« PreviousContinue »
sordid devotion to worldly interest is tribute, by the general sentiments applauded as sagacity and pru. they promulge, to the suppression dence; when the habitual indul- of wickedness and vice, and the gence of every vice is gravely re- maintenance of true religion and presented as a polite conformity to virtue. Thus will they not only The customs of the world; language escape the punishinent which shall seems to have lost its meaning, and be awarded to “ idle words," but the main distinctions between good will, doubtless, “ lay up for themand evil are utterly confounded.- selves a crown of righteousness, Thus iniquity is placed in a fair and which the Lord, the righteous captivating light, and the natural Judge, shall give them in the last “deceitfulness of sin" is infinitely day." increased. For idle words of this Let all, then, who look forward nature a terrible account must be to eternal life, through the atone. given before the judgment-seat of ment and intercession of our blessed Christ.
Redeemer, be careful to observe his It behoves us, indeed, seriously awful admonition delivered in the to reflect that we are not only com- text. Let them not only discard manded by the laws of God to ab. all profane, immoral, and offensive stain from loose, profane, and in- language, but seriously consider the temperate expressions, but the Gos- tendency of every sentiment and pel requires that we should endea- expression, and the effect which it vour, as far as possible, to render is likely to produce on others. The our conversation profitable to our- power of speech is a gift of great selves and others. This may al- dignity and value, inferior only to ways be done, by a judicious man, reason itself. As intellect was without any violation of true cour- granted to us not merely for the tesy, or any affected sanctity of prosecution of secular affairs, but manner. They, indeed, who are for the apprehension of divine truth, conspicuous for learning, ability, and the improvement of it to the and rank, are enabled to perform purpose of everlasting happiness; essential service to society in this so, doubtless, was speech designed
power to correct false opinions and cribing to the Lord, the honour erroneous statements, and to give a due unto his name. To this more just direction to the public end we are bound to apply it, dimind. But every member of the rectly or indirectly, not only on Christian fold may perform the same public occasions, but in our daily duty to a certain extent. Al may intercourse with mankind. Our be careful that their language be conversation must always be such pure and innocent. All may evince as becometh the Gospel of Christ. their zeal to eondemn and defeat We must be able hereafter to affirm those flagitious attempts on the of our language, as well as of our faith and morals of the community, deeds, that in a simplicity and godly by which the present age has been sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, disgraced. In various degrees, and but by the grace of God, we have on different occasions, all may con- had our conversation in the world.”
T. L. S.
THE HEAVENLY WITNESSES NOT AUTHENTIC.
To the Editor of the Remembrancer. omissions in particular the author
says nothing; though, if he had, Sir,
that surely could have been no preBEFORE I proceed to offer any opi- sumptive evidence of the general nion of the manner in which the pas. omission of the Heavenly Witnesses, sage of the heavenly witnesses first as their corruptions were confined found its way into a few of the Latin to their own copies, and were more manuscripts, it may not be absurd likely to become objects of abhorto notice the futility of those argu. rence than models of imitation to ments which are usually advanced to the orthodox Christian. account for its absence in the vast To insinuate for a moment, that multitude of Greek, Syriac, Coptic, the Arian faction' had it in their Armenian, Æthiopic, and Arabic power to exterminate from one of manuscripts.
the canonical epistles a whole verse, In the volume of learned and valu. and that so dextrously and ef. able tracts by the Bishop of St. fectually as to escape the detection David's, there is given from Ittigius of all contemporary opponents, is a long and important extract, from an insult to the memory of those which it should seem that Videlius, venerable fathers who encountered Wittichius, as well as Ittigius him and vanquished the assaults of the self were severally of opinion, that Arians. The tenets of that herethe text in question first began to tical monster were never so triumbe expunged and omitted, not by phant, but that there were always the Arians, but by the followers of in the Christian world some whole Artemon; and this they appear to dioceses, if not whole provinces too, assert on no other ground than be. which opposed their dissemination ; cause Caius in Eusebius has hap. and in those dioceses and provinces pened to say, that he had detected the integrity and preservation of the in these several copies of the Scrip- Sacred Text, but more especially of tures many glaringly corrupted and such passages as the Heavenly Wit. falsified passages. That such a nesses would be vigilantly guarded charge is far too general to affect and defended against the designs of the passage of the Heavenly Wit- the enemy. In short, it would have nesses, is manifest to the least dis- been just as practicable for the cerning. The language of the au. Arians, in any age of the church, to thor in Eusebius is, that those here. expunge a whole chapter, as