Authentick.

It remains now in the next §. XVII. place to propound terms, on which we may be ascertained of our Faith from the Scriptures, which have been thus proved to be sure: And they shall be very brief, few and reasonable terms, which I will propound.

The first Article shall be, That in all controverted points of Faith, (for there are points of Faith, at least points which some men ob­trude on our Faith, that are con­troverted and rejected too, very commonly and justly:) I say, that in such controverted points of Faith, That doctrine, wherein both Originals and Translations generally agree, whether in a deep silence or [Page 46] a contradiction thereof, be adjudged either spurious or no point of Faith. This will at once strike off all the new Articles of the Tridentine Creed, (I mean, the Creed framed from the Decrees of the Council of Trent) together with all Doctrines favoured there, though not ex­presly decreed for Faith, but since improved and received as Faith by the Romanists. And particularly, the Popes Infallibility will be gone: for if Scripture had asserted In­fallibility to any Vicegerents of God on earth, it would be to Kings, not to Popes, Prov. xvi. 10. A Divine Sentence is in the lips of the King, his mouth transgresseth not in judg­ment. Which text, though it manifestly restrain it self to the Administration of Civil justice (wherein none of our Church ever thought of any Appeal from [Page 47] a Royal Decree, or in any other case of resistance to the Royal Authority;) yet doth it suppose a more generally infallible conduct and superintendency of God's Providence over the Decrees of Kings, than is any where in Holy Scripture asserted over the Sen­tences or Determinations of any other Judges on Earth in any cause whatsoever. And I would fain see produced from any part of Holy (yea even of Apocryphal) Writ, so fair and express a Text, for an Infallibility of Popes, or any other on Earth: But this by the bye.

Secondly, I propound only fur­ther, That whatsoever, Originals and Translations generally agree in asser­ting as necessary to be believed or done, in order to Salvation, be ad­mitted as such. And I am sure [Page 48] then, the whole Doctrine (both of Faith and Practice) of the Prote­stants stands establisht. For our Foundation is Scripture, and that interpreted by the Ʋniversal Tradi­tion of the Church in its first and purest ages, even when the boldest Adversaries we have dare not say, those corruptions of Scripture, of which now they make so clamo­rous pretences, were in being: and in Scripture our Foundation is not dubious Texts, perplext with Criticisms, uncertain by va­rious Readings, suspected for Cor­ruptions, Interpolations, &c. but plain, express, undoubted and re­peated ones. And as long as our Foundation thus is Scripture, if that be a sure Word, our Faith is sure.

Whether then some men di­spute against Scripture, meerly §. XVIII. out of wantonness, and to shew their Learning, or for other ends, it concerns not us to enquire. But both they, and all our Enemies, must know, 'tis past time of day, to put us out of conceit with our Bibles, or to perswade them out of our Hands or Hearts. Graecum est, non potest legi, might down in Monkish ages, it will not now; no not even with those whom some disdainfully (and with a greater pride than is due to the Merits of their own Learning) call Laicks. And God be blessed for this glo­rious Light. Upon the whole therefore, We remain sure both of our Scriptures, and of our Faith.

And here, by the way, I must §. XIX. take the liberty to say, All other imaginable ways of making us sure of our Faith, without Scri­pture, in the present state of things, are idle and vain. And whatever carries any plausible pretence of certainty, will, at length, resolve it self into this of Scripture. There has been a long time, and still is, a great cry in the world about Tradition: But if we look into the case, it is not Tradition (that is, the Constant consent of the Antient and Catholick Church) which the Romanists have to vouch for their present Tradi­tions [or peculiar Doctrines] but the late corrupt use, and bold say­so of their Church. Thus in the Council of Trent, when the Evi­dence of any of these their new [Page 51] (at least comparatively new) Doctrines had been sifted, and could be found, neither in Scri­pture, nor Fathers, or any anti­ent Councils; it was but saying the point was so held or practi­sed by the Church, and the Church was Infallible; therefore being the Church taught it, it must be an Apostolick Tradition, though not extant in Scripture: and so whatever they pleased to give this venerable name to, was thereby presently dub'd an Ar­ticle of Faith.

And particularly thus was the matter carried, in the question of the Sacrifice of the Mass, of the present Canon of the Mass, of the Sacraments of Penance and Ex­treme Ʋnction, in the Interdict of Priests marriage, not to name more points of like nature. For [Page 52] if indeed, truly named, that is Ʋniversal Tradition [Quod ubi (que) quod semper, quod ab omnibus, &c.] were the thing urged upon us, we are and ever have been as much for it as any men. To this day we cry; Let us go to tryal, on this issue, in the name of God. But such Tradition as this, we shall find, amongst all the con­troverted points, only for Scri­pture. I will be bold to say, we have not so unvariable Tradition for the Articles of the Creed, which we call the Apostles Creed, as we have in behalf of the Books of the Old and New Testament. So that according to these measures, we are but where we were before. Universal Tradition must prescribe our Faith, and so absolutely Uni­versal Tradition we have for no point controverted, but for the [Page 53] Original Scriptures, nay, indeed, scarcely for any other point of Faith so uniformly. Original Scripture therefore, as before, still stands unshaken.

But these Rules, will some say, §. XX. are for Learned men, who under­stand, and can search Originals, compare Versions, and see where­in they agree: What shall the un­learned Common people do? I say still, Keep to your English Translati­on, good people: keep to what you are. Your English Bibles to you, are the surest word of Prophecy and Gospel too, that you can meet with. The Translation of the Old Testa­ment has been confest by Foreign­ers, of excellent judgment [usque ad invidiam aliarum gentium elabo­rata] Accurate even to the envy of other Nations: That of the [Page 54] Gospels is no less so: especially taking in the Margin. And though it were to be wisht, the Epistles had been translated with that strict­ness according to the letter, and so unbyast judgment, with which the other parts of our Bibles are; yet this may be said even as to them; What the Text has less exact (according to the Origi­nal) or dubious, not only the Margin, but the very different Character of several words in the Text, directs to a genuin or whole­some sense of. My meaning is, whereas it is not possible to tran­slate Hebrew or Greek into Eng­lish strictly word for word, and to make such translation sense (the Idiom or propriety of the languages so vastly differing, that we must in English put in several particles or little words to make [Page 55] good sense with us) all those words so put in, or supplied, are printed ordinarily in a different sort of letter from the rest; by which means we may easily dis­cover any word that is not in the Original, and from such dis­covery know, what weight to lay upon that text so translated. So that there is no danger of peoples miscarrying in their Faith, who humbly and soberly keep to their English Bibles, which God be blessed now we have extremely cheap and frequent in our hands. Only the people are here to be minded in case of doubts, to have recourse to their spiritual Guides.

By these means then we are, or may be, as sure of our Faith from Scriptures, as we are of the Scriptures themselves.

Now, To put a due Conclusion §. XXI. to this Discourse; there are some Christian Practices, which the scope of it does naturally recommend, and some advices which it may occasion.

And First, Let the reflexion on what has been discoursed touch­ing the certainty of Holy Scri­ptures, and their Authentick Ve­rity, raise in our hearts a due Esteem and Cordial Reverence of them, as not being from Man, nor, meerly, by man, but given by inspiration of God, and in a pe­culiar and marvellous manner, preserved and transmitted by his special Providence from age to age, through multitudes of hands down to us, who live pro­bably near the end of time. It [Page 57] was once the great priviledge of the Jews, that to them were com­mitted the Oracles of God: that priviledge is now common to us, with them. Though perhaps therefore we may not keep those Oracles with so superstitious a care and curiosity as they did; yet let us both keep, and treat them with as cordial adherence, and as awful esteem. But especi­ally, let us take care that we use not passages out of them, in our ordinary discourse, slightingly, in Jest and Drollery, to create Laughter to our selves and o­thers. Holy things should not be plaid with: and we are to remember, that if we do play with them, we teach people to think we do not believe them to be Holy.

