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This, and what follows, feems to be too severe a censuse upon the conduct of Erasmus.
We see no great impropriety in giving way to the zeal of his opponents, on the authority of a single manuscript. The text was admitted; but it was admitted as a doubtful reading; and its authenticity was left to be determined by more manuscripts, and a farther inveftigation.
• Veruntamen, fays Erafmus, ne, quid diffimulem, repertus eft apud Anglos Græcus codex unus, in quo habetur quod in vulgatis deeit. Ex hoc igitur codice Britannico reposuimus quod in noftris dicebatur deesse, ne cui fit caufa calumniandi.'
Surely the conduct of Erasmus, in this instance, does not deferve to be called mean,' or 'grossly difingenuous.
Though we do not by any means join with Mr. Gibbon in the cenfure of Robert Stephens, yet it may not be improper to observe, that he is not the first who supposed there was a mistake or misrepresentation with regard to this passage, in Stephens's Greek Teftament.
F. 'Simon (who may be supposed to have been well acquainted with the Greek MSS. in France) makes the following remark : Since we are come to Greek manuscripts, it will not
be amiss to make this observation, that there is an apparent fault in the printing of this place, in the fair Greek edition of the New Testament of Robert Stephens; the semicircle or hook, that thews how it should be read, is placed after ev ta sqavn; whereas it ought to be put immediately before ev on yn ; insomuch that all thefe words εν τω ερατω, ο Πατης, ο Λογος, και το αγιον Πνευμα" και ετοι οι τρεις Και τρεις εισιν οι μαρτυρεντες, were not in the seven copies that are quoted in the margin of this edition. Lucas Brugensis has already made this conjecture; for he durft not avouch that this verse is entire in all' Robert Stephens's Greek manuscripts, without the words ey TW ezave Therefore having observed this, he subjoins, “ Si tamen femi. circulus, lectionis delignans terminum, fuo loco fit collocatus :" “ provided the semicircle, which denotes the end of the read. ing, be inserted in its proper place.” Indeed it is difficult to find Greek MSS. in which these words are expressed. They are not found in any of those of the king's library, that I have consulted.'
In the second Letter our author proceeds to establish the au. thenticity of the verse itself, by teftimonies of different kinds, all antecedent, in point of time, to the days of any of the editors here mentioned; by proofs, commencing with the age of Erasmus, and ascending from thence to that of the apottles.
These testimonies are those of Laurentius Valla, Nicholas de Lyra, St. Thomas, Durandus, Lombard, Rupert, St. Bernard, Radulphus Ardens, Hugo Victorinus, Scotus, Walafrid Strabo, Ansbert, Etherius, Beatus, Cassiodorus, Fulgentius, (A. D. 508,) Vigilius Tapfensis,  Eucherius, [434,} Jerome, (373,] St. Austin, (396,] Marcus Celedenfis, (one of Jerom's correspondents,) Phæbadius, (359), Cyprian,  Tertullian, [192.]
To the evidence, furnished by these writers, the author subjoins the teitimony of councils, and other collective bodies of
With regard to the preceding teftimonies it may be said, that the authority of writers, or even manuscripts, of a thou. sand or thirteen hundred years antiquity, is fallacious; be. cause the verse in question, fuppofing it to be an interpolation, was most probably inserted in some copies of St. John's Epittle, in the fourth or fifth century, by some orthodox zealot *.
In treating of Jerome's teitimony, our author fays!
• When the pious Jerome, who died A. Da 42, had com: pleted that great' work of correcting the Latin version of the Old, and fettiing the text of the New Teitament, which he undertook at the request of pope Damalus, he closed the are daous tak with the solemn protestation, that in revising the New Testament he had adhered entirely to the Greek MSS. “ Novum Testamentum Græcæ fidei reddidi.” And in Je, rome's Testament, this verse of St. John is read without any doubt of its authenticity.'
