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Fathers, will avail nothing, if it to be found neither in the Greek can be proved, that the verse was original, nor in any of those ancient ever extant in the most ancient versions, which had been severally Greek copies of the original epistle and independently made from the of St. Joho. That it was so extant, very oldest of the Greek manuMill, Bengelius, and others affirm scripts; if they had been influenced on the authority of the Latin ver by Christian sobriety and modesty, sion, and the the express citation they would either have discarded of the verse by Cyprian. . the interpolation altogether; or, at
Here the projected proof of the least, have inserted it in the text verse having been once extant in the with some accompanying mark of most ancient Greek copies of the suspicion and doubtfulness. But, epistle of St. John, dwindles into the if such be the case, then the pasperemptory affirmation of Mill, Ben- sage in question has little or no gelius, and others, that it was so, on more right to be in the Vulgate the authority of the Vulgate, and than in any other authorized version the testimony of St. Cyprian. It of the New Testament; how, I has always been to me matter of the would ask, can we argue with Mill, most painful regret to see so many Bengelius, and the Bishop of St. of our first champions, in the field David's, that, because on the first of criticism, bringing their very pro- impression of the Vulgate it was fession into disrepute and con- actually existing in many of the tempt, by an obstinate perseverance Latin manuscripts; therefore, it in maintaining what cannot possibly must needs have been in the Greek be maintained, without renouncing original, from which the Vulgate at the same time those fundamental was first made? The acknowledged principles, on which all sober criti- and incontrovertible fact, that many cism is of necessity established. To of the very oldest of the Latin masuch scholars as Mill and Bengelius nuscripts contained it not, dashes it could not have been unknown; this argument head and tail to the and to my lord of St. David's, I am ground. To retain and to propasure it must be perfectly known, gate the Heavenly Witnesses, when that, though by the decision of the once clandestinely inserted, there Council of Trent the seventh verse would naturally arise in the mind of is now become a canonical part of the transcriber a pious and zealous the Latin version ; yet, before the wish ; and, I may also add, a certain invention of printing, many of the religious scruple, lest by wilfully most ancient and valuable of the discarding so striking a mention of Latin manuscripts did not contain the three persons of the Godhead, the interpolation : and that, if the be should be incurring some guilt: first printers of the Latin version as but for the deliberate and wanton well as of the Greek original had omission of the whole verse in copydealt uprightly and fairly with the ing from one manuscript into anoChristian world, the passage of the ther, and that too in an age and Heaveply Witnesses would have been part of Christendom in which the consigned to oblivion long before sacred doctrine of the ever blessed the commencement of the nineteenth Trinity was held in such sovereign century. For the Latin editors, esteem, there could be no possible indeed, there was some excuse; as motive whatever; and, if not wilfully the major part of their then existing and purposely omitted, then it must manuscripts, probably contained have been equally wanted in those the passage: nevertheless, when still older manuscripts from which they saw, that even their own ma- the new transcripts were made. nuscripts differed ; and above all, There are some statements by the when tbey considered, that it was Bishop of St. David's, which i am
somewhat at a loss to comprehend; obtained from a further search into such as, that during the first three the uncollected manuscripts; apd, centuries there is no external evidence that there will soon be little or no against the verse; and, that for the occasion to doubt of its authenfirst fifteen centuries of the Christian. ticity. But, I would ask, have not, Church, during all the controversies. these Heavenly Witnesses been a of the conflicting parties, no sus- most interesting question amongst picion was ever raised of corruption the learned ever since the age of or interpolation in the Latin version Erasmus? During this long inter-, of this passage. Now this, if I val, has not every sacred critic apd rightly, comprehend it, goes to the antiquarian, catholic as well as length, first, of assuming, that the protestant, whenever an old manu.. passage in dispute, generally speak.. script containing the epistle fell in ing, was in all the Latin copies from his way, had the cnriosity to ex.. the very first promulgation of the amine, whether it contained the Christian code ; and, then, of infer- disputed passage or not? And is; ring, that, if it had not been a it probable, that if any thing further genuine text, it would have been could have been alleged from ancient openly, opposed by the Fathers of manuscripts towards establishing its the first ages. But that the verse authenticity, so welcome a discovery, ever found its way at all into any would have been so long concealed, of the Latin manuscripts till the be- from the Christian world ? So far ginnjpg of the eighth century, is a then, from cherishing any hope, supposition, which I stoutly deny; that the evidence for it may yet derive, and which I have already confuted some accession of strength from, with arguments that I should be future researches; I argue the very happy to see disproved, before any, contrary ; that, as nothing hitherto, such assumption as that of my lord after so long an interval, has been of St. David's can be suffered to found; so nothing in future will be obtain. How, in the name of com. found, to save it from that sentence mon sense, could the Fathers, in of condemnation to which it has their several disputations, have ob. been so generally and so justly con. jected to the genuineness of the signed. passage, if the passage was never There ought not, surely, to be produced; and how could it ever any stress laid on the circumstance, be produced, if it was not in the chat in the Syriac version the eighth Epistle? Surely that is a most un-' verse is connected by a copulative pardonable way of vindicating the conjunction. For admitting this Heavenly Witnesses, to assume always to have been the case, the contrary to the clearest evidence, Syriac copulative, like the Hebrew that the verse always had a place and the Æthiopic, is of too various in the Latin canon; and then again and uncertain application to autho, to deduce from the silence of the rize any weighty inference from it, Fathers, another argument for its in a matter of verbal criticism. If genuineness; when it is that very the statement which I have trays.. general and universal silence of the lated from the Armenian, editor iq primitive. Fathers, which more es. a preceding communication, be pecially, militates against its authen, precisely correct, and worthy of ticity, and condemus it for an inter being strictly relied upop; neither polation.