to extics, under the pretext of correct. Punge a single verse; and the devil ing, had altered and corrupted the himself would have been foiled in Sacred Writings to such a degree, attempting it. that their own copies even widely But if there were nothing besides differed from each other : that they to urge, the fact that the verse was could not deny the truth of this wanted in the copy of the venerable charge, as their own manuscripts Eucherius, the Archbishop of Lyons, were at hand to testify: that such would of itself be sufficient to set Scriptures they had never received aside all pleas of this sort for its from those by whom they had been omission in the Greek manuscripts. initiated into the Christian faith; The episcopal chair of Lyons was nor could they produce any other first filled by the blessed Pothinus, copies from which they had tran- who had been ordained and sent scribed their falsified readings. Of thither by Polycarp of Smyrna, the
scholar of St. John Pothinus was sert it as the testimony of St. Joha. succeeded immediately by Irenæus, Fulgentius striking in with the same another hearer of St. Polycarp; so notion, cited it in like manner; and that if any church in Europe could from these two writers it was hencebid fair to have a genuine and per- forth communicated to others of fect copy of the first epistle of St. the Latin church, till at length it John, it was surely the ancient and was received as a genuine part of venerable church of Lyons. But the epistle. It did not, however, in the whole list of Prelates from find its way into any of the Latin Pothinus down to Eucherius, wbo, manuscripts for some centuries after as the reader may see in my Dis- Vigilius and Fulgentius. It is a courses on the Christian Hierarchy, mistake even to suppose, that it had was the twenty-first in succession, obtained a place in any one single and filled the see from the year of manuscript at the time that PseudoChrist four hundred and thirty-four Jerome composed his prologue to to four hundred and fifty-four, there the canonical epistles. The lan-, is not upon record a single Arian guage of the prologue is not, that of Bishop, nor yet a Presbyter; the the Latin copies, some contained venerable see of Lyons having never the Heavenly Witnesses but others at any time been branded either with not; or, that the orthodox had prethis or any other damnable heresy. served, but the heretics expunged It is plain, however, that Eucherius, the verse, a circumstance of which, from the citation of the eighth verse no doubt, he would have heen only in the genuine remains of his happy to take notice; but that the works, knew nothing of the Hea. unfaithful translators in putting venly Witnesses; and, if he was down nothing except the words, the igoorant of it, we may rest assured spirit, and the water, and the blood; that all his predecessors in the same and omitting the words, the Father, chair had been equally ignorant of the Word, and the Spirit, had egreit.
giously departed from the true caI shall now proceed to state in tholic faith. He does not go so far what way I think the verse at first even as to assure the reader, that he got thrust into the Latin manu- had taken care to have the words scripts. This I hesitate not to correctly inserted either from the charge, originally, on the undesign. Greek or the Latin manuscripts ; ing mistakes of the two African Pre- nor do I verily believe that he had lates, Vigilius Tapsensis and Ful- the presumption to do it. In this gentius Ruspensis. In the days of I am supported by what I remember these prelates the African church having once read in the Iter Italihad suffered from the Arian faction cum of Mabillon. That learned the most violent persecutions; and monk being at Rome, and inspeci. Vigilius, particularly, being anxious ing one of the most valuable public to vindicate the cause of orthodoxy, libraries, fell in with a manuscript and conscientiously believing that containing the Acts, the canonical in the copy of St. Cyprian the Epistles, and the Apocalypse, writwords Tres unum sunt were abso- ten in uncial letters, and above a lutely affirmed of the Three Persons thousand vears old. In this manuof the Godhead, ventured to allege script there was prefixed to the ca. the verse in due form; and so in the nonical Epistles the prologue of Confession of Faith which he drew Pseudo-Jerome, absque auctoris noup in the name of the African mine, complaining, as usual, of the Bishops, as well as in the several absence of the Heavenly Witnesses: tracts which he put forth under the but behold, in the text of the episnames of Athanasius, Augustinus, tle itself the testimony was omitted. and Idacius, he scrupled not to in. And can any one suppose, that the
transcriber of this manuscript, who was most certainly baptized. The must have flourished towards the meaning, therefore, of the eighth close of the seventh century, and verse according to St. Cyprian is,who, from the circumstance of his For there are three divine persons prefixing the prologue, must have who bear testimony to the mission of cherished the most orthodox senti- our Lord Jesus Christ ; first, as to ments of the doctrine of the Trinity, the Spirit, in that he had the testiwould have neglected to insert the mony of the Holy Ghost in the passage of the Heavenly Witnesses, miracles which he wrought; sehad it appeared in the copy from condly, as to the water, in that on which his transcript was made? his being baptized with the water Surely not: it is an incredible sup. baptism of St. John, he received the position.
