The Itala and the Bible of the Waldenses
I have reserved a special chapter for the Itala, and the Bible of the Waldenses. I do it particularly because my Reviewers announce (Section I, p.15) that "the decisive consideration is whether the Itala was translated direct from Palestine, or whether it originated in North Africa." In fact they make it so decisive that they say:
"When this claim is overthrown, the very foundation of the book under review is removed, and the conclusions which are based upon it are rendered untenable," (Section I, p.17.)
I accept the challenge. I ask them if they will abide by the results. Here again we meet with the repeated mistake in the leading quotation, the unfortunate choosing of proof, and presentation of witnesses whose testimonies eat up one another.
Concerning the opening quotation from Dr. Nolan, (Section I, p. 13) they say....
"The uncertainty in his own contention is clearly recognized even by Mr. Nolan."
I reply. The thing which we clearly recognize is that the Reviewers certainly took Mr. Nolan's testimony out of its setting entirely. Why did they not go on and finish the paragraph? Mr. Nolan shows that he had not the slightest trouble to find the name of the Itala, its location, and the reason for that name, Dr. Nolan does not question the propriety of the name of the Itala, he refers to others who have questioned it. I will go on and quote from the point where they left off, Dr. Nolan says:
"In considering the strange error into which Dr. Bently has led Archbishop Potter, Dr. Mosheim, and Professor Michaelis, on this subject, the author perceived, without any labor of inquiry, that it derived its name from that diocese, which has been termed the Italick, as contradistinguished from the Roman...
"In the search to which these considerations have led the author, his fondest expectations have been fully realized." "Inquiry into Integrity of the GREEK VULGATE," preface pp. XVII, XVIII. (Emphasis mine)
In the face of these words, I wish to know why my Reviewers quoted only part of this passage, left the hearers under a wrong impression, and drew from those words precisely the opposite conclusion from that which you see the author goes on to state. Why did they present before you Dr. Nolan as in uncertainty concerning the Itala, when his whole book was written to show that he arrived at the most positive kind of certainty? A considerable part of his book is written to show that the Latin Bible of the Waldenses was of the family of the Itala and was the Received Text.
My Reviewers next claim that my whole contention stands or falls on the fact, which they set out of prove, that the original Latin version came from Africa. In support of their contention they first give us two quotations from Dr. Westcott. (Section I, p. 14).
It can naturally be seen that Dr. Westcott would be a prejudiced witness, because Dr. Westcott is one of the two men, under heavy indictment in my book. We suggest it would have been more logical to have grounded their argument upon better bases. Nevertheless, let us examine Bishop Westcott and see what his testimony amounts to. Westcott says:
"There is not the slightest trace of the existence of independent Latin Versions." "General Survey of the History of the Canon." p. 278.
Over against the testimony of Westcott I will put the testimony of three different authorities, whom my Reviewers usually seem very glad to use. Why they failed to use them in this place, I do not know. The first is from Dr. Kenyon. Speaking of the Old Latin Version, he says:
"What is certain is that the version exists in two different forms, probably representing two independent translations, known, from the regions in which they were circulated, as the African and the European: and that a revised form of the latter was current in Italy towards the end of the fourth century and was known as the Italic," Kenyon, "Our Bible and Ancient MSS", p. 78 (Emphasis mine)
Another from Dr. Kenyon:
"But the Old Latin was made long before any of our manuscripts were written, and takes us back almost to within a generation of the time at which the sacred books were themselves composed. The Old Latin Version is consequently one of the most valuable and interesting evidences which we possess for the condition of the New Testament Text in the earliest times. It has already been been said (page 78) that it was originally made in the second century perhaps not very far from A.D. 150, and probably, though not certainly, in Africa. Another version, apparently independent, subsequently appeared in Europe." Ibid. page 166, (Emphasis mine)
"Codex Brixianus (f), sixth century, with an Italian Text." Ibid, page 168.
