Providence Proves The Sources Have Not Been Corrupted

“The providence of God proves that the sources have not been corrupted. 

V. The following arguments prove that the sources have not been corrupted. (1) The providence of God which could not permit books which it willed to be written by inspiration (theopneustois) for the salvation of men (and to continue unto the end of the world that they might draw from them waters of salvation) to become so corrupted as to render them unfit for this purpose. And since new revelations are not to be expected (after God has recorded in the Scriptures his entire will concerning the doctrine of salvation), what can be more derogatory to God (who has promised his constant presence with the church) than to assert that he has permitted the books containing this doctrine to become so corrupt that they cannot serve as a canon of faith? (2) The fidelity of the Christian church and unceasing labor in preserving the manuscripts; for since Christians have always labored with great zeal to keep this sacred deposit uncorrupted, it is not credible that they would either corrupt it themselves or suffer it to be corrupted by others. (3) The religion of the Jews who have bestowed upon the sacred manuscripts great care and labor amounting even to superstition. Hence Josephus says that after the lapse of ages no one has dared either to add to or take away from or alter the peculiar books of the Jews in any respect and that they think it an honor to die for the Scriptures (Against Apion 1*.42 [Loeb, 1:180-81]). Philo, in his book on the departure of the Israelites from Egypt (cited by Eusebius, Preparation for the Gospel 8.6.357c [ed. Gifford, 1903], 1:387) goes further, asserting that “even up to his time, through a space of more than two thousand years, not so much as a word had been changed in the law of the Hebrews and that any Jew would rather die a hundred times, than suffer the law to be altered in the least.” They carry their ridiculous superstition concerning the sacred manuscript to such a length that if a corrected book of the law fell on the ground, they proclaimed a fast and expressed their fears that the whole universe would return to its original chaos, so far were they from corrupting the manuscripts. (4) The carefulness of the Masoretes not only about verses and words, but also about single letters (which, together with all the variations of punctuation and writing, they not only counted, but also wrote down, so that no ground or even suspicion of corruption could arise). Arias Montanus employs this argument in the “Praefatio” to his Biblia sacra Hebraicey Chaldaice, Graece et Latine (1572), vol. I. (5) The multitude of copies; for as the manuscripts were scattered far and wide, how could they all be corrupted either by the carelessness Of librarians or the wickedness of enemies? Augustine says, “No prudent man can believe that the Jews however perverse and wicked could do it, in copies so numerous and so far and widely diffused” (CG 15.13* [FC 14:440; PL 41.452]). Vives said this ought to be the reply to those “who argue that the Hebrew manuscripts Of the Old Testament and the Greek of the New have been so falsified and corrupted as to make it impossible to draw the truth from these sources” (Saint Augustine, of the Citie of God with , comments of. . Vives (16201, pe 519).”

~Turretin, Institutes of Elenctic Theology Vol. 1, p. 107


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