Page images
PDF
EPUB

was thus obviously pointed out to remember to have promised to thy the sophisticater, and had the work most erudite brother, Pammachius," been inscribed either jointly to &c. them, or with the more imposing To the general tenour of the pronames of “the venerable Pope" logues of Ezechiel, which succeeded Damasus, or of “ the most erudite the date of the epistle to Lucinius, Pammachius," it would have led to I now appeal in the next place, as an anachronism which would have confirming the authenticity of that detected the imposture.

in dispute, by informing us of the · It may be collected from the whole subjects which predominated in St. tenour of St. Jerome's writings, that Jerome's mind, at the period to though his revisal of the version was which it refers itself, by the dedicacompleted, and the corrected text tion to Eustochium. One or two employed in the commentaries which extracts will show how far the subhe was daily compiling, no part of jects of which it treats, in deterit but the Gospels, elicited from mining the order of the Epistles, and him by Pope Damasus, had been in replying to detractors, identify the published, until a late period. So hand from which it has proceeded. far was he from having taken that in the prologue to the fifth part step, that he ever manifests a dis. of the Comment on Ezechiel, he deposition to withhold his critical clares, “ lest the number of the works, entreats of those whom he books should be confounded, and, furnished with parts of them not to through a long space of time, the give away copies, and lays this in- order of the volumes be vitiated. I junction expressly on Paula, Eusto. have prefixed short prefaces to each; cbium, and Marcella. How long that from the front of the title the his papers lay by him without pub- reader should at once acknowledge lication, may be seen in the preface which book was to be read,” &c. to Obadiah; but an epistle address. To cite instances of Jerome's comed to Lucinius (Epist. xxviii. p. 82.) plaints of the severity of his opputs the case of the New Testament pugners, would be superfluous. out of dispute. From this docu- The prologue to the 'second book ment it appears, that even those of Micah, as a general assertion of friends who furnished him with no- the fact may not be inappositely taries, to provide themselves with cited: “We have always to reply to his works, were so far from having the invidious, (for envy never ceases,). a copy of this, which was the most and the exordiums of our books important, that they remained to be confute the calumnies of rivals, who apprised of its existence. As that commonly boast, that, in a sterile epistle speaks of the Commentary and jejune style, we publish some on Isaiah, as already finished, every trifles, and when we know not how prologue to that work, and to the to speak, cannot be silent," Commentary on Ezekiel, which im I shall offer but another remark mediately followed it, brings con- on the general characteristics which firmation to that which is in dispute, authenticate this prologue, as St. as they are collectively inscribed to Jerome's work, in order to set aside Eustochium. Let an example be the short-sighted objection, which taken from the first, “ Having fi- adjudges it to a later hand and penished twenty books on the twelve riod as not written with his usual Prophets, and the Commentaries on spirit. As nothing would have been Daniel, thou compellest me, Eusto more easy than to imitate the florid chium, virgin of Christ, to pass to and rhetorical parts of his style, we Isaiah, and, what I had promised at least learn from this objection, thy holy mother, while she lived, to how far the prologue would have perform to thee; which I indeed been rendered worthy of its reputed

