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ing up those truths, which else must have been forgot, and of preventing those errors and heresies, which they saw springing up in the church, &c.
2. If we suppose the apostles thus negligent of the interests of Christianity, it will be very absurd to imagine the faithful Christians themselves to be negligent in a matter of such importance, in which they could not but see themselves so nearly concerned. The zeal for the Christian religion, which they evidenced in forsaking all on its account, and exposing themselves to the rage and malice of the world, would sure make them solicitous to have the genuine and authentic memoirs of it in their own language. For instance, the converts at Jerusalem, in whom there must needs be by education the greatest esteem for all those books, which they believed did come from God; can it be thought, they would not endeavour to have the History of the Life and Doctrines of Christ, as well as the Old Testament translated into their known language, especially when they certainly believed the inspiration of the one as well as the other ? I might further argue this from the character of Ignatius, bishop of Antioch, and other bishops of Syria, who must needs be very defective in their duty to the churches over which they were set,, if they did not take care they should be supplied with the inspired volumes, which themselves valued so much. I conclude therefore, that as a version into Syriac was necessary to be made in or near the apostles' time, so it is probable one was then made.
Obs. 4. The Christians of Syria were wont to read the sacred scriptures of the New Testament in their churches and public assemblies very soon after the apostles' time ; and therefore a translation of them was then made into the Syriac language.
Although I might confirm this observation by many instances, yet the instance which I shall produce being so demonstrative of the fact, I shall content myself with producing only that. The passage I refer to is that of Justin Martyr, who lived in the beginning of the second century, and plainly speaks of himself as being “a disciple of the apostles," ánoστόλων γενόμενος μαθητής e. He tells us, that in their religious assemblies “ every Sunday the writings of the apostles and prophets were read f.” Now Justin was a native, as he himself says, of Palestine in Syria, viz. Neapolis in Samaria, in which country, as has been proved, Syriac was the language. Now unless a version was made of the apostles' writings into this language, it had been very preposterous for them to have read them in their churches; unless we suppose them like the later papists, who will neither suffer translations of the scriptures to be made into other languages, nor any other to be read in the churches, but such as the people do not understand. This argument I look upon as conclusive, and therefore shall anticipate an objection or two, which some perhaps may be apt to raise against it. As,
e Epist. ad Diognet. p. 501.
1. That Justin dwelt at Rome, and not in Syria, where he was born. To which I answer, that though it be certain Justin was at Rome h, yet the accounts we have of him seem to intimate, that he went there only with a view of presenting his memorials for the Christian religion to the emperor and senate, and that he was not a resident of Rome; and therefore when this was done, he returned again to Asia, and at Ephesus he had that famous dispute with Trypho the Jew, which is still extanti. This seems not unlikely to have been either as he was going to Rome from Syria, or returning to Syria from Rome; because in the end of the disputek, he tells us, they
prayed for his safety in the voyage he was then going to “make." It is true indeed, the words of Eusebius!, éni tas Ρώμης τας διατριβής εποιείτο, are commonly translated m though they expressed his fixed habitation at Rome; but the words imply no such thing, but more properly are significative of such a continuance, as is made by a traveller on a journey ; and so we find the word Slutpißw is continually made use of in the New Testament, to denote the continuance of our Saviour and his apostles for a few days in a place, till they removed to another n. Besides, there is another sense, which may be given to Eusebius's words, much better than that of his translators,
Apol. 2. pro Christ. p: 98. 8 Præf. in Apol. 2. p. 53.
h Vide Euseb. Hist. Eccl. l. 4. C. 16. Hieron. Catal. Script. Eccl. in Justin. et Phot. Biblioth. Cod. cxxv. i Euseb. Hist. Eccl. 1. 4. c. 18.
Dialog. cum Tryph. Jud. in fine.
| Hist. Eccl. l. 4. c. 11. in fine.
m Vid. Vers. Christophorson. et Vales.
* John iii. 22. xi. 54. Acts xii. 19. xiv. 3, 28. xv. 35. xvi. 12. xx. 6. and several other places.
viz, if we take glatpoßàs moleīv to signify his having public conferences, and making public discourses. This seems most agreeable to the context of Eusebius; and is most evident in that Jeromeo and Photius P, speaking of Justin's being at Rome, instead of διατριβής εποιείτo have διατριβής έσχε, which can be taken in no other than the sense last given; especially if we consider, that Photius adds the word pizor opov, which, though it be not placed so as to be connected with Slatpoßàs, yet evidently ought to be, and the first Latin translator read it
I conclude therefore, that Justin's abode at Rome was only as a stranger or traveller, and that Syria, his native country, was still his home; and consequently, when he declares to the emperor the customs of the Christian assemblies, he means the churches in Syria; and so that a version was made in the Syriac language, because the writings of the New Testament were read in them.