Secondly, Let not a Prize be put into our hands, and we such fools as not to have hearts to use it. Have we the Word of Prophe­cy, surer than other Miraculous Revelation; Have we the Gospel of Truth too, both mutually con­firming and confirmed by one another, and shall we be so idle and gross, as to be any of us in a manner uncapable of using ei­ther? Why should there be a person in a Christian Church or Nation, to whom the Holy Scri­pture should be as a Book sealed, who should know no more, by the Book open and laid before him, than if fast closed up; I mean who should not be able, himself to read, the glad tidings and terms of his Salvation? Good people, deny not your selves that, which an excellent Person has [Page 59] most justly stiled, the CHRI­STIANS BIRTH-RIGHT, the use of Holy Scriptures. Take care and endeavour, that both you and yours be able to read. And being so, whatever Book you read not through, or rarely look into, let not the Bible be that neglected one. Rather ac­count such a day lost, in which you have not attentively and con­siderately read some part there­of.

Thirdly, Remember him who said, Hold fast till I come, that no man take thy Crown. He sits at the right hand of his Father, ready to give it, and will in good time come and give it us, if we faint not,

And Lastly, As most excellent means to insure to our selves a right use of Scriptures, and to [Page 60] preserve us from misinterpreting or misapplying them, let us be careful of the two following par­ticulars.

First, To furnish our minds with a form of sound Doctrine, ga­thered out of Holy Scripture. This, it is to be hoped, we had in some degree in our early years by Catechism, and without this, both Scripture and Sermons are in a great measure unserviceable. It is the Apostle's Rule, that they who Prophesie (that is in the New Testament notion of Pro­phesying, interpret Scripture) do it according to the proportion of Faith, Rom. xii. 6. his meaning seems to be, that understanding, first, the several Articles of Chri­stian Faith, we should interpret or take Scripture in consistency [Page 61] therewith. This rule will pre­vent the abuse of Holy Scripture to Errour and Novelty.

Secondly, To endeavour the Honest and Impartial practice of what we know, in the fear of God, and as we shall answer the not Doing according to our Lords will, when we have known That his will. This most assuredly will prevent Scriptures being useless; and besides will both lead us to an higher pitch of knowledge, and secure us from any dangerous Errours. For amongst other parts of Christian duty, we shall then practice Meekness, Humility, and a conceit of our selves: we shall not therefore too much lean to our own understanding, we shall not exceed our own mea­sures; And then (Psal. xxv. 9, 14.) [Page 62] The meek will the Lord guide in judgment, the meek will he teach his way. The secret of the Lord is with them that fear him, and he will shew them his Covenant.

These are the great Uses we should make of this sure Word of Prophecy, Law and Gospel, to value and reverence it; in testimony thereof, to capacitate not only our selves, but all ours, by moderate, at least, the lowest degree of Learning (being able to read) to make use of it, and then diligently to read it, and hold it fast: But especi­ally by getting into our minds a form of sound words (a due understanding Carechetical do­ctrine) and by living accord­ing to what we know, to ensure to our selves the right use of it. [Page 63] And if we thus take heed to this sure word, 'tis sure we shall do well: We shall be sure not only of our Faith, but of the End of it too; We shall be certainly and unspeakably rewarded in Glory and Bliss everlastingly.

Which God grant, &c.




IT is not at all the Design of the following Papers to ex­pose or vilifie the Greek Tran­slation of the Old Testament, made by LXXII Elders of the Jewish Nation near three hundred years before Christ, and com­monly called the Septuagint; but rather to leave it in the possession of what is its just and undoubted right, the First and Highest place amongst all the Antient Versions. Only reserving, in the mean while, and Asserting, to the Original He­brew its precedency, as well in [Page 66] Authority as Age; and conse­quently, to all modern Translati­ons from it, a degree of Autho­rity proportionable to their Ac­cord with it; both which (I mean the Hebrew Original, and modern Translations) have been strangely trampled upon by some, in their undue cariere of zeal for the Septuagint.

The great Argument they urge, is the Use, which the Pen­men of the New Testament make of the Septuagints Version, in those Texts which they produce out of the Law and the Prophets. Bold­ly they have affirmed, that the Evangelists, Apostles, and the whole Christian Church by perpetual con­sent have acknowledged the Truth of the Septuagints Version: And hence they would inferr, that no where of right we may depart from it. [Page 67] Nay, not only all of the present Age, who prefer the Original to it, but even S. Hierom himself is severely censured for so doing, and the Authority of any one of those Seventy Interpreters (for it is sup­posed that some single persons of them came several times into Egypt, and translated the Prophets and Hagiographa, the whole LXXII having at first translated only the Pentateuch:) the Authori­ty, I say, of any single person of those Elders is avowed of greater credit than all the Synagogues of the Jews since that time, or all the Learning of the Rabbies their Fol­lowers.

This Argument I have in effect denyed: and on the contrary, Tru­ly I have affirmed, (§. 14.) ‘That the Sacred Pen-men of the New Testament, have not always fol­lowed [Page 68] the Septuagints Version, that they very commonly take a Latitude, and content them­selves with the general sense of the Text, not indeed following either that, or any other Versi­on, that we know of, then ex­tant.’ And hence I would infer, that the Authority of the Sep­tuagint is not so Sacred as these men pretend, it having not so constant Vouchers as asserted; nay, it being left oftner by the Evangelists than followed; and especially left, in most of those Texts, which, by peculiar circumstances, prove our Jesus to have been the true Messias; which Texts, in the present Septuagint, are for the most part vitiously rendred, but in the Original He­brew are intire, and clear as the Sun: In fine, that the Original [Page 69] therefore is to be acknowledg'd the only Authentick Old Testament.

Now, because I will not, as some, expect to be believed upon my meer saying so: for a Tryal of the truth herein, we will take, at a venture, the ten first Texts, by each Evangelist reported out of the Old Testament, and collating them, both with the Septuagint and the Hebrew, as we shall find them, in particular, to accord with or recede from each or ei­ther, we will for the present make a more general Estimate. I could willingly have taken more, but these will suffice to try an or­dinary Reader's Patience, as well as give us a proof what we might expect in the rest, were all ex­amined.

And for more clear proceeding herein, let it in the first place be [Page 70] granted, or supposed, that where the Phrase, or principal Terms, in any Text are altered, however the same sense be still kept, there the Translation of such Text is not the same. For if both Phrase and Sense should be altered, it would no longer be a different Translation, but different Text. The alteration therefore of the Phrase, or of the principal Terms, is sufficient to warrant the name of a different Translation.

This being taken for a Foun­dation, the Propositions which we are to prove, are distinctly these two:

I. That the Evangelists do not always follow the Septuagints Translation.

And for clearer casting up the account, let this Proposition be known by the letter A. [Page 71] So that where ever it stands in the Margin, there may be observed an instance of this Propositions being ve­rified.

II. That they used a Liberty, or took a Latitude, not follow­ing ever the expressions of any other known Translation, or in­deed of the Original it self, but contenting themselves generally to report (sometimes only to al­lude to) the Sense of such or such Texts, as they had occasion to make use of. And let not this be thought the worse of, because it was of old S. Jerome's doctrine, who may be thought a party: The holy Apostles and Evangelists, saith he, commonly alledge Testimo­nies out of the Old Testament, ac­cording to the Sense, not the Words: [Page 72] as indeed do the Fathers, and most Writers, out of all Authors.

And, as the other, let this Pro­position be known by its letter, viz. B. And further, because upon this Enquiry there will arise matter of fact, which will prove other Propositions, to be treated of anon, all tending to vin­dicate the Authority of the present Hebrew Text (which I contend to be the Origi­nal, and alone Authentick) for the better making up our account, therein, also, let C signifie the single Concord of the Evangelists and Sep­tuagint: but CC the Concord of all three, Hebrew, Septua­gint and Evangelists: and † Texts perverted in the Sep­tuagint.

And now in the name of God, let us examine all without Preju­dice or Partiality, not solicitous for Victory but Truth.

Texts produced out of the Old Testa­ment by S. Matthew.