author, had the manufacture of it ing from a consideration of the ge. been committed to the hands of the neral subjects selected for discusobjector. To those who behold the sion in the prologue, I shall now subject with St. Jerome's views, it observe how consistent it is with all presents a very different aspect the circumstances under which it When he wrote the prologue to professes to be writteu. Had a Amos it appears his respect for such fabricator been employed in cona style was on the decline ; and instructing it, he would have paturally the first of those prefixed to the made the prologue of the same era Commentary on Ezechiel, written at with the revisal of the Scriptures. the period to which the disputed But the prologue, ever true to the prologue must be referred, he ap- real state of things, while it menprizes Eustochium that she was “to tions Eustochium as “ exposing to expect nothing from the rhetorical envy the old age" of the author, art, nothing from the composition merely states what really occurred and beauty of the language.” But at the time, that “ he restored the in that prefixed to the seventh part Epistles to their order," which had of the same Commentary, he de- been long corrected. scribes the modes which he followed But as the forecited prologue in composing, which illustrate, in which disclaims all ambition of rhetothe most apposite manner, the feli- rical ornament, leads Eustochium to city of the objection. He there in- expect every thing from “ the care of forms us, that every hour, nay mo simple and perspicacious diligence," ment of his life, was occupied ; that it affords a light to guide us, in he could steal but a very few to search of those peculiarities of exedictate by candle-light, numberless cution and manner, which identify, persons flocking from the West, and even in the smallest sketch, the band claiming the hospitality of his mo- of a great and original master.” nastery; that the task of dictating There are writers of that indis. was become difficult, his eyes being tinct and general character; “ men dimned with age; that he could no of no mark or feature," who exlonger see the Hebrew characters bibit neither prominence nor pecuby day-light, and was obliged to liarity, that is perceptible to the have the Greek commentators read nicest discrimination. But among to him by the friars ; " whence” he writers of this description there is declares, “ my daughter Eustochium, no room for classing St. Jerome. receive with indulgence, what is pro. His learning alone places a vast duced by the pen of my notaries, distance between bim and every and what I have scarcely time for member of the Latin Church, from correcting.” And this statement re- the period at which he flourished, ceives the fullest confirmation from to the revival of letters. The fruits the Epistle to Lucinius, by which collected by his industry bad expewe are enabled to determine the era rienced the ripening hand of time; of the disputed prologue; it adopts and much of the produce was of so the same language respecting the peculiar a growth, that there was difficulties which he experienced in but one soil in which it could have composing, and calls upon Lucinius, been gathered. His intercourse if impeded by oversights when read with the Greeks, bis travels in ing, “ pot to impute it to him, but to Egypt, his long residence in Syria, the want of skill in his notaries, who opened to him those stores of Greek write down, not what they find, but and Hebrew literature, which were what they understand, and while closed against every other inquirer they endeavour to amend others of his age and language. A single errors exhibit their own.",

observation which he has made, on In summing up the evidence aris- the different classes of text existing

in his times, had he left no other a single epithet; and the disposiInemorial of his critical acumen, tion, followed in the old Italic, would prove his views to have been which ascribes the first place to Pe. profound, accurate, and extensive; ter's Epistle is stated; the cause of for he there bequeathed to us the in- that arrangement being specified invaluable information, without which cidentally, “ because he was the the classification of Greek manu- first Apostle.” The course followscripts, at the present day, would ed in disposing the Gospels is next have been in practicable. In en. mentioned, and proposed as a motering upon subjects similar to those del, in reducing the Epistles to the touched upon in the disputed pro- right order; the seven Epistles are logue, he was drawn into a field, accordingly enumerated, and diswhich though limited, afforded some posed in the proper order; the reaopportunity for the exercise of his son of the arrangement being as. extraordinary powers. A criterion signed, in the declaration that they is thus offered, to prove how far were “so digested by their au. that production is worthy of its re- thors." puted author; and that it may be How far the course thus adopted brought to the touchstone, under corresponds with the method of the most trying circumstances, 1 Jerome is directly apparent, on inshall apply the test, in comparison specting the prologue inscribed to with the sister prologuie, prefixed Pope Damasus, to which we are to the Gospels by the undoubted here referred. In it, St. Jerome Jerome; that whatever difference deserts the arrangement of the old exists between them, may be ren- Italic, disposing the Gospels after dered more striking, by an imme- the manner which is thus pursued diate contrast. If the result of the with the Epistles; assigning to St. experiment prove that the author of John, in both prologues, the last both was not merely possessed of place, instead of the second, to the same learning and modes of which his apostolical rank had enthinking, but that he displays in- titled him in that primitive version. formation which was wholly beyond But it is to the manner in which the reach of later writers, and which the subjects of both Epistles and has escaped even the most learned Gospels “ were digested,” by this of his modern editors ; it may be new arrangement that we are to look then easily judged, how far a coun- for the strong traits of resemblance terfeit hand could have transferred existing between the contrasted proto a copy, the inimitable lineaments logues, and for the striking marks of such an original.

