Page images

"At the end of the fourth century, the celebrated Latin father Augustin, who wrote ten treatises on the first epistle of St. John, in all of which we seek in vain for the seventh verse of the fifth chapter, was induced, in his controversy with Maximin, to compose a gloss upon the eighth verse. Augustin gives it professedly as a gloss upon the words of the eighth verse, and shows by his own reasoning, that the seventh verse did not then exist.* The high

verse, as will presently appear, the quotation of those words alone is no proof that they were taken from the seventh verse. But the final clause of the eighth verse relates to spiritus, aqua, et sanguis; whereas Cyprian declares, that the tres unum sunt, which he has quoted, was written de Patre, et Filio, et Spiritu Sancto. Could Cyprian have argued thus if he had quoted from the eighth verse? Undoubtedly he might, as will appear from the following note.

"* Augustin, in his treatise Contra Maximinum Arianum, lib. ii. cap. 22, (tom. viii. col. 725, ed. Benedict.) thus quotes the words of the eighth verse, Tres sunt testes, spiritus, et aqua, et sanguis; et tres unum sunt.'. He then makes various remarks on the words, spiritus, aqua, sanguis, and proceeds thus. Si vero ea, quæ his significata sunt velimus inquirere, non absurde occurrit ipsa trinitas, quæ unus, solus, verus, summus est Deus, Pater et Filius, et Spiritus Sanctus, de quibus verissime dici potuit, Tres sunt testes et tres unum sunt: ut nomine spiritûs significatum accipiamus Deum Patrem-nomine autem sanguinis Filium-et nomine aquæ Spiritum Sanctum. The gloss which Augustin here puts on the eighth verse, very clearly shows, that he knew nothing of the seventh verse, which appears also from the fact that he has never quoted that verse. Facundus, another African bishop, to whom the seventh verse was still unknown, quotes the eighth verse at full length (lib. i. cap. 3, p. 14, ed. Sirmond.), and then gives the gloss which Augustin had made on it. For after the words spiritus, aqua, et sanguis, et hi tres unum sunt, he thus delivers what he supposes to be St. John's meaning; in Spiritu significans Patrem,-in aqua vero Spiritum Sanctum significans-in sanguine vero Filium significans. Let us now consider the terms, which are employed by Augustin and Facundus, when they state their interpretation of the eighth verse. Augustin having observed, that if we inquire into the meaning of spiritus, aqua, et sanguis, the trinity itself not

character of Augustin in the Latin church soon gave celebrity to his gloss; and in a short time it was generally adopted. It appeared indeed under different forms; but it was still the gloss of Augustin, though variously modified. The gloss having once ob


unaptly occurs, as consisting of three per-
sons, immediately adds, de quibus verissime
dici potuit, Tres sunt testes, et tres unum
sunt. Facundus, instead of dici potuit, says
plainly dicit. He says, that St. John, in the
eighth verse, speaks of the trinity.
own words are, Joannes apostolus in epis-
tola sua de Patre et Filio et Spiritu Sancto
sic dicit. He then quotes the whole of the
eighth verse, but not a syllable of the se-
venth. Now when Facundus says that St.
John, in the eighth verse, speaks of the trin-
ity, he uses the same kind of language,
which Cyprian had used, who, in quoting
tres unum sunt (which Augustin quotes from
the eighth verse) says that it was written
of the trinity: de Patre, et Filio, et Spir-
itu Sancto, scriptum est. The scriptum est
of Cyprian is not at all stronger than the
dicit of Facundus. It can make no difference
in this case, whether we say scriptum est, or
dictum est. Yet Facundus was expressly
commenting on the eighth verse. Conse-
quently we are not warranted to conclude
that Cyprian meant the seventh verse. And
it is really incredible that the seventh verse
should have existed and have been known
to Cyprian, and yet have remained unknown
(as it certainly did) to Augustin. But all
doubts on this question have been long since
removed by Facundus himself, in the very
chapter where he quotes the eighth verse.-
In confirmation of the gloss upon that verse,
he appeals to the authority of Cyprian, and
says that Cyprian understands those words
of the trinity, namely, the words spiritus,
aqua, et sanguis. Facundus having quoted
spiritus, aqua, et sanguis, et hi tres unum
sunt, a second time in the same chapter, and
having observed that some men refused to
understand these words of the trinity, imme-
diately adds, quod tamen Joannis apostoli
testimonium B. Cyprianus, Carthaginensis
antistes et martyr,-de Patre et Filio et Spir-
itu Sancto dictum intelligit. Ait enim, 'Di-
cit Dominus, Ego et Pater unum sumus; et
iterum de Patre et Filio et Spiritu Sancto
scriptum est, Et hi tres unum sunt.'
then Facundus declares, not only that Cyp-
rian understands the eighth verse of the trin-
ity, but, in support of his assertion, appeals
to that very passage in the works of Cyprian,
which in modern times has been taken for a
proof, that Cyprian was speaking of the
seventh verse.


