Thomas Burgess, A Vindication of I John, V. 7, (London, 1821)
Last Updated: Apr 4, 2009
Prologue: - Introduction to Burgess
Title Page Burgess on
1st John 5:7
Dedication: To the Lord Bishop of Durham
Preface: A Survey of Opinion
Contents Page: with brief section descriptions
A Vindication : Main Article
I. Griesbach's Judgment: against his own rules
II. Bengelius's conviction: many evidences for authenticity
III. Reasons for Loss: in ancient manuscripts
IV. Absence of the verse: no proof of spuriousness
V. Internal evidence: of the verse is sufficient
VI. External Evidence : for Three Periods
(1) The 1st Period : (101 - 300 A.D.)
(2) The 2nd Period : (301 - 900 A.D.)
(3) The 3rd Period : (900 A.D. + )
APPENDIX I. - Table of Manuscripts (p. 53)
APPENDIX II. - EUCHERII EPISCOPI
APPENDIX III. - FACUNDI EPISCOPI
APPENDIX IV. - Cave's Historia Literaria
APPENDIX V. - Note to p. 6.
APPENDIX VI. - Note to p. 22, 23.
APPENDIX VII. - Note to p. 36.
Postscript - Response to Pye Smith
Thomas Burgess (1756 - February 19, 1837), English author and philosopher, was born at Odiham, in Hampshire.
He was educated at Winchester, and at Corpus Christi College, Oxford. Before graduating, he edited a reprint of John Burton's Pentalogia. In 1781 he brought out an annotated edition of Richard Dawes's Miscellaneci Critica (reprinted, Leipzig, 1800). In 1783 he became a fellow of his college, and in 1785 was appointed chaplain to Shute Barrington, bishop of Salisbury, through whose influence he obtained a prebendal stall, which he held till 1803.
In 1788 he published his Considerations on the Abolition of Slavery, in which he advocated the principle of gradual emancipation. In 1791 he accompanied Barrington to Durham, where he did evangelistic work among the poorer classes. In 1803 he was appointed to the vacant bishopric of St David's, which he held for twenty years with great success. He founded the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge in the diocese, and also St David's College at Lampeter, which he liberally endowed.
In 1820 he was appointed first president of the recently founded Royal Society of Literature; and three years later he was promoted to the see of Salisbury, over which he presided for twelve years, prosecuting his benevolent designs with unwearied industry. As at St David's, so at Salisbury, he founded a Church Union Society for the assistance of infirm and distressed clergymen. He strenuously opposed both Unitarianism and Catholic emancipation.
A list of his works, which are very numerous, will be found in his biography by JS Harford (2nd ed, 1841). In addition to those already referred to may be mentioned his Essay on the Study of Antiquities, The First Principles of Christian Knowledge; Reflections on the Controversial Writings of Dr Priestley, Emendationes in Suidam et Hesychium et alios Lexicographos Graecos; The Bible, and nothing but the Bible, the Religion of the Church of England.
Thomas Burgess, A Vindication of I John, V. 7, (London, 1821)
Headings have been added for clarity and navigation purposes.
TO THE HONOURABLE AND RIGHT REVEREND
SHUTE HARRINGTON, LL.D,
LORD BISHOP OF DURHAM.
MY DEAR LORD,
THE long interval, which has elapsed since your acceptance of my first endeavour* to assist the acquisition of religious knowledge among the poor, presents to me so many recollections of your Lordship's kindness and friendship, that, if I could forget them, I should be most ungrateful to that directing Providence which first brought me within your Lordship's notice; and which enables me, at this late hour of your advanced life, to offer you this humble tribute of my affection and gratitude.
That the same gracious Providence may long preserve you in the enjoyment of perfect health, the reward of a temperate life, is the ardent wish of,
My dear Lord,
Your Lordship's Ever
obliged and affectionate Friend,
T. ST. DAVID'S,
* The Salisbury Spelling-Book for the Use of Sunday Schools, 1786.
IT may be of some service to religion, if we can rescue any one evidence of Christian doctrine from the imputations of bigotry, fraud, falsehood, and forgery, which have been at any time brought against it. Such charges have a tendency to weaken the faith even of sincere believers in the doctrine so said to be supported, and to affect the credit of the church which professes it. The doctrine and the church must be very corrupt which can require or employ such means for their support; and, though the doctrine may have many other evidences of its truth, yet the disputed evidence is usually attacked as vehemently as if the doctrine had no other ground to rest upon.
The doctrine of the Holy Trinity has many passages of Scripture for its proofs; but none so celebrated as the seventh verse of the fifth chapter of St. John's First Epistle; none so controverted, or so calumniated; and none, if I mistake not, more capable of effectual vindication. To justify these assertions, I need not repeat the scurrilities of Mr. Gibbon, nor the calumnies of Unitarian unbelievers: it will be more to the purpose of the following pages to adduce here the testimony of two judicious writers, who had much more critical learning and experience in these inquiries, than was possessed by our infidel historian.
Mill concludes his learned investigation of the authenticity of the verse with the most decided sentence in its favour,
" After fairly summing up the evidence on both sides (says Mr. Porson,) just as we should expect him to declare the verse spurious, he is unaccountably transformed into a defender."
Mill, - Preface to Letters to Mr. Travis.
Not unaccountably; for he gives very substantial reasons for his decision: says Mill:
" Mihi fateor," (" nie- " liora, si quid melius certiusque dederit longior " dies, discere parato,) argument is ad auctoritatem " huic version lo conciliandam modo ad duct is tantum " roboris inesse videtur, ut cum nni!v modo de loco " suo movendum esse censeam."
Note, ad facum. See also the passage quoted in the following Tract, p. 10.
Mill, - Preface to Letters to Mr. Travis.
BENGELIUS, who had all the light of his predecessor's learned labours, and brought to the inquiry at least an equal share of learning, candour, and integrity, was as decidedly convinced of the authenticity of this verse, as Mill was.
" Ex uno codice," he says, " aeque divina hauriri potest fides atque ex mille; hoc praesertim loco, ubi adamantina versiculorum cohaerentia omnem codicum penuriam compensat."
( Bengel, - Apparat. Crit. p. 771. )
But, decided and explicit as these testimonies are to the authenticity of the verse, other learned men, avowed believers in the doctrine of the Trinity, have either doubted or denied its authenticity; governed, in great measure, if not solely, by the external evidence. In the discussion of this subject the external evidence has been allowed more than its due authority : for, even in the opinion of Griesbach, it is but a secondary means of determining the right reading of a passage, and a subordinate part of criticism, whose chief office consists in
" indagandis et expendendis internis verae falsaeve lectionis indiciis."
(Griesbach), - See Symbolae Criticae, vol. ii. p. 90, note. Prolegomena to the New Test. sect. iii. init.; and especially the Preface to the second part of his Commentarius Criticus, p. 4:
" Perfectum criticum nondum eum esse, qui codices, vel universim quoslibet, vel saltem praestantiores, enumerare valeat, immo ne eum quidem, qui diversas textus recensiones distinguere ac secundum eorum consensum vel dissensum sententiam ferre didicerit ; sed requiri praesertim in critico sagacitatem in inda- gandis et expendendis internis verae falsaeve lectionis indiciis."
On the contrary, the Eclectic Reviewer, to whom Dr. Carpenter and Dr. Pye Smith refer their readers, says
" The only legitimate sources of authority, in ascertaining the pure text of the New Testament, are, ancient manuscripts, ancient versions, and citations in the works of early Christian writers."
( Griesbach, - Jan. 1810, vol. vi. p. 63,)
Most opponents of the verse rely on the external evidence as the sole criterion of authen- ticity ; for, if they notice the internal evidence, it is done slightly and inadequately. And this, rather than a denial of the doctrine of the Trinity, I conceive to have been the principal cause why the verse has had so many opponents. (This subject will be pursued in the Postscript to the Tract.)
A believer in the true Divinity (vera deitas) of Christ, as Griesbach declared himself to be, (Praefat. vol. ii. p. 8. Ed. Nov. Test, 1775) could not disbelieve the doctrine of the Trinity ; yet he pronounces the verse to be spurious.
Michaelis, also, was of opinion that it was spurious. The learned translator of Michaelis, in the preface to his Letters to Mr. Travis, (page xi, xix) is of the same opinion : he says,
" To suppose that the passage ever existed in ancient Greek manuscripts, is contrary to the rules of probability, founded on actual experience."
And again : "All hope, therefore, of shewing, even " with the least colour of probability, that the words εν τω ουρανω ο πατηρ κ. τ. λ. ever existed in ancient Greek manuscripts, appears to be entirely extinguished."
( Transl. Michaelis, - Letters to Mr. Travis, pp. xi, xix)
Later inquirers have formed a very different view of the subject. I have taken several opportunities, since the controversy between Mr. Porson and Mr. Travis, to express a different opinion from the opponents of the verse; and I can say with truth, that every renewed examination of the subject has added to my convictions of its authenticity. Among the latest inquirers, Mr. Nolan, in his profound and interesting Inquiry into the Integrity of the Greek Vulgate (London 1815, pg 305) after stating the internal and external evidence of the verse, and the probability that the verse was suppressed by Eusebius in the edition which he revised under the sanction of Constantine the Great, adds,
" I trust nothing further can be wanting, to convince any ingenuous mind that 1st John, v. 7 really proceeded from St. John the Evangelist."
Nolan, - (London 1815, pg 305)
Dr. Hales, in his learned work on Faith in the Holy Trinity speaks with equal confidence on the authenticity of the verse :
" To the authority of Griesbach on this question, I shall not hesitate to oppose and prefer the authority of a celebrated German editor and critic, the learned Ernesti ; with whose observations I shall close this minute and elaborate survey of the whole external and internal evidence; which, I humbly trust, will be found exhaustive of the subject, and set the controversy at rest in future."
Dr. Hales, - (Vol. ii. p. 226. London, Rivingtons, 1818.)
Mr. Grier, in his recent Reply to Dr. Milner's End of Religious Controversy,'** after noticing the "invincible arguments" of Mr. Nolan, says,
" I feel compelled to abandon my former prejudices against the verse, and to think that a Porson should almost as soon doubt the genuineness of the rest of St. John's Epistle, as that of the disputed passage."
Mr. Grier, - (Page 46. London, Cadell, 1821)
A late edition of the Greek Testament, by the Rev. Edward Valpy, must not be omitted among the advocates of the received text. The edition is formed very much on the text of Griesbach, but without adopting all his alterations. It retains, among other passages, 1st John, v. 7. His selection of readings has incurred the censure of Dr. Carpenter, who thinks that the editor should have taken all Griesbach 's readings, or none. Unitarianism bows to no system but its own - if system it may be called, which has no fixed principle, but of hostility to every thing in religion that is established. ALL OR NONE! Popery itself has not a more arbitrary rule. But Popery and Unitarianism concur in their governing systems much more than is commonly supposed; as we were long ago told by the author of "Roma Racoviena et Racovia Romana."
When Erasmus, Stephens, Beza, and the Elzevir editor formed their several texts, it was not by the rule of ALL OR NONE !
Believers in the doctrine of the Trinity will be pleased with these recent confirmations of 1 John, v. 7 -
( It is very much to be wished that Knittel's New Criticisms on 1 John, v. 7. published at Brunswick in 1785, were translated from German into English. They were an answer to Semler. Michaelis says of them, " Learned and specious as they are, they have not convinced me that Semler is mistaken ;" which is saying every thing but Do tiln manvs, Plato.)
- not because the doctrine depends upon this passage, (for there are many other passages in Scripture which ascertain the distinct existence of the Three Divine Porsons; and the whole analogy of the Bible establishes their unity in one God ;) but because the rescuing of any part of Scripture from the imputations of wilful corruption and interpolation, is removing a charge which, if true, would affect the credibility of the whole Bible.
I hope, in the following vindication of 1st John, v. 7 from the objections of Griesbach and others, to make some material additions to the evidences of its authenticity, and to prove that the cause of orthodoxy does not support itself by passages "indisputably spurious" by shewing first, from the internal evidence of the passage, that it is an essential and indispensable part of the Epistle ; and, secondly, that, during the three first centuries, there is no external evidence against the verse, and much of the most probable kind for it; - that, during the next six hundred years, there is, comparatively, very little of external evidence against it, and, at the same time, some direct and positive evidence for it - negative evidence against the verse, and positive for it; and that, after that period, there is extant a Greek manuscript, containing the controverted verse ; a manuscript, not of the sixteenth century, as Michaelis and Mr. Porson supposed ; but, most probably, of the thirteenth; and, therefore, as ancient as fifteen of the manuscripts, which are quoted in evidence against it; (Griesbach's 6. 18. 19. 30. 36. 37. 38. 59. 63. 72. 82. 83. 96. f. h. arc all of the thirteenth century.) and old enough to meet the challenge of Mr. Porson,
" Produce two actually existing Greek MSS. five hundred years old, containing this verse, and I will acknowledge your opinion of its genuineness to be probable."
