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1 JOHN 5

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    He that believeth is born of God; loves God and his children; and keeps his commandments, which are not grievous, 1-3. Faith in Christ overcomes the world, 4, 5. The three earthly and heavenly witnesses, 6-9. He that believeth hath the witness in himself, 10. God has given unto us eternal life in his Son, 11, 12. The end for which St. John writes these things, 13-16. The sin unto death, and the sin not unto death, 16, 17. He that is born of God sinneth not, 18. The whole world lieth in the wicked one, 19. Jesus is come to give us understanding, that we may know the true God, 20. All idolatry to be avoided, 21.


    Verse 1. "Whosoever believeth, &c." - Expressions of this kind are to be taken in connection with the subjects necessarily implied in them. He that believeth that Jesus is the Messiah, and confides in him for the remission of sins, is begotten of God; and they who are pardoned and begotten of God love him in return for his love, and love all those who are his children.

    Verse 2. "By this we know that we love the children of God" - Our love of God's followers is a proof that we love God. Our love to God is the cause why we love his children, and our keeping the commandments of God is the proof that we love him.

    Verse 3. "For this is the love of God" - This the love of God necessarily produces. It is vain to pretend love to God while we live in opposition to his will.

    "His commandments" - To love him with all our heart, and our neighbour as ourselves, are not grievous - are not burdensome; for no man is burdened with the duties which his own love imposes. The old proverb explains the meaning of the apostle's words, Love feels no loads. Love to God brings strength from God; through his love and his strength, all his commandments are not only easy and light, but pleasant and delightful.

    On the love of God, as being the foundation of all religious worship, there is a good saying in Sohar Exod., fol. 23, col. xc1: "Rabbi Jesa said, how necessary is it that a man should love the holy blessed God! For he can bring no other worship to God than love; and whoever loves him, and worships him from a principle of love, him the holy blessed God calls his beloved."

    Verse 4. "Whatsoever is born of God" - pan to gegennhmenon? Whatsoever (the neuter for the masculine) is begotten of God: overcometh the world. "I understand by this," says Schoettgen, "the Jewish Church, or Judaism, which is often termed hzh µlw[ olam hazzeh, this world. The reasons which induce me to think so are,

    1. Because this kosmov, world, denied that the Messiah was come; but the Gentiles did not oppose this principle.

    2. Because he proves the truth of the Christian religion against the Jews, reasoning according to the Jewish manner; whence it is evident that he contends, not against the Gentiles, but against the Jews. The sense therefore is, he who possesses the true Christian faith can easily convict the Jewish religion of falsity." That is, He can show the vanity of their expectations, and the falsity of their glosses and prejudices. Suppose we understand by the world the evil principles and practices which are among men, and in the human heart; then the influence of God in the soul may be properly said to overcome this; and by faith in the Son of God a man is able to overcome all that is in the world, viz., the desire of the flesh, the desire of the eye, and the pride of life.

    Verse 5. "He that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?" - That he is the promised Messiah, that he came by a supernatural generation; and, although truly man, came not by man, but by the power of the Holy Ghost in the womb of the Virgin Mary. The person who believes this has the privilege of applying to the Lord for the benefits of the incarnation and passion of Jesus Christ, and receives the blessings which the Jews cannot have, because they believe not the Divine mission of Christ.

    Verse 6. "This is he that came by water and blood" - Jesus was attested to be the Son of God and promised Messiah by water, i.e. his baptism, when the Spirit of God came down from heaven upon him, and the voice from heaven said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Jesus Christ came also by blood. He shed his blood for the sins of the world; and this was in accordance with all that the Jewish prophets had written concerning him. Here the apostle says that the Spirit witnesses this; that he came not by water only - being baptized, and baptizing men in his own name that they might be his followers and disciples; but by blood also - by his sacrificial death, without which the world could not be saved, and he could have had no disciples. As, therefore, the Spirit of God witnessed his being the Son of God at his baptism, and as the same Spirit in the prophets had witnessed that he should die a cruel, yet a sacrificial, death; he is said here to bear witness, because he is the Spirit of truth.