tained credit in the Latin church, the possessors of Latin manuscripts began to note it in the margin, by the side of the eighth verse. Hence the oldest of those Latin manuscripts, which have the passage in the margin, have it in a different band from that of the text. In later manuscripts we find margin and text in the same hand; for transcribers did not venture immediately to move it into the body of the text, though in some manuscripts it is interlined, but interlined by a later hand. After the eighth century, the insertion became general. For Latin manuscripts written after that period have generally, though not always, the passage in the body of the text. Further, when the seventh verse made its first appearance in the Latin manuscripts, it appeared in as many different forms, as there were forms to the gloss upon the eighth verse.* And though it now precedes the eighth verse, it followed the eighth verse, at its first insertion, as a gloss would naturally follow the text, upon which it was made. It is not therefore matter of mere conjecture, that the seventh verse originated in a Latin gloss upon the eighth verse it is an historical fact, supported by evidence, which cannot

be resisted

[blocks in formation]

convert to the church of Rome. In the fifteenth century, the passage was quoted by Bryennius, who was likewise so attached to the church of Rome, that he quoted other readings of the Vulgate, which are not found in the Greek manuscripts.*

"At length, in the sixteenth century, a Greek manuscript of the new testament appeared with 1 John, v. 7. Its original appellation was codex Britannicus: but it is now called the Dublin manuscript. It made its first appearance about the year 1520: and that the manuscript bad just been written, when it first appeared, is highly probable, because it appeared at a critical juncture, and its appearance answered a particular purpose. But whether written for the occasion or not, it could not have been written very long before the sixteenth century. For this manuscript has the Latin chapters, though the x of Eusebius are likewise noted. Now the

"* See the above quoted preface, p. 17.

"That the Dublin MS. is the same with the codex Britannicus, is proved in my notes to the second volume of Michaelis' introduction, under the article codex Montfortianus.

the Greek testament, one in 1516, the other "Erasmus had published two editions of

in 1519, both of which were without the words, that begin with To oupave and end with Ty. This omission, as it was called by those who paid more deference to the Latin translation than to the Greek original, fact the complaint was for Erasmus to much censure, though in Erasmus, therefore, very properly answered, addendi de meo quod Græcis deest, provinciam non susceperam. He promised, howGreek edition what he had never found in a ever, that, though he could not insert in a Greek manuscript, he would insert the pas sage in his next edition, if, in the mean time, had the passage. In less than a year after a Greek MS. could be discovered, which that declaration, Erasmus was informed, that there was a Greek MS. in England, which contained the passage. At the same time, a copy of the passage, as contained in that MS. was communicated to Erasmus: and Erasmus, as he had promised, inserted that copy in his next edition, which was pub

lished in 1522.