Mr. Porson, - (Letters, p. 151. )
- and more ancient, by one or two centuries, than fourteen others which are opposed to it. (Griesbach's 20. 31. 32. 62. 77. . are all of the fourteenth century : 4. 27. 90. 94. 95. ε. χ. ψ. are of the fifteenth century. See the Table of Manuscripts in the Appendix, No. I. )
The new view of the external evidence, which the title-page to this Tract promises, is the division of it into the three periods, before-mentioned, which excludes all external evidence against the verse from the first period, and reduces it to four manuscripts in the second.
The new Greek authorities are the Greek heretics, called ALOGI, on account of their rejection of St. John's doctrine of the Logos in the second century; and EPIPHANIUS'S testimony, in the fourth century, to the agreement of St. John's Epistles with his Gospel, respecting the Divinity of the Logos, or THE WORD. I am inclined to think that the stores of antiquity are not yet exhausted; that ampler researches in the writings of the ancient Fathers, (similar to Dr. Wordsworth's inquiries into the authorities for Mr. sharp's Rule,) and among the uncollated manuscripts in the libraries of Europe and Asia, will bring more and more evidence of this verse; and that the time is not for distant, when there will remain no just cause to doubt its authenticity.
For the first fifteen centuries of the Christian church, during all the controversies of conflicting parties, no suspicion was ever raised of corruption or interpolation in the Latin version of this passage. On the other hand, the Greek text of the very epistle, which contains the controverted verse, had suffered mutilation, as we are informed by Socrates the historian ; and the Latin version was, in the sixth or seventh century, charged with deviation from the Greek text in the omission of the verse, by the Author of the Prologue to the " Canonical" Epistles.
(Mr. Porson says, on the authority of this Prologue, "In fact it appears, that whenever this Prologue was written, most of the Latin copies wanted 1 John, v. 7." - Letters, p. 303.)
The value of the controverted verse may, in some measure, be estimated by the vehemence of the attacks, which have been made upon it. Unitarians are its chief opponents, though they have contributed nothing to prove its spuriousness. They trust to their auxiliar, M. Griesbach. He is the rock of their infidelity, and the Pope of their system. His single authority is sufficient for mutilating the received text of the New Testament. On him they repose, as their security, and content themselves with retailing his objections.
Instead of examining the defences of Mr. Nolan and Dr. Hales, they refer their readers to Griesbach, as an unanswered and infallible authority. Says Dr. Carpenter, speaking of the advocates of the verse,
" It is their business to confute GRIESBACH, not ours to confute them"
Dr. Carpenter, - ( Reply to Bishop Magee, p. 416 )
The two points most laboured by Griesbach in his Diatribe, are, that "the verse rests chiefly, if not solely, on the authority of VigiliusTapsensis;" and that "Eucherius, so far from quoting it apertissime, as Bengelius asserts, was wholly ignorant of the verse."
He has failed in both these arguments, as I have shewn in the following pages. The Unitarians, therefore, must look out for other aids to maintain their antichristian cause.
London, June 4, 1821.
Listing Page I. GRIESBACH'S judgment on 1 John, v. 7- shewn to be precipitate, partial, contrary to his own rules of criticism, and untenable, .....p. 1 - 11. II. Bengelius's conviction of the authenticity of the seventh verse, not founded on one argument, but many, ......11 - 15. III. Reasons accounting for the loss of the verse in ancient manuscripts. Not incumbent on the defenders of the verse to account for its loss, .......14 - 16. IV. Absence of the verse from manuscripts now extant, no proof of its spuriousness, if it can be shewn that the verse was ever read in the most ancient Greek manuscripts Cyprian's testimony the allegorical interpretation of the eighth verse imputed to Cyprian, a fiction of Facundus - Cyprian's quotation of the verse from Scripture asserted by Fulgentius Facundus's fiction maintained by Griesbach, but not warranted by Cyprian's own words, .......16 - 18. The eighth verse not allegorically interpreted by the generality of African Fathers the seventh verse extant in Greek six or seven centuries before the time of the Lateran Council, .......18 - 19. V. Internal evidence of the verse a sufficient, but not the sole, evidence of its authenticity - the external evi- dence, a secondary consideration, . ....... 20. Grounds of the internal evidence, Neapolitan reading of the sixth verse, ....... 21 - 27.
VI. External Evidence for Three Periods
First period, A. D. 101 - 300.
No external evidence against the verse during this period Rejection of the Epistles of St. John by the ALOGI, a probable evidence of the verse,
....... 28 - 32.
Indirect evidences of the verse Conclusion from the external evidence of the first period,
The second period, A. D. 301 - 900.
Only four Greek manuscripts extant of this period, Proof from the Prologue to the Epistles that the seventh verse was absent from most of the Latin copies of the sixth or seventh century, and extant in the Greek, Words of the Prologue,
....... 34 - 35.
Probability that the seventh verse was extant in Greek in the fourth century, from Epiphanius's testimony to the agreement of St. John's Epistles with his Gospel,
....... 36 - 37.
Testimony of the African Church - The African Church the depositary of the most ancient Latin version possessed also of the Greek original,
Augustine's mystical interpretation of the eighth verse, not adopted by Marcus Celedensis, Vigilius Tapsensis, Cassiodorus, or Fulgentius,
Fulgentius's testimony to Cyprian's quotation from Scripture, Griesbach's testimony to Fulgentius's,
Fulgentius quotes directly from St. John,
The eighth verse not allegorically explained by Eucherius,
....... 44 - 45.
Augustine, the first of the African Fathers, who interpreted the verse mystically, followed by none but Facundus, Why Augustine had recourse to allegory in explaining the eighth verse, The seventh verse known to Augustine,
....... 46 - 47.
Third period, A. D. 901 - 1522.
Evidence against the seventh verse derived chiefly from this period, - Evidence of this period superseded by the evidences of the two former periods, A Greek manuscript, containing the seventh verse, extant in this period, more ancient than Michaelis, Griesbach, and Mr. Porson supposed,
....... 49 - 50.
Indirect evidences from the first and second periods, Conclusion from the whole inquiry,
....... 51 - 52. APPENDIX I. A Table of Manuscripts, .......53 APPENDIX II. Passage of Eucherius, .......54. APPENDIX III. Passage of Facundus, .......56. APPENDIX IV. Dr. Cave's argument for the authenticity of
1 John, v. 7 - from the Philopatris of Lucian,
.......58. APPENDIX V. Note on the quotation of the seventh in Eucherius' s Formulae, .......61. APPENDIX VI. Note on the omission of passages occasioned by the near occurrence of similar words ; aud on the reading of the eighth verse in the Neapolitan manuscript, .......63. APPENDIX VII. Note on the passage of Maximus,
Ιωαννης φασκει, Και τρεις το εν εισιν
.......65. POSTSCRIPT. On Dr. Pye Smith's objections to the authenticity of 1 John, v. 7 and on the fallacies of arguments opposed to the seventh verse, .......66.
THE AUTHENTICITY OF 1 JOHN, v. 7.
OBJECTIONS OF MR. GRIESBACH.
¶ I. Griesbach's Judgment
A CAREFUL and repeated examination of the evidences of Christ's Divinity, which the first Epistle of St. John contains, has led me to some considerations of the celebrated seventh verse of the fifth chapter, which appear to me almost to remove all doubts of its authenticity. I venture to repeat (See A Volume of Tracts on the Divinity of Christ, lately published, page xcvii.) this opinion of a passage, of which Mr. Griesbach, after enumerating the evidences against, and for it, affirms that
" if vouchers so very doubtful, suspected, and recent, and arguments so trifling, could suffice to establish the genuineness of any reading, in opposition to so many weighty testimonies and arguments, there would no longer be any criterion of truth and falsehood in criticism, and the whole text of the New Testament would become wholly uncertain and doubtful ;"
- and I do not hesitate to add, that the judgment, which Mr. Griesbach has thus passed on the controverted verse of St. John, after all the learning and labour which he has em- ployed upon it, is precipitate, partial, contrary to his own rules of criticism, and untenable.
As to the assertion which he subjoins to this judgment : namely,
"If it were worth while, I could produce six hundred futile and exploded readings, and defend them with testimonies and reasons equally numerous and valid, nay more numerous and valid than those are which the patrons of this verse employ in its defence: Nor would the defenders of the genuine text of those six hundred readings have so many arguments to oppose to my vain attempt, as are opposed in this Diatribe to the favourers of the controverted verse:"
Diatribe in locum Joann. v. 7, 8. p. 25.
- it is an assertion; to say the least of it, extravagantly vain and untrue.
(* Of critical partiality in the choice of readings in the most important passages, Matthaei quotes, as an instance, the different process observed in the rejection of 1 John, v. 7. and the adop- tion of ος oj instead of Θεος in 1 Tim. iii. 16:
Sed tamen hos interrogaverim, cur cum 1 John v. 7. quod multo pluribus testibus ac propemodum universae Ecclesiae Occidentalis testimouio nititur, repudient, hujus loci lectionem, quae ος vel ο habet, quaeque multo paucioribus ac mendacibus testibus defcnditur, tanta cupiditate arripiant ? [Nota ad 1 Tim. iii. Ifi.] )
But, to return to the preceding judgment on the verse, it is, as I said, precipitate, partial, contrary to his own rules of criticism, and untenable.
It is precipitate in risking an assertion which is injurious to the authenticity of the whole Bible, without attempting to prove his assertion by an experiment on any one of his six hundred futile and exploded readings. Is it credible that Griesbach's defence of any such readings could render doubtful the authenticity of John i. 1. Phil. ii. 5. Tit. ii. 13, &c. or is it rational to impute such consequences as he does, to the adoption of a passage which is supported by Pearson, Stillingfleet, Bull, Grabe, Mill, Bengelius, Ernesti, and Horsley?
His view of the subject is partial and defective. He examines the external evidence very elaborately, but dismisses the internal evidence hastily and contemptuously.
He conducts the enquiry contrary to his own rules for judging of the true reading of any passage. In his Symbolae Criticae the consideration of the interna bonitas of a reading precedes that of the external evidence.
In judicandis lectionibus spectatur primo interna earum bonitas, quag pluribus rebus cernitur; stcundo testium (codicum, versionum, patrum,) antiquorum et bonorum consensus.
Vol. ii. p. 90. Note.
See also his Prolegomena, Sect, iii. Init.
But in his Diatribe on 1 John v. 7. he consumes four and twenty pages on the testimony of manuscripts, versions, and Fathers, and gives a single paragraph of half a page to the internal evidence, introducing it with these words : Tandem tribus verbis attingi- mus argumenta interna. And even of that short paragraph, the greater part belongs to the ex- ternal evidence:
Tandem tribus verbis attingimus argumenta interna potiora (sed levissima profecto) quibus non nulli ^vna-iomra hujus com- mutis dcfensum iverunt.
1) Nexus cum antecedentibus et consequentibus postulat comma septimum.
2) Joannes respexit ad sermonem Christi Jo. v. 31 - 39. coll. Jo. viii. 12, 18. et idem quod Jesus ibi docuerat, iisdem, arguments probare suis lectoribus voluit ; quo posito comma 7 vix deesse potest.
3) Joannes banc epistolam bis edidit, et in altera editione priorem commate 7 locupletavit.
4) Librarii minus attenti, saltu facto a priore τρεις εισιν οι μαρτυρουντες ad posterius τρεις εισιν οι μαρτυρευντες, omnia quae interjacent, transilierunt. Speciosum argumentum, nisi obstarent verba εν τη γη et εν τω ουρανω, quae una cum caeteris desunt in codicibus omnibus, versionibus, &c.
5) Eraserunt periocbam Ariani.
6) Disciplina arcani multos induxit, ut initio a codicibus publicae lectioni destinatis dictum removeretur, qui caeteros codices brevi tempere absorpserunt.
His decision on the controverted verse is untenable, being grounded not only on partial evidence, but on negative and erroneous positions.
Of the latter, none has had more influence than the assertion that the seventh verse rests chiefly, if not solely, on the authority of Vigilius Tapsensis, " a base forger," as Dr. Carpenter calls him, of the fifth century. This assertion is the final result of his elaborate enquiry.
Igitur comma controversum septimum praecipue, ne dicam unice, NITITUR TESTIMONIO, FIDE, ATQUE AUCTORITATE VlGILII TAPSENSIS, et librorum huic attributorum auctori, ante quem nemo clare id escitavit.
Diatribe in locum 1 Joann. v. 7, 8, p. 21.
This final result of his investigation is very erroneous and inadmissible.
It cannot be admitted that Vigilius Tapsensis was the first who clearly quoted the verse, since it was not only expressly appealed to, by his contemporaries the African Bishops, but, nearly fifty years before them, was distinctly cited by Eucherius, Bishop of Lyons. Eucherius, Episcopus Lugdunensis, (says Griesbach)
j prw2ws esse putatur qui circa annum 440 aperte verba in dubium vocata excitavit in libro formularum cap. II. his verbis : III. (h. e. numerus ternarius) ad Trinitatem (sc. refertur) in Joannis epistola. Tres sunt qui testimonium dant in ccelo, Pater, Verbum et Spiritus S. et Tres sunt qui testimonium dant in terra, Spiritus, aqua et sanguis.
This is clearly the passage of St. John, though not the whole passage. Griesbach indeed denies it to be a quotation of the Apostle; but Bengelius, who was quite as conversant with the enquiry, says that Eucherius quotes the verse not only aperte but apertissime.