THE first Testimony S. Mat­thew alledges out of the Old Testament, is from Isai. vii. 14. This in the Hebrew runs (strictly enough according to our Tran­slation) Behold a Virgin shall con­ceive and bear a Son, and thou shalt call his name Emmanuel. In the Septuagint it runs thus, Behold a Virgin shall receive in her womb, and then word for word, as in the Hebrew. But in the Greek of [Page 74] the New Testament, Behold a Vir­gin shall have [or carry] in her womb, which sense our Translators in the New Testament, Matth. i. 23. well express, shall be with child. I say, to conceive, and to be with child, [...], are different Phrases, if not things; and of more signifi­cation, perhaps, here, than at first thought of. Had our Lord ac­cording to the opinion of the old Valentinians, or later Menno­nites in Germany, had only a Ce­lestial body, which meerly passed through the Virgin Mary, not be­ing formed of her substance; she might have been said to have re­ceived it in her womb: But [...], to be with child, being according to common use of the Phrase, properly of Women, who are truly gravid, does more em­phatically [Page 75] assert the Verity of our Lord's Humane Nature, by im­plying his being carried the full time in the womb; and there­fore that his body was nourished, and consequently formed of his blessed Mothers substance, which [...] does not. And it may be no wrong to the Holy Ghost, to conceive he guided S. Matt. thus in Greek to word his Text, rather than as the Septuagint do. But besides this variation, where­as the Septuagint, keeping close to the Hebrew, have it, Thou shalt call, namely, Thou, O Virgin, shalt call, [...] S. Matthew here also recedes, and that from both, saying, They shall call. And in truth, in the former point, he may be thought, also, to have a little left the He­brew, as well as Septuagint: for, to receive in the womb, which was [Page 76] the Septuagints phrase, more pro­perly expresses what we mean by Conception, than being with child. In short, his receding from the A. Septuagint in these two points, is a proof of the first Proposition; his receding both from Septua­gint, B. and from Hebrew, a proof of the second.

The second Allegation by S. Matthew is out of Micah v. 2. which is again very well, and na­turally, translated from the He­brew, in our Bibles, thus, Thou Bethlehem-Ephratha, though thou be little amongst the thousands of Ju­dah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me, that is to be ruler in Israel. The Septuagint here ren­der it, Thou Bethlehem the house of Ephratha art the least, &c. In the rest, nearly enough to the He­brew. But S. Matthew, especially [Page 77] in his Greek, recedes from both strangely: Thou, O Bethlehem, the land of Judah, art in no wise the least amongst the Princes of Judah, Matth. ii. 6. Besides the Variation, here is a plain contradiction to the Septuagint. [ [...], Matth. [...]. Sept.] greater difference both in Sense and Phrase cannot well be. And in the latter member, excepting the contradiction, the variation is not much less. For out of thee A. shall come forth a Ruler [ [...], Matth. [...], Sept.] Who shall feed my people B. Israel. Except the proper names, here is nothing alike. What, in the name of God, did he think, who asserted a perpetual consent?

The third Old Testament text is Hosea xi. 1. which we render [Page 78] faithfully, word for word, out of the Hebrew, thus: Out of Egypt have I called my son. But the Sep­tuagint, I have sent for his children out of Egypt. S. Matth. ii. 15. a­grees exactly with the Hebrew, A. the Septuagint being as foreign to his purpose, as it is to the Ori­ginal.

A fourth Text is out of Jerem. xxxi. 15. in which again the faith­fulness of our Translators to the Hebrew, as well as to S. Matthew, is to be commended: In Ramah was there a voice heard, Lamentati­on and weeping and great mourning, [Lamentation and weeping of bitter­ness, Hebr.] Rachel mourning for her children, and [refused, Hebr.] would not be comforted, because they were not, Matth. ii. 17. He who reads the xxxi. ch. of Jerem. in the Septuagints Version, of that Edi­tion [Page 79] at least, which Bishop Walton, judging most correct, put into our Polyglott, shall find in the whole chapter nothing nearer this Text, than ver. 3. A voice of people crying out of Oronaim, destruction and great breaking in pieces. But in truth this was not designed by the Interpreters as a Translation of what is cited by S. Matthew; as belonging to ch. 48. 3. For here the Copy is all in confusion; and this, which stands, in order, the xxxi, is indeed the xlviii. And that which stands the xxxviii, is legitimately the xxxi. And so be­sides the Hebrew, and our Bibles from it, even the vulgar Latin, and some later Editions of the Septuagint, have it. Now in the said xxxviii. chap. v. 15. we have the text we look for, which is there rendred thus: Rachel all in A. [Page 80] weeping [ [...], simply with­out any adjection: not as S. Matt. [...], which perfect­ly answers the Hebrew.] and would not cease over her children, because they were not.

A fifth Text is out of Isai. xl. 3. where first we find S. Matthew to follow the Septuagints Version: But the reason may well be pre­sumed to be, because they here follow the Hebrew: so that in CC. this text all three accord; espe­cially if we render [...] in the sense our Translators very properly, as I conceive, take it. The little difference there is, is of S. Mat­thew, from both the Original and Septuagint: for he putting the Pronoun for the Noun, contracts the latter clause thus. Make straight his paths, instead of, make straight the paths of our God, which word [Page 81] [...] of our God, very material as B. it might seem, is in both, but o­mitted by S. Matthew.

The sixth and seventh Texts, S. Matthew produces out of the Old Testament (if we wave one, which is mangled by the Devil, as I am apt to think it not dis­agreeable to do, inasmuch as his authority will not much credit any Translation) are such where­in Hebrew, Septuagint and Evan­gelist CC. CC. are all at sufficient accord. The places are Deut. viii. 3. and vi. 16. in S. Matt. iv. 4, 7.

The Eighth is, Deut. vi. 13. al­ledged by S. Matth. iv. 10, where both Hebrew and Septuagint (and so indeed in parallel texts) read, Thou shalt fear the Lord thy God, but S. Matthew glosses the word more to his purpose, and receding from both, saith, Thou [Page 82] shalt worship the Lord thy God. A. The Temptation was, To fall down B. and worship the Tempter, v. 9. And the word Worship, which is com­prised in the fear of God, [...], was more pertinent to op­pose to the temptation, than [...] of the Septuagint, though that more exactly answered [...] the Original. But in the latter clause here it is to be noted, that Emphatical restrictive term, only, is added by the Septuagint, and not in the Original Hebrew: And the Evangelist herein follows the Septuagint, not the Hebrew: C. which is the first instance we meet with of this kind.

The Ninth is out of Isai. ix. 1. produced by S. Matthew iv. 15. Not to speak here of the irrecon­cileable difference, as it seems to me, between the Septuagint and [Page 83] the Original, in such turning a­side (I will not say perverting) the very scope of that whole Pa­ragraph, as makes the principal part of it, if taken according to the Septuagints Version unappli­cable and impertinent to the Evangelists purpose, we will on­ly view that part of it, broken off short, which our Evangelist alledges—The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphthali, the way of the Sea beyond Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles. The people which sat [saith S. Matth. walked, Hebr.] in darkness, have seen a great light, and to them that sat in the region [Hebr. in the land] of the shadow of death, light is sprung up, or, hath shined. Thus far exactly do S. Mat­thew and the Hebrew agree. But the Septuagint differ thus—The region of Zebulun, the land of Naph­thali, [Page 84] and the rest of the inhabitants of the Sea-coast, and Galilee of the nations beyond Jordan. Behold a great light, ye people that walk in darkness, and ye that dwell in the region of the shadow of death, light shall shine upon you. Any one may perceive by the English, these Translations differ; but the Greek of S. Matthew, and of the Septuagint in this text, is much A. more different than the English: And S. Matthew here leaves the Septuagint, and keeps close to the Hebrew.

In our Lord's Sermon on the mount, there are several concise old Precepts, and Doctrinal pas­sages rather toucht and alluded to, than any intire text, that I have observed, produced. For, the Tenth and last instance there­fore out of S. Matthew we will [Page 85] take what he alledges, Chap. viii. 17. expresly, and by name, out of Isaiah, chap. liii. 4. which had our Translators thought good, might have been rendred word for word out of Isaiah's Hebrew, as they have rendred it out of S. Matthew's Greek. But I con­fess the text is capable of a double sense, and therefore they did ve­ry wisely, according to the diffe­rent scopes of the Contexts, to give it a double rendring. How­ever in S. Matthew's text, Himself took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses; every word answers to the Hebrew. But the Septuagint have translated every word diffe­rent (more pertinently, perhaps, to the Prophets scope, than to the Evangelists) thus. This [person [...], not [...]] bears our sins, and is grieved concerning us. S. Matthew [Page 86] therefore leaves their translation, and himself, as far as we know, translates a-new.