Latin chapters were foreign to the usage of the Greek church, before the introduction of printed editions, in which the Latin chapters were adopted, as well for the Greek as for the Latin testament. Whatever Greek manuscripts therefore were written with Latin chapters, were written in the west of Europe, where the Latin chapters were in use. They were written by the Greeks, or by the descendants of those Greeks, who fled into the west of Europe, after the taking of Constantinople, and who then began to divide their manuscripts according to the usage of the country, in which they fixed their abode.* The Dublin manuscript, therefore, if not written for the purpose to which it was applied in the third edition of Erasmus,t could hard ly have been written more than fifty years before. And how widely those criticks have erred in their conjectures, who have supposed that it was written so early as the twelfth century, appears from the fact, that the Latin chapters were not invented till the thirteenth century. But the influence of the church of Rome in the composition of

"There are three Greek manuscripts with the Latin chapters, in our university library, marked Hh. 6. 12. Kk. 5. 35. and Ll. 2. 13. That which is marked Ll. 2. 13. and is evidently the oldest of the three, was written at Paris, by Jerom of Sparta, for the use and at the expense of a person called Bodet, as appears from the subscription to it. Now Jerom of Sparta died at the beginning of the sixteenth century.

"The third edition of Erasmus has 1 John, 7. 7. precisely in the words of the Dublin


"They were invented by Hugo de S. Caro, who died in 1262. The precise year, in which he divided the text of the Latin Vulgate into its present chapters, is not known. But as it appears from the preface to the Cologne edition of his works, that he composed his concordance about the year 1248, and his division of the Vulgate into the present chapters was connected with that concordance, it could not have been done many years before the middle of the thirteenth century.

the Dublin manuscript, is most conspicuous in the text of that manuscript, which is a servile imitation of the Latin Vulgate. It will be sufficient to mention how it follows the Vulgate at the place in question. It not only

agrees with the Vulgate, in the inser tion of the seventh verse: it follow's the Vulgate also at the end of the sixth verse, having xporos, where all other Greek manuscripts have : and in the eighth verse it omits the final clause, which had never been omitted in the Greek manuscripts, and was' not omitted even in the Latin manuscripts before the thirteenth century." Such is the character of that solitary manuscript, which is opposed to the united evidence of all former manuscripts, including the codex Vaticanus, and the codex Alexandrinus.

"It has been already observed, that when the passage first appeared in Latin, it appeared under various forms, though it subsequently acquired the permanent form, which it now retains in the Latin Vulgate. It appeared also under various forms, when first exhibited in Greek. The Dublin manuscript gives it in one form: Calecas and Bryennius in other forms: the Greek translation of the Acta Concilii Lateranensis again in another form.t And the differences are exactly such as might be expected in different Greek translations of the same Latin original. Nor had it acquired a settled form, when introduced in our printed edi tions. The Complutensian editors gave it in one form : Erasmus in another form Robert Stephens again in another form. Such is the origin and progress of that celebrated passage, which men of learning and talent have taken for the genuine production of St. John.

“It is true, that, in the opinion of

"Here there is an additional proof, respecting the age of the Dublin MS.

"+See the above quoted preface, notes 19-23.

some criticks, internal evidence may be discovered in this passage, which they think sufficient to overturn the external evidence. Now internal evidence may show, that a passage is spurious, though external evidence is in its favour; for instance, if it contains allusions to things which did not exist in the time of the reputed author. But no internal evidence can prove a pas sage to be genuine, when external evidence is decidedly against it. A spurious passage may be fitted to the context, as well as a genuine passage. No arguments therefore from internal evidence, however ingenious they may appear, can outweigh the mass of external evidence, which applies to the case in question.*

"The sacrifice therefore of that principle, by which we defend the general integrity of the new testament, is a sacrifice to which the passage is not entitled. That important principle therefore remains unshaken: and the general integrity of the new testament is liable to no objection. That principle has been rescued from the danger, to which many incautious friends of Christianity have exposed it, by endeavouring inadvertently to defend a part at the expense of the whole."

To the Editor of the Gospel Advocate.

WHEN the British and Foreign Bible Society was formed, one of its fundamental rules was that the bible should

"One of the arguments from internal evidence is, that wy in the eighth verse implies that something had preceded with v T ουρανω.

But they who argue in this manner, forget, that T is wanting in the Greek MSS. as well as Ev To oupave. Also in the oldest Latin MSS. the eighth verse is equally destitute of in terra, which was inserted for the very purpose of having something to correspond with in cœlo, and shows how well the several parts of the interpolation have been fitted to each other."

be published and circulated by them, without note or comment. The object of this regulation was to allay the jealousies of the dissenters, and lead them to unite with their brethren of the establishment, in the great design of circulating the scriptures among all the nations of the world. To guard against any collision which might interrupt the harmony of the society thus constituted, it was further deter mined to have no religious services at their meetings.

