Imágenes de página

reader, as Sir Isaac's tract is not pouring out his Spirit on us, is in many hands, his paraphrase of greater. the verses in which the words al- “ This is the sense, plain and naleged to be spurious have been tural, and the argument full an I inserted. It is, at least, a plausible strong; but, if you insert the interpretation of a very difficult testimony of the • three in heaven,' passage.

you interrupt and spoil it. For " Who is he that overcometh the the whole design of the Apostle world, but he that believeth that being here to prove to men, by Jesus is the Son of God; that Son witnesses, the truth of Christ's spoken of in the Psalms, where he coming, I would ask, how the saith, Thou art my Son, this day testimony of the three in heaven' have I begotten thee. This is He makes to this purpose. that, after the Jews had long ex. “If their testimony be not given pected bim, came, first in a mortal to inen, how does it prove to them body, by baptism of water, and the truth of Christ's coming ? If it then in an immortal one, by shed- be, how is the testimony in heading his blood, being the Son of ven distinguished from that on God, as well by his resurrection earth? It is the same Spirit from the dead (Acts xiii. 33.) as which witnesses in heaven and in by his supernatural birth of the earth. If in both cases it witVirgin. (Luke i. 35.) And it is nesses to us men; wherein is the the Spirit also, that, together with difference between its witnessing in the water and blood, beareth wito heaven, and its witnessing in ness of the truth of his coming; earth? If, in the first case, it does because the Spirit is truth; and so not witness to men, to whom does a fit and unexceptionable wit- it witness ? And to what purpose? ness.

And how does its witnessing make “ For there are three that bear to the design of St. John's disrecord of his coming, the Spirit course? Let them make good which he promised to send, and sense of it who are able. For my which was since shed forth upon part I can make none."* us in the form of cloven tongues, and in various gifts. The baptism

In 1756, the second edition of of water, wherein God testified,

Dr. Benson's Work on the CathoThis is my beloved Son ; and the

lic Epistles was published.t In shedding of his blood, accompa

the second volume of this learned nied with his resurrection, whereby

and valuable Commentary, there he became the most faithful martyr,

is a Dissertation “ Concerning the or witness of this truth. And these

Genuineness of 1 John v. 7, 8.three, the Spirit, the baptism, and

Dr. Benson, as might be expected, Passion of Christ, agree in wit

took decided part against the readpessing one and the same thing. ing. His Dissertation does not (namely, that the Son of God is contain much that is original : but

view of the come.) and therefore their evidence gives a very lucid is strong: for the law requires but substance of the evidence on which two consenting witnesses, and here Dr. Benson formed his opinion. we have three : and if we receive He begins with the Fathers, and the witness of men, the threefold witness of God, which he bare of • Newton's Letters to Le Clerc, pp. his Son, by declaring at his bap- 74. tism. This is my beloved Son; by this work as “a Paraphrase of the Gos

+ Mr. Butler strangely characterises raising him from the dead, and by pels.” See Horæ, Bib. I. p. 378.

[ocr errors]

shows, that while Tertullian, Cy- Version, has not the seventh verse. prian, and Jerome have been re- Tremellius likewise observes the ferred to, no satisfactory evidence same thing. But in a marginal exists in their writings, that any of not?, he has translated the seventh them had read this passage. He verse into Syriac; though he dared next notices the Greek MSS., and not insert it into the text in his alleges that they furnish no edition. However, Gutbirius inauthority for the insertion of the serted it, contrary to the authopassage. The ancient versions, he rity of all the Syriac copies, both maintains, are all on the same side. printed and manuscript. And, The evidence against the text is after him, Schaaf, without the next produced, and “ the sum of authority of one MS. copy of the whole matter” is thus given by the New Testament in Syriac, the Doctor, in the way of ac- hath likewise, in his edition of the counting for the introduction of the Syriac New Testament, boldly, passage.