    Perhaps St. John makes here a mental comparison between CHRIST, and Moses and Aaron; to both of whom he opposed our Lord, and shows his superior excellence. Moses came by water - all the Israelites were baptized unto him in the cloud and in the sea, and thus became his flock and his disciples; 1 Corinthians x. 1, 2. Aaron came by blood - he entered into the holy of holies with the blood of the victim, to make atonement for sin. Moses initiated the people into the covenant of God by bringing them under the cloud and through the water. Aaron confirmed that covenant by shedding the blood, sprinkling part of it upon them, and the rest before the Lord in the holy of holies. Moses came only by water, Aaron only by blood; and both came as types. But CHRIST came both by water and blood, not typically, but really; not by the authority of another, but by his own. Jesus initiates his followers into the Christian covenant by the baptism of water, and confirms and seals to them the blessings of the covenant by an application of the blood of the atonement; thus purging their consciences, and purifying their souls.

    Thus, his religion is of infinitely greater efficacy than that in which Moses and Aaron were ministers. See Schoettgen.

    It may be said, also, that the Spirit bears witness of Jesus by his testimony in the souls of genuine Christians, and by the spiritual gifts and miraculous powers with which he endowed the apostles and primitive believers. This is agreeable to what St. John says in his gospel, John xv. 26, x17: When the Comforter is come, the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me; and ye also shall bear witness, because ye have been with me from the beginning. This place the apostle seems to have in his eye; and this would naturally lead him to speak concerning the three witnesses, the SPIRIT, the WATER, and the BLOOD, 1 John v. 8.

    Verse 7. "There are three that bear record" - The FATHER, who bears testimony to his Son; the WORD or logov, Logos, who bears testimony to the Father; and the HOLY GHOST, which bears testimony to the Father and the Son. And these three are one in essence, and agree in the one testimony, that Jesus came to die for, and give life to, the world.

    But it is likely this verse is not genuine. It is wanting in every MS. of this epistle written before the invention of printing, one excepted, the Codex Montfortii, in Trinity College, Dublin: the others which omit this verse amount to one hundred and twelve.

    It is wanting in both the Syriac, all the Arabic, AEthiopic, the Coptic, Sahidic, Armenian, Slavonian, &c., in a word, in all the ancient versions but the Vulgate; and even of this version many of the most ancient and correct MSS. have it not. It is wanting also in all the ancient Greek fathers; and in most even of the Latin.

    "The words, as they exist in all the Greek MSS. with the exception of the Codex Montfortii, are the following:- "6. This is he that came by water and blood, 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 witness, the Spirit, the water, and the blood; and these three agree in one. 9. If we receive the witness of man, the witness of God is greater, &c." The words that are omitted by all the MSS., the above excepted, and all the versions, the Vulgate excepted, are these:- ([In heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holq Spirit, and these three are one, and there are three which bear witness in earth." - )

    To make the whole more clear, that every reader may see what has been added, I shall set down these verses, with the inserted words in brackets.

    "6. 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 Holq 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, &c."

    Any man may see, on examining the words, that if those included in brackets, which are wanting in the MSS. and versions, be omitted, there is no want of connection; and as to the sense, it is complete and perfect without them; and, indeed much more so than with them. I shall conclude this part of the note by observing, with Dr. Dodd, "that there are some internal and accidental marks which may render the passage suspected; for the sense is complete, and indeed more clear and better preserved, without it. Besides, the Spirit is mentioned, both as a witness in heaven and on earth; so that the six witnesses are thereby reduced to five, and the equality of number, or antithesis between the witnesses in heaven and on earth, is quite taken away. Besides, what need of witnesses in heaven? No one there doubts that Jesus is the Messiah; and if it be said that Father, Son, and Spirit are witnesses on earth, then there are five witnesses on earth, and none in heaven; not to say that there is a little difficulty in interpreting how the Word or the Son can be a witness to himself." It may be necessary to inquire how this verse stood in our earliest English Bibles. In COVERDALE'S Bible, printed about 1535, for it bears no date, the seventh verse is put in brackets thus:-

    And it is the Sprete that beareth wytnes; for the Sprete is the truth. (For there are thre which beare recorde in heaven: the Father, the Woorde, and the Holy Ghost, and these thre are one.) And there are thre which beare record in earth: the Sprete, water, and bloude and these thre are one. If we receyve, &c.