In this way, and in this only, could they effectually prevent the questions from being agitated respecting a liturgy or extempore prayers, or concerning the validity of dissenting ordinations. Such being the object of these regulations, there was not the least intention of passing any judgment in the abstract against the utility of commentaries, any more than there was of condemning the practice of opening all meetings for religious purposes with prayer. It was, in fact, only the sacrifice of what was proper and useful in itself, for the attainment of that co-operation, which they considered as a greater good.

But the question with regard to notes and commentaries soon assumed a different shape. Many of the members of the church of England opposed a union with the British and Foreign Bible Society, on account of its heterogeneous character. This brought on a warm dispute, in the course of which, many of the friends of the society maintained that notes and comments were not necessary to the understanding of the scriptures.

It is not my intention to enter fully into the merits of this question, though it appears to me that the practice of all denominations is an evidence of the fallacy of this last mentioned position. If no comments are necessary, what is the object of the constant instructions of the pulpit? and if the bible alone, put into the hands of a heathen, be sufficient to lead him to embrace the

Christian faith, what need is there of missionaries ? "Understandest thou what thou readest?" was the question of Philip to the Ethiopian eunuch; and the answer was, "How can I, except some man should guide me?" What is the object of all the tracts and pamphlets which are circulated with such incessant activity ?

Erroneous principles always come attended with a train of practical evils; and such has been the case with the position in question.

Because the society had determined to publish the bible without note or comment, it was inferred that the translations in the margin ought to be omitted; and accordingly the editions, published by the several bible societies, I believe without exception, omit them. But these marginal translations are an integral part of the text of the authorized English version. On this point, Dr. Adam Clarke, himself a dissenter, will, I presume, be considered as an unexceptionable witness. "That the marginal readings," says he, "in our authorized translation, are essential to the integrity of the version itself, I scruple not to assert; and they are of so much importance, as to be in several instances preferable to the textual readings themselves. Our conscientious translators, not being able, in several cases, to determine which of two meanings borne by a word, or which of two words found in different copies, should be admitted into the text, adopted the measure of receiving both, placing one in the margin, and the other in the text; thus leaving the reader at liberty to adopt either, both of which, in their apprehension, stood nearly on the same authority. On this very account, the marginal readings are essential to our version; and I have found, on collating many of them with the originals, that those in the margin are to be preferred to those in the text, in the proportion of at least eight to ten." If this be correct, and I believe it will be ADVOCATE, VOL. II.


found to be indubitably so, it will be seen that the construction put upon the words "without note or comment," has in fact led to a mutilation of our bibles.

Another evil introduced by this erroneous construction, has been the omission of all the marginal references. These are of the greatest importance for the understanding of the scriptures, because they enable the reader to refer to the several passages in which the same expression is used, and which therefore often throw light upon each other. They also point out the allusions to, or quotations from the old testament, contained in the new, and thus serve to harmonize the inspired writings of the two dispensations.Many of these references were inserted by the translators in the folio of 1611, the editio princeps. They were afterwards augmented from time to time, till the year 1769, when a thorough revision of the authorized version was made by Dr. Blayney, under the direction of the vice chancellor and delegates of the university of Oxford.The references contained in Dr. Blayney's edition are, says Dr. Clarke, the best collection ever edited.

It is believed that on this subject no jealousy existed among the dissenters, at the time when the British and foreign bible society was formed. If, therefore, the object of publishing without note or comment, was only to produce a co-operation between churchmen and dissenters, the marginal references need not have been omitted. any objection existed with regard to Dr. Blayney's edition, which was considered as the standard edition at the time when the society was formed, they surely might have taken the bible of 1611, as their copy, and published it exactly as it came from the hands of the translators.


If the several bible societies consider these marginal readings and references as inconsistent with their rule of

« PreviousContinue »