Page images

ceive, must be answered in the negative; for all three* have distinctly quoted texts from the first and second chapters of St. Luke: yet we find that the Unitarians persist in marking for rejection those very portions of both Evangelists. They will not surely maintain, that the direct testimony of an early writer is to be considered as of no decisive weight in favour of the received text, although his silence may be constructed into sufficient evidence against it ?

But I may be told, that they object not to admit the testimony of these writers upon points solely connected with the general received copies of St. Matthew and St. Luke, when it is uncontradicted in the first instance by the Gospel of the Ebionites, and in the second by that of the Marcionites; Gospels of higher reputation than the common copies, because of more remote antiquity. Shew us they may say, a text quoted by either of these writers, which is omitted in manuscripts of a more recent date, and is not discredited by the fragments above alluded to, and we will instantly acknowledge its validity. I might observe in reply, that the disputed chapters of St. Matthew and St. Luke, even upon the very ground of antiquity alledged, ought to be deemed genuine, because they are referred to by writers, who living in the second century, quoted from copies which must have been more ancient than the supposed copies of the Ebionites and of the Marcionites, from which Epiphanius quoted, who lived in the fourth century. But, to meet every possible objection,


* Justin. in Dialog. cum Tryphone, Ed. Paris 1636. p. 303, 304; and in Apol, ii. p. 75; Irenæus, lib. iii, c. 18. Ed Grabe, p. 239, lib iii. c. 11. p. 214; and Tertullian in Arg. adversus Judæos Ed. Rigalt. Paris 1664. p. 193, and De Carne Christi, p. 321. these the only places where the disputed chapters are referred to by the same writers.

Nor are

I will bring forward an instance, in which only copies of the same precise nature are concerned.

In Luke xxii. verses 43, 44, are printed in italics as of dubious authority, and we are told in a note, that, “ these verses are wanting in the Vatican, the Alexandrian, and other manuscripts,” (it should have been stated, in three other manuscripts of the same class with the Vatican, and neither of them of any higher antiquity than the eleventh or twelfth centuries, *) “and are marked as doubtful in some in which they are inserted.” Now admitting all this in its fullest extent, still I apprehend it must follow, if they are clearly cited by writers who could only have been conversant with manuscripts which were long prior in date to the Vatican and Alexandrian, or indeed any others. And they are certainly cited both by Justin and Irenæus. That they were acknowledged by Justin, Irenæus, and many later fathers, Griesbach might have informed them,t had they been disposed to consider both sides of the evidence, although he would not have referred them to the particular passages. Justin remarks : Ev gap rois απομνημονευμασιν, ά φημι υπο των αποβολων αυτά και των εκεινοις παρακολούθησαντων συντεσαχθαι, ότι ιδρως ώσει θρομβοι κατεχεισο αυσε ευχομενα και λεγοντος, παρελθεσω ει δυνατον, το ποτηριον σατο. “ Nam in libris, qui sunt ab ejus discipulis, ipsorumque sectatoribus compositi, memoriæ mandatum est, sudorem ipsius tamquam guttas sanguinis defluxisse in terram,

* It should likewise have been added, that in the first of the three, the commencement of these verses, won ds is notwithstanding written by the same hand which originally transcribed the MS. the remainder being supplied by another and more recent hand in the margin; and that in the second, although the verses are evidently wanting here, they yet occur in another Gospel, viz. after Matthew xxvi. 39. See Griesbach.

† Agnoscunt Justin, Hippol. Epiph. Chrys. Tit. bostr. Cæsarius, Iren. Hier.

eo deprecante et dicente, Trunseat, fi fieri potest poculum hoc.Dial. cum Tryphone in Opera. p. 331. So also Ireneus :--αδ' αν εδακρυσεν επι σε Λαζαρε» εδ' αν ιδρωσε θρομ685 aivatos “ —nec lacrymasset super Lazarum nec sudasset globos sanguinis.” Lib. iii. c. 32. p. 260. Since therefore the Gospel of Marcion is not recorded to have omitted these verses, and as they are expressly cited by such early writers as Justin and Irenæus, how is it that they are marked for excision upon the sole authority of manuscripts confessedly written at a later period ?

