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importance and use of rules. Having defined the objects of a club, the Master of the Rolls tells us that, “In order to secure the principal object of the club, the members generally enter into a written contract in the form of rules.” Human nature is never to be trusted on its word of honour. Safety lies in obedience to law, and though we may possibly find a few men who would be good and faithful members of any institution to which they might belong were all the laws to be cancelled on their behalf, yet such men are very rare birds indeed, and if such could anywhere be found, they would be the last in the world to propose that all authority should be abrogated, and that man should be left a law unto himself. In an extended sense clubs embrace provident institutes, friendly societies, and other bodies united on almost any common ground. But in every case each member becomes subject to a code of laws; he gives up his own will in order to gain some advantage common to all.
The last phase of authority in a social aspect that I shall here name, is found in and illustrated by corporate bodies. Corporations are variously constituted. Generally speaking, a corporate body “is an assembling and joining together of many into one fellowship and brotherhood, whereof one is head and chief, and the rest are the body.” But here as elsewhere human authority is the base of association. Corporations may be spiritual or temporal, civil or eleemosynary; and the objects to be compassed may be for the good government of a town, to prevent the possibility of an interregnum, or for the perpetual distribution of free alms or bounty; but in all cases they are entirely under the supervision of law. They cannot act capriciously, or as they would, but as the laws of incorporation direct.
Now society is not a whit more of Divine appointment than the state. Both are a necessity of human life, and though they are not Divinely instituted, yet if they were they could not be more esteemed than as at present existing. We consider authority in all cases equally imperative. No orderly member of a club, a corporate body, a jointstock, a business partnership, or a properly regulated home, feels that he has a right to violate law. The fast young man may demand a latch-key; but fast young men never furnish sensible people with pretexts for anything. Human authority in society is supreme; we all strive to walk within its laws, and it is because in all matters relating to our present good, we feel and see that they are the only sure means to the desired end. It is indeed as Hooker said: “Of law there can be no less acknowledged, than that . . . her voice is the harmony of the world; all things do her homage, the very least as feeling her care, and the greatest as not exempted from her power; both angels and men, and creatures of what condition soever, though each in different sort and manner, yet all with uniform consent, admire her as the mother of their peace and joy.”
Such I take to be the character of human authority in our social life, whether viewed in the dominant but only understood laws of etiquette, or formulated as in corporate bodies, clubs, and trade contracts. As the Frenchman said, “Behold the camel !” so I would say, Behold man as a social being ! By this review we may all find arguments for obedience; and though it is most undesirable that any should sit down resting satisfied merely to obey laws that in the nature of things are not good, yet we may surely see, that human authority in social life is productive of enormous good, and that the duty of every one is to submit, though under protest, to its control.
ON THE IMPORTANCE OF A GENUINE TRANSLATION
OF THE SACRED SCRIPTURE.1
(Continued from page 159.) AFTER examining the various means employed by the Divine Providence to keep the power of the letter of the Word unimpaired and inviolate, we shall inquire more particularly into those measures by which the power of the Word to consociate heaven with man may be impaired by men.
The power of the Word of God in the first place is impaired when it is not read in a holy state, and when it is read from false doctrine; for it effects conjunction with heaven only when he who reads it considers it as holy. This is clearly stated in the T. C. R. 234, where we read: “The spiritual and celestial senses of the Word are evolved out of the natural sense of the Word, when man, who considers the Word holy, reads it. This evolution is instantaneous, and so, consequently, is consociation.”
Again, we read, “Every one is allowed to understand the sense of the letter of the Word in simplicity, only he must not confirm the appearances of the truth which are there, so as to destroy genuine truth. For the interpretation of the Word, as to its spiritual sense,
1 A Lecture delivered at the New Church College, Devonshire Street, Islington, on February 22, 1876, by Prof. R. L. Tafel, A.M., Ph. D.
from the falsities of doctrine closes heaven and does not open it; but the interpretation of the spiritual sense from the truths of doctrine opens heaven” (De Verbo, posthumous, No. 7).
From this it follows, that no one who looks upon the Word as a mere human composition can be conjoined with heaven upon reading the same; notwithstanding the Word is composed of mere correspondences, and by correspondences conjunction is effected with heaven. And also that the Word of God is shorn of its power when those who read it are confirmed in false doctrines.
But, on the other hand, it appears that those who read the Word from true doctrine have heaven opened unto them, and that they are conjoined with the angels, who perceive the unperverted Word of God in their minds.
Another means by which the letter of the Word of God is deprived of its power is, when scholars whose minds are not enlightened by true doctrine, and who are unacquainted with correspondences, dare, on merely natural grounds, to declare some parts of the Word of God to be non-authentic, and thus interpolated.