    TINDAL was as critical as he was conscientious; and though he admitted the words into the text of the first edition of his New Testament printed in 1526, yet he distinguished them by a different letter, and put them in brackets, as Coverdale has done; and also the words in earth, which stand in ver. 8, without proper authority, and which being excluded make the text the same as in the MSS., &c.

    Two editions of this version are now before me; one printed in English and Latin, quarto, with the following title:-

    The New Testament, both in Englyshe and Laten, of Master Erasmus translation-and imprinted by William Powell-the yere of out Lorde M.CCCCC.XLVII. And the fyrste yere of the kynges (Edw. VI.) moste gratious reygne.

    In this edition the text stands thus:-

    And it is the Spirite that beareth wytnes, because the Spirite is truth (for there are thre whiche beare recorde in heaven, the Father, the Worde, and the Holy Ghost, and these thre are one.) For there are thre which beare recorde, (in earth,) the Spirite, water, and blode, and these thre are one. If we receyve, &c.

    The other printed in London "by William Tylle, 4to; without the Latin of Erasmus in M.CCCCC.XLIX. the thyrde yere of the reigne of our moost dreade Soverayne Lorde Kynge Edwarde the Syxte," has, with a small variety of spelling, the text in the same order, and the same words included in brackets as above.

    The English Bible, with the book of Common Prayer, printed by Richard Cardmarden, at Rouen in Normandy, fol. 1566, exhibits the text faithfully, but in the following singular manner:- And it is the Spyryte that beareth witnesse, because the Spyryte is truthe.

    (for there are three which beare recorde in heaven, the Father, the Woorde, and the Holy Ghost; and these Three are One) And three which beare recorde* (in earth) the Spirite, and water, and bloode; and these three are one.

    The first English Bible which I have seen, where these distinctions were omitted, is that called The Bishops' Bible, printed by Jugge, fol. 1568.

    Since that time, all such distinctions have been generally disregarded.

    Though a conscientious believer in the doctrine of the ever blessed, holy, and undivided Trinity, and in the proper and essential Divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ, which doctrines I have defended by many, and even new, arguments in the course of this work, I cannot help doubting the authenticity of the text in question; and, for farther particulars, refer to the observations at the end of this chapter.

    Verse 8. "The Spirit, and the water, and the blood" - This verse is supposed to mean "the Spirit - in the word confirmed by miracles; the water - in baptism, wherein we are dedicated to the Son, (with the Father and the Holy Spirit,) typifying his spotless purity, and the inward purifying of our nature; and the blood - represented in the Lord's Supper, and applied to the consciences of believers: and all these harmoniously agree in the same testimony, that Jesus Christ is the Divine, the complete, the only saviour of the world." - Mr. Wesley's notes.

    By the written word, which proceeded from the Holy Spirit, that Spirit is continually witnessing upon earth, that God hath given unto us eternal life.

    By baptism, which points out our regeneration, and the renewing of the Holy Ghost, and which is still maintained as an initiatory rite in the Christian Church, we have another witness on earth of the truth, certainty, importance, and efficacy of the Christian religion. The same may be said of the blood, represented by the holy eucharist, which continues to show forth the death and atoning sacrifice of the Son of God till he comes. See the note on ver. 6.

    Verse 9. "If we receive the witness of men" - Which all are obliged to do, and which is deemed a sufficient testimony to truth in numberless cases; the witness of God is greater - he can neither be deceived nor deceive, but man may deceive and be deceived.

    Verse 10. "He that believeth on the Son of God" - This is God's witness to a truth, the most important and interesting to mankind. God has witnessed that whosoever believeth on his Son shall be saved, and have everlasting life; and shall have the witness of it in himself, the Spirit bearing witness with his spirit that he is a child of God. To know, to feel his sin forgiven, to have the testimony of this in the heart from the Holy Spirit himself, is the privilege of every true believer in Christ.

    Verse 11. "This is the record" - The great truth to which the Spirit, the water, and the blood bear testimony. God hath given us eternal life - a right to endless glory, and a meetness for it. And this life is in his Son; it comes by and through him; he is its author and its purchaser; it is only in and through HIM. No other scheme of salvation can be effectual; God has provided none other, and in such a case a man's invention must be vain.