And now to summ up our Evidence out of S. Matthew: It is plain in seven Texts of Ten, he forsakes the Septuagint, and in 7 A. diverse of them, as all reason in­duces us to think, because they therein forsake the Hebrew, which he rather follows. In the other three of the Ten, we find S. Mat­thew, Hebrew and Septuagint all 3 CC. accord. In four of those instan­ces wherein S. Matthew translates a-new, he takes that liberty which we asserted, receding in part from the very Hebrew it self, in ex­pression, 4 B. I mean, though not so much in sense. Finally, we have one instance, and that only, in one restrictive particle, which he 1 C. takes out of the Septuagints Ver­sion, [Page 87] not to be found in the He­brew, but very pertinent and em­phatical to his purpose.

Therefore, I. the Authors or Pen-men of the New Testa­ment, do not always, or with a perpetual consent, follow the Sep­tuagints Version: but II. They take such Latitude or Liberty, as seemed good to the Holy Spirit of God: which were the points to be demonstrated.

Texts produced out of the Old Testa­ment by S. Mark.

SAINT Mark in the very be­ginning of his Gospel, pro­duces two Testimonies (indeed out of two Prophets, but) so, as [Page 88] they would seem at first sight only one continued Prophecy.

The first is out of Malach. iii. 1. and in the Hebrew, it runs thus. Behold, I send my messenger, and he shall prepare [as by sweeping or cleansing] the way before my face. This the Septuagint thus render, Behold I send forth my messenger, and he shall view the way before my face. S. Mark paraphrases it thus, Behold, I send, [ [...], Mark. A. Only [...], Sept.] my mes­senger before thy face, who shall pre­pare thy way before thee. A liberty not only altering the words and B. Translation, but enlarging the sense at that rate, which nothing but present inspiration could war­rant. He follows neither Septua­gint nor Hebrew.

The second is the same with the fifth, out of S. Matthew, wherein [Page 89] S. Mark exactly agrees with his brother Evangelist; even to the use of the Pronoun, instead of the Hebrew emphatical Noun; both of them, in that minute dif­ference, receding from Hebrew as well as Septuagint. But this difference is not sufficient to justi­fie any mans saying, they here left the Version of the Seventy. Wherefore we will account all CC. here agreed.

There is a glance at a passage of Isaiah, Mark iv. 12. but the text not so directly cited as in S. John: we will therefore defer the Examination of it, till we meet with it there. And suppo­sing we pass that; the third text produced by S. Mark out of the Old Testament, as far as I have observed, is Isai. xxix 13. which, as to what is made use of by this [Page 90] Evangelist, runs thus, in the He­brew. This people—honour me with their lips, but have removed their heart from me, and their fear towards me is taught by the precept of men, as our Translators have rendred it: or, more strictly, their fear towards me, is a taught precept of men. And in the Septuagint thus, This people—they honour me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. But in vain do they worship me, teaching commandments of men, and doctrines. This last clause in­deed, S. Mark ch. vii. 6, 7. (we will suppose for perspicuities sake) a little alters, varying the order of the words, and omitting the conjunction (which makes no inconsiderable variation of the Septuagints sense, indeed melio­rates B. it, and is an instance of the liberty he used) thus, Teaching [Page 91] for doctrines [or, as Doctrines] the commandments of men. In the rest, word for word he keeps to the Septuagint, who undoubtedly, as C. Grotius well conjectures, for [...] read, as easily they might in old Manuscripts, [...], and according to that reading they naturally enough rendred the text as they did, and in vain do they worship me: for so read, it runs word for word thus, and in vain is their fear [that is, worship] towards me. Then the participle [...], teaching, was necessary to be supplied in the latter clause, (which their misreading, or otherwise reading the former, had involved) to make the construction more com­modious, the sense remaining still the same.

The fourth passage is out of the Decalogue, Exod. xx. 12. [Page 92] wherein all accord: only in that CC. explicatory Supplement to this command, out of Exod. xxi. 17. He that curseth father or mother; S. Mark ch. vii. 10. changes the verb from the Indicative to the Imperative, and more agreeably to the stile of a Law-giver, reads [...], Let him dy the death: but this difference is not worthy to come into ac­count.

The fifth instance of any intire Text alledged (not to speak of places meerly referred to, or toucht upon, where it is uncer­tain, whether the Evangelist more ey'd the Original or Septuagint) is touching the institution of Marriage, Mark x. 6, 7, 8. Where­in again all three exactly accord: excepting only, that the Septua­gint seem to have taken one small, [Page 93] but Emphatical word, out of the 25. verse, and put it into the 24. of Genes. ii. for they read, They two shall be one flesh. Two, is not in the Hebrew, but notwithstan­ding, C. taken from the Septuagint by our Evangelist, as being in­deed very much to his purpose.

The sixth instance is again in the Decalogue, and therein of the Repetition of the whole second Table, summarily, Mark x. 19. Now the difference herein, is greater in the Greek of these Writers, than it appears in the English: so that we may safely say, the Translation is not the same with the Septuagint. The prohibitive particle, the mood or way of speaking, all along is changed, and the order of the Precepts totally inverted. And finally, instead of the Tenth Com­mandment, [Page 94] [...], Thou shalt not covet, in which the Sep­tuagint exactly follow the He­brew, S. Mark has [...], A. Degraud not, or, Deprive not; A manifest Variation, and no doubt designed to teach us what kind of Coveting is chiefly forbid in that command, namely, the nourish­ing such desires as put us upon contrivances to obtain what is our Neighbours, or to get to our selves, by depriving others of their B. right. A passage very remarka­ble. And this liberty even in the very text of the Decalogue, or Moral law it self; I may say no­thing, but our Lord's Authority, as the Christian Law-giver, or present inspiration could have warranted.

The seventh Testimony which S. Mark produces, we find in [Page 95] Chap. xi. 17. out of Isai. lvi. 7. and CC. CC. the Eighth, Chap. xii. 10. out of Psalm cxviii. 21. In both which there is no variation at all be­tween Hebrew, Septuagint or E­vangelist.

The Ninth is in S. Mark, Chap. xii. 19. where he expresly indeed refers to the old Law, but we can­not think by his reporting it, he lookt upon himself concern'd to produce the words of the text. That Law we find extant, Deut. xxv. 5. Where in the Hebrew it is, If he have no Son; in the Sep­tuagint, If he have no Seed; In S. Mark, If he leave no children. And again, ver. 7. The office of the surviving brother is termed in the Hebrew and Septuagint, Raising up his brothers name, [ [...].] by S. Mark, Raising up seed unto his brother. [Page 96] [ [...].] In­deed in an Historical relation of this custom, before it was past into a formal Law, Genes. xxxviii. 8. both Hebrew and Septuagint have, with a very small difference, this latter phrase. However this must be allowed a proof of the liberty he takes, to report the sense, not the words, of the Law, B. and so not to confine himself to any Translation.

The last instance I will alledge out of S. Mark is, Chap. xii. 26. where he repeats God's words, Exod. iii. 6. which in the Septua­gint run thus, I am God of Abra­ham, God of Isaac, and God of Ja­cob. The Text consisting of pro­per names, there could not well be greater Variation, than by putting in all along the Article, which here bears a great Empha­sis [Page 97] to the purpose, for which our A. Lord alledged that Testimony; and that S. Mark does, reporting it thus; I am the God [ [...]] of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.

So that in summ: in Ten Texts out of S. Mark, we have 3 A. three, wherein the Evangelist manifestly recedes from, or al­ters the Septuagints Translation. We have four, wherein both, Hebrew, Septuagint, and Gospel 4 CC. all agree. We have two in which he may be said properly to follow the Septuagint, be­cause he keeps to their Version, 2 C. even as to what is not in the He­brew in terms. And we have, 4 B. to omit other less variations, four instances of the liberty (in two of them, very great) which he takes, in leaving both Hebrew [Page 98] and Septuagint. Whereby it is evident, the Holy Ghost did not intend, in the stile of the New Testament, to Canonize any Translation by a constant and perpetual observation of it. Q. E. D.

Texts out of the Old Testament cited by S. Luke.

