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reading fome Arabic Books, which are either supposititious and forged to deceive the Unwary, or by a false Veil of Antiquity thrown over them, have many false and foolish Accounts in them and are published to palliate Errors : such is the Book published by a Person well skilled in Languages in the Name of Eutycbius Patriarch of Alexandria, about the Beginning of our Troubles in 1741, to weaken the Polity and Discipline of our Church; wherein contrary to the Faith of all History that Trumpery and fictitious Author affirms that for 200 Years after St. Mark there were no Bishops as distinct from Presbyters, in Ægypt, and that the Patriarcb of Alexandria was elected and consecrated by Pref byters, who had the sole Management of all such Affairs, as were afterwards transacted by Bishops. What Credit ought to be given to this fabulous Writer (whoever he was) appears from hence, that the same Author is not ashamed to assert there were 1000 Bishops present at the Council of Nice : when from all both Greek and Larin Writers, of whom many lived at the same Time, some were present at the Council
, it is a Thing proved and allowed by common Consent, that there were only 318 Bishops present : I thought proper to
obferve this to shew what Credit his Work deserves., This idle Tale of the Presbyters and Bishops is fully refuted by that very learned Man John Morinus, in his Book of Ordinations, 3 Exerc. VII. chap. 7. which those who would see more may consult.” He has shewed us a few Forgeries, to lessen the Authority of the Governors in the Chriftian Church. I own, 'tis a severe Insinuation, and perhaps, the Doctor did not think that such an Observation or Reflection would be made : He has given abundance of Eulogiums to these People, and § 7, very high Commendations of this forged Language ; but I do not find he has said any Thing of their Forgeries to destroy the Authority of our Lord and Master Christ, tho' their whole Undertaking tends to that End. After all this Villainy was settled, he tells us, § 15, about the Year of Christ goo, Rab. Saadias, a Cbaldee Jew, made a Translation of the Hebrew Bible into Arabic, retaining the Hebrew Letter, of which we only have the Pantateuch; he calls it a Paraphrase, very wide from the Hebrew, &c. $ 17, that it was wrested into the Rabinical Sense. Let us state the Condition of Things when this was attempted : He, befides being an apostate Jew, was further
poisoned with all the Forgeries they were, then hatching and recording, which, if poffible, outdo those in the Alcoran; and therefore of Course would falsifie many Points on purpose. If he had not lived among Arabians; we cannot suppose that he had undergone the Instruction of the Mabometan Schools; that was never permitted : And if he had, that they would not have helped Isim much ; those who were but learning to write, were but learning to teach. If he had got the Alcoran, &c. privately into his Hand, he durft not confer about the Meanings of the Words with Mahometans; that was Death. If he had lived among Arabians, these Yews always retained their own Tongue, and when they learned any other Language, they pronounced it awkwardly. If he went upon the Pronunciation or Dialect of of the People who spoke it, that not only varied then in divers Places, but, if half as bad as’tis now, none could write after them. If there were then a few Books translated out of other Languages, by School-learn'd Arabians, tho' it was not lawful for a Jew to read Heathen, Mebometan, nor Christian Books, he had the Chance of their or his understanding the Arabic, and of each of those Languages tranflated; and Vol. IV.
'tis like they had little Relation to Hebrero, or the Bible. The Ignorance of these Rabbies in the Hebrew, is well enough known. Thus prepared, as the Arabic has more Letters than the Hebrew, and many which have different Powers or Sounds, when he attempted to use the Hebrew Letters to translate the Bible into Arabic, he was forced, without
Rule or Precedent but his own Fancy, to place each of the Hebrew Letters which he thought would pretty near Answer for a Letter which he knew was, or he thought should be, used in the Arabic : And when he used a Hebrew Letter where he knew or thought an Arabic Letter was, or should be used, which answerd it not, he was forced to add a Mark, to denote that Letter was used for such an Arabic Letter; and so a different Mark to each Hebrew Letter which was placed for an Arabic Letter, which differed as aforefaid. The Impossibility of finding Words in the then spoken or written Arabic used in the Senses Words are used in the Bible, has been, and will hereafter be lhewed ; all which put together, is surely enough to make it uncertain and useless, in Point of Evidence to Christians. Others say, that he translated that, and other Parts, into Arabic, with the Arabic Letter ; but I think it was scarce come into Use then; because, as I said, if it was settled or fixed then, it had but been so a little before, and none but Converts were allowed to read their Alcoran, &c. in their Dominions, but at the Risque, if discovered, of turning Mahometan, or being put to Death; and none but Mahometans were suffered to use that Character, till long after. See Dr. Pocock's Preface to the various Reading of the Arabic, in the Pol. Vol. VI. He has Thewed what Materials he had to compose that in the Polyglot; and the various Readings; and they have altered what concerned the Trinity; and many other chief Points, to serve their Purposes, in too many Instances, and too impudently to be inserted here. He supposes two of his Copies of the Pentateuch to have come from Saadias's Translation, but to have been altered since, in some of those Points, whether by a Jere; a Samaritan, or a Mahometan; he and others seem to doubt. I think Dr. Walton does not pretend to say, that there was any Translation made into