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hung their wings in moody sorrow; his power before he exercised it; some few pigeons, that were on the were exquisite, and such as never wing, were afraid of being benight. worked upon me so sensibly before. ed even in the morn, alighted and With my own ears I heard a cock took sbelter in the houses. The crow as at the dawn of day, and he heat went away by degrees with the welcomed with a strange gladness, light. But when the rays of the sun which was plainly discoverable by broke out afresh, the joy and the the cheerful notes of his voice, the thanks that were in me, that God sun at its second rising and the remade to us these signs and marks of turning light,”
THE HEAVENLY WITNESSES.
The space which has been devoted to a consideration of the authenticity
of 1 John v. 7. would justify us in putting an end to the discussion. But we are anxious to pay all possible attention to our Correspondents, and they have a just claim to be heard to the end of their respective arguments. The following letter contains Mr. Oxlee's concluding remarks; and a similar communication from Mr. Nolan, which we have not room to insert this month, shall appear in our next Number,
To the Editor of the Remembrancer. rational a supposition; unless in.
deed they should be disposed to
for In my second letter I had given it sound critical judgment in them* as my opinion, that one cause of selves, would have been gross ignoVigilius and Fulgentius adventuring rance and stupidity in the two Afrito express the Heavenly Witnesses
can prelates. in due form, was their conscientious But, whether I am correct or not belief, that the words, Tres unum in putting so favojirable a construcsunt, had been absolutely affirmed tion on their motives, I am at least of the three persons in the Godhead prepared to shew, that in furnishing in the copy of St. Cyprian. This the seventh verse, neither Vigilius statement of my opinion of the man nor Fulgentius professed to do any ner in which the disputed passage thing
thing more than to express and il. first found its way into existence, lustrate what they conceived to be my opponent has pronounced a re- fully implied in the eighth verse; production of the old objection of and that in so doing they were Griesbach; accompanied with a guided chiefly, if not entirely, by few improvements, which that dili- the joint authorities of St. Cyprian gent critic would not have willingly and St. Austin. In his third book acknowledged. How far that learn. against Maximinus, the Arian, St. ed and suber critic would have as.. Austin commences his allegorical sented to my opinion, I pretend not exposition of the Spirit, the Water, to conjecture; but this I certainly do and the Blood, of the eighth verse, think, that of all others those who with the following sentence : For have the assurance to declare, that these are mysteries, in which is al, the verse, is expressly quoted by ways considered, not what they are, Cyprian, ought to be the very last but, quid ostendent, what they des to object to the probability of so monstrate: for they are the signs of
things; being actually one thing, ply inserted it without any accombut signifying another. In the first panying remark whatever, in the of the books to Theophilus, ascrib ninth book of the same work. ed, for the want of a better owner, In approaching the testimony of to the pen of Vigilius, the passage Fulgentius, I begin to entertain containing the mention of the Hea. some doubts, whether the real Fulvenly Witnesses, literally translated, gentius himself, or only somebody is as follows: • Therefore, although for him, has so repeatedly cited in the preceding examples of the these Heavenly Witnesses. Three Scriptures, the names of the persons places there are generally brought are, tacita, unexpressed; yet the forward, in wbich Fulgentius is be . one common name of the divinity is lieved to have alleged the passage ; every where demonstrated in them: iş his Responsio contra Arrianos; as it is also in this example of the in his Liber de Trinitate ad Feli. truth, in which the names of the cem; and in the Fragmenta contra persons, evidenter sunt ostensa, are Fabianum. In the first edition of evidently demonstrated; and the his works, by Cochlaeus, printed in common, natural, or substantial
or substantial 1520, and the only sort of copy to name, secretly declared ; the evange-, which I have access, there is neither list St. John saying, in his Epistle, the Liber ad Felicem, nor the FragThere are three who bear testimony menta contra Fabianum; so that I in heuven, the Father, and the have no means of forming any judgWord, and the Spirit; and in Christ meut, either from the style or from Jesus they are one ; not, however, other circumstances, how far these one individual, as their person is last mentioned works, in which the not one. In this extract, the pas verse is contained, may have been sage of the Heavenly Witnesses is rightly assigned to the pen of Fulclassed with those testimonies of the gentius. I shall consider them, howTrinity taken out of the Old Testa. ever, among his genuine produc. ment, in which the names of the tions. In his Responsio contra Arrithree divine persons and the one anos, the verse is thus alleged: "In common appellation of the divinity the Father, therefore, and in the are declared to be, not expressed, Son, and in the Holy Ghost, we but only implied and demonstrated : admit the unity of substance; but and in the passage of St. John it- we dare not confound the persons. self, the names of the Trinity are For the blessed apostle, St. John, said to be, not expressly mentioned, testifieth, saying: There are three but only, evidenter osterisa, evidently who bear testimony in heaven, the demonstrated; the very same verb, Father, the Word, and the Spirit ; ostenderé, being here used of the three and the three are one. Which like. divine persons which is employed by wise the most blessed martyr, St. St. Austin, in applying to them the Cyprian, in his Epistle on the Unity eighth verse; that they are demon. of the Church, confesses, saying: strated, or signified. There cannot, He who violates the peace and contherefore, from the language of any cord of Christ, acts against Christ; author, aríse a more manifest de- and be who gathers in any other duction than that, in the extract place besides the Church, scatters before us, Vigilius professes only to the Church of Christ. And to de. give utterance and expression to the monstrate, that there is one Church implied sense of the eighth verse: of one God, he hath immediately and since, in his first book, he has inserted these testimonies from the fairly informed us of the manner in Scriptures : The Lord saith, I and which he fetches this testimony from the Father are one. And again: Of St. John, we have the less reason to the Father, the Son, and the Holy find fault with him for having sim- Spirit, it is written, And the three
