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Section Four
Part 3 of Section IV of Norton's book entitled "How we may know whether books which are said to be the Word of God, are so or not."

Canon Westcott of Cambridge University, says in his work on the Canon of the N. T. (that is, on what books are really part of God's Word,) 1875, that to justify the acceptance of any book as infallible, we need evidence similar to that which Bishop Huet says is a sure proof that a book is what it is said to be. Dr. Westcott says at p. 12, "It is impossible to insist too often or too earnestly on this, that it is to the Church, as a witness, and keeper of holy writ, that we must look both for the formation and the proof of the Canon. The written rule of Christendom must rest finally on the general confession of the Church, and not on the independent opinions of its members......The chief value of private testimony lies in the fact that it is a natural expression of the current opinion of the time." He applies this rule to the Greek Testament, by showing that its several books were received at an early date, and prized in the following centuries, as divine, by the mass of those Greek Christians, who were not gross corrupters of the truth. He appeals to "common usage," p. 12; to the mention of these books as "received by Churches," p. 13, and to proofs of "a belief widely spread throughout the Christian body," as affording decisive evidence that these books are genuine and Apostolic (p. 14).
Dr. Westcott admits that evidence very much like this exists also with respect to the Peshito-Syriac books. He says, "The Peshito Version is assigned almost universally to the most remote Christian antiquity. The Syriac Christians of Malabar even now claim for it the right to be considered as an Eastern original of the New Testament, and.......their tradition is not, to a certain extent, destitute of all plausibility," "It was in the Aramaean vernacular language of the Jews of Palestine that the Gospel of Matthew was originally written, if we believe the unanimous testimony of the fathers; and it is not unnatural to look to the Peshito as likely to contain some traces of its first form," (p. 233.) "The dialect of the Peshito, even as it stands now, represents, in part at least, that form of Aramaic which was current in Palestine." (p. 234.) "Edessa is signalised in early church history by many remarkable facts. It was called the 'holy' and the 'blessed' city: its inhabitants were said to have been brought over by Thaddeus in a marvelous manner to the Christian faith; and 'from that time forth,' Eusebius adds, 'the whole people of Edessa have continued to be devoted to the name of Christ.' " "Tradition fixes on Edessa as the place whence the Peshito took its rise. Gregory Bar Hebreus, one of the most learned and accurate of Syrian writers,.......assumes the Apostolic origin of the New Testament Peshito as certain......He speaks of this as a known and acknowledged fact." (pp. 235-6.)
Dr. Westcott says also "This version was universally received by the different sects into which the Syrian Church was divided [after] the fourth century, and so has continued current even to the present time. All the Syrian Christians whether belonging to the Nestorian, Jacobite, or Roman communion, conspire to hold the Peshito AUTHORITATIVE, and to use it in their public services......The Peshito became in the East the fixed and unalterable RULE OF SCRIPTURE." (p. 239.) "The respect in which the Peshito was held, was further shown by the fact that it was taken as the basis of other versions in the East. An Arabic and a Persian version were made from it." (p. 240.)
Dr. Westcott has linked the Peshito with the Latin Vulgate in a passage which, if freed from reference to the Latin version, to avoid any discussion respecting it, says of the Peshito, "Its voice is one to which we cannot refuse to listen. It gives the testimony of Churches, and not of individuals. It is sanctioned by public use, and not only supported by private criticism. Combined with the original Greek [and the Old Latin], it represents the New Testament Scriptures as they were read throughout the whole of Christendom towards the close of the second century.........It furnishes a proof of the authority of the books which it contains, widespread, continuous, reaching to the utmost verge of our historic records. Its real weight is even greater than this; for when history first speaks of it, it speaks as of that which was recognised as a heritage from an earlier period, which cannot have been long after the days of the Apostles." (p. 263.)

Messages In This Thread
Section Four - by Larry Kelsey - 03-03-2004, 06:38 AM
Part 2 - by Larry Kelsey - 03-04-2004, 07:21 AM
Re: - by Larry Kelsey - 03-05-2004, 06:09 AM
Re: - by Larry Kelsey - 03-05-2004, 07:01 AM
[No subject] - by Rob - 03-05-2004, 01:20 PM
Re: - by Larry Kelsey - 03-05-2004, 06:30 PM
Re: - by Larry Kelsey - 03-06-2004, 07:44 AM

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