2. It may be further objected, that Justin could not speak of the books of the New Testament being read in the Syrian churches, and that he himself did not reside in Syria, because he was unacquainted with the Hebrew or Syriac language, as seems to be evident from his works. Dr. Cave produces a very remarkable instance of it', viz. “ his deriving the word “ satana from sata, which,” says he, “ in the language of the “ Jews and Syrians signifies an apostate, and nas,” (on which account he is called a serpent,) “and denotes the same as sata “ in their languages."
To which I answer, that though the derivation be, as Dr. Cave says, very childish and ridiculous, because every one who knows any thing of Hebrew now is sure it is derived from the verb you, which signifies to hate with malice, yet I think it cannot hence be concluded, that Justin did not live in Syria: for,
(1.) The verb you was not in the Syriac language, but another always made use of instead of it. As there are in the Syriac abundance of words, which are not in the old Hebrew, so abundance in Hebrew, which were not in Syriac. As the
• Catal. Script. Eccl. iu Justin. p Phot. Biblioth. cxxv.
9 Vid. Vers. Lat. hujus loci Phot. præfix. Opp. Justin. Mart. viz. Phi
losophicas ibidem diatribas habuit. r Histor. Liter. in Justin.
Dialog, cum Tryph. Jud. p. 331.
language altered, many words were both brought in and left out, among which this was one: this I conclude, because another verb is always made use of in the Syriac version of the New Testament to denote the idea, and never this; so that a native of Syria could not give a just etymology of this word, without being acquainted with the old Hebrew, which at that time, it is certain, was known but to very few, especially out of Jerusalem.
(2.) Suppose the verb you had been common in Syriac, it will be a mighty strange consequence to infer, that Justin was not an inhabitant of Syria, because he thought another verb or noun in the same language, and not that, was the root of any particular word. Were I to make use of the same argument in respect of an European language, and to conclude, for instance, a person was not an inhabitant of England, because he could not tell, or should mistake the Latin or Saxon original
any English word; the reasoning would be apparently very weak, and the consequence would be, that but a very few inhabitants would be left in England. The case is exactly the same.
(3.) This verb was not common in the Hebrew itself, not being above once or twice to be found in the Hebrew Bible.
(4.) Justin, though a Samaritan or native of Palestine, was born of Gentile parents ; as appears by the names of his father and grandfather, which, he says, were Priscus and Bacchius; was educated in the philosophy and learning of Greece, as is evident from the accounts of Eusebius, Jerome, and Photius u; and therefore, though he might understand his own country language, it is not at all strange he was no critic in it. But,
(5.) For proof that Justin understood Syriac, I think we need go no further than this very place which is objected. If he had not, how did he know the word satana was of Hebrew or Syriac original, and apply to that language for its etymology? Why did he not, as other fathers unacquainted with this language are often ridiculously wont*, apply to the Greek + Præf. in Apol. 2.
y Locis supra citatis.
* Thus Lactantius Divin. Instit. 1.4. father, but is mistaken. Vid. Vales. C. 26. and others, derive pascha, the ad Euseb. Hist. Eccl. l. 4. c. 12.
passover, from the Greek ráoxw to
Jerome indeed seems to take them as one name of his
for its original ? This evidently proves he knew the language. Besides, to put the matter past all controversy, I observe, upon a close and critical inquiry, the two words (viz. sata and nas, from which he derives satanas) are purely and properly Syriac words, which denote very exactly the nature of Satan, or the Devil, as it is represented in scripture. This discovery I take to be of some consequence, and therefore shall endeavour to shew it more clearly.
1.) The first word is sata; “this," says Justin, “ signifies
an apostate, in the language of the Jews and Syrians;" and so, I observe, it does. The original Hebrew verb is no which signifies to seduce, or deceive, or draw aside, and is the very word made use of to express Satan's seducing David to number the people y. Hence came the verb 820 very common in Chaldee, to draw aside, or go aside, and the Syriac 140 signifying the very same; and so the participle Peal of this verb in Syriac -will denote one that goes aside, or an apostate and deceiver of others, and that participle is 1.40 sate, or sata, the very word that Justin produces. This verb is very common in this sense in the Syriac translation of the New Testament; and Gal. iii. 19. the noun derived from it signifies apostasy. The reader learned in these things may see the instances in Dr. Castell's Polyglot Lexicon, and Schaaf's and Trostius's Syriac Lexicons.
2.) The other word is nas. “ This," says Justin, “ signifies “ the same as sata in Hebrew or Syriac," and denotes that, on the account of which Satan is called serpent. Nothing can be more just than this. The word is apparently Syriac, derived from the known Hebrew root da, which in Piel signifies
tempt, and is used of God's tempting Abraham 2. In the Syriac it is often used in the same sense; and the noun formed from it denotes frequently the tempter a, on which account Satan is called serpent. So that nothing can be more evident, than that Justin understood the Syriac language; and conse
suffer, because Christ suffered at the passover, or because that was typical of Christ. Others derive the name Jesus from iów sano, &c. which etymologies every body knows are trifling.
3' Sam. xxiv, J. The word satan
is not indeed in our present copies
z Gen. xxii. I.