"The Italian Text being evidently due to a revision of those with the help of Greek copies of a Syrian type." Ibid. p. 169
The first two quotations from Dr. Kenyon disprove the contention of my Reviewers. They present an independent line of Old Latin Versions whose origin is Europe. They further represent that a certain revision of the European type is known as the Italian or the Italic. Now note Dr. Kenyon's remarkable statement to the effect that the Italian text was the revision with the help of Greek copies of a Syrian type. Since Dr. Kenyon had adopted Hort's word "Syrian" to mean the Textus Receptus, here we have positive evidence that the Itala or the Italic type of Latin manuscript was of the Textus Receptus type. It is this Itala which Dr. Nolan proves was the Bible of the Waldenses. Moreover, Dr. Kenyon specifically names the Codex Brixianus, as does Dr. Nolan. Thus we have the testimony of Dr. Nolan, Dr. Kenyon, also Burgon and Miller, the effect that the Codex Brixianus is of the type of the Textus Receptus. We now add a special testimony from Hastings:
"Of the Italian group, f (Codex Brixianus) is the most pronounced, and has been taken by Wordsworth and White as the best representative of the Old-Latin text which Jerome had before him when he undertook his revision of the Latin New Testament." Hastings, "Dictionary of the Bible," p. 921
My reviewers have claimed that there is no hope of having the Italic transmitted in a pure form direct from Palestine to the Waldenses. (Section I, p.13). The testimony of Hastings on this point is enlightenting:
"The kinship which the text of the Old Latin has with the Old Syriac has caused Antioch to be suggested (by Sandy) as the original home of the version, that being a metropolis where Syrian and Latin elements met, and where versions of the scriptures in either tongue might radiate from a common center." p. 921.
Again from Gregory:
"From one translation, then or if any one insists upon it, from two or three independent Latin translations, the manuscripts passed through the Provinces to Gaul, to Great Britain, to Ireland," "Canon and Text, " p. 409. (Emphasis mine)
The African theory invented by Cardinal Wiseman has since been disproved. I wish, however, to call the attention of my hearers to the fact that my Reviewers have stepped forward and advocated the theory invented by Cardinal Wiseman. If you have read my book, you will remember the tremendous labors of Cardinal Wiseman, when he helped Cardinal Newman to Romanize Oxford University and subsequently all England. Would you believe it if I tell you that this theory of the African origin of the Old Latin was invented by Cardinal Wiseman. I have given evidence in my book which can be obtained from the life of this prelate, that he was furnished with considerable of his material by the Jesuits. "Without this training" he said later, "I should not have thrown myself into the Puseyite Controversy at a later date." (Ward, "Life and Times of Wiseman", Vol. I, p. 65) The Cardinal shows us that it was his familiarity with higher criticism which nerved his arm to help Cardinal Newman Jesuitize Oxford University. I will give you now a quotation from Burgon and Miller, to show how Cardinal Wiseman invented the theory, and that the theory has now been disproved. Then I will take one of the authorities used by my Reviewers, which also give you testimony opposed to the African theory:
"It is instructive to trace how the error arose. It came chiefly, if I mistake not, from two ingenious letters of Cardinal Wiseman, then a young man, and from the familiarity which they displayed with early African literature. So Lachmann, Tischendorf, Davidson, Tregelles, Scrivener, and Westcott and Hort followed him. Yet an error lies at the root of Wiseman's argument which, if the thing had appeared now, scholars would not have let pass unchallenged and uncorrected." Burgon and Miller, "The Traditional Text," p. 142
My Reviewers used a quotation from the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia in their effort to prove that the Itala was the Vulgate, (Sec. I, page 16). They overlooked a paragraph preceding, which demolishes their theory or rather Cardinal Wiseman's theory... when they say that the Old Latin manuscripts were of African origin. I will now quote the paragraph, which my Reviewers overlooked:
"Although the evidence has, up to the present time, been regarded as favoring the African origin of the first Latin translation of the Bible, recent investigation into what is called the Western Text of the N.T. has yielded results pointing elsewhere. It is clear from a comparison that the Western type of text has close affinity with the Syrian witnesses originating in the Eastern provinces of the Empire. The close textual relation disclosed between the Latin and the Syrian versions has led some authorities to believe that, after all, the earliest Latin version may have been made in the East, and possibly at Antioch." "International S.B. Encyclopedia." Vol. III, p. 1842. (Emphasis mine)
It is interesting to note that the quotation which they did use from this same Encyclopedia, and which followed (the former paragraph preceded) the above-quotation, was an effort on their part to prove that the Itala was the Vulgate. (This was on page 16, Section I.) However, on page 15, section I, they used another quotation (from Scrivener) to prove that the Itala was a stepping stone to the Vulgate. Now will my Reviewers please tell us which of the two they meant it to be, the Vulgate, or a stepping stone to the Vulgate. It can't be both. They have delivered to us here contradictory testimony.
