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says likewise, that there are but 109 of these to be found now. According to his statement, we may see, that 23 of his own boasted manuscripts have perished since the days of Erasmus; for, he has told us himself, that, from the reign of Justinian to the reformation, the subject was laid asleep; and, therefore, during that time, no manuscripts would have been examined. We need not be surprised, if our seven Greek manuscripts have been lost in the lapse of 500 years; seeing, that 23 of his have perished in 400 years. We have as good reason to believe that those seven Greek manuscripts, which history says were in our favor, once existed, as he has that the twenty-three have had a being, which testified against us. It is not to be doubted, that there have been many of both kinds of manuscripts, which are now lost with time. The evidence of history in such cases, is not to be discarded.
In what I have said of Laurentius Valla, the truth of it is admitted by M. Simon, who was an enemy to the text in question. History says, that the Glossa Ordinaria was made by Walefrid Strabo, in the ninth century, and from Greek manuscripts, some of which were more ancient than any now in being. The character of his commentary, stands very high in the opinion of an eminent Anti-Trinitarian writer; and, therefore, it may be consistently esteemed by Trinitarians. The number of Greek manuscripts, which the writer of the Glossa Ordinaria had under his eye, cannot be ascertained by nie; but, it seems that he felt himself warranted to insert in that work, the text in question. Our text is likewise found in Jerom's Version. It was made in the beginning of the fifth century; and in doing it, he solemnly asserts, that he was guided by the Greek manuscripts. He says, that the text “had been adulterated, mistranslated and omitted on purpose to elude the truth.”
The Rev. William Jones, observes with great propriety that Jerom“ had a better opportunity of examining the true merits of the cause than we can have at this distance of time." As he was convinced of its authenticity, we may repose great confidence in his opinion, on the ground of his abilities, excellent character, and early standing in the Christian church.
Robert Stephens, found the text contained in nine of his sixteen Greek manuscripts, according to the the testimony of William Jones.
When the Emperor Charlemagne furnished the divines of his age with all the manuscripts which could then be procured in his dominion; it appears, that they felt themselves authorized to retain this passage in their correctorium.
Thus, we have an authentic account of sixteen Greek manuscripts, in which the text in debate was found ; namely, the seven used by Laurentius Valla, in the fourteenth century, and the nine in the possession of Robert Stephens; who lived since the time of the reformation, which commenced in the early part of the sixteenth century. We have the testimony of historians, that Walafrid Strabo used Greek manuscripts in the ninth century, in forming his Glossa Ordinaria ; and Jerom likewise, in the fifth century, in making his Versions. Allowing that those manuscripts have all perished, and that there are, as my opponent says, 109 Geeek manuscripts now in being, without the disputed text ; I cannot see that it would destroy the evidence which has been produced. The want of the passage in the manuscripts which have been mentioned, has in some measure been explained, and, therefore, need not be repeated.
My opponent's next conclusion is-if the text in question were genuine, it would appear “ in the most ancient
and respectable versions." He then mentions the following early versions, in which it is not to be found; namely," the two Syriac, the Coptic and Schidie versions, formed for Upper and Lower Egypt; the Ethiopic, Arabic, Sclavonian and Armenian versions."
On the supposition that his statement is correct, it must be admitted that, they afford no evidence in favor of the text under consideration. Those versions, however, were probably made in the Arian period, and in the East which is a circumstance of great weight in accounting for their silence in respect to the passage. My opponent says himself, that immediately after the death of Arius, his doctrine gained ground with astonishing rapidity, and seemed to bid fair to become the dominant religion, especially in the East, where it prevailed far more generally than in the West." The want of the text in question, in the versions that the
gen. tleman has named, may be one reason for those nations exchanging Christianity for Mahomedanism, and the Scriptures for the Koran. But he acknowledges, that it is only in the correct editions of the Armenian version, the text in dispute is wanting ; and that is admitting, that it does appear in the incorrect editions of it. We may be assured, wherever this Trinitarian text is found, that manuscript, version, or edition, will be deemed incorrect, for that
very He admits, that the passage is found in the Vulgate version, with the exception of “29 of its fairest and best manuscripts." No doubt, the want of the text, will constitute a great degree of fairness and excellency in his esteem.
The Vulgate was made for the western part of the Christian world, where my opponent says, the doctrine of Arius did not so generally prevail. This fact fully accounts for the text being found in that version. The gentleman, however, attempts to remove every argument arising from
this consideration, by saying,—“The Vulgate is the version of the church of Rome, that mother of harlots, that mistress of abominations, who has mystery inscribed upon her forehead."
These accusations, however, amount to nothing in relation to the subject before us. It was made evident in a former part of this controversy, that the church of Rome had no motive to forge this disputed text ; and, therefore, its being in the Vulgate translation, is highly in favor of its authenticity. We are not told, by my opponent when this translation was made, but merely that it was made for the use of the Roman church. But as Latin was the language of that Empire, the church there, stood in need of such a translation from the time of her origin, which reaches back to the very age of the apostles. The church of Rome, was as sound in the faith as any of the churches of Christ, until the beginning of the seventh century. This consideration sets the Vulgate on as high ground, as any translation whatever.
It is conceded by my opponent, that there are two versions, in which the text in debate appears; namely, the Vulgate, and the incorrect editions of the Armenian version. But the author, which I have quoted in my sermons, says, “ The ancient version into the Armenian language, hath always contained it.”
It appears also in the Italic, which is the oldest version of the New-Testament, having been made near the days of the apostles. Out of nine versions of the Holy Scriptures, therefore, the text, it seems, appears in three.
The gentleman in opposition, in another of his conclusions says, “ On supposition of the genuineness of the passage, it would be in the controversial writings of the Trinitarian fathers of every age.” But, as I have largely replied to this argument, needless repetition must be avoided. The last of his conclusions is, that, “ If it were a genuine text, it would be found in the orthodox creeds and catechisms which have regulated the faith of Christendom.
On this, I will just say, if it be not found“ in the creeds and catechisms," which are “ orthodox” and ancient, the omission was not for the want of a belief of its authenticity; for it was not disputed until the fifteenth century; and since the art of printing has been invented it has appeared in all the editions of the New Testament, in
language. This is surely, giving it as high a standing as its insertion “in creeds and catechisms.”
But I have shown from high authority, that “this verse of St. John was inserted in the ancient service-book of the Latin Church in the confession of faith of the Greek Church- and also in their Liturgy or public service-book.” On this head, therefore, I shall say no more at present, but proceed to some other objections which seem to be deemed formidable by my ingenious opponent.
In proof of the spuriousness of the text, he says,-“ All the libraries of Europe, and of the world have been challenged, for years, by the learned and highly respectable Trinitarian Griesbach, to produce one single decent Greek manuscript, ancient or modern, which contains it.”
When such epithets, as“ learned and highly respectable,” are given by the Anti-Trinitarians to a writer, there is reason to fear, that he is nigh to their sentiments. No doubt Griesbach is a scholar, and very industrious in collating ancient manuscripts ; but his challenging “all the libraries of Europe, and of the world,” as my opponent states, is not like the tone of a man, who feels a sacred regard for Trinitarian doctrines.
But the gentleman says fàrther, --“No one of the learned Trinitarians has met this confident challenge.