And even if Eucherius had not quoted the verse, still it does not rest on the authority of Vigilius Tapsensis, but on Cyprian, if we may credit one, whose learning and acuteness were respected by Griesbach.
In the tenth of his letters to Mr. Travis, Mr. Porson says, " upon Cyprian therefore the whole labour of supporting the verse is devolved ;" (p. 247) which carries the enquiry at least two centuries higher than the time of Vigilius Tapsensis.
Nor does the verse rest even on the authority of Cyprian ; for Mr. Porson says in his sixth letter, (p. 138)
" I need not tell you, Sir, because you must deny, nor need I tell the learned, because they cannot but know, that the chief support of this contested verse is the authority of the Vulgate"
which he has just before called " the main prop and pillar of Mr. Travis's cause" Here we ascend to the end of the second century, the age of Tertullian, who appears from his writings to have found the verse in his copy of the Latin Version.
So far, then, from resting on the authority of Vigilius Tapsensis of the fifth century, we may consider it as extant in the Latin Version, at least as early as the end of the second century. Mr. Porson, who being an opposer of the Verse, places the incorrectness of the Latin Version, as a balance against its antiquity, yet allows that the verse might have been extant in the Latin copies at that time.
"Allowing that this verse had been extant in the Vulgate even from the end of the second century, and without any of these suspicious appearances, is the merit of this version so high as to ratify, and render genuine every word and sentence, in which its MSS. conspire? Was it in no place corrupted in the days of Tertullian and Cyprian?"
- Mr. Porson
We are now arrived at a period within little more than a century after the death of St. John, when the original writings of the Apostles were read in all the Churches. We shall therefore find, that the verse does not rest on the authority of Vigilius Tapsensis, or of Cyprian, or Tertullian, or of the Latin Version, but on the original of the Latin Version ; (for an ancient Version is legitimate evidence of the text of its original ;) and of that original the Latin Fathers of the three first centuries could not have been ignorant.
Michaelis, indeed, with a petulance and oversight unworthy of his great character, says, in reply to a remark by Mr. Wagner,
"I know not whether my readers will excuse my noticing a very frivolous objection made by Mr. Wagner. He says, I have taken for granted without proving it, that those Latin Fathers, who have quoted the controverted passage, quoted not from the Greek original, but from the Latin version. Now I really thought it unnecessary to give any such proof, because I imagined, that every man, who had studied theology, had learnt enough of ecclesiastical history, to know the Latin Fathers in general did not understand Greek, and consequently, that they could use only the version of their Country."
- Michaelis, Bishop Marsh's translation of
Michaelis's Introduction, vol. iv. p. 425.
Mr. Wagner's objection was certainly neither frivolous nor irrelevant, but essen- tial to an enquiry into the authenticity of the controverted passage.
If Tertullian and Cyprian understood Greek, their quotations from St. Paul or St. John, must be considered to have been as directly taken from the originals as Cicero's quotations from any of the Greek Philosophers, though expressed in Latin.
Readers of Justin Martyr, Irenseus, Clemens Alexandrinus (as from their writings we know they were) must have understood Greek, and therefore have read the original writings of the Evangelists and Apostles, which were extant in their days. (The Alexandrine MS. which is preserved in the British Museum is thirteen or fourteen hundred years old. There is therefore no pretence for the difficulty, which some persons have in admitting that the original writings of the Apostles were extant in the second and third centuries. )
In the second and third centuries, Greek must have been almost as familiar to men of learning, as their own language.
Caius and Hippolytus, though natives of Italy, wrote in Greek. And long after this time Roman Emperors and Phi- losophers continued to write in Greek. The Greek language was more universally prevalent than the Latin, even in the most triumphant periods of the Roman Empire. Nothing proves that prevalence more than the promulgation of the Gospel in that language.
It is remarkable too that, for the same purpose, Justinian so late as the sixth century published his laws in Greek as well as Latin.
Nam. ut ait Cicero, Graeca leguntur in omnibus gentibus, Latina suis tantum terminis, atque iis exigius continentur. - Itaque Imperator Justinianus cum in remotiores partes Constitutiones suas mitteret, Graece eas exscribi fecit, que melius ab hominibus intelligerentur. Cujus rei specimen habetis Institutionum Imperalum Lib. III. Sed nostra Constitutio, inquit, quam proomni natione Graeca lingua compendioso tractatu habito exposuimus.
[ Graecae Lingua Hist, a Gulielmo Burton. Londinii. 1657.]
The original language of the New Testament must have been still as it were the vernacular language of the Church, being publicly used in the daily service of the Church. The Latin Fathers therefore of this period could not have been ignorant of Greek; and their quotations from the New Testament must be considered as quotations from the original.
Mill, who investigated the external evidences of the controverted verse with the greatest accuracy and candour, formed an opinion of the learning of the Latin Fathers, as well as of the general question, very different from that of Michaelis, as will appear from the following passage in his note, in which he gives good reasons for the existence of the verse in the original, and for Tertullian's knowledge of it.
Et jam subductis utrinque calculis, allatis summa fide, quae ad auctoritatem hujus textus elevandam, quae ad stabiliendam facere videantur, Exemplarium Manuscriptorum et Impressorum, Versionum, Patrum denique Graecorum ac Latinorum testimoniis ; restat ut quae mea sit de hac re sententia, paucis exponam. Dico igitur 1 Pericopen hanc, utcunque postea disparuerit, in ipso certe Joannis Autographo exstitisse, aliisque aliquot ad illud descriptis exemplaribus. Compertum satis mihi hoc ex Tertulliani testimonio supra adducto ; qui cum aetate illa vixerit, qua (teste ipso, Praescript. c. 36.) apud Ecclesias recitatae sint ipsae literae authenticae Apostolorum, h. e. aut Archetypa ipsa, (quae certe longe ultra aetatem Tertulliani durasse probabile est ; siquidem inter tempus, quo scripta Epistola Joannis, et quo scriptus Tertulliani Liber de Praescript. medii sunt anni duntaxat CXI) aut saltem Codd. ad Archetypa fideliter expressi ; et vero provocet ad authenticum Graecum Pauli, (lib. dc Monog. cap. II.) sive Codicem Epistolarum ejus, quas, uti et caeteras; originalibus ipsis conformes, habuerit ad manum : Nequaquam certe fieri potest ut textum hunc (magni in primis momenti ad firmandam sententiam suam contra Praxeam) citarit, seu, quod idem, ad cum alluserit, nisi in Graecis suis legisset.
- Mill, Page 584.
It is clear, then, that Griesbach is mistaken in the main conclusion, which he draws from his elaborate Diatribe ; for we find, that the seventh verse DOES NOT REST SOLELY OR CHIEFLY ON THE AUTHORITY OF VlGILIUS TAPSENSIS; nor on Cyprian, but on almost the whole Western Church ; and on the Latin Version, which they used from the end of the first century (Michaeli.s's Introduction, cli. vii, sect. 2-3.); and not on that only, but on the original Epistle of St. John, of which the Latin Version is an evidence.
¶ II. Bengel's Conviction
The substance of Mr. Griesbach's Diatribe consists of these positions; that the contro- verted verse is not found in any Greek Manu- script extant but one; and that a very recent Manuscript of the fifteenth or sixteenth century; that it is not quoted by any of the Greek Fathers ; and that it rests chiefly, if not solely, on the authority of Vigilius Tapsensis.
I have shewn that he is mistaken in the last of these positions. He is also mistaken in the age of the Dublin Manuscript, which Dr. Adam Clarke* has shewn to be a Manuscript of the thirteenth century (See the Appendix to these pages.).
If the verse has not yet been found in any other Greek Manuscript, it may hereafter. The Hymn to Ceres had been lost for sixteen centuries, when it was discovered in a Manu- script at Moscow, and that Manuscript written as late as the end of the XlVth century. If the verse is not quoted by any of the Greek Fathers, it has been by two Latin Fathers, who are more ancient than any Greek Manuscript of the New Testament, that is now extant.
Bengelius admitted all the arguments, which are usually alleged against the verse, and yet he had no doubt of its authenticity. Michaelis, on the contrary, and Mr. Porson, contend on Bengelius's admissions that the verse is spurious. Says Michaelis,
"Bengelius was by far the most learned of those who have defended the passage; and as he was likewise highly distinguished for his accuracy, and his scrupulous conscientiousness, we may safely take for granted that the charges are true, which this able and honest advocate has admitted."
Michaelis, Introduction to the New Testament, chap, xxxi. sect, 2. p. vii.
May we not as safely rely on the decision of this learned, judicious, and conscientious writer against those charges, as insufficient to invali- date the evidence of the Latin Version, and of the context ?
Mr. Porson, in the Preface to his letters to Archdeacon Travis, enumerates Ben- gelius's admissions, and draws from them the same conclusion which Michaelis does.
" Bengelius, whose edition was published in 1734, allows, in his note on this passage, that it is in no genuine manuscript ; that the Complu- tensian editors interpolated it from the Latin version ; that the Codex Brittanicus is good for nothing; that Stephens's semicircle is mis- placed; that no ancient Greek writer cites the heavenly witnesses; that many Latins omit them ; and that they were neither erased by the Arians, nor absorbed by the homceote- teuton. Surely, then, the verse is spurious.
No; this learned man finds out a way of escape; the passage was of so sublime and mysterious a nature, that the secret discipline of the church withdrew it from the public books, till it was gradually lost. Under what a want of evidence does a critic labour, who resorts to such an argument ! "
-Mr. Porson, Preface p. vii,
If Bengelius had used no other argument for the authenticity of the verse, than this reason to account for its omission, he must indeed have laboured under a great want of evidence. But the following lemmata from his discussion of the subject will shew that his persuasion of its genuineness was founded not on one, but many arguments.
X. Tota horum verborum sententia ex aliis etiam locis minime controversis disci et deduci potest.
XI. Habuit vero in suis codd. hanc periocham Tertullianus.
XII. Habuit Cyprianus.
XIII. Nec non Phaebadius.
XIV. Et Marcus Celedensis : et Marius Victorinus Afer.
XV. Et apertissiine Eucherius Lugdunensis.
XVI. Habuit plane Vigilius Tapsensis cum episcopis illius aetatis in Africa non solum Catholicis, sed etiam Arianis.
XVII. Legit hunc versum Fulgentius.
XVIII. Legit Cassiodorus, Ambrosius Ansbertus, et alii.
XIX. Habet Latina versio antiquissima.
XX. Augustinus, vel etiam Hieronymus, potius dissimulanter tractaverunt hoc Dictum, quam ignoraverunt.
XXI. Versus 7 post versum 8 legendus est.
XXII. Citerioribus demum seculis, Armeni, atque ipsi Graeci, hunc versum postliminio receperunt,
XXIII. Remanent tamen vestigia periochae apud Graecos initio lectae non contemnenda.
XXIV. Periocha haec non est Glossa ex allegorico spiritus et aquae et sanguinis interpretamento conficta.
XXV. Non tam incuria librariorum factum est, ut in monumentis plerisque praetermitteretur haec periocha, aut dolo Arianorum, quam consilio virorum ecclesiasticorum quorundam.
XXVI. Testimonia Dictum comprobantia se invicem valde confirmant.
XXVII. Nemo tamen, ut nunc est, aut obtrudere alteri Dictum potest aut eripere.
XX VIII. Ex historia Dicti hujus elucet Θειον quoddam, apud eos saltem qui dictum accipiunt; argumentum vcro irrefragabile pro Dicto ipse contextus praebet apostolicus.
Of two of these evidences (the Latin xix. and the context, xxviii.) Bengelius thus de- cidedly expresses himself, in his observation on Lemma xxvii.
" Enimvero interpres hic omnibus Graecis codicibus patribusque, quorum hodie quidquam superest, antiquior fuit, et primo hujus epistolae codici satis propinquus. Interpres is si plane deesset, textus Graecus per se loqueretur, hiatum se habere. Nunc supplementum hiatus, quod datur, etiamsi unicum sit, tamen, quia unice aptum est, amplecti, non credulitatis est, sed fidei et pietatis."
¶ III. The Verse's Loss
But if the verse be genuine, how is its absence from the Greek Manuscripts to be accounted for? It is not at all necessary that the defenders of the verse should be able to account for its absence ; nor would such inability be any proof of want of evidence in its support. It is, strictly speaking, no part of their argument. Several reasons, however, have been alleged for its loss, and among them the disciplina arcani, mentioned by Bengelius in his exposition of the xxvth lemma. ( Mr. Nolan, in his learned and interesting work on The Integrity of the Greek Vulgate of the NT, imputes the withdrawing of the verse to Eusebius. )
The introduction of this reason for its absence detracts nothing from the external and internal evidences of its authenticity, which precede and follow it, and which are opposed to those external evidences against the verse (i. ix.) which Bengelius has detailed and conceded with so much accuracy and candour.
¶ IV. The Verse's Absence
The whole of the external argument from the absence of the verse in the Greek Manuscripts, and from the silence of the Greek Fathers, will avail nothing, if it can be proved that the verse was ever extant in the most ancient Greek copies of the original epistle of St. John. That it was so extant, Mill, Bengelius and others affirm on the authority of the Latin Version, and the express citation of the verse by Cyprian.