the Syriac, nor the Arabic, nor the Nearly allied to the above sha Armenian version, according to the dows of argument is that delusive copies which were lying before him, hope, with which the supporters of had any conjunction at all. In the the passage still cherish the thought, Coptic version, certainly, we have that additional evidence may be yet the causal conjunction only, as in
the Greek and the Latin; and, garding the spirit, the water, and whether we insist on retaining the the blood, as having afforded the Syriac copulative or not, seeing that occasion of the testimony being it may signify, for, as well as, and ; given, but not as having given the affects not the question about the testimony themselves; I keep clear Heavenly Witnesses.
of that most unintelligible and inexI have perused what Epiphanius plicable theology of the water and says concerning the Alogi, and the blood bearing any kind of actual come to the same conclusion with testimony to the divine mission of my lord of St. David's; that these Christ. The Spirit of God, indeed, Alogi rejected all the writings of from the diversity of its forms and St. John; not that they despised operations, can either afford the the authority of St. John, but occasion of divine testimony being because they denied, that he had given; or can give it itself: and in ever written any such books. I both these ways it was subservient cannot, however, hence collect any to the Messias. For when it deconfirmation ; but rather a confuta- scended in a bodily shape, and untion of the Heavenly Witnesses. der the form of a dove alighted For, if they rejected the whole of upon his head, it did not thereby of the Apocalypse on account of the itself afford any actual testimony, solitary instance in which the term that Jesus was the Christ; but it Word, is once applied to Christ; immediately gave occasion to testiwell mnight they reject the first mony being given by John the Epistle; since, in the very opening Baptist ; and from that moment the of it, Christ is expressly denomi. Holy Ghost began to bear public nated the Word of Life. Besides, testimony to the divine mission of if the disputed passage had been our Lord in the miracles which he actually at that time in the Epistle wrought. I need scarcely add, that, of St. John, and had occasioned, as as I restrict the water to that parit must have done, offence to these ticular water of his Baptism, and Alogi; it is something more than the blood to that particular blood probable, that Epiphanius would which he shed upon the cross; so have adverted to the circumstance, the Spirit in this verse I restrict to and have left some remarks on the that visible and bodily appearance passage itself.
of the Spirit which alighted and I perfectly accord, however, with rested upon him, when he was baphis lordship in the justness and ac. tized in the Jordan. curacy of his grammatical strictures Though, I think, I have already in reply to Dr. Pye Smith. The replied to every thing in the ReGreek original of the eighth verse membrancer, which meets the eye appears to me to have been mis. under the shape of an argument; understood and misconstrued from yet as there is an erroneous attempt the very first; and, by being mis to support the interpolation from translated into other tongues, neces- the testimony of the Rabbinical sarily caused such doubt and per- school, I shall just consider, what plexity, that the Fathers in general that testimony is. It seems, then, were unwilling to meddle with it; that Mr. Nolan and Dr. Hales and, when they did take notice of recite from the most ancient Rabit, were totally at a loss what to do binical Books the phrase, The three with it. The exceptions, however, are one; with its Rabbinical expawhich his lordship has drawn toge- sition. There are three ones, and lo! ther from a consideration of the they are one; which, it is thought. context, 'apply not to the manner not only furnishes the identical in which I construe the eighth clausule of the seventh 'verse ; but verse: and what is more, by Te points to the source from which the
Apostle had derived it. Now ad. The remarks of your correspon. mitting, that Mr. Nolan and Dr. dent T. M. as well as those of any Hales know something of what other objector to the truth of my they are here descanting apon; and positions shall be honoured with a that they are not, like the common reply. herd of authors, making a borrowed
In the interim, display of their Rabbinical learning
I remain, &c. at the third, or the fourth, or, per
Your obedient Servant, haps, the fifth hand; what is there
JOHN OXLEE, in that cabalistic phraseology, I
Rector of Scavton. pray, which does not apply to the Stonegrave Parsonage, clausule of the eighth verse equally
March 15th. with that of the seventh ? I probably have read more Jewish literature of this complexion, than Mr. Nolan and Dr. Hales, put both to the Editor of the Remembrancer. together, ever saw with their eyes ; Sir, but I do not remember having any The only thing of which I have to where met with the precise phrase, complain in both the letters of your The three are one ; though I readily correspondent, T. M. is the infegrant, that, in my volumes on the rence which he has proceeded to Doctrines of the Trinity and Incar- draw from one of my concessions nation, I have produced expressions, in favour of the heavenly witnesses. which, in reference to the three per- I certainly have said amongst other sons of the Godhead, amount to the things, that, if the advocates of the same thing. The phrase, The ten disputed verse could point out to are "one, is much more likely to me any one authentic and imporoccur in a cabalistic author than tant passage of the New Testament, the precise phrase, The three are which had been equally passed over ope; as stated in the Remem. in silence by all the Greek and brancer. The chief complaint, Latin Fathers, I would admit, not, however, is, that the seventh verse as T. M. has made me speak, the derives no more confirmation than authenticity of the verse; but the the eighth from this Rabbinical illus- reasonableness of allowing it to retration.