are one.' That in this place some- nal editing of this part of our author, thing more is added to the testi- To me, certainly, the whole of the mony of St. John, than could ever words, Tres sunt qui testimonium have entered into the head of Fule perhibent in cælo, Pater, Verbum, gentius, must be apparent to the et Spiritus ; not a single particle of least discerning. If the whole of the which is ether necessary to the artestimony here recorded were absu- gument, or alluded to in the conlutely the words of St. John, what text, appear to have been inserted in the world was there for St. Cy- by Cochlaeus to complete the verse; prian to confess about; as though and in this suspicion I am further in the allegation of one of the plain. confirmed from what he himself has est passages of Scripture, it were acknowledged, that if the passages necessary to bring along with it the of Scripture cited in the manucoufession of St. Cyprian? But script, being taken out of a differwhat is it, I pray, that St. Cyprian ent Latin version from the present, confesses? Does he confess or cite he was often content to search out, any such testimony from St. John, not the words, but the sense of the as the very words: There are three allegation : whilst nothing can be who bear record in heaven, the Fa. more manifest than that, wherever ther, the Son, and the Holy Spirit; the context would admit of it, he and the three are one ? No such has constantly accommodated the thing. The most adventurous of the passages to the text of the Vulgate. advocates of the Heavenly Wit. Indeed, tbat Fulgentius should know besses have never dared to say this. any thing at all of these Heavenly The whole of what St. Cyprian af. Witnesses, except as a gloss on the firms, and for which alone Fulgen. Scripture, is a supposition wholly tius alleges his authority, is, that incredible, and beyond measure ri. the final clause of the eighth verse, diculous. In the last of his three Et tres unum sunt, is to be ex. books to Monimus, in his three pounded of the Trinity in Unity: a books to king Trasimund, in his gloss for which, seeing that the book to Donatus, and in his Sermon clause appears literally to refer to on the Twofold Nativity of Christ, something else, it was highly neces- works amounting to five times the sary in Fulgentius, in order to make bulk of his Reply to the Arians, and any impression on the minds of his which are wholly occupied in deve. opponents, to adduce the confes. loping and asserting the great myssion and authority of that glorious teries of the Trinity and the Incar. martyr. Hence this argument, de- nation, there is not the slightest alpending more on the exposition of lusion to the disputed passage, nor the Father than on the plain words even to the gloss of St. Cyprian. of the Apostle, is thrown by the This is the more observable with re. author into a back corner of his re- spect to his third book to Monimus, ply, and coupled to another argu- in which he undertakes to confute ment of St. Cyprian's for the Tri- the Arian distinction between the nity, taken from a certain custom Word being with God and in God; of Daniel and the three children; as if God and his Word were not of a very unequal testimony, surely, to the same substance. For though he be yoked with that of the Heavenly has admirably succeeded in detectWitnesses, bad there been any such ing the sophistry of the distinction words of St. John in the Bible of between in and with; yet, as the Fulgentius.
whole cavil was instituted for the By this time your readers will be- purpose of demonstrating, that God gin to perceive, that I entertain and the Word were not of one and strong suspicions of some foul play the same substance; the author, by having been practised in the origi- bringing to bear on the question
the testimony of the Heavenly Wit. of Vigilius, Fulgentius, and Facunnesses, would hare tinished thie dis. dus. The passage under dispute pute at one stroke: but this he cer was put into the Confession as the tainly has not done ; and, therefore, clearly implied sense and demonwe may rest perfectly satisfied, that strated testimony of St. John; and he was ignorant of iis existence. that so many bishops should at once
I have already observed, that of have acquiesced in the justness of the two references to the passage in the quotation, is by no means a the book to Felix, and in the Frag- matter of wonder. The authority of ments against Fabian, I admit Ful. St. Austin, with them, was equal to gentius to be the author on the re. that of an oracle; and nothing can port of others. In the book to Fe. be more decisive than the tone lix, the verse appears to be cited which that venerable father has absolutely as the testimony of St. adopted in his application of the John, withont any accompanying eighth verse to the Trinity in Unity. remark whatever, and as it stands • But if,' says he, that profundity, in the Latin Version. But in the which is read in the Epistle of St. Fragments against Fabian, it is John, of so great a mystery, can clearly referred to, and explained as be otherwise expounded and under& gloss on the eighth verse, to the stood according to the catholic following effect. John evidently faith, which neither confounds por says; And the three are one ; which separates the Trinity; neither deis spoken of the Father, the Son, nies the three persons, nor believes and the Holy Spirit, as we have bee that there are different substances ; fore, demonstrated, when you de- it is by no means to be rejected. mauded a reason for it.' fiere we see For that which is obscurely put in the verb, os!endere, to demonstrate, the Holy Scriptures for the purpose again lets the cat out of the bag, of exercising the minds of the faithand deranges the whole farce of se. ful, affords matter for congratulariously maintaining the disputed tion, if it may be variously yet wisely passage on the authority of Fuigen- expounded. Here, we see, the țius : for it, as Griesbach has well faithful are permitted by St. Austin observed, there had been in the to take different ways in their expo. Epistle itself any such words as the sition of the great mystery contain. Father, the Word, and the Holy ed in the eighth verse ; but it was Spirit, there could be no need for at the peril of their orthodoxy, if the author to demonstrate, that the they did not apply it in such a manclause, And the three are one, was ner as to make it an irrefragable meant and spoken of the three per. testimony of the three persons of the sons of the Trinity.