In their endeavor to disprove the Itala as a text of the Textus Receptus type they bring quotations to show that it was a stepping stone to the Vulgate. I cannot see what bearing this has on the situation. Suppose Jerome did use the Old Latin getting out his Vulgate. In fact we know he did use it. But the Old Latin still persisted after the Vulgate was made even until the 12th and 13th centuries. So all quotations about the Old Latin being a stepping stone to the Vulgate are beside the point.
Why did my Reviewers say (Section I, p. 16): "Waldenses had only Vulgate." I take issue with this statement, when the Spirit of Prophecy shows that the Vulgate contained many errors (Great Controversy, p.245), and also declared that the Waldensian Bible was preserved uncorrupted. (Great Controversy, p.65) The evidence is clear that the true Waldensian Bible was not the Vulgate. Of course they had access to the Vulgate as we Protestants today also have, but it was not their own proper Bible. Dr. Schaff says: "This high place the Vulgate holds even to this day in the Roman Church, where it is unwarrantably and perniciously placed on an equality with the original." Do not accuse the Waldenses of this "unwarranted" and "Pernicious" doing. (Mclintock and Strong, Art. Jerome.)
In section I, p. 15, they bring forth a quotation from Gregory which says:
"Rome and Southern Italy in Christian circles were too thoroughly Greek at first to need a Latin Text." "Canon and Text," p. 156
In other words, my Reviewers to sustain their African theory try to secure evidence to prove that the early Christians of Italy were Greek speaking. Let us hear the Bible on this point, I read in Phil. 4:22, "All the saints salute you, chiefly they that are of Caesar's household."
From the quotation of my Reviewers, it would seem, then, that Paul's converts from Caesar's household, from the immediate circles of the ruler of the Roman Empire, could not talk Latin, but were talking Greek. This cannot be true, because it is unbelievable that the members of the household of the head of the great Latin Empire, could not speak Latin. Furthermore, I read in Romans 16:1-16 that Paul in his letter to the Church at Rome sent salutation to the following brethren and sisters: Phebe, Priscilla and Aquila, Epaenetus, Mary, Andronicus, and Junia, Amplias, Urbano, Stachys, Apellos, Aristobulus (household), Herodion, household of Narcissus, Tryphena and Tryphosa, Persis, Rufus, Asyncritus, Phlegen, Hermas, Patrobas, Hermes, Philologus, and Julia, Nereus and his sister Olympas.
What a grand array of Latin Christians at Rome! Do you suppose that these poor brethren (according to the argument of my Reviewers) had to sit around ninety years waiting for an African Latin Bible to come to Caesar's household before they had the scriptures in Latin; and that they were using a Greek Bible? At this point let me quote from Burgon and Miller, p. 145:
"How could he (Paul) have known intimately so many of the leading Roman Christians, unless they had carried his teaching along the road of commerce from Antioch to Rome? Such travellers, and they would by no means be confined to the days of St. Paul, would understand Syriac as well as Latin. The stories and books, told or written in Aramaic must have gone through all Syria, recounting the thrilling history of redemption before the authorized accounts were given in Greek. Accordingly, in the earliest times translations must have been made from Aramic or Syriac into Latin, as afterwards from Greek. Then a connection between the Italian and Syrian Churches, and also between the teaching given in the two countries, must have lain embedded in the foundations of their common Christianity, and must have exercised an influence during very many years after." Burgon and Miller, "The traditional Text.", page 145. (Emphasis mine)
All the forgoing arguments may be found in my book summed up in one paragraph which my Reviewers did not notice, much less attempt to answer. This paragraph reads, (O. A. B.V. p. 37)
"It is recognized that the Itala was translated from the Received Text (Syrian Hort calls it); that the Vulgate is the Itala with the readings of the Received Text removed."
Of course this means the variant readings removed. Why did Jerome remove the Textus Receptus variant readings from the Itala, if the Itala and the Vulgate were the same? See also article on Jerome in McClintock and Strong's Encyclopedia which shows that Jerome in getting out the Vulgate, departed widely from the "traditional text" (i.e. Textus Receptus), "the only text which was known" to those who resisted Jerome's innovations. If Holvidius, Jovinian and Vigilantus (reputed founder of the Waldenses) were fighting Jerome, it was not likely they would accept his Bible, edited under the flatteries of the Pope.