But to the passage of Cyprian it has been objected that "ever since the days of Simon, it has been made a question whether Cyprian quotes our present seventh verse, or only applies the eighth, by a mystical interpretation, to the Trinity"
Mr. Porson, ( Letters, p, 248.) who makes this observation, should have added that it was not made a question by Ittigius or Grabe, or Mill, or Bengelius, who rejected the supposition as the groundless notion of Facundus, and effectually refuted it by the contrary authority of Fulgenthis. Ittigius says,
Falsisimum est quod add it Simonius Patres Johannis dictum de Spiritu aqua et sanguine de mysterio Trinitatis communiter interpretari. Nam ante Facundum vix ullus adduci potent, et forte etiam nullus post Facundum, qui sic interpretatus est.
- Ittigius, De Haremiarchis, sect. ii. cap. xv. ¶ 5.
Mr. Porson allows that Fulgentius quotes the seventh verse, and does not adopt the mystical interpretation of the eighth from Cyprian. But he " affirms that Fulgentius became acquainted with this verse solely by the means of Cyprian, and that he had not seen it himself in the copies of the New Testament." (Letters to Archdeacon Travis, p. 264. )
Griesbach, on the contrary, admits, that Fulgentius found the verse in his own copy, and did not impute to Cyprian the mystical interpretation of the eighth verse.
(Diatribe, p. 15. ed. 1806. )
But Griesbach, nevertheless, thinks that Cyprian did interpret the eighth verse mystically of the Trinity, and that the seventh verse originated in such interpretation. But to this opinion there are two objections:
(1.) Cyprian, so far from interpreting the eighth verse, does not even quote it, and takes no notice of the water and the blood, which those Fathers do, who interpret the eighth verse mystically.
(2.) The mystical interpretation gives a different meaning to Πνευμα from what it has in the seventh verse, explaining it of the FATHER, instead of the Holy Ghost; and follows a different order of the words.
The Bishop of Peterborough (in the Preface to his Letters to Archdeacon Travis, p. xii..xv.) says the seventh verse originated in the mystical interpretation of the eighth verse, by the African Fathers ; and that the verse was " transplanted from the Latin into Greek, by order of the Lateran Council, in the thirteenth century."
In the sixth section of these pages I shall shew, that the generality of the African Fathers had both verses in their copies, and did not allegorize the eighth; and that the seventh verse was extant in Greek six or seven centuries before the meeting of the Lateran Council.
Mr. Porson allows that it might have been in the Latin version from the end of the second century; (Mill, that it was there long before; Prolegomena, 938.) but says, that the Latin version was corrupted and interpolated ; and this might have been one of its interpolations. As the Latin Fathers of the three first centuries were undoubtedly acquainted with Greek, they must have known, whether the seventh verse was in the original or not; and Cyprian would not have quoted it as Scripture, if he had not found it there. It is remarkable, too, that through all the controversies of the second and subsequent centuries respecting the Divinity of Christ, and Personality of the Spirit, it was never objected by heretics of any description, that the seventh verse was interpolated in the Latin version.
It is called, however, by Dr. Carpenter, " a gross interpolation ;" (Reply to the Bishop of Raphoc, p. 415. ).
- by Mr. Worsley,
" a gross and palpable forgery ; ... the opposers of the verse say, that its insertion confuses the whole sense, breaks the connection, and makes the most intricate and ambiguous sentence, that ever was seen."
Porson's Letters to Travis
Here then we are brought to the necessity of examining that part of the evidence, which Griesbach neglected. For the question, whether the passage be an interpolation, or not, may be ascertained in a great measure by the context, and belongs, therefore, to the internal evidence of the verse.
¶ V. Internal Evidence
Ernesti and Horsley were decided in their opinion of its authenticity by the internal evidence.
And though Griesbach in his Diatribe on the verse dismisses this evidence, as I said before, hastily and contemptuously ; yet, he not only in his general rule for judging of the true reading of a passage, gives the first place to the interna bonitas (See before, p, 3, 4.) of the text, but on another occasion, in estimating the value of Codex Paulin 17 in his Symbolae Criticae, he takes the internal evidence for his chief guide.
(Vol. ii. p. 90, 91. Note. )
Nay, in the Preface to his latest work, his Commen- tarius Criticus in Nov. Test. Part II. he repre- sents the use of MSS. and his distinction of recensions, as of very secondary consideration, in comparison with the interna verce fals&ve leciionis indicia.
I shall, accordingly, in the following pages reverse the method of inquiry into the authenticy of the verse, observed in his Diatribe. I shall first consider the internal evidence, and then the external; and shall take a new view of its external history by dividing it into three periods,
(1.) From the death of St. John to the end of the third century;
(2.) From the beginning of the fourth century to the end of the ninth ;
(3.) From the beginning of the tenth to the date of the Complutensian, or first printed edition, in the sixteenth century;
and shall apply to the two first periods two Greek authorities not hitherto adduced in de- fence of the verse.
The whole of the controverted passage consists of the four following verses.
6. 'This is he that came by water and blood, even Jesus Christ: not by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth. 7. For there are three that bear record in Heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost; and these three are one. 8. And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood ; and these three agree in one. 9. If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater : for this is the witness of God which he hath testified of his Son.'
This passage, as it stands in the first printed edition of the Greek Testament, and in the commonly received text, contains a most important proof of the Incarnation and Divinity of Jesus Christ; namely, the earthly evidences, and the united testimony of the three Divine Persons, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit. The declaration of this testimony is introduced with these words:
"And it is the Spirit that beareth witness,
because the Spirit is truth.
For there are three that bear record"
Και το Πνευμα εστι το μαρτυρουν,
ΟΤΙ το Πνευμα εστιν η αληθεια.
ΟΤΙ τρεις εισεν οι μαρτυρουντες.
The subject of this passage being the evidences of Christ's incarnation, and the testimony, which was borne to it by the Spirit, St. John asserts that this testimony is of the strongest and most indisputable kind, first by its union with two other testimonies, and then by the superiority of divine testimony over human. By the Levitical Law, the testimony of one witness was not held to be true. (John viii. 13. 17.) For "in the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established." (2 Cor. xiii. 1.) To the testimony of the Spirit the Apostle adds the testimony of the Father and the Son. If then the Spirit is declared to be truth, because it was not alone ; (John viii. 1 6.) "for there are three that bear record;" it could not be said to "bear record" because it is truth.
The bearing of record depended on the will of God ; belief in the record depended on its truth; its truth (humanly speaking) on the union of two or three witnesses.
The Spirit, therefore, did not bear witness because it was truth ; but it is here declared to be truth, or a true witness, because it was one of three witnesses. Instead, therefore, of a causal particle to connect the two clauses, it should be a conjunctive; instead of OTI it should be KAI. And so (if I mistake not) it is read in the Neapolitan Manuscript 83. ( See Griesbach's new edition of the New Testament, vol. ii. ed. 1806, and the Additional Note to this page in the Appendix to this Tract. )
Whitby and others endeavour to remove the difficulty of the common reading by a large arbitrary ellipsis:
"And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, (and on his testimony we may rely; ) because the Spirit is truth."
The reading of the Neapolitan Manuscript requires no ellipsis ; is a natural introduction to the next verse; and gives simplicity and perspicuity to the passage:
Και το Πνευμα εστι το μαρτυρουν.
ΚΑΙ το Πνευμα εστιν η αληθεια.
" And it is the Spirit that beareth witness ;
and the Spirit is truth, for there are three that bear record."
The frequent repetition of KAI is familiar to St. John, as in the fourth chapter of the Epistle, ver. 22, 33, 24.
But be this as it may; the question of the authenticity of the seventh verse does not depend on the reading of the sixth, though the connection of the two verses appears to be improved by what I conceive to be the Neapolitan reading.
" There are three that bear record," τρεις μαρτυρουντες
- three persons distinguished as persons by the masculine participle; of which the Spirit is declared to be one. But who are the three? If we admit the reading of all Greek Manuscripts but one, we must admit the following reading in defiance of grammar and the context:
Τρεις εισεν οι μαρτυρουντες ΤΟ Πνευμα,
και ΤΟ υδωρ, και ΤΟ αιμα.
And thus Πνευμα , which in ver. 6 has, itself, a neuter participle, is, in the next verse, when accompanied with two other neuter nouns, most unexpectedly, and solecistically connected with a masculine participle; a violation of grammar, which is a stronger evidence of the loss of some intervening sentence, than the existence of a verse in only one manuscript is, of interpolation.
But in the seventh verse we have the three witnesses, already recorded by St. John in his Gospel (See the passages quoted in p. 26. ), and, at the same time, language of a legitimate construction. For Hvwpa being by sig- nification masculine, though by form neuter; and being one of the three /iapn/pow? in v^rse 7, retains its construction in the eighth, and asso- ciates with it the other neuter nouns, which follow its construction. Without the seventh verse, the solecisms of the eighth will be unaccountable and indefen- sible; Without the iv of the seventh verse, the article with iv in the eighth verse is equally unaccountable, as Wolfius and the Bishop of Calcutta have observed:
Neque enim dicitur: εν εισι, neque εις εν εισι, sed εις το εν εισι Articulus itaque ille TO indicio est, antecessisse iv aliquod, ad quod respiciatur, hoc sensu, quod testes illi terrestres testi coelesti trino, sed simul uni, in hoc negotio suffragentur.
Wolfius Cur. Philol. in loc.
See also the Bishop of Calcutta's Doctrine of the Greek Article
With the seventh verse, the witness (μαρτυρια) which God bare of his Son in the ninth verse, has an obvious reference to the Πατηρ, one of the μαρτυρουντες in the seventh. But without it there is no expressed reference; for though Πνευμα, which occurs in the sixth verse may, in a gene- ral sense, be understood of God, yet, as one of the witnesses to the Son, recorded in the Gospel, it is always mentioned, not as the Father, but the Holy Spirit.
Without the seventh verse, there is no reason to be given, why the evidences of Christ's incarnation are limited to three, in the eighth verse; for he is proved to be the Sou of God incarnate, by all the predicted circumstances of his birth, life, miracles, and sufferings, which are verified in the Gospel. Without the seventh verse, therefore, instead of three, there might be thirty witnesses. But with the three witnesses of the seventh verse, the limitation to three witnesses in the eighth, followed by a natural and obvious parallelism. If the seventh verse had not preceded, it is probable that the water and the blood, would not have been mentioned as witnesses. For they are not so recorded in the Gospel, nor so styled in verse 6.
To these proofs of the mutilation of the passage, by the absence of the seventh verse, we may add the proofs of the integrity of the passage with that verse, arising from its suitableness to the mode of thinking, and peculiar diction of the Apostle, as well as to the scope and context of the verse. The mode of thinking is peculiar to St. John. No other of the Evangelists or Apostles speaks of the witness of the Father and the Holy Spirit, as he does in his Gospel, chap.v. 3157. viii. 1318. xv. 26.
Though Griesbach very greatly undervalues the internal evidence, yet he states the affinity between the doctrine of the Epistle and the Gospel fairly and fully. He mentions it as the second of the internal arguments.
" (2.) Joannes respexit ad sermonem Christi, Jo. v. 31 39. coll. Jo. viii. 12, 18. et idem, quod Jesus ibi docuerat, iisdem argumentis probare suis lectoribus voluit; quo posito, comma 7 vix deesse potest."
The diction is peculiar to St. John. No other Evangelist or Apostle calls the Son of God THE WORD. The scope of the passage leads to the addition of greater testimony than had been alleged. St. John had hitherto testified of Christ from his own and the other Apostles' personal knowledge. But greater testimony than human testimony was necessary, as our Saviour said of himself: (John v. 33, 34.) " Ye sent unto John, and he bare witness unto the truth ; but I receive not testi- mony from man."
In short, the grammar and reasoning of the con- text require the seventh verse. The conjunctive particle, which, in the Syriac version, introduces the testimony of the Spirit, the water, and the blood, betrays the loss of the preceding clause.
The words 'in terra' in those Latin copies, which omit the 7th verse, indicate the absence of the verse, which contained their correspondent terms. The article of the eighth verse refers to a previous union of testimony ; and the testimony of God the Father, in the ninth verse, implies a previous mention of the Father. When Christ speaks of himself in the Gospel, (John v. 31.) he confirms his own testimony by that of the Father. He does not, on that occasion, mention the Spirit, but he there twice appeals to the testimony of the Father. The witness, therefore, in the ninth verse, is that of the Father; and its reference is to the Father in the seventh verse.
Whatever then may have been the cause of its omission in all Greek Manuscripts that are extant but one, it is clear from the internal evidence of the verse, - from the mode of thinking and diction expressed in the verse, as well as from the scope and context of the passage, that the verse is the authentic language of St. John, and an essential part of the Epistle; and that without it the passage becomes disjointed, defective in its references, and inexplicably solecistical.
¶ VI. External Evidence
Having examined the internal evidence of the verse, and found it altogether favourable to its authenticity, we now proceed to the external evidence, which has been so largely and minutely detailed by Mr. Griesbach, as apparently to leave no room for further observation. But, if I mistake not, to the testimony of the Latin copies, we may add two Greek evidences of great antiquity, not adduced by Mr. Griesbach.