THE first is in his First Chap. ver. 16, 17. where he evi­dently cites a Verse or two out of the Prophet Malachi, but with such liberty as I have asserted. The Text in the Hebrew runs [Page 99] thus. Malach. iv. 5, 6. Behold I send you Elijah the Prophet.—And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fa­thers. The Septuagints Version in this Chapter is very disorder­ly, and perhaps has sustained wrong: but I shall, as justly as I can, represent their rendring these words. Behold, I will send unto you, Elias the Tishbite. [A very corrupt Addition, whose, or with what design, God knows. Sure it is, that the Jewish Rab­bies teach, and particularly Da­vid Kimchi upon this very Text, that Elias the Tishbite's soul is to come into a body, created like the former, which he had, and that he is to appear, and call to­gether the Jews from the several parts of the world immediately [Page 100] before the coming of the Messias; Three days before, say some of them. Now how excellently the Version of the Septuagint fa­vours this Fable, and whether this be not [...], to dote with, or on, the Rabbies, as some body taxes others to do, let the world judge. The Angel, in S. Luke, expresly interprets the Prophecy of S. John the Baptists coming in the Spirit, and power of Elias, &c. But enough of this. The Septuagint again proceed, misinterpreting.] Who shall re­store the heart of the father to the son, and the heart of a man to his neighbour. How strangely diffe­rent from what we heard in the Prophet, and from what we find in S. Luke's Text! who tells us an Holy Angel spoke to Zacha­ry, the father of John the Baptist, [Page 101] concerning his son, thus: He shall go before him [that is, John the Baptist before Christ] in the Spirit and power of Elias, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the A. children [ [...]] strictly according to the Original. Not, [...], as the Septuagint have ordered it.] and B. the disobedient to the wisdom of the just. A free paraphrase as to this latter clause.

The Second Text alledged by S. Luke, is in Chapter ii. 23. where he tells us: It is written in the Law of the Lord, every male that openeth the womb shall be called holy to the Lord. Now who would not expect to find this text in the Law, Hebrew or Greek, word for word? Yet is the sense only, not the words, [Page 102] written there. The first-born, that openeth every matrice, as the Sep­tuagint exactly according to the Hebrew render it [ [...]] is command­ed to be sanctified to the Lord. Exodus xiii. 1. wherefore it may be justly said, 'tis called Holy. Let us look further, and verse 12. we find that Law repeated as to Beasts, thus; [...]. So again verse 15. So Numbers viii. 16. But the Text, as S. Luke reports it, and seems to say, 'tis written so, I no where find but in him. Wherefore we plainly see him use a liberty to depart from the words both of Septuagint and B. Hebrew.

The Third indeed is of small moment, yet to be just to our proposal, we must take notice [Page 103] of it. A pair of Turtles [ [...]] says S. Luke, Chap. ii. 24. two Turtles, say both Hebrew and Septuagint.

In the Fourth Text, there is a Concord betwixt all, except only in one word. What the Septua­gint CC. call [...], Plains, nearer the Hebrew, Isai. xl. 4. S. Luke stiles [...], Chap. iii. 5. smooth ways. I do not esteem this difference worth the accounting.

In the Fifth, S. Luke varies a little, both from the Hebrew, and the Septuagints and S. Mat­thew's Greek. The Hebrew runs thus. Deut. viii. 3. But upon all that proceeds out of the mouth of God, shall man live. The Septua­gint gloss it thus, upon every word that proceeds, &c. and S. Matthew, as we have seen, follows them. S. Luke takes it shorter, Chap. iv. 4. [Page 104] But by every word of God. I esteem not this variation worth reckon­ing, and therefore here again ac­count an Accord of all. C C.

In the Sixth, I cannot but take notice of the same Variation, made by S. Luke, both from the Hebrew and Septuagint, which S. Matthew also made, Thou shalt A. worship, instead of, Thou shalt fear, B. Luke iv. 8. I refer my Reader to the note on S. Matthew.

In the Seventh, which was also the seventh out of S. Matthew, we find S. Luke to accord with the Hebrew, Septuagint and S. Mat­thew. C C. 'Tis Luke iv. 12. and Deut. vi. 16.

The Eighth passage, has in it considerable both agreement and disagreement to the Septuagint. 'Tis Isai. lxi. 1, 2. Where, the Septuagint render what is in [Page 105] the Hebrew, The opening of the prison to them that are bound, by recovery of sight to the blind. This C. so different rendring, depends upon a Criticism, in the Hebrew word [...]. To open [properly say the Masters, the eyes and ears.] However S. Luke follows it, Chap­ter, iv. 18. But withal, presently adds another rendring, which plainly shews he had the He­brew text in his eye. To set at liberty [or send away] them that are bruised. This, I say, is not in the Septuagint, and evidently answers, though it does not strictly express, the Hebrew Open­ing of the Prison to them that are bound. So that considering both, he may be said here to have fol­lowed both Septuagint and He­brew: taking out of the Septua­gint, what was there emphatical [Page 106] to his purpose, and yet not neg­lecting what in the Hebrew was not so fully translated by the Septuagint, but giving a gloss B. of it according to his liberty. And yet again, in this text, he most plainly recedes from the Septuagint, in the very next clause, rejecting their translation of [...] by [...], which was A. not pertinent to the scope of the text, and rendring it [...], which is both pertinent to the scope, and strict justice to the word.

The Ninth Old Testament Text, which I have observed, produ­ced by S. Luke, is the same with S. Mark's first: 'Tis in Luke vii. 27. and out of Malachi iii. 1. The two Evangelists exactly ac­cord, but both recede widely A. from the Septuagint, on which B. [Page 107] for the present I make no other note than there I did.

In Luke viii. 10. there is a short touch upon Isai. vi. 9. as indeed there was in S. Mark: but it occurs again more large­ly in S. John: we will therefore at present wave the examination thereof; and for the Tenth Testi­mony produced out of the Old Testament by S. Luke, we will take that which next follows in him, Chapter x. 27. which is so much the more worthy of our notice, because it is repeated by the two former Evangelists, but our measure did not reach to it. 'Tis Deut. vi. 5. Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy

  • Heart—Soul—Might. Hebr.
  • Mind—Soul—Power. Sept.
  • [Page 108]Heart—Soul—Strength, Mind. Luc.
  • Heart—Soul—Mind, Strength. Mar.
  • Heart—Soul—Mind. Matth.

Where it is observable that our Evangelist, first, recedes from the Septuagint, as indeed do both the other, to keep with the Hebrew in the first term, with all thine heart. Secondly, both from the Hebrew and Septuagint in B. making the Scheme consist of four terms, as also doth S. Mark; whereas Originally it has but three. And thirdly, he renders [...] by [...] not [...] as the Septuagint. Which are ample A. evidences of his not following, here, the Version of the Septua­gint.

In summ, Of Ten Texts taken by S. Luke, out of the Old Testa­ment, we find him to recede [Page 109] considerably from the Septua­gint, 6 A. in six; in three we find him to accord both with the Septua­gint (though not exactly) and 3 C C. Hebrew; In one, he neither ac­cords with Hebrew nor Septua­gint, as to words, but only as to sense, taking the liberty (usual with all Writers) of his own ex­pression: But besides this, there are five other instances of this li­berty, 6 B. as to sundry members of Texts. And there is only one in­stance, and that in one clause of a Text, wherein he keeps to the Septuagint apart from the He­brew. 1 C. Whence I presume both our Propositions again demon­strated.

Texts of the Old Testament cited by S. John.

THE First, Chapter i. 23. Here S. John recedes both from A. the Septuagints Version, which the other three Evangelists exactly followed, and from them also. Where they all have, Prepare ye the way, (Isai. xl. 3. Matt. iii. 3. Mark i. 3. Luk. iii. 4.) He says, B. Make ye strait the way, which was one sort of preparing it, but not at all, that intimated in the Original Hebrew word.

The Second, I have observed S. John to produce, is out of [Page 111] Psalm lxix. 9. which he reports, Chapter ii. 17. exactly accord­ing to Hebrew and Septuagint, C C. The zeal of thine house hath eaten me up.

The third Text by him pro­duced (for of little glances and allusions no judgment can be made in this case) is out of Isai. liv. 13. which the Septuagint, supplying the Verb [...] (as very properly they might) out of verse 12. render, And I will make—all thy children taught of God. This Text S. John thus re­ports, Chap. vi. 45. It is written in the Prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. A new Verb, a Pronoun for a Noun (depart­ing, herein, both from Hebrew and Septuagint) and yet the text brought in abruptly, as if it had been written in so many words [Page 112] or syllables, And they, &c. 'Tis A. plain, he intended not to follow B. the Septuagints Version, though he kept both their, and the Ori­ginal sense.

The fourth Testimony is very short, (but with such, out of this Evangelist, we must be content) from Psalm lxxxii. 6. produced John x. 34. I said ye are Gods: C C. And herein all accord.