main in the sacred canon, on the · I have now to thank you, Mr. simple ground, that it might possiEditor, for the manly candour with bly have been, at one time, in the which you have given such ready Greek and other texts, though admission to the insertion of my afterwards not to be found. In papers. Pirdeed the chief delicacy this I am met by your corresponwhich I felt in stepping forward on dept, T. M. who tells me, that there this occasion, was, lest I should be is the twentieth verse of the very appearing to thwart the noble efforts same chapter, containing a clause of that illustrious ornament of the of great importance in the many English episcopate, the present controversies respecting the divinity Bishop of St. David's, against the of Christ, during the second and venom of the Unitarians. But since third centuries; and yet it was never it is the duty of every Chrstian quoted by any of the Ante-Nicene Priest to reject an interpolation no Fathers. That there is, likewise, less than to defend the genuine 1 Tim. iii. 16. of which Sir Isaac text; that great and learned prelate, Newton, speaking of the writers of for whom I feel both veneration and the first five centuries, affirms, that gratitude, will, I am sure, be the in all their discourses to prove the first to give me credit for the sin- deity of the Son, they never allege cerity of my motives.
. this texte. .
Now, if in my objections to the consequently we are fully authorised falsified passage, I had laid any to expound it of the Father only in special stress on its not having the text before us. I bey, bowever, been quoted by the Fathers of the to be understood as by no means first three centuries; it would have quarreHing with T. M. for applying been nothing more than just in T.M. the last clausule to the diviuity of to have exacted from me some An- Christ; knowing as I do, that it is te-Nicene testimony for the two even so applied by several of the verses which he has alleged: but chief Fathers. What I would sugsince my complaint is, that of all gest, is, the folly and inexpediency, the Greek Fathers put together, at all times, of bringing to bear on not ope ; and of all the Latin Fa. contested points what easily admits tbers, next to none have cited the of being otherwise expounded, and disputed text; I may venture, surely, that, too, in a catholic and orthoto appeal to the candour of T. M., dox sense. whether, on being required to com- If T. M. will allow any credit to pare the negative evidence of the the Pontifical Epistles, there is exChristian Fathers against any verse press Ante-Nicene testimony for the of the New Testament, with the twentieth verse. In an epistle as. same kind of evidence against the cribed to Pope Evaristus, and adHeavenly Witnesses, I ought to be dressed to the African bishops, it is restricted to the writers of the first cited and applied to prove, that the three centuries only; and not Son is not separated from the Falikewise allowed the best Post-Ni. ther; and that, where we read, in cene testimony, as is every where the apostle, of God alone having demanded by me for the passage in immortality, and dwelling in that dispute. To convince T. M. how light which none can approach, we ever, how little advantage he has are not to expound this of the Fagained from any concession which ther exclusively; but also of the I may have made, I will briefly de. Son, who is in the bosom of the monstrate to him, first, that neither Father. It is quoted, together with of his two texts can strictly and nearly the whole of the chapter, in. exclusively apply to the divinity of an epistle of Pope Eusebius to the Christ; and that, as to the testi- Gallican bishops; in wbich we find, mony afforded them by the Fathers, at the same time, a fatal blow di. they have five times, yea, ten times rected against the anthenticity of the support of the Heavenly Wit. the Heavenly Witnesses.—Etspiritus nesses.
est qui testificatur, quoniam ChrisIn considering 1 John v. 20. the tus est veritas. Quoniam tres sunt first thing which the inind collects qui testimonium dant, spiritus, sanfrom the construction of, His Son, guis, et aqua ; et hi tres unum sunt. is, that this, Son, cannot possibly Si testimonium hominum accipimus, be the chief subject of what imme- &c. In this epistle, I say, we have diately goes before ; but the, He, not merely the twentieth verse fully that is, the Father, to whom the cited; but what highly concerns the pronominal, His, refers; and, there, main controversy, the most complete fore, we seem under the necessity and positive evidence against the of expounding the expression of, interpolation of the Heavenly WitThe true One, in both the places in nesses in the present Latin Version ; which it occurs, of God the Father and that, too, from a document of only. It is equally superfluous to which the Latin church herself is observe, that in the Gospel of St. both the author and the keeper. John the exalted appellation of, It will be in vain to reply, that this The true Gud, is appropriated and epistle may have been penned by confined to the Father alone; and some later hand than Pope Eusebius REMEMBRANCER, No. 41.