The relative strength and weakness of the external evidence will be best seen by dividing it into three periods. The first from the death of St. John to the end of the third century. (2.) From the beginning of the fourth century to the end of the ninth. (3.) From the beginning of the tenth century to the date of the first printed edition of the Greek text of the New Testament in the sixteenth.
I. The first period (A. D. 101 - 300)
The first period contains no evidence against the verse, but much for it. There is no Greek Manuscript of the New Testament of, this period. The oldest Greek copy extant is of much later date than the ancient Latin version of the Western Church, and the writings of Tertullian and Cyprian, who made use of it; and posterior to the first of two Greek evidences, which I have to bring in defence of the verse ; I mean the rejection of the writings of St. John by certain heretics of this period, whom Epiphanius calls ALOGI, on account of their denial of the Apostle's doctrine of the Divinity of the LOGOS, or the WORD. This rejection of St. John's writings by the ALOGI applies to no part of his writings so strongly as to his first Epistle, and especially to the seventh verse of the fifth chapter of that Epistle, which must have been the most obnoxious to them of all the passages of St. John, which record THE WORD.
He is twice mentioned in the first Epistle, once in the Gospel, and once in the Apocalypse. In the Apocalypse, he is called the Word of God; in the Gospel, and in the first chapter of St. John's Epistle, the Word of life; and in the fifth chapter of the first Epistle, THE WORD; and in this last passage, especially, he is mentioned, as the second Porson of the Trinity: "There are 'three that bear record in Heaven, the Father, THE WORD, and the Holy Spirit."
Michaelis, it is true, says (but without any authority from antiquity) that the ALOGI did not reject the Epistles of St. John; and therefore he maintains that the controverted passage must be spurious. If, on the contrary, as Mill, Wolfius, and others affirm, the ALOGI did reject the Epistles; this is a warrant of the authenticity of the verse.
Epiphanius says, generally, that the Alogi rejected the writings of St. John because they denied the Divinity of the Logos. They must therefore have rejected the Epistle, in which that doctrine is more fully asserted than in the Gospel or Apocalypse.
The latest critic on the writings of St. John concurs with Mill, and Wolfius. He says of Epiphanius,
Fuisse quosdam tradidit, qui omnes omnino libros Joanni apostolo adscriptos repudiarent, et evangelium atque epistolas opera Cerinthi haberent.
Bretschneider's Probabilia dc Evangelii et Epistolarum, Joannis, Apostoli, indole et origine, p. 222. Lipsiae 1820.
The reason which induced Michael is to suppose that the Alogi did not reject the Epistles of St. John, is, that in the passage, which mentions the rejected writings, the Epistles are not specified by Epiphanius. But for the same reason it might be said that they did not reject the Apocalypse, because in the catalogue of heretics subjoined to Philastrius, only the Gospel is mentioned. (Alogi alias Alogiani tanquam sine verbo dicti, Deum verbum non credunt, Joannis Evangeliom respuentes. P. 114, ed. Basil, 1539. )
If the seventh verse were to be considered as spurious, because the Alogi did not reject the Epistle ; then the three first verses of the first chapter must also be spurious. The supposition, therefore, is groundless, and unsupported by any ancient authority. No ancient writer says that the Alogi did not reject the Epistles of St. John.
Epiphanius himself, who has followed Philastrius in one place, by specifying only the Gospel and Apocalypse, gives a good reason in another for thinking that they rejected also the Epistles.
Συναδουσι γαρ και ανται τω Εωαγγελιω και τη Αποκαλυψη
(Haeres, ¶ 34.)
The first Epistle agrees with the Gospel and with the Apocalypse ; but more expressly with the former than with the latter. For the Epistle and the Gospel call the Son of God THE WORD; but the Epistle and the Apocalypse differ a little in their designation of the Son of God, one calling him the Word of Life ; the other, the Word of God. Such concurrence leaves no doubt of their rejection of the first Epistle.
If, then, according to Michaelis's argument, there was nothing in the Epistle but the controverted verse to induce the Alogi to reject it, it follows from their rejection of the Epistle, that it contained this most memorable evidence of the Divinity of the Logos, and of the Personality of the Holy Spirit.
I will close this period with two remarkable passages of Clemens Alexandrinus, and Tertullian ; which, though not quotations from 1 John, v. 7, appear to be founded upon it.
Clemens Alexandrinus (or some scriptor certe vetustissimus, as Bengelius calls him,) says,
Παν ρημα ισταται επι δυο και ΤΡΙΩΝ ΜΑΡΤΥΡΩΝ, επι ΠΑΤΡΟΣ και ΥΙΟΥ και ΑΓΙΟΥ ΠΝΕΥΜΑΤΟΣ. εφ' ων ΜΑΡΤΥΡΩΝ και βοηθων αι εντολαι λεγομεναι φθλασσεσθαι οφειλουσιν.
Fol. 575. ed. Coinmelin. apud Bengel. ¶ xxiii.
Clemens considers the presence of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, witnesses to our promises at our baptism, as obligatory on our obedience.
Tertullian, taking up the same idea of the three heavenly witnesses to the Baptismal Covenant, draws a conclusion still nearer to the language and reasoning of the seventh and ninth verses.
Si in tribus testibus [humanis] omni stabit verbum, - quanto magis sufficit ad fiduciam spei nostra etiam numerus nominum divinorum.
"If we receive the witness of man, the witness of God is greater."
Tertullian, De Baptismo, c. vi. p. 226.
In the view, which we have taken of this first period, every thing is favourable to the authenticity of the controverted verse. The internal evidence requires the verse ; there is no external evidence against it; for there is no manuscript extant, so ancient, as this period ; and we have good evkience for it in the testimony of the Latin version of this period, preserved by the African Church ; beside the probability arising from the rejection of St. John's Epistles by the Alogi.
These evidences cannot be invalidated by the absence of the verse from manuscripts of a later period ; nor is it incumbent on the defenders of the verse to account for its loss, or for the silence of the Greek Fathers; though very probable reasons have been given for both, by Bengelius, and lately by Mr. Nolan, not only by what he says of Eusebius's edition, but by his view of the subjects of religious controversy during the six first centuries, and of the mutilation of this very Epistle by those, who wished to sever the humanity of Christ from his Divinity; for which he quotes the authority of Socrates's Eccles. Hist ( Inquiry into the Integrity of the Greek Vulgate, p. 303, 545. )
II. The Second Period (301 - 900 A.D.)
In the second period of the external history of the verse, which comprehends 600 years, while the clear light of the internal evidence continues in all its force, the external evidence assumes a somewhat different character. In the former period there was no external evidence against the verse ; in this there is some; but at the same time there is some for it; negative evidence against the verse, and positive for it.
All the Greek manuscripts extant of this period omit the verse. But they are so few (not more than four, The Alexandrine, the Vatican, the Passionci MS. and one of Matthaei's, [A BG g.]) as to bear no proportion to the hundreds, perhaps thousands, that are lost, many of which might have contained it, as some, we know, did.
There can hardly be a doubt that the seventh verse was extant in Greek in the copies of Walafrid Strabo ; and none at all of its existence in the time of the writer of the Prologue to the " Canonical Epistles." Walafrid Strabo, who lived in the ninth century, wrote a comment on the verse, and on the Prologue to the Epistles. He could not therefore be ignorant either of the defects, which the author of the Prologue imputes to the Latin copies of his day, or of the integrity of the Greek, as asserted by him ; and he directs his readers to correct the errors of the Latin by the Greek. The testimony of the Prologue is very material to both points.
In the Preface to his Letters to Archdeacon Travis,* the Bishop of Peterborough has the following remark:
" That the verse was not in the Latin manuscripts, when the Prologue to the First Epistle of St. John was written, is certain ; for the author of it, whoever he was, probably a writer of the seventh or eighth century, makes a complaint on this very subject, saying of the authors of the Latin version :
' Trium tantum vocabula, hoc est, aquae, sanguinis, et spiritus, in sua editione ponentes, et Patiris, Verbique, et Spiritus testimonium omittentes.' "
Page xiii. Note.
The writer of the Prologue complains of the unfaithfulness of the Latin trans- lators in not following the Greek original; and exemplifies his complaint by their omission of the testimony of the three heavenly witnesses, the Father, the Word, and the Spirit. The whole passage deserves to be quoted:
" Quae (epistolae,) si sicut ab eis (Graecis) digestae sunt, ita quoque ab interpretibus fideliter in Latinum verterentur eloquium ; nec ambiguitatem legentibus facerent, nec sermonum sese varietas impugnaret, illo praecipue loco, ubi de unitate Trinitatis in prima Johannis epistola positum legimus : in qua etiam ab infidelibus translatoribus multum erratum esse a fidei veritate comperimus, trium tantummodo vocabula, hoc est, aquae, sanguinis et spiritus in ipsa sua editione ponentibus; et Patris, Verbique, ac Spiritus omittentibus ; in quo maxime et fides Catholica roboratur, et Patris et Filii et Spiritus Sancti una Divinitatis substantia comprobatur."
We have here the same certainty that the seventh verse was found in the Greek copies, as we had before, that it was omitted in the Latin. The verse was, therefore, indisputably extant in Greek, when the Prologue to the Epistles was written, which was probably as early as the sixth or seventh century ; Mill and Bengelius* say the sixth ; the Bishop of Peterborough, the seventh or eighth. ( Bengelius calls him Cassiodoro fortasse coaevus et familiaris, p. 763, that is, medio Saeculo VI. as he says before, p. 755.)
Having arrived at a certainty that the controverted verse was extant in Greek manuscripts of the sixth or seventh century; and having in the former period of the history of this verse, found it probable that the verse was extant in the copies of St. John's Epistles, which the ALOGI rejected ; we now proceed to a further probability of its existence in the copies of the Greek Father, who records the rejection of St. John's writings by the ALOGI.
EPIPHANIUS, who lived in the fourth century, says, that the Epistles "agree with the Gospel and the Apocalypse," in the doctrine of the Logos; and assigns this agreement as a reason for thinking that the Alogi rejected the Epistles as well as the other writings of St. John. And how do the Epistles agree with the Gospel? St. John calls the Son of God THE WORD, in the first chapter of the Gospel, and in the fifth of the first Epistle, and no where else. In the Epistle, St. John calls the Son of God the Word of Life, and in the Apocalypse the Word of God.
The Gospel therefore agrees, both in terms and doctrine concerning the Logos, only with the controverted verse. The testimony, therefore, of Epiphanius to the agreement of the Epistles with the Gospel is, in effect, an acknowledgment of the controverted verse.
To the negative evidence, then, of the four manuscripts of this second period, now extant, we have to oppose the probability collected from Epiphanius and Walafrid Strabo, and the certainty derived from the Prologue to the Epistles, that Greek manuscripts were extant between the third and the tenth century, which contained the seventh verse. If it be asked, why the verse was not quoted by almost all the Greek, and many of the Latin Fathers? The objection amounts to no more than this: it was not quoted by them, because it was omitted, either by accident (By the homoeoteleuton. See the additional Note in the Appendix.), or design, in their copies, and probably in the generality of Greek manuscripts, and many of the Latin.
But this does not affect the certainty, or the probability, that the verse was extant in other copies. If it be again asked, what is become of the manuscripts, that contained it? We may reply by asking, what is become of the many hundred manuscripts of this second period, containing the Catholic Epistles, of which only four remain to this day?
In the last century of this period, the ninth century, many valuable works were extant, of which we have now only Latin translations, or fragments of the originals, which have been preserved in the inestimable Bibliotheca of the most learned Patriarch of that, or, perhaps, of any other century, PHOTIUS of Constantinople. The last remaining copy of Cicero's work, De Gloria, is said to have perished in a fire at Canterbury, since the invention of printing.
The evidence of the four extant Greek manuscripts of this second period, compared with the Prologue to the Epistles, shews that the controverted verse was contained in some Greek manuscripts of the sixth or seventh century, and not in others. From the same Prologue, compared with Fulgentius, it is equally clear that some Latin manuscripts contained the verse, and some did not.
Facundtis, who was contemporary with the writer of the Prologue, (according to Mill and Bengelius) apparently had not the verse in his copy. But Fulgentius, Cassiodorus, Vigilius Tapsensis, the African Bishops at the Council of Carthage, and Eucherius certainly had it in theirs.
The African Church from Tertullian to Ful- gentius, that is, for somewhat more than 400 years, is the chief witness to the authenticity of 1st John v. 7, as the depositary of the ancient Latin version, which contained the verse, and by the testimony, which the African Bishops bore to it in the fifth century. The Latin translation was their Bible for ordinary use; but it cannot be supposed that this learned Church was without the Greek text of the New Testament:*
Quod si quis Maximum non agroscit, alium tamen auctorem minime ineptum, et satis antiquum, et codicibus Afrorum iisque Graecis, fretum, debebit confiteri.
BENGELIUS ad loc. xxiv. p. 762.
Greek was spoken and written at Carthage in its Pagan state, when they had no such motive for its use, as the Christian Church had in the study of the Scriptures.
Yet what has here been said of the authority of the African Church, would be very ill-founded, if that were true, which has been asserted by some very learned and acute opponents of the celebrated verse now under consideration : namely, that "Augustine was generally followed in applying the eighth verse to the Trinity;" and "that the allegorical interpretation of the eighth verse could not be adopted by any one, who had the seventh verse in his copy."