The learned author supposes that Jerome translated all the New Testament. But how is this to be proved ? Jerome indeed says, 'Novum Testamentum Græcæ fidei reddidi.' But it is moit probable, that Jerome's transiation was not so extenfive.' Jerome wrote his Catalogue of Ecclefiaftical Writers, in which these words occur, in the year 392. Yet St. Austin, in a letter to him, which could not be written earlier than 395, after he was bishop of Hippo, returns him thanks for translating · Evangelium ex Græco ;' and Jerom in answer, ítyles his work, · Novi Testamenti emendatio t'. We, therefore, cannot conclude from the words Novum Teftamentum, or the corresponding Greek in Jerome's Catalogue, Kalva Alainun, that he translated the apostolical epistles, or corrected the ancient Latin version of the whole New Teitament.
But granting that he did, where shall we find this tranllé. tion or emendation ? Mr. Travis tells us, page 93, ' Jerome
* Arius was condemned in the Nicene Council, A. D. 325.
was the author of that translation of the Bible, which is now called the vulgar Latin or the Vulgate : in which translation this verse has always had a place.'
Erasmus places this tranflation among the 1st works of "Jerome, and says, “Novum Testamentum Græcæ fidei reddidit; qui labor, si extaret, aut non fuisset nobis eâdem in re laborandum, aut certè illius ftudio plurimùm fuiífemus adjuti.' And in his commentary on the words · Evangelium ex Græco,' he says: “Hieronymus dicit se castigase magis sensum quàm verba, quanquam nec illum habemus caftigationem.'
Poole, in the Preface to his Synopsis, speaks of the Vulgate in the following terms:
* Vulgata Latina versio, cadem ferè quæ Hieronymi, fed variè immutata atque interpolata, et decreto Romani pontificis firmata; quam alii miris laudibus extollunt; nec alii minùs vitu
perant; alii verò eam facrum texum modò optimè, modò etiam ! peffimè, plerumque verò mediocriter, reddere fentiunt.' p.iv.
It may be observed, that neither Bellarmine nor F. Libbé, include a translation or castigation of the New Testament among the works of Jerome. What Cave says upon this subject, seems to be the real truth. . Quicquid ex iis [libris] extat in Vulgatis Bibliis confervatur, cum antiquâ versione Latinâ ex Græco facta, permixtum ac, confufum ; adeo ut quænam fint Hieronymi, quænam antiquæ verfionis, vix ac ne vix dignofci quear*.' · If we likewise consider the various corruptions, which this Latin translation has undergone in later ages, we cannot by any means agree with our author in believing, that we have at present Jerome's version of the text in dispute.
One of the most important teftimonies which the writings of Jerome afford, is the following passage in a preface to the canonical Epistles, which passes under his name.
• Eit prima earum una Jacobi, Petri duæ, Johannis tres, & Judæ una, Quæfi, ut ab eis digeltæ funt, ita quoque ab interpretibus fidenter in Latinum verterentur eloquium, nec ambiguitatem legentibus facerent, nec fermonum fere varietas impugnaret; illo præcipuè loco, ubi de Unitate Trinitatis in primâ Johannis epiftolâ posituin legimus. In quâ etiam ab infidelibus translatoribus multùm erratum elle à fidei veritate comperimus; trium tantummodo vocabula, hoc eft, Aquæ, Sanguinis, & Spiritûs, in fuâ editione ponentibus; & Patris, Verbique ac Spiritùs testimonium omittentibus, in quo maximè & fides caiholica roboratur, et Patris, ac Filii, ac Spiritûs una divinitatis fubftantia comprobatur f.
# Cave, Hist. Literaria. Vide Apparat. Biblic. by F. Lamy, lib. ii. cap. 8. † Hieronymi Divina Bibliotheca per Martianay, edit. Par. 1693. p. 1637.
Thcre are several circumstances in this preface, which though they do not absolutely prove that it is a forgery, have at least a fufpicious appearance. We shall mention cne or two.
The preference, which is ascribed so carefully and officiously to St. Peter, Jeems as if it came from the pen of an advocate for the fupremacy of the Roman pontiff. -The author of the preface vehemently exclaims again it the infideles translatores, and says, that by the verse in question, maxime fides catholica robora. tur.' Yet“ the pious Jerome' never fully or explicitly appeals to this important text, in any part of his works! This, we will venture to say, is unaccountable. It may also be
preTumed, that if St. Jerome thought this passage the strongest confirmation of the Catholic faith, 'it would have been conftantly cited by the Trinitarians. But it is not.
