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" Upon the whole, if it shall ancient Latin MSS. that are known appear from the Vatican MS. not (Query ?) to retain it. when retrieved, that the Complu- “ On the other side, if it shall tensian Editors, inserted the dis- appear from the Vatican MS., puted passage of St. John from when retrieved, that the Compluthat most ancient copy, an end tensian Editors did not insert the will be put effectually to the in- disputed passage from that most sults of the adversaries of that ancient copy, but from Latin copies passage. And if it cannot be of great antiquity; though such a discovered, but must be given up discovery would confute the reafor a lost or perished copy, yet sons assigned in this discourse, yet still the strong probabilities will agreeably to the method proposed continue, that the Complutensian by yourself, Sir, of finding out the Editors inserted the said passage genuine Greek text by the confrom it. However, it is very just currence of very ancient Latin and reasonable, that the contro- copies, that were translated from versy about this passage should the most ancient and uncorrupt be suspended, till the greatest dili. Greek MSS., I say upon this gence possible be used to find out principle, neither the reputation of the celebrated Vatican MS. And the Complutensian Editors of the then it will be time enough to de- Greek Testament, nor the authocide upon the authority of this rity of this controverted text in passage. In the mean time, as the particular, would be affected by method proposed by yourself, Sir, such a discovery. For if Stunica of endeavouring to find out whe- and his brethren were persuaded ther the said passage be genuine that most, if not all, the Greek or not, by an accurate collation MSS. of St. John, that are now of the most ancient Latin MSS, of extant, were corrupted, and that the New Testament, as supposed the Latin copies that retain this to be translated from the most controverted passage ought justly ancient uncorrupt Greek copies; to be inserted in that edition, as as this consequential inethod, I in fact it was; I do not see why say, is subsidiary, and may con- they ought to undergo any censure tribute to give some new light, in from yourself, who pay so great a this dispute, (though it cannot be regard to, and lay so mighty a allowed to be a decisive argu- stress upon, the ancient Latin copies ment,) so is it bighly probable, of the New Testament, whatever that it is a method which will be opinion the rest of the learned serviceable towards the establish- world might, on this occasion, enment of this passage of St. John. tertain, by way of diminution of For far the greater number of the authority of the Complutensian those Latin MSS. that have been Editors.” hitherto collated by learned men, That neither the Vatican MS., retain this passage; and many of nor any other used by the Comthem, no doubt, are very ancient. plutensian Editors, contained the Whatever be the result of col- passage, has been most satisfaclating your own Latin MSS., torily proved: consequently the asserted by you to be very ancient, main argument of this pamphlet, the public will be glad to be in- by the Bishop's own admission, is formed of it. For though it should overthrown. The other argument, happen, that they want this pas- addressed to Dr. Bentley himself, sage, it will not be conclusive against on the ad hominem principle, is that of a multitude of other very worth very little. Bentley's edi
tion was never published, so that however, he enters at some lengtlı. how the passage might have ap- He gives a list of Greek MSS. peared in it, may be matter of in which it is not to be found ; dispute ; but that he believed the of Latin MSS. in which it is passage to be spurious is well omitted ; of Greek fathers who ascertained, from a discourse wbich do not notice it; of Latin wribe delivered on the subject, which ters in the first five centuries who is still preserved. A letter also from do not mention it; and of printed Bentley to an anonymous friend, editions which want it. He then shows that his sentiments were un- notices the Greek and Latin derstood to be unfavourable to the authorities which are supposed to authority of the verse; and cer- be in its favour. He concludes tainly was not intended to remove his examination and comparison, that unfavourable impression. * The hy exclaiming, “In a word, if execution of his edition of the this evidence is not sufficient to New Testament on the principle prove, that the controverted text of that letter, would undoubtedly in St. John is spurious ; by what have left out the text.
evidence can it he proved, that
auy text in St. Juhu is genuine ? The first edition of the Greek
The authority upon which any New Testament published in Eng- Greek text is founded, is only land, which omits the passage, the authority of the Greek Fathers, appeared in 1729.
and their authority is founded **The New Testament in Greek
upon that of the ancient Greek and English, containing the Origi- MSS. Now All the Greek Fa. nal Text, corrected from the Au
thers, not one excepted; ALL the thority of the most Authentic MSS.