The fifth Testimony, I have observed, still I mean, alledged at any length by S. John, is out of Zech. ix. 9. which in the He­brew and Septuagint runs thus: Rejoice greatly O daughter of Sion, shout, [Proclaim, Sept.] O daugh­ter of Jerusalem. Behold thy King cometh to thee, Just, and having Salvation [Saved, Hebr. Saving, Sept.] is he, lowly [rather poor, Hebr.] and riding upon an Ass, [Page 113] and upon a colt the fole of Asses, [upon a beast accustomed to the yoak, and a young fole, say the Sept.] This S. John hath varied and contracted thus. Ch. xii. 15. Fear not daughter A. of Zion, Behold thy King cometh sit­ting B. upon an Asses colt. There are scarce three words, and those such too as could not be varied, of the Septuagints Greek, in the Evan­gelists text.

The sixth Old Testament-text, S. John has, is again a short one. 'Tis Isai. liii. 1. Lord who hath believed C C. our report? John xii. 38. And here all agree exactly. Indeed in a text so short, and plain, it could not well be otherwise. But in

The seventh, which is larger, we shall find difference enough. The Prophet Esaias said again, saith S. John, Chap. xii. 40. He hath blinded their eyes, and hardened [Page 114] their heart, that they should not see with their eyes, nor understand with their heart, and be converted and I should heal them. But Isaiah's words run thus, Isai. vi. 10. Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and un­derstand with their hearts, and con­vert and be healed; as our Tran­slation, only making the Hebrew English, excellently renders them. The Septuagint varies a little from the Hebrew, turning the Impera­tive Active into a Passive Preter (which a small difference of pun­ctation does in the Hebrew) and read thus, The heart of this people is waxed fat, and they hear heavily with their ears, and their eyes have they closed, lest they should see with their eyes, and hear with their [Page 115] ears, and understand with their heart, and should convert [or, return] and I should heal them. Which Ver­sion of the Septuagint S. Matthew follows, word for word, Matth. xiii. 15. So does S. Luke. Acts xxviii. 27. Notwithstanding it is plain, both from Hebrew, from the Septuagint, and from both those Evangelists, does S. John's text A. differ. 1. Whereas the text con­sists of two Climaxes or gradati­ons, B. one answering the other, S. John cuts each short by one step. 2. The Septuagints Version, and the Evangelists from them, impute all to the people, as their own Act or Choice. Their heart is grown fat, they hear heavily with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. S. John ascribes all this (fol­lowing herein the Hebrew) to God and his judgment. 3. The [Page 116] principal Greek words are in a manner all diverse. [...], saith S. John. [...], Septuagint. Matth. Luk. Further as to this Text, it is worthy our notice, that it is in three other places of the New Testament al­ledged, at least in part: namely by S. Luke in his Gospel, Ch. viii. 10. who there contracts it, and otherwise varies from the Septua­gint. By S. Mark Chap. iv. 12. who in the beginning holds with the Septuagint, but in the close instead of, I should heal them, puts paraphrastically, and their sins should be forgiven them, which is one part of healing, leaving here­in Hebrew, as well as Septuagint. And lastly, by S. Paul, Rom. xi. 8. who glosses on it, differently from all, thus, God hath given them the [Page 117] Spirit of slumber [instead of made their hearts fat] eyes that they should not see, ears that they should not hear; with S. John and the He­brew, attributing the Act to God. So that (to note this by the bye, though not to bring it into ac­count) in one and the same place six times produced in the New Testament, there seems twice a new Version clearly made, viz. by S. John one, and by S. Paul an­other: Twice is the Old Septua­gint followed by S. Matthew, and S. Luke in the Acts; but also twice again varied in a good part, the very same Evangelist in terms va­rying from himself; All, an am­ple proof of the Latitude, which is to be acknowledged in these Authors stiles.

In the xv. of S. John, ver. 25. there is a transient and occasional [Page 118] allusion to an expression Psalm xxxv. 19. And though I might reasonably say, the Evangelist here seems rather to have fol­lowed some other Version, or reading, than that of the Septua­gint (for he produces the text as an intire Proposition, with a cau­sal particle in its beginning, as connecting it with what, in the Original context, is supposed to have gone before, [...]. whereas it is only the sub­ject of a Proposition, or rather of a Petition, both in our Septua­gint and Hebrew) though I might, I say, take notice of this difference, yet I wave it, and as the Eighth Testimony produced by S. John, reckon that out of Psal. xxii. 29. touching the souldiers dividing our Lord's garments a­mongst them, and casting lots upon [Page 119] his seamless coat, alledged Chap. C. C. xix. 24. wherein all agree.

Reckoning as we have done, the Ninth Old Testament-text, I observe, alledged by S. John is Chap. xix. 36. which whether ta­ken out of Exod. xii. 36. or Num. ix. 2. varies considerably both in phrase and sense. Ye shall not break a bone from off it, in the for­mer place: They shall not break a bone from off it, in the latter: But S. John has it, a bone of him [or of A. it, viz. of the Passeover, a Figure of Christ crucified] shall not be broken. I ought not to wave this difference.

The last passage I have ob­served S. John to produce out of the Old Testament, is Zechariah, xii. 10. which in the Hebrew stands exactly as we have it translated to us, They shall look upon me [Page 120] [or, to me] whom they have pierced. And S. John only vary­ing the person of the object, re­ports it, Chap. xix. 37. They shall A. look on him whom they have pierced. But the Septuagint most strange­ly, indeed so, as not without difficulty to be reconciled with sense. [...] [even here­in not with S. John, [...]. Words of most ambiguous meaning, where­as the Original is most express and plain: But put what sense we can upon them, nothing can well be more foreign from the Original Prophecy and the E­vangelists purpose, than they are. Some render them, They shall look upon me, for that they have insulted. But why [...], for that? If we will retain that sig­nification of the Verb, the tran­slation [Page 121] would be better, for those things wherein they have insulted, or, for those persons, over whom they have insulted: Either is more natural than the first. However, this text was not produced as a Prophecy of the Jews insulting over, or scoffing at, the Messias, but of their piercing him. And indeed the Authors of this tran­slation seem not to have under­stood the text of the Messias at all. For if we follow, what some men tell us is the best Edition of the Septuagint, it is not said therein, they shall mourn over him, but over themselves. Besides, give me leave to offer an old conjecture of the ground of all this misin­terpretation. The Interpreters read undoubtedly [...] They danced [or wantonly skipped, like Rams, as the word is used, Psalm [Page 122] cxiv. 4.] for [...] They pierced. How easie the mistake is, any one that knows the Hebrew letters, may see. And so reading it, they could not have better translated it than as they did, [...]. For though Hezekias render [...] only by [...] [they rejoiced against] and Sui­das adds only [...] [they mock­ed] both which together may make up, They insulted; yet is none of these the proper, much less the only, signification of that word. Budaeus, a person of better judgment and accu­racy, who also brings ever fair Vouchers for what he says, proves [...] is to Dance deliciously to the pleasing and transport of the Spectators, or else Mimically and reproachfully. The former of these I take to [Page 123] have been designed by the In­terpreters, as being the more usual signification of the word. The Jewish Doctors, we must know, have a saying, that in all the Plagues which befel their Na­tion, since their forefathers guilt in the matter of the Golden Calf, there are still some grains of the Ashes of that Calf in them. Now I verily believe, the Inter­preters, in the rendring this text, reflected upon those Idolatrous sports of the old Jews (as being leavened with the aforesaid Do­ctrine) and understood it to be a Prophecy of a deep National humiliation for that National sin in the Wilderness, Exod. xxxii. Thus then I judge their Greek text here ought to be rendred, They shall look upon me for what they Danced, that is, for their [Page 124] Lewd dancing, and voluptuous sports and solemnities before their Idol, when they held that Feast, wherein They sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play. And thus we have a Prophecy of the Jews repentance, for Cruci­fying the Messiah, perverted to the occasion (as I conceive) of the Golden Calf, by the mis­reading of the Interpreters. Mis­reading, I said; for that they did herein misinterpret is plain, else S. John misinterprets; and I think no better account can be given of their misinterpreting, than that which I have supposed, from S. Hierom, of their misread­ing. But if any will make better sense of their text, I shall be glad to hear it. I am sure if any text, which so peculiarly touches the proof of Christianity as this [Page 125] does, had been so awkwardly read in the Hebrew, we should have heard largely of Rabbinical corruptions, and malicious frauds of the Modern Jews.