testimony of the Father, who by a Seeing, however, that this spuri. voice from heaven pronounced him ous passsage has resulted entirely his beloved Son; and thirdly, as to from the peculiar manner in which the blood, in that on his shedding St. Cyprian expounded the eighth his blood upon the cross, he had the verse, I shall here pause to inquire testimony of the Word, who being in what sense he must have under- united to his soul at that moment, stood it, so as to apply the words caused such a superuatural darkness Tres unum sunt, to the Persons of and concussion of the earth as to the Godhead. That Tertullian was draw from the mouths of the centhe chief guide of St. Cyprian, is turion and the Roman soldiery a the assertion of St. Jerome. But, confession of his divinity: moreif we consult Tertullian, we shall over, these three divine persons, the find that, in the baptismal formula, Father, the Word, and the Holy he regards the three names of Fa- Ghost are one and the same witther, Son, and Holy Ghost, as so ness, in that they equally testify of many privy spectators or witnesses the divine mission of Christ. In of the faith of the person bap- this manner the three nouns, to tized, as well as sponsors of his musoma, xat to ud@p, XOCO TO cic, are salvation; and that, as under the not considered as being of the no. law the testimony of three persons minative, but of the accusative case; was sufficient to establish every and as severally governed by xata, word; so, under the Gospel, the woderstood. The three witnesses testimony of the Father, the Son, here are supposed to be the same and the Holy Ghost, at our baptism, with the three Heavenly Witnesses atfords the strongest confirmation at our baptism ; and for this reason, of our hopes of salvation. Now, if and no other, it is that in his appli. we turn to the fifth chapter of the cation of the words Tres unum sunt, First Epistle of St. John, we shall to the Trinity, he does not affirm there find that he is describing with them of the Father, the Word, and what evidence or testimony from the Holy Ghost, as they stand in heaven Christ entered on the course the seventh verse; but of the Father, and discharge of his ministry: for the Son, and the Holy Ghost, as like as every Christian man enters they stand in the baptisınal formula. on his new vocation at his baptism, Nor have I the least fault to find so Christ entered on the fulfilment with this exposition of St. Cyprian, of his mission by a threefold bap. On the contrary, unless we are pretism, buy baptism with the water, by pared with the Armenian editor to baptism with the blood or cruci- discard from the text the eighth as fixion, and by baptism with the Holy well as the seventh verse, I see no Ghost; of all which baptisms there other mode of eliciting any sense. is mention made in the gospels, and The idea of a real personification of with all which our Lord Jesus Christ the Spirit, the water, and the blood,
I totally reject, as abhorrent from are one : and there are three who the style of the writers of the New bear witness in heaven, the Father, Testament. To me the notion of the Word, and the Spirit ; and these the water and the blood bearing any three things are one in Christ Jesus. kind of actual testimony, whether in the Dublin Greek manuscript, in the heavens or on the earth, is for there are three who bear testi. perfectly unintelligible; nor can I mony in heaven, Father, Word, and conceive, how these two witnesses Holy Spirit ; and these three are should unite with the Spirit in pro- one: and there are three who bear ducing the same testimony.
testimony on the earth, spirit, I am not ignorant, indeed, that water, and blood. If we receive, with some expositors the water and &c. In the Latin Vulgate,-For the blood here spoken of are refer- there are three who bear testimony in red to the blood and water which heaven, the Father, the Word, and gushed from the side of our Saviour, the Spirit ; ond these three are one : when pierced upon the cross by the and there are three who bear testiRoman soldier. But on this sup- mony on the earth, the spirit, the position the emphasis, surely, would water and the blood ; and these three have been the very reverse of what are one. In the printed Greek text, it is; and, since blood, and not --For there are three who bear tes. water, might have been expected to timony in heaven, the Father, the gush from his side, the language of Word, and the Holy Spirit ; and the divine apostle should have been, these three are one : and there are that Christ came by blood and three who bear testimony on the water; not by blood only, but by earth, the spirit, and the water, and blood and water; the directly con. the blood; and the three are for trary to which is the language of one ; or, as we read it in the Engthe epistle. Besides, the circum: lish version, agree in one. Here, stance of the blood and water gush- then, we have no less than five difing from his side could furnish uo ferent constructions of these two kind of testimony whatever, except verses ; not to mention several less that of his death
important variations, and that, on Before saying any thing on what many occasions, we find the eighth is termed the intrinsic evidence for verse placed before the seventh. the disputed passage, we ought Such a confusion could have arisen clearly to determine the context; as from no other possible cause thau it seems most unfair to draw ar. the clumsy and unsuccessful attempt guments from any part of the print- to create two verses out of one ; and ed Greek copies, of which we may he must be a hardy critic indeed, be left in uncertainty whether the who, from such a deranged and chaconstruction be genuine or not. otic mass of constructions, should Now yotbing, surely, can exceed the pretend from the state of the eighth immense diversities of construction verse, to fetch any intrinsic evidence observable in those two verses, as in support of the seventh. cited by their earliest authorities. But it will here be argued, that, In some they are read ;-There are the text of Griesbach concludes the three who bear witness on earth, eighth verse with a5 TO EV Blow; and water, blood, and flesh; and the that the definitive article to, before three are one in us : and there are 3r, supposes some other ev, preced. three who bear witness in heaven, the ing, to which it pointedly refers. Father, the Word, and the Spirit ; To this I reply, that Griesbach, and these three are one. In others, discharging the duties of an editor,
For there are three who bear wit. has given agreeably to the majority ness on earth, the water, the blood, of his manuscripts, £15 TO IV; but and the flesh; and these three things that this was at all times the gene
REMEMBRANCER, No. 39.