of St. Jerome's mode of thinking, In the opening of the disputed which identify the author. It is prologue, every particular relative obvious that both parts of the Canon to the subject of arrangement, is were disposed, hy the new arrangecollected, and a greater variety of cu- ment, in a form which was better rious and learned allusions brought digested. By transferring St. John together, than is to be found, in the from the second to the last place in same space, in any of the genuine the Gospels, and St. Peter from the prefaces. We are first informed of first place to the second in the Episthe arrangement of the Epistles by tles, the history was more naturally the Greeks ; of the order adopted disclosed, the doctrine more sysby those “ who followed the right tematically unfolded. The Epistle faith,” as distinguished from that addressed to the ten tribes thus coradopted by those “ who were not responded, in place, with the Gos. sound in their opinion;" the autho- pel which was intended for the Jews; rity of the Epistles as acknowledged the moral exhortations of James as as " canonical" is then asserted in properly preceded the higher doc

REMEMBRANCER, No. 41.

[ocr errors]

trines of Peter, and the transition, lical soon wore out in the Greek in both Gospels and Epistles, was Church, and the civil code, from natural and progressive to the sub- the times of Theodosius and Juslime theology of St. John. The im- tinian, gave the whole compilation, portance annexed by St. Jerome to including the eigbty-fifth Canon, such a disposition, he has not left that legal authority which was to be conjectured; as it is virtually equally binding on the Eastern and admitted in his prologue to the Epis- Western Church; a difficulty lies tle to the Galatians.

in accounting for the source from Nor is it only to the strong marks whence the fabricator of such a of St. Jerome's manner of thinking, prologue could have derived his inbut to the deep characters of his learn- formation which decides the contest. ing, that we are to look for the crite. That the disputed prologue conrions by which ihe question is to be veys St. Jerome's estimate of that decided. I insist not on the order as- compilation, he has himself left us signed in the disputed prologue, to at no loss to decide. If he does the Epistles in the old Italic, though not slight it in the Epistle to Luciso singularly confirmed by St. Augus- nius, of which so much use has been tine, in a treatise in which he recome made ; he rejects the authority of mends that version: nor on that as the eighty-fifth Canon, on the books sigued to them in the Vulgate, which of Maccabees and the Epistles of is not less strikingly confirmed by St. Clement, and follows, on both, the Jerome, in his Epistle to Paulinus. Council of Laodicea ; the members Neither shall I lay any particular of which he necessarily included stress on the confirmation which the among those " Greeks who were prologue receives from the Council sound in their opinions.” But of of Laodicea, which prescribed the the Apostolic Canons, the Latin order adopted in it, and suggested Church knew nothing more than the term canonical, which it uses, was contained in the translation For these particulars, though they made by Dionysius Exiguus, about escaped Cassiodorus, and what is the year five hundred ; and as the more extraordinary, eluded Mar- copy which he followed was ancient tianay, might have been within the and uninterpolated, doubtless from reach of a Latin writer, or have being long preserved in the West, been conjectured from a comparison it could give no information on the of the old and the new translation, subject of the order of Scripture. The point on which I insist, as pal. In wanting the interpolated Canons, mary in the controversy, is that it necessarily takes no notice of the knowledge which the prologue dis- eighty-fifth, which alone speaks of plays of the Apostolical Canons, in their arrangement. Had any inassigning “ St. Peter's Epistles the formation been attained on the sub. first place among the seven styled ject, after this period from the canonical ;” and in the just estimate Greeks, it could be no longer rewhich it gives of that particular presented as confined to the heteCanon which commended this order, rodox; for the orthodox Council as refusing it the authority of those of the Trullus at Constantinople, “ Greeks who followed the right which was voted general by the sefaith, and were sound in their opi- cond Council of Nice, formally ra. nions.” As this was a piece of infor- tified the whole compilation, as prémation which recent inquiry disco- served by Johannes Antiochenus, vers to have been sufficiently trite in afterwards Patriarch of ConstanSt. Jerome's days, it excites little sur- tinople. Nor was this decision prize to find it in a prologue of his ever disputed until the Reformation composition, But as this low opi- brougbt in greater freedom of in. nion of the Canons termed Aposto. quiry, and an exemption from the ganon law, when the authority of accounts, led Martianay to reject the ceneral councils came to be ques. prologue on the authority of Cassiotioned. Then a line was, for the dorus. How very weak this atfirst time, drawn between the ge- tempt of the learned Benedictine is, nuine and the interpolated canons, will be evident on barely inspecting and the eighty-fifth accordingly the order assigned to St. Jerome's numbered among the latter. And books, in “ the Divine Institutions ;" it is curious to observe, that the as it contradicts the testimony of distinction was made by applying Jerome himself, together with that the very test for which I contend, of the entire Vulgate, and of the in ascertaining the genuine text of Council of Laodicea, all which af. St. John's Epistle ; for Archbishop ford each other mutual confirmaUslier, discovered the true Canons tion. It is indeed difficult to acand Epistles of St. Ignatius, merely count for the error of Cassiodorus, by confronting the testimony of the unless we suppose him misled by a Greek and Latin Church, and al- false conception of the disputed lowing its due sbare of authority to prologue; of his knowledge of which the latter.