But we have some more splendid testimony concerning the Waldensians and their Bible. other than is left entirely to the speculation of higher critics. I read from the earlier edition of "Great Controversy:"
"The Waldenses were the first of all the people of Europe to obtain a translation of the Scriptures. Hundreds of years before the Reformation, they possessed the entire Bible in manuscript in their native tongue. They had the truth unadulterated, and this rendered them the special objects of hatred and persecution.... Here the lamp of truth was kept burning during the long night that descended upon Christendom. Here for a thousand years they maintained their ancient faith." "Great Controversy," pp. 70, 71, (1884 edition)
The Spirit of Prophecy emphasizes the fact that the Waldenses were the first people to have the Scriptures translated from the original into their native tongue. She said they had the entire Bible, and whatever Bible they had, it was pure and unadulterated. I wish to make note that this evangelical Bible stretched back to Apostolic days. I quote from Dr. Alexis Muston:
"Thus was the primitive church preserved in the Alps at the very period of the Reformation. The Vaudois are the chain which united the Reformed church with the first disciples of our Saviour. It is in vain that Popery, renegade from evangelical verities, has a thousand times sought to break this chain it resists all her efforts. Empires have crumbled, dynasties have fallen, but this chain of scriptural testimony has not been broken, because its strength is not from men, but from God." Muston, "The Israel of the Alps", Vol I, p. 29.
Let us recognize that Jerome brought the Vulgate into existence 390 A.D. By the influence of the Pope the Apocryphal books were inserted. The Waldenses on the other hand, made a distinction between the Canonical and the Apocryphal books. My Reviewers intimate that they did not by the quotation (Section I, p. 16) and further that they did not have the whole Bible. But I read from Allix:
"The Church of Italy made a more accurate distinction of the Canonical Books form the Apochryphal, than the Church of Rome at that time did." Allix, "Ancient Churches of Poedmont", p. 23
He is speaking of the ancestors of Waldenses in the 5th century. It is true that some later MSS of the Waldenses had certain of the Apocryphal books, but they did not look upon them as authoritive for doctrine, any more than certain English Bibles having hymns printed in them. Their confession of faith 1120 says so about Apocryphal books. (See Perrie, "History of Ancient Christians', p. 212
Furthermore, the Spirit of Prophecy says that the Scriptures of the Waldenses were pure and unadulterated. To us speaks again "Great Controversy";
"Some manuscripts contained the whole Bible..."
"By patient, untiring labor, sometimes in the deep, dark caverns of the earth, by the light of torches, the Sacred Scriptures were written out, verse by verse, chapter by chapter ... Angels of Heaven surrounded these faithful workers.
"Satan had urged on the papal priests and prelates to bury the word of truth beneath the rubbish of error, heresy, and superstition; but in a most wonderful manner it was preserved uncorrupted through all the ages of darkness. "Great Controversy", pp. 68, 69.
Does Sister White say here that angels held back the hand of the papists from corrupting their own Bible? No, she does not. She says that Satan urged them on to bury it in error, later she says that Wycliffe's Bible was translated from the Latin (Vulgate) which contained many errors. (See "Great Controversy", page, 245, edition 1911). An interesting point I will here mention is that the "Celts used a Latin Bible unlike the Vulgate." R.C. Flick "Rise of the Medieval Church." Sister White says,
"In Great Britain, primitive Christianity had very early taken root. The gospel received by the Britons in the first centuries, was then uncorrupted by Romish apostasy." Great Controversy", p. 62.
For further testimony that the Vulgate was corrupted, I read from D'Aubigue's "History of the Reformation":
"But to the popular attack of sarcasm Erasmus united science and learning... He showed that they must not even rest contented with the Vulgate, which swarmed with errors; and he rendered an incalculable service to truth by publishing his critical edition of the Greek text of the New Testament a text as little known in the West as if it had never existed." Book one, Chapter 8, p. 42 (Emphasis mine)
We can readily see that the Vulgate was not the Bible of the Waldenses. By further search we discover that step by step, as the Waldenses refused to bow the knee to Rome, so likewise, the Bible of the Waldenses refused to bow the knee to the Vulgate. We will speak of the people first. I quote from Muston:
"Thus we see that the Apostolic Church of Italy, disowned and proscribed by papal pride, gradually retired from Rome, withdrew into Upper Italy, and sought a retreat in the wilderness to preserve her purity. We see her first sheltered in the diocese of Milan, where Popery still pursues her. She then retires into the diocese of Verceil, and thither also the hostile pretensions of Popery are extended. She takes refuge in the diocese of Turin, but Popery still gains upon her, and at last she seeks an asylum in the mountains. We find her in the Vaudois valleys!" Muston, "Israel of the Alps" Vol. l, p.10.