    Verse 12. "He that hath the Son hath life" - As the eternal life is given IN the Son of God, it follows that it cannot be enjoyed without him. No man can have it without having Christ; therefore he that hath the Son hath life, and he that hath not the Son hath not life. It is in vain to expect eternal glory, if we have not Christ in our heart. The indwelling Christ gives both a title to it, and a meetness for it. This is God's record. Let no man deceive himself here. An indwelling Christ and GLORY; no indwelling Christ, NO glory. God's record must stand.

    Verse 13. "That ye may know that ye have eternal life" - I write to show your privileges-to lead you into this holy of holies- to show what believing on the Son of God is, by the glorious effects it produces: it is not a blind reliance for, but an actual enjoyment of, salvation; Christ living, working, and reigning in the heart.

    "And that ye may believe" - That is, continue to believe: for Christ dwells in the heart only by FAITH, and faith lives only by LOVE, and love continues only by OBEDIENCE; he who BELIEVES loves, and he who LOVES obeys.

    He who obeys loves; he who loves believes; he who believes has the witness in himself: he who has this witness has Christ in his heart, the hope of glory; and he who believes, loves, and obeys, has Christ in his heart, and is a man of prayer.

    Verse 14. "This is the confidence" - parrhsia, The liberty of access and speech, that if we ask any thing according to his will, that is, which he has promised in his word. His word is a revelation of his will, in the things which concern the salvation of man. All that God has promised we are justified in expecting; and what he has promised, and we expect, we should pray for. Prayer is the language of the children of God. He who is begotten of God speaks this language. He calls God Abba, Father, in the true spirit of supplication. Prayer is the language of dependence on God; where the soul is dumb, there is neither life, love, nor faith. Faith and prayer are not boldly to advance claims upon God; we must take heed that what we ask and believe for is agreeable to the revealed will of God. What we find promised, that we may plead.

    Verse 15. "And if we know that he hear us" - Seeing we are satisfied that he hears the prayer of faith, requesting the things which himself has promised; we know, consequently, that we have the petitions - the answer to the petitions, that we desired of him; for he cannot deny himself; and we may consider them as sure as if we had them; and we shall have them as soon as we plead for and need them. We are not to ask to-day for mercy that we now need, and not receive it till to-morrow, or some future time. God gives it to him who prays, when it is needful.

    Verse 16. "A sin which is not unto death" - This is an extremely difficult passage, and has been variously interpreted. What is the sin not unto death, for which we should ask, and life shall be given to him that commits it? And what is the sin unto death, for which we should not pray? I shall note three of the chief opinions on this subject:-

    1.It is supposed that there is here an allusion to a distinction in the Jewish law, where there was htyml hafj chattaah lemithah, "a sin unto death;" and htyml al hafj chattaah lo lemithah, "a sin not unto death;" that is, 1.A sin, or transgression, to which the law had assigned the punishment of death; such as idolatry, incest, blasphemy, breach of the Sabbath, and the like. And 2. A sin not unto death, i.e. transgressions of ignorance, inadvertence, &c., and such is, in their own nature, appear to be comparatively light and trivial. That such distinctions did exist in the Jewish synagogue both Schoettgen and Carpzovius have proved.

    2. By the sin not unto death, for which intercession might be made, and unto death, for which prayer might not be made, we are to understand transgressions of the civil law of a particular place, some of which must be punished with death, according to the statutes, the crime admitting of no pardon: others might be punished with death, but the magistrate had the power of commuting the punishments, i.e. of changing death into banishment, &c., for reasons that might appear to him satisfactory, or at the intercession of powerful friends. To intercede in the former case would be useless, because the law would not relax, therefore they need not pray for it; but intercession in the latter case might be prevalent, therefore they might pray; and if they did not, the person might suffer the punishment of death. This opinion, which has been advanced by Rosenmuller, intimates that men should feel for each other's distresses, and use their influence in behalf of the wretched, nor ever abandon the unfortunate but where the case is utterly hopeless.

    3. The sin unto death means a case of transgression, particularly of grievous backsliding from the life and power of godliness, which God determines to punish with temporal death, while at the same time he extends mercy to the penitent soul. The disobedient prophet, 1 Kings xiii. 1-32, is, on this interpretation, a case in point: many others occur in the history of the Church, and of every religious community. The sin not unto death is any sin which God does not choose thus to punish. This view of the subject is that taken by the late Rev. J. Wesley, in a sermon entitled, A Call to Backsliders. - WORKS, vol ii. page 239.

