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closely to his model, as he has adopted some of its orthographical inaccuracies. This edition is chiefly valuable, on account of the principle on which it is formed, and in consequence of its form. ing the basis of the Received Text. It contains the text of the heavenly witnesses, which had been omitted in both Erasmus's former editions, but which was inserted in this on the authority of the Montfort MS. which at present exists in the library of Dublin University : Erasmus having pledged himself to reina state this passage in the sacred text, if a single manuscript were produced, in which it was extant.
Thus far the editors of the New Testament, in revising the sa. cred text, followed no settled plan of emendatory criticism. Having chosen from among the manuscripts with which they were provided, one copy, which appeared to them of the highest authority, they committed it to print with little alteration. The sphere of critical enquiry was however enlarged under Robert Stephens, by the publication of an edition, containing a colla. tion of fifteen MSS. and the Complutensian edition, which were annexed as marginal notes to the text of Erasmus, reprinted by Stephens with a very few corrections adopted from the edition of Complutum. The MSS. which were used in forming this collation are likewise extant, having been discovered by Father Le Long in the Royal library at Paris : but it appears, on a comparison of the written and printed authorities, that the various readivgs have been collected with little accuracy. In this edition likewise the text of the heavenly witnesses is inserted; and an error in placing a note of reference to the margin has given rise to an opinion that this long-contested verse stands in Stephens's text, supported by manuscript authority. This notion however, if it now prevails, rests solely with those who would substitute their wishes for fact; the typographical error in Stephens's text having been demonstrated by the present Margaret Professor to the satisfaction of every unprejudiced reader.
In the preceding attempts, however valuable in their day, we merely discover the first rudiments of that art which has been advanced to so high a degree of perfection by modern critics. We pass over the various readings of Laurentius Valla, and the Marquis Velez, as scarcely deserving of notice, in the vast mass of valuable materials which have been collected by their indefatigable successors. Until the publication of Bishop Walton's Polyglott, nothing of moment was effected, in investigating the state of the text, or publishing collations of various readings. The learned author of that work, which reflects credit on the nation in wbich it was produced, was furnished by Primate Usher, with the various readings of sixteen MSS. This collation of "texts, with Sections IV-XVI. (inclusive) of the Prologomena,
. constitute constitute the foundation of that highly-laboured system of sacred criticism which has been raised by modern industry. In this collection of readings, which is inserted in the sixth volume of the Polyglott; we observe almost all the varieties which have been discovered in the sacred text by a long and accurate investigation of MSS. while the fore-cited sections of the Prolegomena furnish a variety of the most learned and curious information, relative to the state and history of the text and versions of Scripture.
The labours of Bishop Walton having been principally con. fined to the consideration of the Old Testament; little was effected towards investigating the state of the remaining part of the Canon, until Father Simon published his Critical History of the Text and Versions of the New Testament. In this useful work, the outline of which was sketched and filled up on the plan sug. gested in Walton's Prolegomena, sacred criticism assumed that determinate form, which it has since preserved, under the hands of its numerous cultivators. The best information is here collected which could be procured, at so early a period, upon a subject obscure and intricate. The history aud chronology of the different books of the sacred canon are investigated with great diligence; the state of the principal MSS. particularly of the Codices Græco-Latini, is very carefully examined ; and many judicious observations are added, on some contested passages, and the principal various readings. In describing the Versions and Comments, we discover the same ability and diligence; the Oriental and Western translations are very fully and accurately described, and a degree of information displayed on the former, to which little has been added by the labours of subsequent cri. tics. It is indeed no small commendation of Father Simon's crie tical talents, that after all the acumen and industry which have been employed on the subject in which he engaged, the scholar may still turn to his work with entertainment and advantage. · Hitherio, as Professor Michaelis has observed, sacred critia cism remained in its infancy. By the extraordinary exertions of an individual it now arrived at its manhood. At the beginning of the last century, the elaborate edition of Dr. Mill appeared, which had been suggested by the small but curious edition of Bishop Fell, which had been published with an annexed list of various readings, made from a collation of additional manuscripts. On this learned work, which is a lasting monument of human ine dustry, thirty years were bestowed by the laborious author; and most ample information collected on every branch of that depart. ment of criticism which is distinguished as sacred. Of the three parts into which the Prolegomena are divided, the first contains an enquiry into the composition of the Canon; in which the ori
gin gin and chronology of the sacred books, the times and occasions of their publication are fully and ably examined. The second is devoted to the consideration of the history of the Text; in wbich all the notices respecting it, that are found in the early ecclesias. tical writers, are carefully collected, and the quotations of the an. tient fathers compared with the received text, their various read. ings noted with incredible pains, and conjectures formed respect ing the copies which they used in writing. In the third part, the plan and object of the author's own work are described; the views which he purposed to himself in forming his edition are detailed at length, and particular descriptions added of the MSS. which he used in compiling his edition. The sacred text is subjoined, which is printed after the third edition of Robert Ste. phens, and the various readiugs are annexed in notes, which the author has collected, with unexampled labour, from manuscripts, fathers, and versions. In praise of this work, it will be sufficient to mention the high character stamped upon it by the sanction of the University of Oxford--a seat of learning not less distinguished by the cultivation of profane than by the devotion to sacred literature, which there prevails; of which, the elaborate works of Mill, Holmes,and Kennicott, the Syriac, Coptic, and Sahidic Versions, . published under her auspices, are splendid and lasting monuients. Notwithstanding all that has been effected by the la. bours of subsequent editors, she still manifests her partiality to the edition of Dr. Mill, by issuing it from her press; as a work, which is at least free from the objections, if it wants the improvements of later editions, while it possesses an ample store of the most valuable matter on all the useful parts of sacred criticism.