I quote also McCabe, "Cross and Crown":
"Soon after the introduction of Christianity into Italy by the Apostles, the people of these valleys became converts to the faith preached by St. Paul. They accepted and taught the doctrines of the Apostles, and practiced the simple rites or usages as described by Justin or Tertullian. They acknowledged the Holy Scriptures as their sole rule of faith, and rejected all that was not taught in the books of the New Testament. From the days of Constantine to the present time, they have never changed their faith, and have never altered in any important particular their religious observances." pp. 22,23.
"The Vaudois, therefore, are not schismatics, but continued inheritors of the Church founded by the Apostles. This Church then bore the name of Catholic, and was persecuted by the Pagans. Afterwards, becoming powerful and persecuting in its turn, it underwent a vitiation of its very nature in Catholicism, whilst it was preserved in the Vaudois Valleys simple, free, and pure, as in the time of persecution." Ibid, p.25.
We have the history of the people, we will now have the history of the Bible. Dr. Jacobus says:
"The old Latin versions were used longest by the Western Christians who would not bow to the authority of Rome." "Bible Versions Compared." Appendix, Note 15
This quotation proves that several bodies of Western European Christians for 900 years refused the Vulgate and clung to the Old Latin Bible. The Reformers also recognized the thousands of errors in the Vulgate. It was impossible therefore for the Waldenses as one of those Christian bodies opposed to Rome to do otherwise than refuse to accept the Vulgate.
The High Antiquity of the Waldenses was attested to by the Catholic authorities as well as by others.
"Dungal, an ecclesiastic, who was the bitter enemy of Claude... makes constant reference to Vigilantius. Vigilantius, he said, was the neighbor and spiritual ancestor of Claude... both being natives of Spain, and the author of 'his madness'.", Bompiana, "Hist. of Waldenses", pp. 12, 13
Vigilantius lived in the days of Jerome and was famous for his great learning and opposition to Jerome. On the other hand, Claude, Bishop of Turin, lived nearly five hundred years later than Vigilantius, or about 820 A.D. It is from Vigilantius that the Waldenses are sometimes called Leonists. This same Catholic author, Dungal, proves that after the lapse of centuries, the memory and influence of Vigilantius remained among the men of the valleys, and that although the example, preaching, and work of Claude about 820 A.D. encouraged them and strengthened them in the noble ways of Vigilantius they never attributed their origin to Claude.
As we adduce testimony from Sir Samuel Moreland, and also from Leger, concerning this ancient people, it may be well here to refer to the testimony of Samuel Miller, Professor of Eccl. History, Princeton, 1845, to the effect that the accounts given by these two authors are attested by "many unimpeachable witnesses"! ("History of the Ancient Christians", by Perrin, page 6.). This statement of Perrin who refers to Moreland for his authority:
"Thus you see the constant and uninterrupted succession of the doctrine of these churches from the times of the Apostles, to that of Claudius, and so through the 9th, 10th and 11th centuries until some of Waldo's disciples came into these valleys which was in the 12th century, where they have professed and taught ever since. I need not prove the continued succession of this doctrine in those churches, from the 12th century until now, because all popish writers do unanimously confess it." Perrin, "History of the Vaudois," p. 278
Vigilantius, Helvidius and Jovinian are three of the outstanding names which come down to us as great scholars, living in the regions of Northern Italy, or right across the Alps in France, who stood out strongly against the rule and corruption of Rome. All three lived in the time of Jerome, that is, from or about 350 to 425 A.D. All three strongly opposed Jerome. Helvidius actually accused Jerome to his face of using corrupt Greek manuscripts. While so great was the influence and learning of Jovinian that the combined scholarship of the church of Rome was unable to answer him.
We have authoritative testimony that the followers, teachings, and influence of both Jovinian and Vigilantius continued down to the days of the Reformers. And we have reliable testimony that Vigilantius was the spiritual father of the people of the valley, whose continuing name generally was Vaudois but who passed under many other names. These people we are assured, both by the Spirit of Prophecy, and by history, kept the seventh day as the Sabbath, if not, all, yet enough to stand out prominently upon the pages of history.
We have the testimony of the historian, Neander, (Volume 8):
"But it was not without some foundation of truth that the Waldenses of this period asserted the high antiquity of their sect, and maintained that from the time of the secularization of the church - that is, as they believe, from the time of Constantine's gift to the Romanish Bishop Sylvester, - such opposition as broke forth in them had existed all along.", "History of the Christian Religion" Vth Period, Sec. IV. p. 605.