But it is time to summ up our account here also. Of Ten Texts, which are all this Evangelist has (as far as I have observed) of any tolerable length, whence to judge of a translation; of ten, I say, he leaves the Septuagints 6 A. translation in six: and in four of these six, takes the liberty we 4 B. have asserted, of departing from the strict expressions as well of Hebrew as Septuagint. In the other four texts, indeed he fol­lows both Hebrew and Septua­gint. 4 CC. But there is not any one instance, I have been able to ob­serve, in this Evangelist, where­in he follows the Septuagint [Page 126] alone, that is, receding from the Hebrew Original text. Where­fore I conceive both the Propo­sitions again evidenced by these deductions out of S. John.

The Summ of all the Accounts.

TO draw all the Accounts now into one. Of forty Texts out of the Old Testament, the Evangelists have clearly de­parted from the Septuagint and 22 A. translated a-new in twenty two; generally keeping closer to the He­brew than the Septuagint does.

In diverse of these Twenty two, as well as in others parti­cularly notified, to the number of Eighteen in all, they have taken the Latitude we asserted, 18 B. varying from the expression of the Hebrew, as well as of the Septuagint, and contenting them­selves to report the general sense of the Testimonies they pro­duce.

Which Summ of Instances be­ing found, within so small a compass, amply proves both the Propositions above asser­ted, but not needful here to be repeated.

Further it appears, there are Fourteen texts of the Forty, wherein Hebrew, Septuagint, and 14 CC. Evangelists all accord.

Again, There are Four in which the Evangelists have fol­lowed [Page 128] the Septuagint, singly 4 C. at least, as to some expression, or expressions, which are not, or seem not to be in the Hebrew: which expressions that it may ap­pear justly of what moment they are, though they are before set down a-part, and as they did oc­curr, yet I will here repeat them together.

Matt. iv. 10. Him [only] shalt thou serve.

Mark vii. 7. [Howbeit, in vain do they worship me, teaching commandments of men, and Do­ctrines. Sept. Teaching for Do­ctrines the commandment of men. Mark] This is only thus far virtually in the Hebrew Text. Their fear towards me is taught by the precept of men. [in vain do they worship me] is an Addition of the Septua­gint, [Page 129] not in the Hebrew, crept in by mis-reading, though a­greeable enough to the scope of the text: but followed by S. Matthew, as well as Mark. Mark x. 8. They [two] shall be one flesh.

Luke iv. 18. Recovery of sight to the blind. This is virtually in the Hebrew. For [...] which we render opening, signifies properly the opening of the eyes, or ears, (as beforesaid) in which, say the Hebrew Cri­ticks, it differs from [...] which signifies the opening of the mouth: but S. Luke, as we have seen, to be sure of ex­pressing the full Hebrew sense, both takes the restrain­ed translation of the Septua­gint, which would emphati­cally touch some of our [Page 130] Lord's Miracles, and adds a more general one of his own. For we found he there re­ceded from the Septuagints, as well as they from the He­brew expressions. Thus far then, only, in these forty Texts, the Evangelists have departed from the Hebrew, to hold with the Vulgar Greek Translation then in the hand of the Grecising Jews.

Lastly, There are five Texts of the number of those, wherein the Evangelists have left the Sep­tuagint 5 † clearly, and held with the Hebrew, in which the Sep­tuagint have so distorted or per­verted the sense, that had the Evan­gelists reported them, as the Sep­tuagint rendred them, they would [Page 131] have proved Testimonies rather against the Truth than for it. At least there would have been so many Testimonies lost. It would be too tedious here to re­peat them.

Observations upon the former Ac­count, and the Conclusion.

AND now things ly thus be­fore us, a man would think we might be able to see in a manner into the depth of this mighty pretended accord of the Evangelists, so peculiarly, with [Page 132] the Septuagint, and what Au­thority it derives to the Septua­gint, or detracts from the He­brew: In which, that we may proceed with as clear and de­monstrative evidence as we can, let me premit, by way of PO-STƲLATA, what I think all the world cannot deny.

I. Forasmuch as it cannot be reputed a meerly casual and ac­cidental Act in the Evangelists, that they thus or thus report any Text out of the Old Testa­ment; therefore their receding from, or agreeing with the Sep­tuagint, was with design, or an Act of deliberation and choice.

II. Their great design in Alle­gation of Testimonies out of the Old Testament, being to assert and prove Christian Truth, espe­cially to the Jews, therefore as [Page 133] it was rational when they saw any Emphasis or Advantage more in the Septuagint, than in the Hebrew (because the Sep­tuagint was commonly known, and sacredly received by the Jews) to use it as an Argumen­tum ad homines, to their purpose: so if at any time we find the He­brew text to serve more to their purpose than the Septuagint, and them to have followed the He­brew text, leaving the Septua­gint, we cannot but conclude in such case they designedly left the Septuagint, as less comporting with the Christian Truth, and kept to the Hebrew, as being therein more firm and favourable to Christianity.

Now from hence it must fol­low (which I advance as my [Page 134] First Proposition, in order to making a clear estimate of the Accord of the Evangelists and Apostles with the Septuagint, and so of the Authority as well of the Hebrew text, and the Tran­slations from it, as of the Septua­gints Version.) From hence, I say, it must follow, that where the Hebrew text and the Septua­gints perfectly agreeing, the E­vangelists keep to the Septuagint, for as much as it appears by what was last permitted, they would not have kept thereto, had the He­brew made more for their pur­pose; that therefore it is not the Septuagint, absolutely, which is in such case observed or kept to, but the Septuagint as agreeing with the Hebrew. That is, the Evangelists in those fourteen Texts, wherein they agree both [Page 135] with Hebrew and Septuagint, principally eyed the Hebrew as most Authentick, that is, the Hebrew is principally Authen­tick.

Secondly, I say further, whe­ther the Evangelists accord with the Septuagint, or translate a­new from the Hebrew, they ge­nerally confirm the Hebrew text, as Original and Authentick. For of the Forty texts above exami­ned, there are 22. in which the Evangelists having left the Sep­tuagint, and either in exact ex­pression, or in general sense, or in both, kept to the Hebrew, have confirmed the Hebrew against the Septuagint. And there are 14. in which the Septuagint agreeing with the Hebrew, it comes to pass that the Evangelists [Page 136] agree with both: in which there­fore the Evangelists have con­firmed the Hebrew with the Sep­tuagint. That is, in 36. Texts of forty; that is, generally, the Evangelists rendring confirms the Hebrew.

Thirdly, I fear not to advance further, and say, the Evangelists agreement or accord with the Septuagint, yea, even wherein the Septuagint seem to go by them­selves, without or from the He­brew, does not take off the Au­thority of the Hebrew in those very Texts. For in two of them, viz. Matth. iv. 10. and Mark x. 8. There are only two new Em­phases, as I may call them, added to the old Text. And in the other two, namely in Mark vii. 7. and Luke iv. 18. as, in the former, [Page 137] there was one word, viz. [...] which was easily mis-read [...] and so mis­rendred, (yet not so as to alter the main sense or scope of the Text) so in the other, there was a word capable of two senses; Now S. Luke gives both, one from the Septuagint, another of his own accord. But as he who makes any argument fuller and clearer, by varying the terms, still keeping to the main sense, or by unfolding all the force which a word of manifold signification bears, or by inserting some new Emphatical term, which shall more press the Adversary, takes not off the Validity of that Ar­gument; so neither doth the E­vangelists thus using or manage­ing Texts of the Old Testament, with all the Emphases, which ei­ther by the Septuagints or their [Page 138] own rendring them, at all de­tract from the Original Hebrew, which both only improve. Had the Septuagint contradicted the Hebrew, and the Evangelists, in such contradictions, kept with them, the case had been other­wise. But the main Doctrine and sense being the same still, by this following the Septuagint, there is no impeachment at all of the Hebrew.

Fourthly, On the other side, I do and must affirm, the Septua­gints receding from the Original Hebrew does derogate from the authority of the Septuagint. For, (1.) It is plain the Evangelists, in the instances brought, generally leave the Septuagint, where they leave the Hebrew. Now as the Evangelists use of the Septuagint, [Page 139] is the great Mean which conci­liates Authority to the Septuagint; so their departing from the Sep­tuagints Version, to keep with the Hebrew, derogates. (2.) It appears, by the deduction of Par­ticulars, that the present Version of the Septuagint hath in forty Testimonies out of the Old Testa­ment perverted five important (and some of the most consider­able) Prophecies, relating to the proof, that Jesus Christ is the true Messias. A greater deroga­tion from its authority cannot be conceived, except in multiplying instances of that kind.

