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The Causes of Corruption of the Traditional Text, Vol. 2 Paperback – 1998
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We are prepared to make the utmost allowance for careless, even for licentious transcription; and we can invent excuses for the mistaken zeal, the officiousness if men prefer to call it so, which has occasionally not scrupled to adopt conjectural emendations of the Text.
To be brief, so long as an honest reason is discoverable for a corrupt reading, we gladly adopt the plea. It has been shewn with sufficient clearness, I trust, in the course of the forgoing chapters, that the number of distinct causes to which various readings may reasonably be attributed is even extraordinary.
But there remains after all an alarmingly large assortment of textural perturbations which absolutely refuse to fall under any of the heads of classification already enumerated. They are not to be accounted for on any ordinary principle. And this residuum of cases it is, which occasions our present embarrassment.
They are in truth so exceedingly numerous; they are often so very considerable; they are, as a rule, so very licentious; they transgress to such and extent all regulations; they usurp so persistently the office of truth and faithfulness, that we really know not what to think about them. Sometimes we are presented with gross interpolations,--apocryphal stories: more often with systematic lacerations of the text, or transformations as from an angel of light.
We are constrained to inquire, How all this can possibly have come about? Have there even been persons who made it their business of set purpose to corrupt the [sacred deposit of Holy Scripture entrusted t the Church for the perpetual illumination of all ages till the Lord should come?]
At this stage of the inquiry, we are reminded that it is even notorious that in the earliest age of all, the New Testament Scriptures were subjected to such influences. In the age which immediately succeeded the Apostolic there were heretical teachers not a few, who finding their tenets refuted by the plain Word of GOD bent themselves against the written Word with all their power.
From seeking to evacuate its teaching, it was but a single step to seeking to falsify its testimony. Profane literature has never been exposed to such hostility. I make the remark in order also to remind the reader of one more point of [dissimilarity between the two classes of writings. The inestimable value of the New Testament entailed greater dangers, as well as secured superior safeguards. Strange, that a later age should try to discard the latter].
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