Greek MSS. the Irish one only And a new Version formed agree excepted; ALL the ancient Verably to the Illustrations of the sions, the old Italic, and St. Je. most learned Commentators and
rome's, the Syriac, the Ethiopic, Critics : with Notes and various the Arabic, and the Coptic: ALL Readings.” London. 2 vols. 8vo. the ancient Latin Fathers, and the
The editor and translator of this most ancient Latin MSS. of the work was Dr. Mace, of whose New Testament, do unanimously history very little is known, but exclaim against the controverted that he belonged to the free school of theulogy. The Greek text is beautifully printed, but its autho
The publication of this work rity as a critical edition does not led to the following :-“ A Criti.. stand high, as the editor appears
cal Examination of the late New to have been a rash and a
Text and Version of the New vain man, who took very uuwar
Testament : wherein the Editor's rantable liberties with the text,
corrupt Text, false Version, and and seldom assigns satisfactory
fallacious Notes are detected and reasons for the alterations, which
censured. By Leonard T'wells, be made with such freedom. In-'
Vicar of St. Mary's. In Three deed. his object seems to have Parts. In the second of which been to throw a degree of uncer- justice is done to the famous tainty over the whole text and text of 1 John v. 7, against his canonical authority of the New partial representation of that matTestament. On the disputed verse. ier.” London, 1731.
* Crito Cantab. p. 225.
Twells, the author of this exa- gives his opinion, that the Codex mination, was a clergyman of the Britannicus, is “ a modern MS. Church of England, not very dis- probably translated, or corrected, tinguished for the accuracy of his from the Latin Vulgate.” researches, or the extent of his Bengelins published his valuable learning. It was no hard task critical edition of the Greek Testo expose the incorrectness of tament in 1734 ; in which the Mace's text, and the blunders and principles on which he constructed absurdities of his translation. But his text, led him to insert the pas. in attacking his omission of the dis- sage. He adopted no reading puted passage in John, Twells had which had not previously apnot Mace, but Mill's authorities peared in some printed edition, to contend with. In doing this, except in some cases in the Apohe founders in the darkness of his calypse. In consequence of folown misconceptions, hazards the lowing a law, which he had laid most groundless assumptions, and down for himself, more specious dogmatically asserts what had been and better adapted to meet the repeatedly disproved. He con- popular feeling on certain points, cludes a long discussion by a pas- than solid in itself, he admitted sage precisely the opposite of that the passage; and yet the statequoted from Mace, in the latter ments in his note seem fatal to part of which, it must be acknow- its authority. He allows that it ledged, he has a just stroke at exists in no genuine manuscript ; that rash and vulgar critic.--" The that the Complutensian editors indisputed passage of 1 John v. 7, terpolated it from the Latin verhas so many marks of genuineness, sion; that the Codex Britannicus that if it had not contained a doc- is good for nothing; that Stephen's trine, to which the disputers of this semi-circle is misplaced ; that no world have always shown the ancient Greek writer cites the utmost aversion, its authority had heavenly witnesses ; that many never been called in question. Latins omit them; that they were An undoubted proof of which is neither erased by the Arians, nor this, that many texts of Scripture, absorbed by the homoeoteleuton. according to their present reading, He thought the evidence afforded are worse supported than this, by the African Church, and some and yet receive no molestation other considerations, favourable to from critics. And of all others, the passage, and therefore inserted the editor should be the last to it, but, on the whole, he had no object to the disputed passage, as strong conviction of its authentidefective in point of testimony, city. who admits some sections into his As a good deal, however, has new text, upon the credit of sim- been said of the weight of Benple vouchers, and others against gel's opinion, the following view of all authority whatever,' p. 154. his conduct in this matter, seems to
David Casley published, in 1734, be characterised by great accuracy “ A Catalogue of the MSS. of the and candour. “ Bengelius was, King's Library, together with 150 probably, the first advocate of the specimens of the manner of writ- verse who fairly gave up the potion ing in different ages, from the that the Complutensian editors third to the fifteenth century." In and Robert Stephens printed the his preface to this catalogue, he passage as they found it in Greek refers to the controversy respect. MSS. He also allowed due ing the heavenly witnesses, and weight to the silence of the Fa
thers with regard to the text. In in defending the genuineness of a fact, he was a good workman; particular text, they must use and, in the progress of his un- every one of the same arguments dertaking, he cleared the subject that have already been used, withof many incumbrances. He con- out rejecting any upon the idle demned the principle of defending pretence that they are false or a text, because it favoured a par- triting. I pity Bengelius. He ticular doctrine. He disdained bad the weakness, which fools call to measure a person's orthodoxycandour, to reject some of the by bis reception of the text of the arguments that had been employed beavenly witnesses. He con- in defence of this celebrated verse, tended that the great object of and brought upon himself a severe, inquiry was, whether what was but just rebuke from an opponent held to have been written, really of de Missy (Journ. Brit. x. page bad been written. He censured 133); where he is ranked with the mode in which the verse had, those who, under pretext of dein many instances, been defended; fending the three heavenly witand even mentioned its great cham- nesses with moderation, defend pion, Dr. Twells himself, with no then so gently, that a suspicious great reverence. Towards the reader might doubt whether they close of his inquiry, he seems to defended them in earnest, though have considered the subject as God forbid that we should wish to one on which learned men might insinuate any suspicion of Mr. justly hold opposite opinions; and Bengelius's orthodoxy.'"