It is true, as both history and the Spirit of Prophecy testify, that at times a certain number of the Waldenses would grow loose, go to mass, etc., and some even apostatized.
I submit to my hearers if I have not established the chain from the Apostles down to Vigilantius, 400 A.D. I have already given a testimony to show that these same followers stretch from Vigilantius to Claude of 820 A.D. My Reviewers accuse me of not bridging the gaps. How much more testimony is necessary to bridge the gaps? Add to this the statement of Sister White, that they had the Bible entire and uncorrupted; then place alongside of this the facts already given, that their Bible could not have been the Vulgate, but was the Old Latin, which never bowed the knee to the Vulgate, then the chain respecting the Bible is also complete. Now let this chain stretch clear on to the Reformation. The Vaudois are the chain which unites the Reformed churches with the disciples of our Saviour. Hear again what Muston says:
"It is in vain that Popery, renegade from evangelical verities has a thousand times sought to break this chain. It resists all her efforts. Empires have crumbled, dynasties have fallen, but this chain of scriptural testimony has not been broken, because its strength is not from men, but from God.", Muston, "Israel of the Alps", Vol. I, p. 29.
Is it not strange, brethren, that I must stand before Seventh-Day Adventists to defend the Waldenses and the Waldensian Bible? Is it not strange that I must stand before Seventh-Day Adventists to prove that the Waldensian Bible was not the corrupt Scriptures of Rome? But let us go on, for I have stronger proof coming.
I wish here to scatter to the winds an opinion which can be found not a thousand miles away from here, that the Waldenses were not particularly a learned people, but only a missionary people. I quote from Muston:
"Gilles says, 'This Vudois people have had pastors of great learning .... versed in the languages of Holy Scripture... and very laborious... especially in transcribing to the utmost of their ability, the books of holy Scripture, for the use of their disciples.' (Chapter 2, p. 15. par. 2.). This explains the circumstance that copies of the books of the Bible, translated in the Romance Tongue, are of far more frequent occurence than copies of any other work preserved in our Vudois MSS." Muston, "Israel of the Alps." Vol.2, p.448
The great antiquity of the Waldensian vernacular preserved through the centuries witnesses to their line of descent independent from Rome and to the purity of their original Latin. Muston, speaking of the Italian work of Bert, says:
"An incidental remark leads me to make an observation here on the subject of language, that the patois of the Vuadois valleys has a radical structure far more regular than the Piedmontese idiom. The origin of this patois was anterior to the growth of Italian and French, antecedent even to the Romance language, whose earliest documents exhibit still more analog with the present language of the Vaudois mountaineers, than with that of the troubadours of the 13th and 14th centuries. The existence of this patois is of itself proof of the high antiquity of these mountaineers, and of their constant preservation from foreign intermixture and changes. Their popular idiom is a precious monument." Muston, "Israel of the Alps", Vol. 2, p. 406.
I will recall here again the quotation I gave in my book, (page 34) to the effect that about 600 A.D. Pope Gregory I burned in the city of Rome two great libraries in which were collected the precious Greek and Latin manuscripts of the Waldenses. At the same time, Pope Gregory I was persecuting the large number of Sabbath keepers who lived in the City of Rome. And if any one wishes to regard this fact lightly, let him answer the facts on pages 526-530 of Andrews and Conradi's "History of the Sabbath" that this same Pope Gregory I issued a remarkable document to stamp out the large body of Sabbath keepers in the City of Rome itself. Moreover this same Pope sent missionaries to England and to Northern Europe to stamp out Sabbath-keeping Christianity. Still another quotation along this line:
"Unfortunately many of these books were lost during the persecutions of the 17th century, and only those books and ancient documents sent to the libraries of Cambridge and Geneva by Pastor Leger were preserved. The papists took care after every persecution to destroy as much of the Waldensian literature as possible. Many of the barbes were learned men and well versed in the languages and science of the Scriptures. A knowledge of the Bible was the distinctive feature of the ancient, and is now of the modern Vaudois." Bompiani, "History of the Waldenses," pp. 56,57.
"Deprived for centuries of a visible, church, and forced to worship in the caves and dens, this intimate knowledge of God's Word was their only light. Their school was in the almost inaccessible solitude of a deep mountain gorge, called Pral del Tor, and their studies were severe and long continued, embracing the Latin, Romaunt, and Italian languages." Ibid. p. 57.