The Bishop of Peterborough says:
"The African Fathers, in the true mystical spirit of that country, began at an early age to interpret 1 John v. 8. of the Trinity. Cyprian de Unit. Eccles. applies in this manner the final clause of the eighth verse, et hi tres unum sunt. - The seventh verse in Cyprian's time did not exist in the Latin any more than in the Greek. Augustin was generally followed in applying 1 John v. 8. to the Trinity."
Preface to Letters to Mr. Travis, p. 12. Note.
From Cyprian's supposed interpretation of the eighth verse allegorically, it is inferred that he knew no- thing of the seventh verse; (I say inferred; for in Cyprian nothing is said by him of aqua, sanguis, et spiritus, as indicating the Trinity.) The inference from the assumed allegorical interpretation is according to Mr. Porson's position:
" I do re-assert, that no writer, in his perfect mind, could possibly adopt this allegorical interpretation of the eighth verse, if the seventh were extant in his copy."
Letters, p. 3 11,
If this assertion be ad- mitted together with the opinion, that the generality of the African Fathers adopted the mystical interpretation of the eighth verse, it would follow, that the generality of the African Fathers knew nothing of the seventh verse, instead of being the chief witnesses to it. It becomes, therefore, necessary to inquire, whether Augustin was generally follosved in applying the eighth verse to the Trinity; and whether such application of the eighth verse is an admissible proof of the absence of the seventh.
Augustin, Marcus Celedensis, [Eucherius, Bishop of Lyons] Vigilius Tapsensis, Cassiodorus, Fulgentius, and Facundus, are (with one exception,) Fathers of the African Church during this second period.
But of these Fathers neither Marcus Celedensis, nor Eucherius, nor Vigilius Tapsensis, nor Cassiodorus, nor Fulgentius, adopted Augustine's allegorical interpretation.
Facundus, who had been accustomed to the doctrine derived from the seventh verse, but had not, as it seems, that verse in his copy, applied, as Augustine had done, the eighth verse mystically to the Trinity. Facundus, though the last of these Fathers, was the only one, who imputed the mystical interpretation to Cyprian.
Because Augustine so applied the eighth verse, he appears to have supposed, (for there is no other reason to be collected from his words,) that Cyprian had so interpreted the verse. This groundless notion, however, is effectually refuted by the superior authority of Fulgentius, who preceded him in the sixth century. The passage of Fulgentius is too important to be omitted:
In Patre ergo et Filio et Spiritu Sancto unitatem substan- tias accipimus, Porsonas confundere non audemus. Beatus enini Joannes Apostolus testatur Tres sunt, qui testimonium perhibent in coelo, Pater, Verbum, et Spiritus Sanctus ; et tres unum sunt. Quod etiam beatissimus Martyr Cypri- anus in epist. de unitate Eccl. confitetur dicens: Qui pacem Christi et concordiam rumpit, ad- versus Christum facit. Qui alibi prater Eccle- siam colligit, Christi Ecclesiam spargit. Atque ut unam Ecclesiam unius Dei esse monstraret haec confestim testimonia de scripturis inse- ruit : Dicit Dominus. Ego et Pater unum sumus ; et iterum de Patre et Fiiio et Spiritu Sancta scrip turn est : Et tres unum sunt.
BENGELIUS ad loc. xxiv. p. 762.
In this passage Mr. Porson says, that
" Fulgentius fairly confesses that he became ac- quainted with this verse solely by the means of Cyprian."
Letters, p. 264.
I can find in these words no trace of such confession, but the very reverse. And so the words of Fulgentius were understood by Griesbach, who says, that:
Fulgentius evidently had the seventh verse in his own copy, and therefore could not suspect that Cyprian's tres unum sunt rested on the mystical interpretation of the eighth, but was convinced that Cyprian also had the seventh verse in his copy.''
Diatribe. j. 1.V t letters, p. 266.
Fulgentius, who had the verse in his copy of the Scriptures, asserts that Cyprian quoted it from the Scriptures.
In another passage, Mr. Porson says
"Fulgentius being aware of an objection, that the verse was not then extant in St. John's Epistle, shields himself under the authority of Cyprian. "
This is all mistake, undoubtedly. Fulgentius quotes St. John as his authority for the doctrine, and Cyprian as holding the same faith. Testatur Joannes confitetur Cyprianus. It is St. John that testifies; Cyprian only follows his testimony. Fulgentius here quotes St. John as independently of any other authority, as he does in the fragment contra Fabianum et adv. Pintam. In the former he says, Beatus vero Joannes Apostolus evi- denter ait, Et tres unum sunt ; quod cle Patre et Filio et Spiritu Sancto dictum, sicut superius cum rationem flagi tares, ostendimus. In the latter: In Epistola Joannis Tres sunt in ccelo, qui testtmoninm reddunt, Pater, Verbum, et Spi- rit us: et hi tres unum sunt.
Fulgentius evidently does not allegorize the eighth verse. But neither does Cassiodorus nor Vigilius Tapsensis, who quote both verses; nor Eucherius, though Emlyn, Griesbach, Mr. Porson, and the Bishop of Peterborough, think he does.
Emlyn says that Eucherius explains aqua, sanguis et spiritus, of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. ( On the strength of this supposition, Emlyn says the passage in the Formula 'is interpolated' and Lardner proposes to expunge the passage ; which Mr. Porson calls " Lardner's emendation." )
The Bishop of Peterborough (Letters. Preface, p. xiii. ), that " Eucherius explains aqua of Pater, et spiritus of spiritus sanctus."
Mr. Porson (Letters, p. 400.), that the mystical interpretation of the eighth verse was "expressly maintained by Eucherius."
This opinion respecting Eucherius's allegorical interpretation seems to have arisen from misquotations of his words. The words of Eucherius are thus incorrectly quoted by Griesbach :
Ad Quaestionem, quid significetur Joannis verbis: Tria sunt, quae testimonium perhibent aqua, sanguis, et spiritus? Respendetur: Videri Joannem respicere ad locum Evangelii, cap. 19- 34. de aqua et sanguine e latere Christi profluente, collatis verbis: inclinato capite tradidit spiritum. Quosdam vero aquam explicare de baptismo, sanguinem de martyrio, spiritum de eo ipso, qui per martyrium transit ad Dominum. Plures tamen hie ipsam mystica interpretatione intelligere Trinitatem : aqua Patrem, sanguine Christum, spiritu autem spiritum sanctum manifes -
The chief defect of this quotation is in the omission of the important word Mihi at the beginning of the passage, which distinguishes Eucherius's own opinion from the few other opinions, which are afterwards mentioned.
Griesbach does not appear to have taken his quotation immediately from the original, but from some other source, which seems to have misled him and the other opponents of the verse into the opinion, that Eucherius applied the eighth verse allegorically to the Trinity. The words, with which Griesbach's quotation commences, stand thus in the original :
Simile huic loco etiam illud MIHI videtur, quod ipse in Evangelio suo de passione Christ! loquitur, dicens, unus militum lancea latus ejus aperuit, &c.
Eucherius states three opinions respecting the interpretation of the eighth verse, his oicn, referring it to the crucifixion, (which was also the opinion of Cassiodorus;) that of certain others, who understood it of baptism, and lastly, the opinion of the plures, who interpreted it mystically of the Trinity. MIHI videtur QUIDAM ergo PLURES tamen. Whoever these qiddam and plures were, it is clear that Eucherius was not "one of the plures, who embraced the mystical interpretation."!
(See the whole passage in the Appendix. The entire passage is not quoted by Griesbach, Mr. Travis. Mr. Porson, or Dr. Hales.)
Augustine was the first of the African Fathers who interpreted the eighth verse mystically. But it does not follow from such interpretation, that he had not the seventh verse in his copy ; because it was impossible for him to interpret it literally, consistently with the meaning, which he ascribed to unum, namely, unity of essence. There are passages in the works of Augustin, (such as Pater, et Films, et Spiritus Sanctus unum sunt ; and Tres enim Porsona sunt, Pater, et Filius, et Spiritus Sanctus; et Hires, quia unius substan- tive sunt, unum sunt,) which appear evidently taken from the seventh verse.
Yet his allegorical interpretation of the eighth verse, according to Mr. Porson's argument, implies that he had not the seventh verse in his copy. "The argument from Augustine's allegory is so full and strong, that Beza fairly says, Non legit Angustinus"
This argument would have more strength, than it has, if Augustine had not understood by " unum," unity of essence. It could not be said that the spirit , the water, and the blood, are one in essence.
He, therefore, applied it, not absurdly, non absurde, as he says, to the only three that are one in essence, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. The literal meaning being, in his sense of it, impossible, he necessarily had recourse to allegory, and applied the passage to the Trinity.
Non potuit non ad allegoriam confugere, says Bengelius, who did not "avoid the argument," as Mr. Porson thought, but met it with a full conviction, that Augustine read the seventh verse in his copy.
Sane dictum adeo non ignoravit (Augustinus) ut tot am ejus sent ent lam, et sententia periphrasin disertam insereret, VERBI etiam nomine adhibit o. (Bengel. ad loc. xv.)
He gives the following reason, why Augustine could not have been ignorant of the seventh verse:
Augustinas in eo climate floruit, in quo et antecessores et successores libris usi fuere Dictum exhibentibus, et revera proximos codicibus Cassiodori et Fulgentii, ubi Dictum legebatur, codices habuit, ut patet ex Millii
Proleg. 841, 844.
The allegorical interpretation of the eighth verse was unknown to the Fathers of the three first centuries. There is not one of them which says that aqua meant the Father, and sanguis the Son. Nor have any allegorical interpreters of the verse been produced from the three next centuries, except Augustin and Facundus, (for Eucherius, as I have shewn, disclaims it,) by those, who bring this interpretation as an evidence of the spuriousness of the seventh verse.
Having shewn that Eucherius did not explain the eighth verse allegorically ; that Augustine's allegorical interpretation of it does not prove him to have been ignorant of the seventh ; and that Facundus's imputation of the allegorical sense to Cyprian is not justified by Cyprian's own words, and is, moreover, refuted by the contrary authority of Fulgentius; we may conclude with Fulgentius, that Cyprian's testimony is a direct quotation from the Scriptures. And if Cyprian had the verse in his copy, Tertullian must have had it in his, almost as certainly as if he had quoted the authority of St. John in the words of a later Father: Sicut Joannes Evangelista in Epistola sua tarn absolute testatur, et tres unum sunt ; and again, Cur tres unum sunt Joannem Evangelistam dixisse legitis, si diversas naturas in Porsonis esse accipitisrf though the rest of the passage is not quoted by him.
(Vigil. Taps. Li. V. ad Theoph. p. 219. ed. Chiffiet, t Idem L. I. p.2f 3. ed.'Chifflet. )
The authority of the African Church, as witnesses to the authenticity of 1 John, v. 7. is not diminished by the allegories either of Augustin or his follower, Facundus. Nor is the validity of that testimony lessened by its being delivered in Latin instead of Greek. That the Latin Church was in possession of the Greek text, we know from Tertullian's appeal to the litera authenticae of the Apostles, (whether autographs or copies, is of no consequence,) and the authenticum Graecum of St. Paul, in the second and third centuries; from the writer of the Prologue to the Epistles in the sixth or seventh century, and from Walafrid Strabo's references, in the ninth century, to the Greek text as the standard for correcting the imperfections of the Latin. The indirect evidence of this period is reserved for the conclusion of the third.
III. The Third Period (900 A.D. forward)
The absence of all external evidence against the seventh verse during the three first centuries the probability that it was contained in the text of St. John's Epistles, rejected by the Alogi; and was known to Epiphanius, the recorder of that rejection; and the certainty, that Greek manuscripts containing the verse were extant between the third and the tenth century; supported as these testimonies are by that which is equal to them all, the internal evidence, - the adamantina versiculorum cohcerentia omnem codicum penuriam compensans - it may, perhaps, be unnecessary to enter on the third period of the history of the verse, (901 - 1522 A.D.) It is, however, a part of its history to add, that in this period we have a Greek manuscript containing the controverted verse; and that the manuscript is considerably more ancient than Griesbach or Mr. Porson supposed it to be. Griesbach asserts it to be of the fifteenth or sixteenth century.
Mr. Porson fixes its date ; and says,
" it was probably written about the year 1520, and interpolated in this place for the purpose of deceiving Erasmus."
Letters, p. 117.
In this conjecture Mr. Porson was undoubtedly mistaken.
Mr. Martin of Utrecht supposed the Montfort Manuscript to be of the eleventh century. Dr. Adam Clarke, who examined the manuscript in the year 1790, and has described it in his Succession of Sacred Literature, says,
the manuscript is more likely to have been the production of the thirteenth than of either the eleventh or the fifteenth century. The former date is as much too high, as the latter is too low."
Dr. Clarke has given a facsimile of it (The facsimiles prefixed to this Tract were by the kind indul- gence of Joseph Butterworth, Esq. M. P. taken from the same plates.), as well as of the Complutensian text, in the work before-mentioned, and in his Notes on the New Testament.