The mine, thus opened, and freed from the obstructions which opposed the exertions of the first enquirers, soon tempted the ambition of subsequent adventurers; as promising a reward which might be now attained with less labour of investigation. All that could be effected by time or industry, has been consequently achieved. The MSS. of every library, from Madrid to Moscow, have been searched and collated, and editions consequently formed with further improvements. Scarcely a Version or particle of a Version exists, which has not been exa. mined. The labors of Bengel and Semler, of Wetstein at Paris, of Alter at Vienna, of Matthäi at Moscow, of Birch at Rome Madrid and Copenhagen, have left nothing unexplored respect. ing the state of the Greek text. A variety of the most curious and useful information has been collected on the subject of the Oriental Versions, by Adler, Münter, and Michaelis, Woide, Forde and White, and numberless other critics, whose names we omit, as less known to the generality of readers. And au exa.
mination of the Western Versions, which bave been not less carefully investigated, by Sabatier, Bianchini and others, has left little for future industry to effect, in ascertaining the varieties of the sacred text, as dispersed in the copies of different translations.
It would lead us from our immediate purpose, and far exceed the limits which we have prescribed ourselves, to enter into a particular examination of the labors of those different critics. But it would be an act of injustice to merit of the highest order, to pass over the names Griesbach and Michaelis, without some note of marked approbation. The great works on which the reputation of those distinguished critics is founded, are of a very dif. ferent kind, but exhibit equal ability in the execution. Both entered on the task in which they engaged with minds full fraught with their subject. Those vast stores which had been accumulated by antecedent industry they made their own; brought to the common stock which they thius appropriated a fund of origi. nal matter; and in framing the systems, in which they combined it, displayed a skill which equalled and even surpassed their materials.
On the plan of Dr. Griesbach's Greek Testament, it is unne. cessary to enlarge in this place; as so much is advanced upon it in the course of the following observations; however opinions may be divided on the stability of his system, the ingenuity of it cannot be denied, and but one sentiment can be held on the accuracy of its execution. Nor can it be necessary to enter minutely into the subject of Michaelis's “ Introduction to the New Testament," as the translation of Dr. Marsh has placed that valuable work within the reach of readers of very moderate attainments. The outline pursued in this work bears a considerable resenıblance to that followed by Dr. Mill and Father Simon. Of the three parts into which it is divided, the first treats of the style and authenticity of the Sacred Text; the second, of the different versions which have been made from it; and the third, contains introductions to the several canonical books, investigating their origin, and clearing up many difficulties which embarrass their subject. In discussing all these points, the author exhibits the most profound erudition, joined with great critical sagacity. In the translation of Dr. Marsh, this justly celebrated work assumes the character and merit of an original. The style is not only improved, but the subject enriched with a vast accession of matter, collected from the wide range of antient and modern literature. In the course of his observations, the learned translator supplies the omissions and corrects the oversights of the original work; and rather keeps pace with his author, whom he frequently outstrips, than tamely follows his footsteps.,
Besides . Besides the care which has been thus bestowed on the sacred text at large, the controverted verse, 1 John v. 7, has been the subject of particular investigation ; on which we shall offer a few observations, previously to bringing this brief sketch of the progress of sacred criticism to a conclusion.
Erasmus, in preparing his first and second editions of the Greek Testament for publication, omitted this verse on the authority of the MSS. which furnished his exemplar; but having been accused by Lea and Stunica, as a falsifier of the inspired text, he inserted it in his third edition, on the joint authority of the Monfort MS. and Latin Vulgate. After this time the question of its authenticity lay dormant, until further progress was made in sacred criticism. In the middle of the seventeenth century, the question was again investigated by Selden : the point was then decided with that vast erudition, which distinguishes all the works of its author; though he declared himself in favour of its authenticity, he contributed not a little to diminish its authority, by the force of his objections. Under Father Simon, who next debated the question, the objections stated by Selden gained a considerable accession of strength; from his inquiry it appeared that the disputed verse was not supported by manuscript authority. The next formidable opponent which this text found, was the incomparable Sir Isaac Newton, who arranged and strengthened the arguments of F. Simon; Dr. Bentley followed on the same side, and gave to a question, which was already borne down by. a preponderance of authority, the weight of his great name. At the the beginning of the last century, the point was debated at considerable length by M. Martin, pastor of the French church at Utrecht, and Mr. Emlyn, a dissenting minister in London, but by their labours no accession of light was cast on the subject. In the course of this protracted discussion, the credit of this verse continued to lose ground; notwithstanding the support of Dr. Mill and M. Bengel, who declared themselves on the side of those who maintained its authenticity. Towards the close of the last century, the controversy was again revived by Mr. Travis, in an equally imbecile and intemperate attack upon Mr. Gibbon, who had arraigned the authority of the disputed passage. But his temerity received its due castigation from Mr. Porson and Dr. Marsh; before whom Mr. Archdeacon Travis retired, leaving the field in the possession of his opponents. Such was the state in which the controversy remained, when the subject was revived, as above stated, not long since in our own pages.
Little did we suppose that we were then presenting our readers with the outline of an elaborate work, which we should so soon be called upon to appreciate. Such,