    I do not think the passage has any thing to do with what is termed the sin against the Holy Ghost; much less with the popish doctrine of purgatory; nor with sins committed before and after baptism, the former pardonable, the latter unpardonable, according to some of the fathers. Either of the last opinions (viz., 2 and 3) make a good sense; and the first (1) is not unlikely: the apostle may allude to some maxim or custom in the Jewish Church which is not now distinctly known. However, this we know, that any penitent may find mercy through Christ Jesus; for through him every kind of sin may be forgiven to man, except the sin against the Holy Ghost; which I have proved no man can now commit. See the note on Matt. xii. 31, 39.

    Verse 17. "All unrighteousness is sin" - pasa adikia, Every act contrary to justice is sin-is a transgression of the law which condemns all injustice.

    Verse 18. "Whosoever is born of God sinneth not" - This is spoken of adult Christians; they are cleansed from all unrighteousness, consequently from all sin, chap. i. 7-9.

    "Keepeth himself" - That is, in the love of God, Jude 21, by building up himself on his most holy faith, and praying in the Holy Ghost; and that wicked one - the devil, toucheth him not - finds nothing of his own nature in him on which he can work, Christ dwelling in his heart by faith.

    Verse 19. "We know that we are of God" - Have the fullest proof of the truth of Christianity, and of our own reconciliation to God through the death of his Son.

    "The whole world lieth in wickedness." - en tw ponhrw keitai? Lieth in the wicked one - is embraced in the arms of the devil, where it lies fast asleep and carnally secure, deriving its heat and power from its infernal fosterer. What a truly awful state! And do not the actions, tempers, propensities, opinions and maxims of all worldly men prove and illustrate this? "In this short expression," says Mr. Wesley, "the horrible state of the world is painted in the most lively colours; a comment on which we have in the actions, conversations, contracts, quarrels and friendships of worldly men." Yes, their ACTIONS are opposed to the law of God; their CONVERSATIONS shallow, simulous, and false; their CONTRActs forced, interested, and deceitful; their QUARRELS puerile, ridiculous, and ferocious; and their FRIENDSHIPS hollow, insincere, capricious, and fickle:-all, all the effect of their lying in the arms of the wicked one; for thus they become instinct with his own spirit: and because they are of their father the devil, therefore his lusts they will do.

    Verse 20. "We know that the Son of God is come" - In the flesh, and has made his soul an offering for sin; and hath given us an understanding - a more eminent degree of light than we ever enjoyed before; for as he lay in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him unto us; and he hath besides given us a spiritual understanding, that we may know him who is true, even the TRUE GOD, and get eternal life from him through his Son, IN whom we are by faith, as the branches in the vine, deriving all our knowledge, light, life, love, and fruitfulness from him. And it is through this revelation of Jesus that we know the ever blessed and glorious Trinity; and the Trinity, Father, Word, and Holy Ghost, in the eternal, undivided unity of the ineffable Godhead.

    Verse 21. "Little children" - teknia? Beloved children; he concludes with the same affectionate feeling with which he commenced.

    "Keep yourselves from idols." - Avoid the idolatry of the heathens; not only have no false gods, but have the true God. Have no idols in your houses, none in your churches, none in your hearts. Have no object of idolatrous worship; no pictures, relics, consecrated tapers, wafers, crosses, &c., by attending to which your minds may be divided, and prevented from worshipping the infinite Spirit in spirit and in truth.

    The apostle, says Dr. Macknight cautioned his disciples against going with the heathens into the temple of their idol gods, to eat of their feasts upon the sacrifices they had offered to these gods; and against being present at any act of worship which they paid them; because, by being present, they participated of that worship, as is plain from what St. Paul has written on the subject, 1 Cor. viii. 10, where see the notes.

    That is a man's idol or god from which he seeks his happiness; no matter whether it be Jupiter, Juno, Apollo, Minerva, Venus, or Diana; or pleasure, wealth, fame, a fine house, superb furniture, splendid equipage, medals, curiosities, books, titles, human friendships, or any earthly or heavenly thing, God, the supreme good, only excepted. That is a man's idol which prevents him from seeking and finding his ALL in God.