Though the authenticity of the controverted verse does not depend at all on the antiquity or the character of the Montfort Manuscript, yet it may not be improper to add, that, when the Greek of this verse in this manuscript is called a bungling translation from the Latin, on account of the omission of the articles usually prefixed to Πατηρ, Υιος, Πνευμα, the passage before quoted from Clemens Alexandrinus (p. 32,) is sufficient to authorize the omission ; to which may be added the following words, ascribed to Origen :
Δουλοι κυριων ΠΑΤΡΟΣ και ΥΙΟΥ πνευμα και σωμα
(Catena ad Psalm, cxxiii.) and the passages in p. 52.
If the removal of Mr. Porson's charge against the origin of the Montfort Manuscript does not augment its antiquity so as to contribute any thing to the authenticity of the seventh verse; yet it does away one of the charges of fraud, which were brought against the first publication of this verse ; and, at the same time, places the manuscript above the age of many manuscripts, which are brought in evidence against the seventh verse.
The prevalence of the doctrine of the seventh verse, or allusions to its language, during the. third period, are too recent to be alleged as evidences or probabilities of the authenticity of the verse. But during the first and second periods such traces of it may be justly placed amongst its probable testimonies. I closed the first period with two passages of Clemens Alexandrinus and Tertullian. To the same period belongs the passage in the Philopatris ascribed to Lucian, which appeared to Dr. Cave (Hist. Lit. tom. i. p. 17. See the Appendix IV. ) to bear so near a resemblance in phraseology and meaning to the seventh verse, as to afford " a more than probable" proof of its authenticity. To an early part of the second period belong the following passages: Basil, (adv. Ennom. L. V.) says,
Οι απερειργως πιστευοντες εις Θεον και Λογον και Πνευμα, μιαν ουσαν Θεοτητα, και μονην προσκυνητικην.
The Nomcanon published by Cotelerius, has,
Αυτα τα τρια Πατηρ και Υιος και αγιον Πνευμα, εν ταυτα τα τρια.
Among its principal indirect evidences may be placed those Latin manuscripts and Latin citations, which omit the seventh verse, but retain in terra in the eighth; such as the manuscripts, which Griesbach says are men- tioned by Stephens, Hentenius, Lucas Brugensis, and others ; and the passages of Facundus, in his Defensio trlur.i Capitulorum*
Upon the whole view of the important and interesting subject of these pages, the evidences, internal and external, direct and indirect, of the controverted verse, are so many, so various, and so powerful, as leave in my own mind no room to doubt, that we have, in the testimony of the three heavenly witnesses, the authentic words of St. John.
* See the Appendix III.
A Table of Manuscripts of the Catholic Epistles,
according to their respective ages. The Manuscripts are distinguished by the same letters and figures as in Griesbach's Catalogue, ed. 1806.
IV. A. B.
IX. G. g.
X. 1. 7. 11. 84. 87. a. b.
XI. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 184.108.40.206.220.127.116.11,
71. 73. 75. 76. 79- 81. 83. 86. 88. 89. 90. 92.
1. 2. a. d. k. in. XII. 3. 5. 13. 21. 23. 24. 26. 43. 51. 54. 64. 65. 66.
68. 69. 74. 78. 80. 98. || 7. d. e. h. 1. tz.
XIII. 6. 18. 19. 23. 24. 26. 30.
[34. according to Dr. A. Clarke] 36. 37. 38. 54. 59. 63. 64. 65.
72. 82. 85. 96. f. h.
XIV. 20. 31. 32. 62. 77. ξ.
XV. 4. 27. [34.] 62. 93. 94. 95. c. χ. ψ
XVI. [34. Montfortii jam Dublinensis Coll. Trin. Sec. XV. aut ineunte XVI. according to Griesbach.]
In all 99 manuscripts, or rather 88 (deducting 11 twice numbered) of the Catholic Epistles, of which none belong to the first period, and four only to the second. Of the whole number, 59 are older than the Dublin manuscript, 15 of the same Century, according to the age assigned to it by Dr. A. Clarke, and 14 more recent. The manuscripts twice numbered, are 13. 66. 68. 69. 23. 24. 26. 54. 64. 65. 62. where the age has been thought doubtful.
Lugdunensis Formularum intelligentae spiritualis liber. Ejusdem de Quaestionibus difficilioribus Veteris et Novi Testamenti. Basil. M.D.XXX.
P. 86. INTERROG. Item in epistola sua Johannes ponit : Tria sunt, quae testimonium perhibent, aqua, sanguis, et spiritus. Quid in hoc indicatur? RESP. Simile huic locoetiam illud MI HI videtur, quod ipse in Evangelio suode passione Christi loquitur dicens : Unus militum lancea latus ejus asperuit ; et continuo exivit sanguis et aqua; et qui vidit, testimonium perhibuit. In eodem ipse de Jesu supra dixerat : Inclinato capite tradidit spiritum. QUIDAM ergo ex hocToco ita disputant: Aqua baptismum, sanguis videtur indicare martyrium, spiritus vero ipse est, qui niartyrium transLadDominum. PLURES tamen hie ipsam interpretatione myslica intelligunt Trinitatem, eo quod perfecta [f. perfectum] ipsa perhibeat testimonium Christo : aqua Patrem indicans [indicante] quia ipse de se di^it, Me dereliquerunt fontem aquae vivsc : sanguine Christum dernonstrans [demonstrante] utique per passionis cruorem ; spiritu vero spiritum sanctum manifestans [manifestante.] Haec autem tria de Christo ita perhibent, ipso in Evangelio ioquente : Ego sum, qui testimonium perhibeo de me ipso; et testimonium perhibet de me, qui misit me, Pater. Et item : cum Pitraclftus, quern ejjo mittam vobis. Spiritum veritates, qui a Patre procedit, ille testimonium perhibebit de me. Peihibet vwe testimonium Pater, cum dicit: Hie est filius meus dilectus. Filius, cum dicit : Kgo et Pater unum sumus. Spiritus sanctus cum de eo dicitur : Et vidit Spiritum Dei descendentafm, sicut columbam venientem super se.
Pro defensione trium Capitulorum Concilii Calchedonensis Liber XII. ad Justinianum Imperatorem. Paris. M.DC.XXIX.
P. 14. Nam et Joannes Apostolus in epistola sua de Patre et Filio et Spiritu Sancto sic dicit : Tres sunt, qui testimonium dant in terra, spiritus, aqua, et sanguis ; et hi tres mm in sunt: in spiritu significans Patrein, sicut Dominus mulieri Samaritante secundum ipsius Joannis Evangelium loquitur, dicens: Crede mihi, quia veniet hora, &c. (Joan. iv. 21.) in aqua vero Spiritum sanctum significans, sicut in eodem suo Evangelio exponit verba Domini dicentis: Siquis sitit,&c. Jo.vii.37. ubi subsecutus adjecit : Hoc autem dicebat de Spiritu, &c. in sanguine vero Filium significans, quoniam ipse ex sancta Trinitate communicavit carni et sanguini. Non ergo ait Joannes Apostolus, loquens de Patre et Filio et Spiritu Sancto, Tres sunt Porsonse, quae testificantur in terra, spiritus, aqua, et sanguis, et hi tres unum sunt. Quid ergo pro Joanne respondent Apostolo ? Qui sunt hi tres, qui in terra testificantur, et qui unum esse dicuntur? Num Dii? num Patres ? num Filii et Spiritus Sancti? Non utique. Sed hi tres Pater et Films et Spiritus Sanctus sunt, tamen etsi nou invenitur unum nomen, quod de omnibus communiter masculine genere prtedicetur, sicut communiter de illis Porsonae praedicantur genere feminino. Aut si forsitan ipsi, qui de verbo contendunt in eo quod dixit : Tres sunt qui testificantur in terra, spiritus aqua et san- guis, et hi tres unum sunt : Trinitatem, qua? unus Deus est nolunt intelligi, secundum ipsa verba quae posuit pro Apostolo Joanne respondeant. Nunquid hi tres, qui in terra testificari, et qui unum esse dicuntur, possunt spiritus, aqua?, et sanguines dici ? Quod tamen Joannis Apostoli testimonium B. Cyprianus Cathaginensis antistes et martyr, Epistola sua, sive libro, quem de Trinitate scripsit, de Patre et Filio et Spiritn Sancto dictum intelligit. Ait enim: Dicit Dominus, Ego et Pater unum sumus; et iterum de Patre et Filio et Spiritu Sancto scriptum est : Et hi tres unum sunt.
P. 19 - Nam sic Ecclesia Christi, etiam cum necdum ad distinctionem Patris et Filii, et Spiritus Sancti uteretur nomine Porsona?, tres credidit et praadicavit, Patrem et Filium et Spiritum Sanctum ; sicut testimonio Joannis supra docuimus, quo dictum est : Tres sunt qui testimo- nium dant IN TERRA spiritus, aqua, et sanguis; et hi tres unum sunt: Porsonarum autem nomen, non nisi cum Sabellius impugnaret ecclesiam necessario in usum praedi- cationis assumptum est ; ut qui semper tres crediti et vocati, Pater et Filius et Spiritus Sanctus, uno quoque simul et communi Porsonarum nomine vocarentur. Ibidem mox : Semper tenuit et praidicavit Ecclesia, quiu tres sunt, qui testificantur in terra, et hi tres unum sunt.
Cave's Historia Literaria, Page 17, Vol. I. Edit. Oxon. 1740.
MIRE placet doctissimi Miliii sententia, qui subductis utriiique caiculis, tiriKpunv suam subjungit his verbis, Dico Percopen hanc, utcunque postea disparuerit, in ipso certe Joannis autographo extitisse, aliisque aliquot ad illud descriptis exemplaribus. Quod ex Tertulliano aliisque ostendit. Mihi vero aliunde petenda est probatio : non ex SS. Patrum testimoniis, sed ex celeberrimo illo Philopatridis Dialogo, qui sub Luciani nomine inter ejus opera reperitur, ubi Christianorum dogma de Trinitate explicat.
Anlequam ad rem ipsam veniamus, paucula de autore, deinde de ejus aetate discutienda sunt. Autorem Lucianum faciunt viri aliquot in literis summi. Certe sales et veneres, quas ubique occurrunt, acumen et solertia et dicacitas, summusque Christiana? Religionis contemptus Luciani ingenium examussim redolent. AEtas qua vixit ex fine Dialogi colligitur, ubi Cleolaus quidam anhelus inducitur cum bono suo nuncio de Susa inclyta Persarum urbe funditus eversa, eorumque destructo supercilio : subditque omnem Arabiae terrain sub valida Imperatoris dextra ejusque vi roboris casuram esse. Haec victoria de Parthis reportata ad duplicem epocham referri potest, vel ad Trajaui, vel ad Marci Aurelii tempora. Si ad Trajani, ejus ultimo anuo, Chr. 116. contigisse videtur. t hoc modo Luciano longe antiquior erit Dialogi autor. Sin vero ad Marci Antonini imperium referatur (quod vero propius videtur) diu postea contigit ; Bellum Parthicum juxta Pagium inchoatum est ann. 161. coutinuatum per aliquot annos, absolutum, ut videtur ann. 165. de quo triumphum egerunt Marcus Aurelius et Lucius Verus, eodem, ut Pagius ; vel ut alii, Sequent! anno. Quod cum Luciani aetate optime convenit. Quicquid sit, eodern Saeculo vixisse constat.
Jam ad ipsum Dialogum accedamus ; cujus prima- rius scopus est, Christianos, eorumque fidem, ritus, moresque ludibrio exponere. Hoc utramque facit pa- ginam, et cuivis inspicienti se in oculos ingerit. E multis unicum exemplum dabo in Christianorum dogmate de Trinilate. Quaerit Critias, quisnam erat ille Deus, per quem jurare debeat ? Respondit Triephon (quem Christianum Catechumenum fingit autor) esse Deum alte regnantem, magnum, aeternum, et aethereum
υιον πατρος, πνευμα εκ πατρος εκπορευομενον, εν εκ τριων, και εξ ενος τρια. ταυτα νομιζε Ζηνα, τον δ' ηγον Θεον.
Quo nihil dici potuit expressius, nihil disertius : unde vero haec hausit homo Gentilis? Dices, ex communi Christianorum hoc tempore doctrina : Imo potius, inqum ego, ex sacro novi Testamenti fonte, nee aliunde quam ex hoc ipso D. Johannis loco, cum ipsissima Apostoli dicta ρητως adhibenttir, quae non alibi in toto N. T. immo, nec in ullis S. Patrum trium priorum saeculorum totidem verbis reperiuntur. Quod ex hoc parallelism manifestum fiet.
1 Johan. v. 7. Philopatr. p. 998. Τρεις εισιν οι μαρτυροντες εν τω ερανω. Υψιμεδωντε Θεος, μεγας, αμβρονος, ευρανιωντε. Υιος πατρος, alibi Ο ατηρ. ο λογος dictus p. 1004. Ο Λογος. Πνευμα, εκ Πατρος εκπορευομενον. Και το αγιον πνευμα. et Christianis παρα του πνευματος Και ουτοε οι τρεις. δυναμιν του λογου λαβειν dicitur. ΕΝ εισεν. p. 1004. Εν εκ τριων, και εξ ενος τρια. Et Paulo infra, εν τρια, τρια εν.