Of this character are the criticisms of so great a man as Constantin von Tischendorf, who has been applauded even by New Churchmen for mutilating the Word of God. If Tischendorff, in declaring certain parts of the New Testament as spurious, had had access to the original MSS. of the Evangelists themselves, no one would be justified in opposing his fiat. But as it is, the Codex Sinaiticus, on which he lays most stress in his condemnation of portions of the Word of God, according to his own testimony does not date back any further than the third century after Christ. And although those codexes, which have furnished the substance of what is known as the textus receptus of the New Testament, may be 600, 700, or 800 years younger than the famous Codex Sinaiticus, and the equally famous Codex Vaticanus, yet it does not follow by any means that the originals from which these famous codexes were copied, have been better, or more authentic, than those originals upon which the textus receptus rests. From the fact that the Codex Vaticanus and the Codex Sinaiticus have reached our times, and from the fact that those copies and those originals upon which our textus receptus rests have been destroyed, it does not by any means follow that the destroyed copies have been inferior in value.
Tischendorff, however, does not rest his emendations exclusively on the Codex Sinaiticus, of which he himself has been the discoverer, but he rests them also on a critical examination of all the other codexes that have been preserved from ancient times. If these were all the codexes of the New Testament that had ever been written, and if the textus receptus differed from them, we would be justified, on a critical examination of these codexes, to amend the textus receptus. Yet neither Tischendorff, nor any one else, is justified in declaring that the twenty codexes of the New Testament, which have been preserved from those ancient times to the present day, are superior in authority to those many thousand codexes which have been lost, and among which are those on which our textus receptus rests. But from the fact that at the very foundation of Tischendorff's critical method lies this assumption, that the codexes which we know are superior to the codexes which we do not know; that therefore the limited amount of what we know must necessarily be better and more authentic than the large amount of what we do not know—we are fully justified in challenging a priori every one of his critical, or rather “uncritical" emendations. Besides, it is well known how very carefully the Divine Providence has watched over the literal text of the Old Testament, so that it is a historical fact that the very letters of the various books of the Old Testament were counted by the Massoretes. Must we not thence conclude that the Divine Providence has employed the same watchful care in the preservation of the text of the New Testament? That, therefore, those written copies on which our printed textus receptus rests have been superior to all those other codexes which have not been employed in its preparation, and which have since emerged out of their hidingplaces?
If, therefore, we believe that the New Testament is the Word of God, and if we believe in an overruling Providence, we are bound to assume that Providence was able to keep the text of the New Testament as pure as that of the Old Testament. Yet in the New Church we have other means, by which to decide whether a portion of Scripture actually belongs to the Word of God, or not. We believe that in the whole of the letter of the Word of God is contained a spiritual sense; and we would be false to our Church, and false to our inmost conviction, should we ever consent to have any portion of the Word removed out of it which contains a spiritual sense. In that case those terrible words would overtake us, which are written at the end of the Book of Revelation, where we read : “If any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the Holy City, and from the
things which are written in that book.” Whoever removes any, even the least part, from the Word of God, removes a portion of the foundation of heaven on earth. And to that extent impairs the very existence of some part of heaven.
It is fortunate that for all those passages against which Tischendorff and his followers reach out their sacrilegious hands, we have the direct testimony of the writings of our Church that they do contain a spiritual sense, and thus that they form integral parts of the Word of God.
The passages that Tischendorff condemns are principally the following :1. John viii. 1-11, containing the history of the woman taken in adultery. 2. In chapter v. of the same Gospel, verse 4, he elides these words : “For an angel went down at a certain season into the pool and troubled the water; whosoever then first after the troubling of the water stepped in, was made whole of whatsoever disease he had.” 3. In the last chapter of that Gospel he condemns these words in the 51st verse, “and He was carried up into heaven." 4. In the last chapter of Mark he removes everything after the 8th verse, twelve precious verses. 5. In Matthew, chap. vi., he declares the doxology of the Lord's prayer to be spurious. All these portions of Scripture, however, the Lord Himself at His Second Coming has declared to be integral parts of His Divine Word, by instructing His servant Emanuel Swedenborg to give their spiritual meaning either wholly or in part.
The third means by which the power of the Word of God is impaired on earth is by a false translation. For by a false translation of the Word of God the continuity of the internal sense is just as much broken as when a word is dropped out of it. For when a word in the Sacred Scripture is wrongly translated, a wrong idea is received of that passage in the mind, and if this idea is a central one, it may cast a false spiritual light on a whole chapter in the mind.
For instance, in Luther's German translation of the eleventh chapter of Genesis, where the building of the tower of Babel is described, we read, “ As they journeyed eastwurd, they found a plain in the land of Shinar," while the true translation is, “As they journeyed from the east.”. The meaning of the passage in a genuine translation is, that as the church was moving away from the Lord, who is the East, they came into the state of evil represented by Shinar, but . ? Constantin von Tischendorff, “Haben wir den ächten Schrifttext,” etc., Leipzig, 1873.