The earliest testimony which our author produces, and indeed the earliest which can be produced, is that of Tertullian.
• In those days, says Mr. Travis, arose in Asia, the heretic Praxeas, who maintained, that there was no plurality of perfons in the godhead; but that the Father suffered on the cross. Against the opinions of this man Tertullian wrote a treatise, in the twenty-fifth chapter of which, he thus alleges this parfage of St. John. “ The connection of the Father in the Son, and of the Son in the Holy Ghost, makes a unity of these three, one with another, which three are, one." The Latin is,
qui tres unum funt:" a literal quotation of the verle in question. And the testimony of Tertullian, seems to carry irresistible conviction with it to every unprejudiced mind, not only from its proximity to the age of the apostles, but because he testifies, that in those times, their authentic epistles were actually read to the churches, not through the medium of the Latin, or of any other translation, but in the original Greek, to which criginals Tertullian himself directly appeals * '
This testimony of Tertullian, when viewed in the original, does not seem to carry that irresistible conviction with it which our author apprehends. • Ita connexus, says that father, Patris in Filio, & Filii in Paracleto, tres efficet cohærentes, alterum ex altero, qui rres unum fint, non unus. Quamodò dictum est, ego & Pater unum sumus fi' The paffage to which he here very manifestly refers, is John X. 30, 4yw xab ο Πατηρ εν εσμεν, I and my father are one. This, he observes, is asserted in Scripture, di&tum eft.'
dictum eft. If the former words, ' qui tres unum fint,' had been in St. John's Epistle, Tertullian would undoubtedly have appealed to his authority. But he does not; nay, so far from it, he uses very different
* Tertull. de Præfcript. Hæret. c. 36. Monog. c. 11. † Edit. Rigaltii, 1675. P. 515.
terms, namely, 'filius and paracletus.' We are therefore in clined to think, that Tertullian took his form of expression
unun fint,' frim y soulev, in the verse above cited ; and that he might have expressed himself as he has done, if the cona troverted passage in St. John's Epistle had never existed.
It is very certain, that both the Greek and Latin writers interpreted the eighth verfe, in a mystical fonse, of the Trinity, understanding by the spirit, God the Father; by the blood, the Son; and by water, the Holy Ghost. It is, therefore, most probable, that the passages in St. Cyprian, St. Auftin, and others, which by some are thought to be quotations from the seventh verse, are, in reality, nothing more i than glofles on the eighth.
Our author having alleged and enforced all the foregoing testimonies, proceeds to examine the most material objections which have been urged against the originality of this verse, and to his examination fuperadds some reie&tions, which seem to arise from an attentive confideration of the whole subject.
Sandis, M. Simon, and Mr. Emlyo, among the early opponents of this verse ; and Dr. Benson, fir Isaac Newton, Mr. Griesbach, and Mr. Bowyer, ainong its more modern adversaries, seem to have been the most diffuse in the vas riety of their remarks, and the most determined in their opposition. But as the four last mentioned writers have collected, into one point of view, all, or nearly all, the objections that have at any time been urged against the originality of the verse in question ; and as their works are more generally known than those of Sandius, Simon, or Emlyn, this learned writer considers them as speaking the sense of their fellow-advocates, and states their objections in their own words.
In this part of his work, and indeed in every other, our author displays indefatigable industry, extensive reading, and uncommon acuteness, in maintaining his hypothesis.
Yet, notwithstanding all that he has advanced, when it is considered that this verfe does not exist in the beft and most ancient manuscripts; and that it does not appear to have been fairly and expressly quoted by any Greek or Latin writer in the four first centuries of the church, in their warm disputes with the Arians and other ancient Antitrinitarians, the disa cerning reader will still perhaps entertain his doubts, and be rather pleased with the learning and ingenuity of this able writer, than convinced by his arguments.