without any apology, and without “ To sum up the whole matter. any mark of distinction, inserted The true state of the case seems to Tremellius' translation into the have been this. " As these words text. Thus we see, by what sleps were not written by St. John him- it might be at first brought into self, they were not in any an- the text. Some zealous men have cient MS. or Version; or known called it a grand forgery. And to any of the ancient fathers. But Gutbirius and Schaaf cannot easily Tertullian, applying these words be excused. But it is possible, of ver. 8. (These three are one), that the transcriber who first into Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; serted it in the text, might appreCyprian took that for the mystical hend, that as he found it interinterpretation of ver. 8. By him, lined, or in the margin, it had Facundus, Eucherius, Fulgentius, been omitted by the former copyist. Austin, and others, were led into And that, therefore, he did well that interpretation. And, very pro- in supplying that omission. Others, bably, Cyprian himself, or rather again, copied after him. And some of his admirers, wrote that thus it got into some few (but interpretation, in the margin, over- not into the generality) of Latin against ver. 8. as a glosse. And copies. by some future transcriber, it was in From those Latin copies, or incorporated into the text itself. quotations from thence, it was very There are, at this day, several probably translated into Greek, MSS., both Greek and Latin, and inserted into the text in some which have it in the margin. And modern manuscripts, and intersuch insertion of explanatory words, lined, or put in the margin of or phrases, from the margin, into MSS. of an older date. As it is the text, are common in MSS. now found to be in several MSS., Jerome, in one of his letters, Greek and Latin, in both public says, that an explanatory note, and private libraries. which he himself had made, in To make it spread, some busythe margin of his psalter, had body, about the eighth or ninth been incorporated by some tran- century, by a pious fraud, forged scriber into the text. And Dr. the preface to the Catholic EpisMill points out many similar in- tles, under the name of Jerome. stances.

. And to

And to give it the authority of “ The English Polyglot, and antiquity, ascribed the restoring of six other editions of the Syriac this disputed text, in the Latin

copies, to that learned Father; at comes to be, in our printed copies the same time, complaining of the at this day.”* unfaithfulness of the Latin trans. In the second edition of Bowyer's lators, for leaving it out. From Conjectures on the New Testathence it appears, that when that ment, 4to. 1784, there is a note preface was forged, the disputed of some length on the passage, text was in very few Latin copies. which shows that the opinions of But such a preface, under the the learned printer were unfavourname of Jerome, would induce able to its authority. All the many for the future to insert it. reasons which he assigns are adThus it may be accounted for, duced at greater length by one or why it is not quoted by the other of the writers in the controprimitive fathers; why it appears versy, and therefore do not require more early, in the Latin, than in to be distinctly noticed. the Greek MSS. And how it

(To be continued.)


No. III.- The Office of Deacon. As I have already noticed the Ghost and wisdom, whom we may election of Matthias to the Apos- appoint over this business; but tolic office, and the mode of wor- we will give ourselves continually ship instituted in the church at to prayer, and to the ministry of Jerusalemn, I have now to consider the Word.” This proposal being the appointment of the seven dea- agreeable to the people, they cons to their office, as it is related chose seven brethren, who, with in the sixth chapter of the Acts the concurrence of the Apostles, of the Apostles.

were either appointed to their In this narrative it is stated, office, or qualified for it, by that a murmuring arose among the prayer and the imposition of Hellenists, (considerable numbers hands. of whom baving assembled at Je- The first inquiry which arises rusalem to solemnize the passover, out of this narrative is, was this furnished a large proportion of the the institution of the office, or was first converts to Christianity,) it merely the appointment of seven against the Hebrews, because deacons in addition to certain pertheir widows were neglected in sons who had previously filled the daily distribution to the poor. that office in the church at JeruAn appeal being made to the salem. The latter opinion, supApostles, they convened the mul- ported by Mosheim, Kuinoel, and titude of the disciples, that is, the others, seems to me to be the whole church, and stated the im- more probable, for the following, propriety of neglecting the more among other reasons. There was, important duties of their office, previous to this period, a daily in order to attend to secular busi- distribution, in which the Helness. They direct the members of lenists thought themselves aggrievthe church in the following words, ed. There must have been some " Wherefore, brethren, look ve persons to inanage this distribuout among you seven men, of tion. Who were they? In this bonest report, full of the Holy deaconship, this drakovia, for so

* Benson’s Paraphrase, Vol. ii. p. 643, 644. N. S. No. 50.