But to return to the principal text in controversy : we may surely admit that it is not quoted by Justin, Irenæus, or Tertullian, without at all impeaching its authenticity ; for if no texts are to be deemed genuine, upon which these Fathers are wholly silent, many of considerable importance in the judgment of different parties must be expunged from the canon of Scripture. Aware perhaps of this, the Translators attempt to assign a particular reason, why silence on this occasion is to be necessarily construed into ignorance. They say, that the omission is the more remarkable, because the two former have quoted almost every text in Luke which relates to the crucifixion, and Tertullian wrote concerning the intermediate state.” But are these assertions true? The first most certainly is not : nor is the last in that sense in which alone it can bear



argument. Justin is so far from quoting every text in St. Luke which relates to the crucifixion, that from the whole of this twenty-third chapter, consisting of fifty-six verses upon the subject, I have been able to discover only one (the 46th)* which is clearly cited by him. I allude of course to his genuine writings, and not to others incorrectly imputed to him ; for if the latter are to be brought forward, we shall find perhaps two more verses quot


* Dial. cum Tryphone in Oper. p.333.

ed, * but one of these will be the very verse in question. Irenæus also, it is remarkable, refers but once to the same chapter, and that is to the 13th verse. As to Tertullian, he certainly wrote a distinct treatise upon the intermediate state, or rather, upon the subject of Paradise ; for he himself thus expressly informs us ; " Habes etiam de paradiso à nobis libellum, quo constituimus omnem animam apud inferos sequestrari in diem Domini :”I but the Translators forget to add, (a little circumstance of some importance to the question,) that this treatise is not now extant. What therefore it might, or might not, have contained in the way of quotation, it must be as useless to conjecture, as it is absurd to urge.

The only general reflection which I shall make upon this singular tissue of strange misconceptions, and strange misrepresentations, is this ; that, if their metaphysical arguments upon the nature of the human soul, and its sleep after death, be founded upon no better reasoning than that which is here exhibited to discredit a passage of Scripturecountenancing an opposite doctrine, the philosopher must despise, and the critic deride them.

* Viz. v. 34, and v. 43. Quæstiones et Respon. ad Orthod. in Operibus, p. 463, and p.

437. † Lib. iii. c. 20. p. 247. | Opera, p. 204.


Perplexing Anomalies in the Theory of


Hitherto I have considered the attempts of these Translators to get rid of particular passages of Scripture which cannot well he explained in conformity with their own Creed, by discarding them as unauthentic. I come now to notice another exercise of their ingenuity, by which, for similar theological purposes, they give to certain undisputed texts meanings directly the reverse of those which are usually affixed to them. With this view they render 805 mv o Aoyos, John i. 1, "the Word was a God;" and save sov Tiov T8 ©£8 eroino Ev, John xix, 7, made himself a Son of God;" contemplating the insertion of the English indefinite, as necessarily resulting from the omission of the Greek definite, Article. Their object, both here and in other instances of the same kind, clearly is to divest our Saviour of every claim to divinity which a peculiar title might be supposed to give him, and to represent him not as God, or as the Son of God emphatically, but as a God, or a Son of God metaphorically. The rule indeed, which they have thus adopted, is not properly their own ; it was originally a fruit of Arian growth : but, not being suited to the general taste, it hung for a time mellowing and neglected. As the Unitarians however seem disposed, if possible, to establish its credit, let us examine a little its pretensions to public approbation.

If it be really the produce of sound criticism, and not of mere theological conceit, it must not only appear correct in one or two solitary instances, but prove of general approbation. Upon this principle let us try it.

In the last clause then of John i, 1, $os nu Aoyos is ren

« PreviousContinue »