Vides hic omnia consona, eundem sensum iisdem pene verbis utrobique proferri. Argumento mihi plusquani probabili, omnia ex D. Johannis testimonio descripta fuisse, ibique in vetustissimis exemplaribus locum ab initio habuisse. Quod erat demonstrandum.
Note to p. 6.
GRIESBACH says that Eucherius is thought to be the first, that clearly and expressly quoted the seventh verse. Bengelius asserts, that Eucherius quotes the verse most clearly and expressly, apertissime. And so, indeed, he does in Brassicanus's edition of Eucherius's Formula; for he quotes both verses.
But Mr. Porson and Griesbach observe, that in the two principes editiones the eighth verse alone is quoted. This is certainly true of one of the editions, that of Sichardus at Basil in 1530, (Mr. Travis is strangely mistaken in his assertion, p. 420. 3rd Ed.)and I con- clude is true of both. But the Paris edition I have not yet met with. It did not, however, follow, that the addition of the seventh verse in Brassicanus's text was an interpolation by the editor, as Griesbach thought, when the first edition of his Greek Testament was published. He has since learnt from M. Alter, that there are now in the library at Vienna two manuscripts of Eucherius containing the seventh verse as well as the eighth, from which manuscripts Brassicanus published his edition.
The verse, then, is quoted in the Formulae, and omitted in the Quaestiones. This difference seems to have induced Bengelius to suppose, that the two works were not by the same author. But the different nature of the two works will account for the difference of quotation. The former is a summary of Scripture doctrine ; the latter, an explanation of Scripture difficulties. There is no difficulty in the seventh verse. For as the Father and the Son are one, so the Three are one. But there is great difficulty in the eighth ; so great, as to occasion a variety of interpretations, which Eucherius relates, and of which his own was (mihi videtur) that the spiritus, aqua, et sanguis, were to be understood of the crucifixion. If the Formulae and the Quaestiones are by the same author, as Lardner and Griesbach have shewn them to be, the passage of the Formulae, as given in the princeps editio of Sichardus, in which the eighth verse is applied to the Trinity, must be defective, because it is contrary to the explanation, which Eucherius gives in the Questions, in which his own opinion is, that it does not relate to the Trinity, but to the crucifixion. When, therefore, it is said in the Formulae: III. [numerus ternarius] ad Trinitatem refertur, he must have exemplified it by the seventh verse. He might have quoted both verses, as the whole passage, but, to be consistent with himself, he must have quoted the seventh.
Note to p. 22, 23.
The various readings of the last clause of the sixth verse are remarkable, and shew by two examples of omission, how easily the seventh verse may have been lost from the most ancient Greek copies after the time of Cyprian. The AEthiopic translator had in his copy,
και εν τω πνευματι εστιν ο μαρτυρων, οτι τρεις, omitting the 'last member of the clause, και το πνευμα εστιν η αληθεια ; an omission occasioned by the near occurrence of the particle οτι, the entire passage standing thus :
Και το πνευμα εστι το μαρτυρουν [ΟΤΙ το πνευμα εστιν η αληθεια,] ΟΤΙ τρες.
- The Neapolitan manuscript 83, reads
και το πνευμα εστιν η αληθεια οτι τρεις,
and appears to have lost the first member of the clause,
Και το πνευμα εστι το μαρτυρουν , having, as it seems, had και at the beginning of the last clause ; the omission being occasioned by the near occurrence Of και.
[ΚΑΙ το πνευμα εστι το μαρτυρουν] και το πνευμα εστιν η αληθεια - οτι τρεις. - Omissions are often occasioned by the near occurrence of similar words. In the seventh verse, the repetition of the. word ΜΑΡΤΥΡΟΥΝΤΕΣ or rather the four words τρεις εισιν οι μαρτυρουντε, appears to have laid the foundation of the long controversy, which has so much enlarged the materials of sacred criticism. When the words inclosed in brackets were once lost, the words , or , would soon be omitted by the first transcriber, who perceived that they had no antithesis. Some of the Latin copies mentioned by Stephens, Hentenius, Lucas Brugensis, and others, which omit the seventh verse, retain in terra, having descended, probably, from somo of the earliest transcript* after the omission through the homoeoteleuton.
The whole passage of St. John has evidently a reference to what our Saviour says of the testimony of the Father, and of the Spirit. And the Apostle's reason- ing is founded on the validity of concurrent testimony. If, then, the Spirit is truth, because there are three that bear record, it could not bear record, because it is truth. For then the effect would precede the cause. I am therefore inclined to think that the manuscript, from which the Neapolitan copy was transcribed, read KAI instead of 'OTI, at the beginning of .the second member of the last clause of the sixth verse ; and that the first member of this clause was lost by the near occurrence of the same initial words ΚΑΙ το πνευμα εστιν.
The preceding note was founded on Griesbach's Var. Lec. ad loc. ed. 1806.
(η) Και εν πνευματι (εστιν) ο μαρτυρων, οτι τρεις . AEth.
Και το πνευμα εστιν η αληθεια. οτι τρεις. 83.
In Griesbach's catalogue of manuscripts prefixed to the second volume of his N. T. ed. 1806, No. 83 is called " Neapo- litanus Regius. Sec. XI." This manuscript, as I have found since the preceding Note was written, was collated by Birch, and the Various Readings were published by him in his Variae Lectiones ad Textum App. Epp. Catholicarum et Pauli. Havniae, MDCCXCVIII. The Note on 1 John, v. 6. is as follows :
Και το πνευμα εστε το μαρτυρουν] Omittit Neapol. Regius, sed additur in margine a secunda manu. οτι το πνευμα] και το πνευμα Neapol. Regius,
from which it is evident, that the second member of the last clause began with και instead of οτι , and that the preceding member of this clause was lost through the near occurrence of the initial words και το πνευμα. The manuscript appears to be of considerable value by the account, which Birch gives of it in his Prolegomena, p. xvi. Breve modo tempus hunc manibus versari contigit, quod sane plurimum doleo, cum codicem dignissimum, qui per onmia accurate examinetur, judicavi.
Note to p. 36.
To the same period of the external evidence belongs a Greek authority for the seventh verse, which I declined alleging in its place, because the words are, strictly, neither of the seventh nor of the eighth verse. The passage is in a dialogue between Athanasius and Arius, edited among the works of Athanasius, but commonly ascribed to Maximus, who lived in the seventh century. After men- tioning the thrice-blessed name, or nomen beatae Trinitatis, as Bengelius translates it, the writer adds, Προς δε τουτοις Ιωαννης φασκει, και οι τρεις το εν εισι. The absence of εις makes it not the eighth verse, as the insertion of το makes it not the seventh. Yet, I am induced to think it was meant of the seventh verse, because it immediately follows the thrice-blessed name; and not of the eighth verse, because, in that verse, it is not said of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, the three are one. In some Latin manuscripts the earthly witnesses occur in the seventh verse, and the heavenly in the eighth, which might, perhaps, have occa- sioned the admission of the article in the clause connected with them,
DR. PYE SMITH (Scripture Testimony to the Messiah vol. ii, p, 045. London. 1821. ) has a different opinion of the late defences of 3 John, v. 7- by Mr. Nolan, Dr. Hales, and others, from that which I have given in the Preface to this Tract. He says,
"Some have lately attempted to revive an argument to this purport; that the mascu- line gender in the genuine context (τρεις εισιν οι μαρτυρουντες - και οι τρεις εις το εν εισιν,) is irreconcileable with the belief that the nouns referred to were all neuters; that consequently the two masculine nouns in the rejected portion of the paragraph are necessary to the construction ; and that this being admitted, the whole of the portion must come in likewise. But this argu- ment proceeds upon overlooking the fact, that the neuter nouns are, by the composition of the sentence, Porsonified."
That Dr. Smith should have read either Mr. Nolan's or Dr. Hales's ample defences of the seventh verse, and then content himself with noticing this single objection to the solecism arising from the omission of the verse, is strange. But the solecism is greater than Dr. Smith states it to be. πνευμα, a neuter noun, is in the sixth verse accompanied with a neuter participle. But in the eighth verse, when connected with two other neuter nouns, it is accompanied with a masculine par- ticiple. To account for this, Dr. Smith says, that in the eighth verse the three nouns are Porsonified. Not more so, than πνευμα is in the sixth, where it has a neuter par- ticiple.
But in the seventh verse πνευμα is accompanied with two masculine nonns, - two Porsons, - and therefore is used with a masculine participle.
And then the three masculines of the eighth verse follow by natural attraction and parallelism from the seventh.
Dr. Smith takes no notice of ΤΟ εν in the eighth verse, which requires a preceding εν. With the seventh verse, the passage has connection and analogy; without it, it is disfigured by hiatus and solecism. Says Dr. Smith,
" That some learned writers have of late professed themselves satisfied of the authenticity of this passage, while they advance nothing but surmises and conjectures in counterbalance of the weight of evidence on the other side, excites my astonishment and concern."
The value of Mr. Nolan's and Dr. Hales's late discussions of the subject, and of Mill's and Bengelius's in former periods, will not be lessened by this hasty imputation of nothing but surmises and conjectures. In passing this censure, Dr. Smith has overlooked almost the whole of the internal evidence, which, in the comprehensive and energetic language of Bengelius, is a counterbalance to all the evidence from manuscripts, and versions, that omit the verse. Admantina versicitlorum coherent ia omnem codicum penuriam cornpensat.
Dr. Smith adds,
" The attempt to set aside the decisions of impartial and honest criticism, is painfully discreditable."
Dr. Smith seems to suppose, that impartiality and honesty are confined to one side of this question. But he has not informed his readers why Mill and Bengelius should be less impartial than Wetstein and Griesbach, nor has he shewn that the decisions of Pearson, Stillingfleet, and Bull, are less honest than those of Socinus, Sandius, or Emlyn.
For the impartiality of Mill, Mr. Porson is a sufficient voucher; and Michaelis for the honesty of Bengelius. For the honesty as well as ability of the three other great names, the gratitude of the whole Christian world may answer. " To set aside the decisions of impartial criticism." What decisions? That the verse rests chiefly, if not solely, on the authority of Vigilius Tapsensis ? which I have disproved : or, that it is not found in any ancient Greek MS.? which is admitted; but which is a small portion of the whole evidence respecting the verse ; and not a counterbalance to the aggregate of other considerations. Can there be any thing decisive in such partial views, when opposed even to the internal evidence alone? or in such negative evidence of the rejectors of the verse, compared with the positive evidence of its defenders ? The " decisions of impartial criticism" will, if I mistake not, all prove to be fallacies. But, Dr. Smith continues,
"Nothing is so injurious a to a good cause as the calling of fallacious allies to its a support."
The whole of these remarks of Dr. Smith suppose, on the part of the defenders of the verse, a wilful use of fallacious and dishonest evidence. This is the very spirit of Gibbon's invective, expressed in rather more moderate terms. But what, if the fallacies should be all on the side of the opponents of the verse? For, what do their arguments amount to?
1. That the external evidence is decisive against the verse ; though there is no external evidence whatever against it, during the three first centuries, and in the same period much positive evidence tor it.
*2. That it is not found in any of the four ancient manuscripts now extant, and therefore it never was read in any of the hundred, or thousand manuscripts, that are lost.
3. That it is first quoted at large by a Latin writer, who lived nearly four hundred years after the death of St. John; and therefore it was never known to the more ancient Greek Fathers ; though the Spartan Decree against Timotheus is found for the first time in a Latin writer at least a thousand years after its promulgation.
4. That it is not found in any Greek manuscript extant, but one ; and therefore it never will be ; though the Hymn to Ceres has been found at Moscow two thousand years after the time of Pausanias, who last quoted it, and of which no other copy is known to be extant.
5. That Augustin knew nothing of the seventh verse, because he interprets the eighth verse mystically of the Trinity ; though the sense, which he ascribed to the term unum, (unity of essence,) made it impossible for him to interpret the aqua and sanguis of the eighth verse literally.
6. That Augustin was generally followed in applying the eighth verse mystically to the Trinity; therefore the seventh verse was unknown to the generality of the African Fathers ; though [Eucherius,] Vigilius Tapsensis, Cassiodorus, and Fulgentius, who constitute the greater part of that generality, expressly quote both verses.
7- That Eucherius explained the eighth verse mystically of the Trinity ; though he expressly applies it to the water and the blood^ that issued from our Saviour's side on the cross (John xix. 34,) and distinguishes his own opinion from those, who apply the eighth verse to the Trinity.
8. That " if Eucherius wrote the allegory in the Questions, he could not possibly have the heavenly witnesses in his copy." But it is clear that the allegory quoted by him in the Questions, is not the allegory of Eucherius, but of the Plures, from whom he differs.
9. That the verse rests chiefly, if not solely, on the authority of Vigilius Tapsensis, according to Griesbach ; though Mr. Porson says it rests on the authority of Cyprian, or the ancient Latin Version ; and though that Version is a legitimate evidence of its Greek original.
10. That the Montfort or Dublin manuscript was a forgery of the sixteenth century, -and written on purpose to deceive Erasmus; which a competent judge has shewn to be a production of the thirteenth century.