Godhead subsisting in the same subI am perfectly aware, that by stance. With so many reasons, then, some good critics the African Con- arising from the mystical construcfession of Faith which we now have, tion of the verse itself, and with is denied to have been the one com- such authorities before them as posed on that memorable occasion; those of St. Cyprian and St. Ausbut I must see something more than tin, there would not, I contimere surmises before I can be in. dent, be so much as one out of the duced to reject it as a spurious pro- four hundred prelates, unprepared duction. If not drawn up either by to shed the last drop of his blood, Vigilius or Eugenius, it was doubt- rather than deny the veracity of the less composed by one of their con- apostolic testimony, tbus illustrated temporary brother prelates; and of and expressed: and had it been my what they knew as to the Heavenly own lot to have borne a part of that Witnesses, I have already adduced glorious struggle which they tri. suficient proof in the several cases umphantly sustained against the
Arian heretics, with the exception triment to the construction, we of a few points not necessary to the should never at this day have befull developement of the mystical held two verses, where one might sense, I should have been eager to have served. But understanding, as have united with them, hand and they did, the Spirit, the Water, and beart in the allegation of their the Blood, to be grammatically the Heavenly Witnesses.
subjects to the attribute of bearing The foregoing authorities of the testimony, and not being able to African Church are unquestionably separate the subjects from their the most ancient vouchers for the given attribute, in order to make text under dispute; and, as room for the admission of the names plainly perceive, that they quoted of the divine persons, they were it as a gloss on the words, and not compelled to repeat the same attrias the very words themselves of the bute in the same words, There are divine Apostle; it becomes a matter three that bear testimony; and when of little or no consequence, by how this was done, seeing that the result many writers the same testimony would be nonsense of itself, they may have since been cited, in nearly were again obliged to mark the disthe same terms, during the nintli
, tinction between the Heavenly and and tenth, and subsequent centuries. the Earthly Witnesses; but, as there To such, however, as may still be was an option left, whether the inclined to believe, that they did Heavenly Witnesses should succeed not themselves construct the verse, or take the lead of the others, with but actually cited it from their na a repetition of the final clause, And nuscript copies, I would here put the three are one; so accordingly the question, whetber they are like we find it making its first appear. wise inclined to maintain, that those ance in all that possible variety of various additions of, One in Christ ways in which the circumstances of Jesus, and Three in one, were the context would allow it to be equally in their manuscripts with the produced. rest of the passage. If they think I have now earnestly to intreat that they were, then they must have Mr. Nolan to desist 'from imposing been a pretty kind of manuscripts on the simplicity of the Christian on which to bottom at this day any world by his statement, that the solid and incontrovertible evidence authenticity of the Heavenly Witfor the genuineness of the sacred nesses is a question merely betext. But if otherwise ; and if, tween the comparative testimonies without any hesitation, they could of the Greek and Latio Churches. presume, in the name of the Apos. It is not a mere balancing of the tle, to add three words more than testimony of the whole Greek were warranted by their manu Church against that of the whole scripts, why not six : if a part, why Latin Church; but it is the testi. not the whole of a verse ? Let this mony of the ancient Latin Church question, if it can, be satisfactorily itself, for the first seven hundred answered.
years of its existence, together with What gave the first rise to the that of the Greek and of all the other production of the Heavenly Wit- Churcbes in Christendom, against nesses was, doubtless, the insuper- the testimony of the modern Latin able difficulty of expounding lite- Church only; as cannot but appear rally, and to any tolerable sense, from the authorities of Pope Eusethe clause, Et tres unum sunt, of bius, Leo Magnus, St. Austin, Eu. the spirit, the water, and the blood : cherius, Vigilius, Fulgentius, and and if the names of the three divine Facundus, who being all 'fathers of persons could in any manner have the Latin Church, conspire with been introduced alone, without de- one mouth, in this instance, to con.