This idea which prevails, engendered and fostered by Rome, that the Waldenses were few in number, without much organization or learning, and dependent upon Rome for their Bible and culture, is dispelled by this picture. Without adding more quotations, I will state that we have abundant reliable testimony that in some places the nobility were members of their churches, that they were the greatest scholars and theologians of their day; that they were the leaders in language, literature, music, and oratory. There are authors who say that the language of the Waldenses was the language which contributed to the revival of learning. Of course most of the writings of the Waldenses were destroyed in the great persecutions which raged in the 16th and 17th centuries.
I wish here also to emphasize the difference between the older Romaunt language and the later. Confusion may arise unless we emphasize the splendid tongue of the early Waldenses stretching from the year 400 on in comparison with that used by Waldo about the year 1200, when he and his followers added themselves to the ancient Waldenses.
Just here I give a quotation to show the great influence the Waldenses had upon the Reformation:
"Seemingly they took no share in the great struggle which was going on around them in all parts of Europe, but in reality they were exercising a powerful influence upon the world. Their missionaries were everywhere, proclaiming the simple truths of Christianity, and stirring the hearts of men to their very depths. In Hungary, in Bohemia, in France, in England, in Scotland, as well as Italy, they were working with tremendous, though silent power. Lollard, who paved the way for Wycliffe in England, was a missionary from these Valleys. The Albigenses, whose struggle with Rome forms one of the most touching episodes of history, owed their knowledge of the truth to the Vaudois missions. In Germany and Bohemia the Vaudois teachings heralded, if they did not hasten, the Reformation, and Huss and Jerome, Luther and Calvin did little more than carry on the work begun by the Vaudois missionaries." McCabe, "Cross and Crown", p. 32.
We have proved before that the Old Latin Bible for 900 years resisted the Vulgate and persisted in the hands of those who never bowed the knee to Rome. We will now bring you up to the time of the Reformation, or the 13th century. Did the Waldenses then accept the Vulgate? No indeed.
When the early leaders of the Reformation came, by invitation, into the valleys of the Waldenses, to meet their assembled delegates from all over Europe, they saw in the hands of their learned pastors, what, - the Vulgate? No! They saw manuscripts going back to "time out of mind" in the ancient and not the modern , Romaunt language. By agreement between the Waldenses and the Reformers, these manuscripts were translated into French, compared with the original Hebrew and Greek, and became the Olivetan Bible, the first Protestant Bible in the French language, Olivetan came with Farel, the leading Reformer to this council of the Waldensian churches. The second edition of the Olivetan Bible produced by Calvin, became the basis of the Geneva Bible in English. The Geneva Bible was a foundation and forerunner of the King James. Is not the chain now complete, and is it not now clear that our Authorized Version is the Bible of the Apostles coming down through the noble Waldenses? Let me give you an authoritative quotation on these facts:
"'The Reformers,' says one who was present at the meeting, 'were greatly rejoiced to see that people, who had ever proved faithful, the Israel of the Alps, to whose charge God had committed for so many centuries the Ark of the New Covenant - thus eager in his service. And examining with interest,' says he, 'the manuscript copies of the Old and New Testaments in the vulgar tongue which were amongst us'...It will be perceived that it is a Vaudois who speaks... 'correctly copied with the hand at a date beyond all memory, they marveled at that favour of Heaven which a people so small in numbers had enjoyed, and rendered thanks to the Lord that the Bible had never been taken from them. Then, also, in their great desire that the reading of it might be made profitable to a greater number of persons, they adjured all the other brethren, for the glory of Cod and the good of Christians, to take measures for circulating it, showing how necessary it was that a general translation should be made of it into French, carefully compared with the original texts and of which large numbers would be printed.'"...Musten, "Israel of the Alps," Vol. I, p. 97
I quote another account of this event from McCabe, "Cross and Crown."
"Thus the time passed on until the Reformation dawned upon the world. The Vaudois were well pleased at this general awakening of the human mind. They entered into correspondence with the Reformers in various parts of Europe, and sent several of their Barbas to them to instruct them. The Reformers on their part, admitted the antiquity of the Vaudois rites and the purity of their faith, and treated the mountain Church with the greatest respect. On the 12th of September, 1532, a Synodal Assembly was held at Angrogna. It was attended by a number of deputies from the Reformed Churches in France and Switzerland. Among them was William Farrel, of France, to whom we shall refer again in another part of this work. He manifested the greatest interest in the manuscript copies of the Bible which the Vaudois had preserved from the earliest times, and at his instance the entire Bible was translated into French, and sent as a free gift from the Vaudois to the French." page 37.