* in his Greek Testament he stated his wish, that the reader should In the critical edition of the suppose, as his own judgment New Testament, published by might direct, either the seventh Wetstein, in 1752, the passage is verse to be erased, or the eighth marked as spurious. There is also verse to precede the seventh ; for attached to it, a long and imporhis own part recommending the tant note; this is justified by a latter supposition. This mode of reference to a much greater numproceeding was anything but ber of MSS. and versions than agreeable, to those who were re- had ever before been quoted in solved that the text should be vin- the controversy. The leanings of dicated, at all events. In literary Wetstein's mind to the Unitarian campaigns, the established rule hypothesis is well known, and has seems to be, that he who first deserts excited a suspicion that he may a position as untenable, however have been influenced by it in his valiantly he may fight in other in- rejection of this passage. This is stances, shall be accounted as little scarcely candid, as he states fairly better than one of the enemy; and and fully the evidence on which he accordingly, Bengelius was, more formed his decision. than once, obliged to defend himself from the charge of indifference
Soon after the publication of this to the cause in which he was en
important work, several letters gaged. •In vain,' says Mr. Porson,
appeared against Martin and the may Simon, La Croze, Michaelis,
disputed passage, in the Journal and Griesbach, declare their be
Britannique. They were written lief of the doctrine (of the Trinity);
by Cæsar de Missy, a native of they must defend it in the Catholic Berlin, French preacher in the manner, and with the Catholic texts: nor is all this enough : but, * Crito Cantabrigiensis, pp. 311, 314.
Savoy, and French preacher at St. Sir Isaac considered the manner in James's. They discovered great which the testimony came to be learning and penetration, but were surreptitiously inserted, first into written, for the most part, in rather the Latin MSS., and then into the too ludicrous a tone for serious cri- printed Greek text. Some of his ticism. In these letters were par remarks bear very hard upon Beza, ticularly exposed, the ridiculous whom he calls a dreamer, and and false pretence of Amelotte, almost justify the sneers of Gibbon. that the disputed passage was con- Sir Isaac assigns several reasons tained in a Vatican Ms., and the for believing that the Complutenabsurd inference wbich some per- sian editors translated the passage sons had deduced from Wetstein's from the Latin Vulgate. And, correction of an erratum relative certainly, the marginal note atto the three lectionaries belonging tached to the passage in the Comto Cæsar de Missy ; this correction plutensian edition, a practice which having been converted into an is adopted in that edition, only in acknowledgment, tbat the passage two other places where the Greek was contained in one of these three MSS. are defective, and the silence lectionaries.* “ De Missy's fate," of Stunica, one of the editors, in says Porson, " has been some- bis controversy with Erasmus on what hard. He was bold enough the authority of Greek MSS., are to attack Amelotte's veracity and strong negative proofs that the pasMartin's understanding. This pro- sage was translated from the Vulvoked a nest of hornets. Four gate. Sir Isaac also endeavours anonymous writers fell upon him ; to explain the passage and its conthree with personal abuse, the text without the three heavenly fourth with malignity, under the witnesses. He considers the spirit, mask of moderation.”
the water, and the blood, to mean Nothing more of importance on
the promised spirit, the baptism of
Christ, and his passion, in conthe subject occurred till 1754,
nexion with bis resurrection, all when “Two Letters of Sir Isaac
bearing testimony to his character Newton to Mr. Le Clerc, upon the reading of the Greek text, 1 John
and mission as the Son of God.
The attention which this eminent v. 7. and 1 Tim. iii. 16.," appeared.
man paid to biblical subjects, must They had been drawn up by Sir Isaac so early as the beginning of
have been very considerable. The
present tract discovers a good deal the century, and were at last published from the MSS. left by Le
of critical reading, which, consiClerc, in the library of the Remon
dering his circumstances and pur
suits, would not have taken place, strants in Amsterdam. The first
had his taste for the Scriptures not Letter is entirely devoted to the
been cultivated. His leanings to text of the heavenly witnesses,
Arianism, which were no doubt The first four pages of the MS.
promoted by his acquaintance with being lost, the beginning is sup
Clarke, Whiston, and other emiplied by the editor, whose name
nent persons of that school, are to does not appear. The MS. was sent to Le Clerc by Mr. Locke,
be deplored. But his character and is said to have been in his !
presents a noble contrast to that
ruthless infidelity, or cheerless scephand writing. It is almost entirely
ticism, which characterise men intioccupied with a history of what
nitely his inferiors in all the attain* Marsh's Michaelis, Vol. vi. p. 414.
ments of genuine philosophy. + Letters to Travis, p. 19.
I cannot withhold from the