In the Epistle Dedicatory to the former treatise, the Anti-Romish Owen writes that it is the "filth and abominations…of the synagogue of Rome" which have darkened the Bible and "taken from its fulness and perfection, its sufficiency and excellency – by their…oral law…of traditions…for all their abominations. The Scripture itself (as they say, committed to them) – they plead to their eternal shame to be in the original languages corrupted, vitiated, interpolated; so that it is no stable rule to guide us throughout in the knowledge of the will of God.
"The Jews, they [the Romanists] say, did it [viz. inserted vowels after the inscripturation of the Older Testament] – while they were busy in the burning of Christians. Therefore, in the room of the originals, they [the Romanists] have enthroned a translation [the Latin Vulgate] that was never committed to them [the Jews]."
Yet the latter enthronement is quite contrary to Romans 3:1-2, which teaches that it was to the Jews that the Oracles of God – meaning the Old Testament Scriptures – were committed. "All this" was done, observes Owen, "to place [the Romanists] themselves on the throne of God, and to make the words of a [Latin] translation authentic – from their stamp!"
There are, insists the Protestant Owen in his discussion of Non-Protestant errors, at least "three corrupt and bloody fountains:- 1. The Scripture…is but a partial revelation of the will of God…. The other part of it – how vast and extensive it is, no man knows. For the Jews have given us their deuterooseis in their Mishna and Gemara [thus Judaism]…. 2. The Scripture is not able to evince or manifest itself to be the Word of God so as to enjoy and exercise any authority in His Name over the souls and consciences of men – without an accession of testimony from that combination of political world-minded men that call themselves the Church of Rome. 3. The original copies of the Old and New Testaments are so corrupted…that they are not a certain standard [thus Islam and Romanism]….
"Of all the inventions of Satan to draw off the minds of men from the Word of God," claims Owen, "this decrying the authority of the originals seems to me the most pernicious…. At the beginning of the Reformation before the Council of Trent, the Papists did…defend their Vulgar Latin translation….
" Melchior Canus, Gulielmus Lindanus, Bellarminus, Gregorius de Valentia, Leo Castrius, Huntlaeus, Hanstelius, with innumerable others…have pleaded that the originals were corrupted…. Huntley[-us], a subtle Jesuit…, ascribes the corruption of the Hebrew Bible to the good providence of God – for the honour of the Vulgar Latin!….
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Morinus puts forth his Exercitations entitled ‘Of the Sincerity of the Hebrew and Greek Texts’ – indeed to prove them corrupt and useless…. For my own part," observes Owen, "I must confess that I shall as soon believe a poor, deluded, fanatical Quaker pretending to be guided by an infallible Spirit – as their pope with his whole conclave of cardinals, upon the terms here laid down by Morinus!…
"At that time lived Elias Levita, the most learned of the Jews of that age…. He broached a new opinion…not at all received among the Jews nor…once mentioned by Christians before – namely that the points or vowels…used in the Hebrew Bible, were invented by some critical Jew or Masorete living at Tiberias about five or six hundred years after Christ.
"No doubt the man’s aim was to reduce the World of Christians to a dependence on the ancient Rabbins…. After a while, the poison of this error beginning to operate. The Papists, waiting… to catch at every word that might fall from them [viz. Anti-Christian Judaists such as Elias] to their [the Romanists’] advantage, began to make use of it" against the Protestants.