Fifthly, The proof of Christi­anity more relies upon the He­brew Text, than on the Septua­gints Version. For it appears, the Evangelists, who deliver the [Page 140] Doctrine thereof unto us, make more use of the Hebrew Text; diverse Prophecies, by the Septua­gint distorted and mangled, are in the Hebrew intire and direct to our purpose; and though we should suppose, as verily I believe, that the Evangelists being to write in Greek, did, to render their writings more unexception­able to the Jews, follow, as much as they could, the Jews Greek Translation, that is, the Septua­gint; yet we find in several Pro­phecies of the greatest moment, as well as in other points, they could not follow them, and be true to their own Cause.

Sixthly, It does not appear by any thing we have examined, that any corruption, or the least escape, can be affixt to the He­brew [Page 141] text. It marvelously com­ports with the Evangelists Greek. As to the great objection from Psalm xxii. 16. that we have there [...] As a Lion, for [...] they pierced, in which, say they, the Septuagint has set us right: be­sides that, even P. Simon himself, in his late Disquisitions, confesses [...] is in the very Text, or is the Ketib in some antient Copies, 'tis enough to me if it were but the Keri, or Marginal reading. But I think more cannot be desired for satisfaction, and in ample vindi­cation of the Hebrew, than the great Dr. Hammond has given us upon that Psalm.

Lastly, In the Septuagints Ver­sion it is apparent, there must be acknowledged gross Errours. Five places are above marked and [Page 142] assigned, where we must say, ei­ther the Evangelists have erred, or the Septuagint: and I have found no one yet so hardy as to cast the Errours on the Evange­lists, ergo, &c.

Those, whom what I have said, may a little surprise, finding things thus notoriously otherwise than some have asserted, and haply themselves too thought, may be ready to ask, what those Asserters have to say for them­selves in case of these, and such other Prophecies, thus being per­verted rather than translated.

My design permits me not to take notice of all: Let it suffice to represent and animadvert upon their chief answers. ‘It is not to be denyed, say some of them, but that the books of the Sep­tuagint are in many places [In­quinati [Page 143] & interpolati] corrupted and vampt with the Versions of Symmachus, Theodotion, &c. At another time, Septuaginta In­terpretes sic vertisse stultum est ex­istimare. ‘'Tis a silly thing to imagine the Seventy thus ren­dred.’ And as to that very Pro­phecy of Zech. xii. ‘Whether these Errours came in, out of Aquila, &c. or any other, or by casual misreading, 'tis needless to enquire. It is enough to say, the Septuagint undoubtedly rendred it otherwise.’

These answers, or defences, are perhaps more wonderful than the first assertions. The Septuagint, say they, did not translate thus, 'Tis a silly thing to think they did. But the best Copies of the Septuagint, extant, do contain and exhibit these Translations. [Page 144] In S. Jerom's days the Septuagints Version had [...], or [...] Hieronym. in loc. They who at this time of day shall con­tradict S. Jerome, and say, he had only vitiatum & interpolatum Co­dicem, a corrupt and interlined book, when he elsewhere tells us he had Origen's Hexapla corrected by himself according to the best Copy; They, who to boot, shall, when they list, that is, when they are not able to defend the Sep­tuagints Version, reject all the Copies of that Version which passes every where for the Sep­tuagints, and say, 'tis a silly thing to believe in this or that, it is the Septuagints, when in another breath, they shall cry up the very worst Copy of the Septua­gint, far above all other Tran­slations, and even the Original it [Page 145] self, are indeed persons to be ad­mired, but I will not say, for what. Only I will desire them, if they expect to be believed, to bring better Proofs than they have done, that is, than their own Word and Scorn.

But to wave what I might say more largely of this nature, I on­ly reply, I accept the Answer. Behold then, good Reader, how excellently we are helpt up by those, who reject the Hebrew text, and all Translations from it. What, will they reject all Scri­pture? Some of them would be at that, if they durst; but they'l tell you, By no means. What then will they set up instead of the Hebrew? The Septuagints Version. Who now would not expect, that this were most per­fect, subject to no various read­ings, [Page 146] much less corruptions or interpolations. No such matter; besides infinite various readings, these books are corrupted in many places, interpolate with the Versions of Symmachus, Theodotion, Aquila, and God knows what o­thers. This is their own con­fession. Again, they are Books, which they will deny at their own pleasure. Lastly, Books, which if we will believe the Holy Evangelists, have in them many gross Errours, inconsistent with the very History, as well as Do­ctrine, of the Gospel, and which, as has been proved, the Evange­lists could not have followed, and together have been faithful to their Cause.

To conclude all: We have seen the Assertion of a perpetual, or even general Agreement of the [Page 147] Pen-men of the New Testament with the Septuagint to be groundless and false: boldly advanced by some, and too credulously taken up by others. (S. Paul perhaps, a Person more conversant with the Hellenists, mostly used the Septuagint, though not constant­ly: others much less.) Contrarily to the aforementioned Assertion, The present Hebrew text is confirm­ed by the Evangelists Versions and agreement with it; it is not im­peached by their very recessions or siding with the Septuagint: it stands therefore above blemish. The Text of the Septuagint, besides its disorders, confusions and mu­tilations (which we might have said much more of) departs many times grosly from the truth: It is indeed the Antientest and most honourable Version; it [Page 148] gives excellent light and confir­mation in most things to the truth, but it is many times, as said, unhappy. Perhaps it has been purer than it is; yet above these thirteen hundred years, it is sure, it has had some of those gross Errours in it, which we find at this day remaining; and we cannot always hold to it, and to­gether hold to the Gospel. The proof of Christianity chiefly, and in some points (as to Testimony) solely relies on the Hebrew Text; In which, by all those passages, which have been examined, it does not appear that there is any defect, errour, or so much as ra­tional pretence of any deprava­tion.

Upon the whole then it re­mains, That we adore and magnifie the Providence of our good God, in [Page 149] restoring to lost mankind in ge­neral, the knowledge of God and themselves, when they had extin­guisht that given by natural Rea­son, in preserving to us in parti­cular, the Original Oracles of Sal­vation so intire as we see they are, in raising up to us Persons so ex­quisitely skilled and verst in them, as of old, so especially within these two last Centuries, by whose indefatigable labours we have many admirable Translations of those Oracles into the common speech of each Nation; to none of which Translations, blessed be the same good God, is our last English one inferiour: That there­fore we keep close to these, and stand unshaken in our Faith, not suffering our selves to be imposed upon by the Cavils, and subtle Sophisms of some, or the specious [Page 150] pretences, of more Necessaries than we find in Scripture, from others; nor lastly, by a third sorts pompous oftentation of Learning. Truly, these last seem to have written, only to shew the World, how plausibly they can maintain the most mischie­vous Paradoxes.

I had many more things to have said: especially, as to that objection of the loss of the true old Hebrew speech. I could shew, the same pretences of reason may be brought for the loss of the old Greek, nay, even of the old Latin it self. In all dead Tongues the true antient Pronunciation, in process of time, must needs be lost; often also the first, and true signification of many words, whence words must necessarily grow equivocal or ambiguous, &c. [Page 151] Now it would be thought very extravagant to say upon these reasons, the old Greek and Latin are both lost. We dote if we say we have either. Let the same Plea be admitted for the old He­brew. These and other things I thought once to have discours'd of in this Appendix. But it is much swoln already, and I con­ceive I have said enough to settle such, who may be shaken, but are desirous of satisfaction: And as to Scepticks, or men of an In­veterate Faction, I have not such thoughts of my self, as that I am able to recover them.


THESE notes ought to have been written in a Language more befitting Criticisms of this nature. But the reason they speak plain English, is, because they are opposed, for the main, to Books, which are made to speak English More Texts also should have been examined, and the search of these carried further. Both may be done in time, if God give leisure, and it appear this Essay does any good. In the mean while; the Can­did Reader will take notice, I deal with the People, whom I thought, next to Truth and Plainness, which I have sacredly observed, I could gratifie in no­thing more than brevity. God bless all to the end designed.


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