it is called, who were the deacons? cient church mentioned by inspired Certainly not the Apostles, for or ecclesiastical writers, was withthere was an appeal to their out its deacons ; in fact, that the authority, rather than a complaint office of deacons is established by of their conduct. The words, “it the same authority, and recomis not reason that we should leave mended by the same evidence, as the word of God and serve that of pastors. Bishops and tables,” imply that the Apostles deacons appear every where, in neither had charged theidselves the venerable remains of ecclewith the onerous duties of the siastical antiquity, as the two daily distribution, nor were at this orders of ministers in the primitime willing to undertake them. tive church. Instructions respectThere must have been, therefore, ing the character and qualificasome other distributors, some tions of the latter are as clearly deacons at an earlier period in the laid down in the New Testament, church at Jerusalem, and proba- as they are respecting those of the bly from the time of its formation. former. The Christian ministry Again, the seven persons now is of divine authority, but it is chosen had, without an exception, the ministry both of pastors and Greek names; we may, therefore, of deacons. Men, moved by the fairly infer, that they were all Holy Ghost, have appointed one Hellenists. Would this have been order to conduct the religious agreeable to the Hebrews if they worship of the church, and anohad no deacons, who were ac- ther order to manage its secular quainted with their own language, business; and, since even the and friendly with their own poor? Apostles, with all the advantage Does not this suggest an explana- of their influence and wisdom, tion of the whole passage?' Is it found their spiritual duties too not likely that there were earlier momentous and pressing to leave deacons of the Hebrew nation, to time for temporal matters, I think oversee the daily ministration ? It that the minister who ventures to is possible that these deacons suggest to his people that they might give the preference to the might do without the inconvenience Hebrew poor : it is probable that of deacons, almost calls for the they might not be so well ac- uncourteous reply that the church quainted with the distress and might do without the expense of poverty of the Hellenists. Hence the pastor. His own office rests the murmuring arose ; and the upon the same authority as that best means of silencing it was de- which he seeks to abrogate. The vised; that of adding to the He- practice of the primitive church is brew deacons, seven Hellenists forcibly expressed by Ignatius, of high character for wisdom and who says, without deacons no piety.

church has the name of a church, No one, therefore, has any or, according to a fuller text, right to assert, that the office of “there is no true church, no coldeacons did not exist until it arose lection of saints, no assembly of out of this emergency. It pro- the pious ;'** and by Epiphanius, bably existed from the very forma. tion of a Christian church; if it did not, it was certainly instituted

* χωρις τατων εκκλησια εκλεκτη at this early period. We have ÓK ÉS LV Å ovvappoioua sylwv, ó earnestly to intreat some of our ovvaywyn ooiwy.- Ig. Epis. ad Tral. ministers to consider, that no an $3.

who says, “ it is impossible for a but a few, and the whole mul. bishop to be without a deacon."* titude but a small part of the

I do not, by any means, in church. The expressions have tend these remarks to apply to been made to denote the first hunthose churches who intrust secu dred and twenty believers, who lar business to the more active have been considered as presbyand useful members, without ters-or, sometimes, certain regiving to them their common and presentatives of separate congreappropriate designation. We see gations, into which the church is nothing unscriptural here. These said to have been distributed. men are really and virtually dea. The objection frequently urged cous. We are only very curious against the obvious meaning of to know their objection to the the passage is, the impossibility, common appellation. But if this or, at least, the difficulty of conbusiness go out of the church into vening so many persons in one the hands of worldly men, or if it place, for the orderly dispatch of be assumed by church-members, business; but, I think, this is obwithout the approbation of their viated by a fact adverted to in a brethren; then, as we shall soon former paper, that the church often see, there is an inexcusable dere- assembled in Solomon's porch, liction of scriptural principles. those magnificent cloisters of the

It is evident, from the narrative temple, which would conveniently before us, that these seven dea- accommodate as large a proporcons were elected by the church. tion of the first Christians, as we We have shown, in a former paper, have any reason to suppose were and hope to show more at large, in in Jerusalem at one time able a succeeding communication, that to attend a meeting for business. all the officers of the primitive That the election was by the church were elected by the people, multitude present, notwithstandand that the deprivation of the laity ing the attempt of Hammond and of this “ divine right,” was among others to restrict the expressions, the last, as it was the worst of as if the multitude did little more ecclesiastical corruptions. We than testify to the character of shall not, therefore, at present the deacons, by pointing out the travel out of the passage before men of good repute, is surely so us. The words are, “the twelve evident from the passage itself, as called the multitude of the dis- to require no further remarks. ciples unto them;" again, “where. The words of the Apostles are fore, brethren, look ye out among plain and conclusive, “ Look ye you seven men of honest report ;” out among you.” It is amusing and, again, “ the saying pleased that Whitby should coolly begin the whole multitude, and they an annotation on this passage, chose Stephen," &c. To a man “ Here seemeth to be nothing in who has not a party purpose to this relation, which favours the serve, nothing can be more evi- authority of the laity in choosing dent than the meaning of these persons to sacred offices.” expressions. It is surprising how The next inquiry is, into the they have been tortured by some nature of the office. For what commentators, who would have purpose were deacons appointed us believe, that a multitude is in the Christian church? We an

swer, they were appointed princi* άνευ δε διακονα επισκοπον αδυ pally to manage the secular busivarov éıyal.-Hær. 75, $ 3.

ness of the church, though it was

« AnteriorContinuar »