    Wiclif ends his epistle thus: My little sones, kepe ye you fro mawmitis, i.e. puppets, dolls, and such like; for thus Wiclif esteemed all images employed in religious worship. They are the dolls of a spurious Christianity, and the drivellings of religion in nonage and dotage.

    "Protestants, keep yourselves from such mawmets! Amen." - So be it! So let it be! And so it shall be, God being our helper, for ever and ever! Subscriptions in the VERSIONS:-

    The end of the Epistle of the Apostle John. - SYRIAC.

    The First Epistle of John the apostle is ended. - SYR. Philoxenian.

    Nothing in either the COPTIC or VULGATE.

    Continual and eternal praise be to God! - ARABIC.

    The end. - AETHIOPIC; In this version the epistle is thus introduced:-

    In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, one God, the Epistle of John, the son of Zebedee, the evangelist and apostle of our Lord Jesus Christ; may his intercession be with us for ever and ever! Amen.

    In the MANUSCRIPTS:-

    The First of John. - AB.

    The First Epistle of John the evangelist.

    The First catholic Epistle of St. John the divine, written from Ephesus.

    The Epistle to the Parthians. - See several Latin MSS.

    The word amen is wanting in all the best MSS. and in most of the versions.

    For other matters relative to the epistle itself see the preface: and for its heavenly doctrine and unction read the text, in the original if you can; if not, in our own excellent translation.

    Observations On The Text Of The Three Divine Witnesses.

    Accompanied with a plate, containing two very correct fac- similes of 1 John, ver. 7-9, as they stand in the first edition of the New Testament, printed at Complutum, 1514, and in the Codex Montfortii, a manuscript marked G. 97, in the library of Trinity College, Dublin.

    panta dokimazete, to kalon katecete. 1 Thess. v. 21.

    The seventh verse of the fifth chapter of 1 John, has given rise to more theological disputes than any other portion of the sacred writings.

    Advocates and antagonists have arisen in every quarter of the civilized world: but the dispute has been principally confined to the Unitarians of all classes, and those called Orthodox; the former asserting that it is an interpolation, and the latter contending that it is a part of the original text of St. John. It is asserted that (one excepted, which shall be noticed by and by) all the Greek MSS. written before the invention of printing omit the passage in dispute. How the seventh and eighth verses stand in these may be seen in the following view, where the words included between brackets are those which are wanting in the MSS.

    "oti treiv eisin oi marturountev ([entw ouranw, o pathr, o logov, kai to agion pneuma? kai outoi oi treiv en eisi. kai treiv eisin oi marturountev en gh" - ) to pneuma, kai to udwr, kai to aima? kai oi treiv eiv to en eisin.

    Of all the MSS. yet discovered which contain this epistle, amounting to one hundred and twelve, three only; two of which are of no authority, have the text, viz.:-

    1. The Codex Guelpherbytanus G, which is demonstrably a MS. of the seventeenth century; (for it contains the Latin translation of Beza, written by the same hand,) and therefore of no use or importance in sacred criticism.

    2. The Codex Ravianus or Berolinensis, which is a forgery, and only a copy of the Greek text in the Complutensian Polyglot, printed in 1514, and so close an imitation of it, that it copies even its typographical errors; hence, and from the similarity of the letters, it appears to have been forged that it might pass for the original MS. from which the Complutensian text was taken. In this MS. some various readings are inserted from the margin of Stevens' edition of 1550.

    3. The Codex Montfortii, or Codex Dubliniensis, cited by Erasmus, under the title of Codex Britannicus, in Trinity College, Dublin. This may be said to be the only genuine MS. which contains this text; as no advocate of the sacred doctrine contained in the disputed passage would wish to lay any stress whatever on such evidence as the two preceding ones afford.