I have given all this practically in my book. To be sure, I do not use the same authors and the same quotations, but I give the same history and results. In the quotation I give in my book (page 32) from Leger he contrasted this Olivetan French Bible of 1535 (or 1537) with the manuscripts formerly found among the papists, which he said "were full of falsifications."
Recall that about forty years after this, the learned fathers of the Council of Trent, upon the recommendation of Gregory XIII in 1578, made a study of all the Greek MSS in the libraries of Italy for one MS with which to defend the Vulgate and they chose the Vaticanus M.S. Nevertheless, forty years previous the Waldenses declared that the MSS found among the papists were full of falsifications.
It will be interesting to listen to another account of this meeting of the Reformers with the Waldenses, as taken from the Life of William Farel by Bevan, (written in French):
"During the remainder of his visit in the valley of Angrogna, Farel had interesting interviews with the pastors and the villagers. They showed him their old manuscripts; some of these they said dated back 400 years in the past. The Vaudois preserved them as precious treasures from father to son; these books were very rare, were all which they possessed in the nature of religious readings. There were among those manuscripts, ancient Bibles, copied with care in the old French. While, in the so-called Christian. countries, the Word of God had become an unknown book, these mountaineers possessed it and read it from generation to generation."...Bevan, "Life of Wm. Farel," p. 207 (Translated by B.G. Wilkinson.)
Gilly, Leger, and Muston were put in the Index. (Muston 11:400).
If then, as Muston said, this Bible had never been taken from the Waldenses, and they claim in the preface to this Olivetan Bible that they had always enjoyed the free use of the Holy Scriptures since the days of the Apostles, it follows that our Authorized Version passed straight in a clear line back through the Waldenses to the days of the Apostles.
The Completed Chain.
A short review of authorities here:
Please note again the quotation I have already given that "In the very earliest times translations must have been made from Aramaic or Syriac into Latin, as afterwards from Greek. Thus a connection between the Italian and Syriac churches, and also between the teaching given in the two countries, must have lain embedded in the foundations of their common Christianity, and must have exercised an influence during very many years after." Burgon and Miller, "Traditional Text", p. 145.
Now add to this Sister White's testimony that the Waldenses had "not a faith newly received. Their religious belief was their inheritance from their fathers,"... Great Controversy," p. 64
"The Waldenses were the first of all the peoples of Europe to obtain a translation of the Holy Scriptures." (Old Edition, 1884, p. 65). "Some MSS contained the whole Bible." Ibid. p. 68.
"In a most wonderful manner it (the Word of Truth) was preserved uncorrupted through all the ages of darkness."...Ibid. p. 69.
Add to this the testimony of many Protestant authorities and the writings of the Waldenses themselves that they never belonged to the Church of Rome, they always remained separate, and had received their religion through father and son since the days of the Apostles. Add to this the beautiful testimony of Muston that the "Vaudois are the chain which united the Reformed Churches with the first disciples of our Saviour." (Muston, Vol. I, p. 29.)
Then, finally, add to this the statement of the Vaudois themselves in the preface of their Bible translated by Olivetan which they gave to the French people that they had "always fully enjoyed that heavenly truth contained in the Holy Scriptures ever since they were enriched by them by the Apostles themselves."
Is not the chain complete? The Spirit of Prophecy and the plain statements of history unite to tell us that we do have as represented in the Received Text the same Bible that the Waldensian Church possessed in "MSS directly descended from the Apostolic originals."
Here I take a stand with Nolan, with the Waldensian historians themselves, and with Sister White, any textual critics to the contrary not withstanding.
Of course we must not forget, as I presented in my book, that the Authorized Version is the legitimate descendant of another great stream, which did not pass through the Waldenses. I refer to the thousands of Greek manuscripts, which carry the Received Text. In the Authorized Version, then, the two pure streams meet: that of the Greek Received Text, and that of the Old Latin, preserved in its Waldensian descendant.
Thus, through those valleys, in which dwelt those people through the centuries, miraculously preserved by God, we are connected with the primitive churches. They handed over to us, not the Bible of Rome, but the Bible of the primitive churches, which found at last a resting place in our noble Authorized Version, under whose name and beauty, it was, like the waters of the sea, to touch all shores and refresh all nations.
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