we have at least this evidence, that But to evince how effectually this he quotes the contested passage, information was locked up from the which it is intended to vindicate. Latin Church, I now cite an exam. If we suppose him to have taken, in ple in Cassiodorus. It is obvious, a general sense, the declaration of notwithstanding the superior advan- the prologue relative to “St. Peter's tages which he possessed for ac- Epistles occupying the first place,” quiring knowledge in a subject on without considering that it is apwhich he was curious above all the plied, in a limited sense, to the Ca. Latins, he was wholly ignorant of tholic Epistles ; though his over. the authority on which the informa. sight was gross, his error was tion contained in the disputed pro- natural. But in thus placing these logue is founded. Of all the mem. Epistles before the rest, he commits bers of the Western Church he only the egregious blunder of thrusting could bring it to bear upon the the Pauline among the Catholic Latin Vulgate: for as he reconciled Epistles; and thus demonstrates that the Papal schism, his influence must he could have never seen the Aposhave been great, and he instituted tolical Canons. For they equally vinthat method of correcting the old dicate the first place to St. Peter's version, which insensibly brought in Epistles without dislocating the orthe new of Jerome. But, however, der of the whole, by mixing St. this power of altering the Latin ver. Paul's among the Catholic Epistles. sion, which will never be ascribed But as an instance not less strikwith equal probability to any other ing, of the very limited degree to person, may procure him the honour which this information has been proof being considered the author of pagated in the West, I mention the the prologue, and interpolater of error into which the want of it has the Vulgate, the suspicion is laid led the compilers of the Benedictine eternally at rest by one simple con- edition of St. Jerome. An ignosideration. If the order ascribed rance of the order ascribed the Episthe Epistles in the disputed pro. tles in the Apostolical Canons, has logue, be compared with that as- led them to pass sentence on the signed to the books of Jerome, in author of the prologue, as an uninhis “ Institutions” the question will structed impostor, who was iguobe decided by the comparison. So rant of the order which the Greeks palpable is the discrepancy between assigned to the books of Scripture. them that, the utter impossibility of For this injustice, however, they reconciling the two contradictory have made some amends, in clearing

« PreviousContinue »