    Michaelis roundly asserts, vol. iv., page 417, of his Introductory Lectures, that this MS. was written after the year 1500. This, I scruple not to affirm, is a perfectly unguarded assertion, and what no man can prove. ln 1790 I examined this MS. myself, and though I thought it to be comparatively modern, yet I had no doubt that it existed before the invention of printing, and was never written with an intention to deceive. I am rather inclined to think it the work of an unknown bold critic, who formed a text from one or more MSS. in conjunction with the Vulgate, and was by no means sparing of his own conjectural emendations; for it contains many various readings which exist in no other MS. yet discovered. But how far the writer has in any place faithfully copied the text of any ancient MS. is more than can be determined. To give the reader a fair view of this subject, I here subjoin what I hope I may call a perfect fac- simile of the seventh and eighth verses, as they exist in this MS., copied by the accurate hand of the Rev. Dr. Barrett, the present learned librarian of Trinity College.

    "FAC-SIMILE of ver. 7-9, From the Codex Montfortii in Trinity College, Dublin. [Omitted" - When I examined the original myself, though I took down a transcript, yet I neglected to take a fac-simile. That no mistake might be made in a matter of so much importance, I got a fac-simile, and after it was engraved, had it collated with the MS. by Dr. Barrett himself, and the plate finished according to his last corrections; so that I hope it may be said every jot and every tittle belonging to the text are here fairly and faithfully represented; nothing being added, and nothing omitted. I have examined this MS. since, and have not been able to detect any inaccuracy in my fac-simile. To it I have annexed a perfect facsimile of the same words, as they stand in the Complutensian Polyglot, which the curious reader will be glad to see associated with the other, as they are properly the only Greek authorities on which the authenticity of the text of the Three Witnesses depends.

    "FAC-SIMILE of ver. 7-9, From the Editio Princeps of the Greek Testament, printed at Complutum, in 1514. [Omitted" - It may be necessary to observe, First, That the five first lines of the fac-simile of the text in the Complutensian edition are at the top of the opposite page to that on which the other four lines are found. The alphabetical letters, mingled with the Greek text, are those which refer to the corresponding words in the Latin text, printed in a parallel column in the Complutensian Polyglot, and marked with the same letters to ascertain more easily the corresponding Greek and Latin words, for the benefit, I suppose, of learners. The column containing the Latin text, which is that of the Vulgate, is not introduced here, being quite unnecessary.

    Second. The sixth and seventh lines of the fac-simile of the Codex Montfortii belong to the second page of that leaf on which the other five lines are written.

    This MS. is-a thick duodecimo, written on paper, without folios. There is an inscription in it in these words, Sum Thomae Clementis, olim fratris Froyhe. On this inscription Dr. Barrett remarks: "It appears Froyhe was a Franciscan; and I find in some blank leaves in the book these words written (by the same hand, in my opinion, that wrote the MS.) insouv maria fragkiskov; by the latter, I understand the founder of that order." If St. Francis d'Assise be here meant, who was the founder of the order of Franciscans, and the inscription be written by the same who wrote the MS., then the MS. could not have been written before the thirteenth century, as St. Francis founded his order in 1206, and died in 1226, and consequently quotes that the MS. could not have been written in the eleventh century, as Mr. Martin of Utrecht, and several others, have imagined.

    Much stress has been laid on the dots over the i and u which frequently appear in this MS. Montfaucon has observed, Palaeographia Graeca, page 33, that such dots were in use a thousand years ago: hence the advocates of the antiquity of the Codex Montfortii have inferred that this MS. must have been written at least in the tenth or eleventh century. But as these are found in modern MSS. (see Palaeog. pages 324, 333,) they are therefore no proof of antiquity. In Michaelis' Introduction, vol. ii., page 286, where he is describing the MSS. of the Greek Testament, he gives the text in question as it is supposed to exist in the Codex Montfortii, in which two dots appear over every iota and upsilon in the whole five lines there introduced; but on comparing this of Michaelis with the fac-simile here produced, the reader will at once perceive that the arrangement is false, and the dotting egregiously inaccurate. Deceived by this false representation, Dr. Marsh, (bishop of Peterborough,) in his notes on the passage, page 754, observes, "that no MS. written in small characters before the twelfth century has these dots. That a MS. written in the twelfth century has these dots sometimes on the iota, but never on the upsilon; but MSS.

    written in the fourteenth century have these dots on both letters, but not in all cases. Now as these letters are dotted always in the Codex Montfortianus, but not always in the MSS. of the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, and still less often in those of the twelfth century, we may infer that the Codex Montfortianus is at least as modern as the fifteenth century." On this quotation I beg leave to make a few remarks.

    Dr. Marsh says, "that no MS. written in small letters previous to the twelfth century has these dots." This excellent critic has only to consult the Palaeographia Graeca, page 293, in which he will find No. 1, a fac-simile of one of the Colbert MSS. (No. 4954,) written A. D. 1022, where the iota appears thrice dotted; and in No. 2, on the same page, another fac-simile of a MS. written A. D. 1045, the iota is dotted in the word ihsou. Ibid., page 283, (No. 7,) a MS. written in 986, has the iota twice dotted in the word iemenei. Ibid., page 275, (No. 2,) a MS. of the ninth or beginning of the tenth century, has the iota dotted in acaiav? and in No. 3, a specimen of the Codex Regius, (No. 2271,) written A. D. 914, the iota is dotted in qeikhn. Ibid., page 271, (No. 4,) written about 890, the iota is dotted in ierwn? and in Spec. v. in the word poiia. See also Ibid., page 320, No. 3, another of the Colbert MSS. (4111,) written A. D. 1236, where the iota is dotted seven times. All these specimens are taken from MSS. written in small characters, and, as the dates show, (the last excepted,) long before the twelfth century. As to these dots being more frequent in manuscripts of the fifteenth than those of the twelfth, thirteenth, and fourteenth centuries, I cannot say much; it is certain they became more frequent towards the fourteenth century than they were in the twelfth, and yet this was not a general case. In two well-written manuscripts now before me, one of which I suppose to be of the fourteenth century, and the other of the fifteenth, these dots often occur, but they are by no means regular. I have noticed several pages in the oldest manuscript where they occur but once; and in other pages they may be met with ten or twelve times. On the contrary, in the more recent manuscript, whole pages occur without one of them; and where they do occur, they are much less frequent than in the former. So that it rather appears from this evidence; that they began to disappear in the fifteenth century. Dr. Marsh, misled by the specimen in Michaelis, vol. ii. page 286, says: "The letters in question are always dotted in the Codex Montfortianus." By referring to the fac-simile, the reader will be able at once to correct this mistake. The iota in the fac-simile occurs thirty times, and is dotted only in five instances; and the upsilon occurs nineteen times, and is dotted only in seven.

    But arguments for or against the age of any MS., on account of such dots, are futile in the extreme; as the most ancient MSS. have them not only on the iota and upsilon, but upon several other letters, as may be seen in the Codex Alexandrinus, the Codex Rescriptus, published by Dr. Barrett, and the Codex Bezae; in the latter of which they seem to occur more frequently than they do even in the Codex Montfortii.

    On the evidence of these dots, Mr. Martin of Utrecht supposed the Dublin manuscript to be as old as the eleventh century and on the same evidence Dr. Marsh argues, "that it is at least as modern as the fifteenth." Both these judgments are too hastily formed; medio tutissimus ibis is the best counsel in such a case; the manuscript is more likely to have been a production of the thirteenth than of either the eleventh or fifteenth. The former date is as much too high as the latter is too low; the zeal of the critics for and against this controverted text having carried them, in my opinion; much too far on either side.

    In comparing the writing of the Codex Montfortii, with the different specimens given by Montfaucon in the Palaeographia Graeca, it appears to approach nearest to that on page 320, No. 4, which was taken from one of the Colbert manuscripts, (No. 845,) written in the year of our Lord 1272, which I am led to think may be nearly about the date of the Codex Montfortii; but on a subject of so much difficulty, where critics of the first rank have been puzzled, I should be sorry to hazard any more than an opinion, which the reader is at liberty to consider either correct or incorrect, as may seem best to his own judgment.

    Though a conscientious advocate for the sacred doctrine contained in the disputed text, and which I think expressly enough revealed in several other parts of the sacred writings, I must own the passage in question stands on a most dubious foundation. All the Greek manuscripts (the Codex Montfortii alone excepted) omit the passage; so do all the ancient versions; the Vulgate excepted; but in many of the ancient MSS. even of this version it is wanting. There is one in the British Museum, of the tenth or eleventh century, where it is added by a more recent hand in the margin; for it is wanting in the text. It is also variously written in those manuscripts which retain it. This will appear more plainly by comparing the following extracts taken from four manuscripts of the Vulgate in my own possession:-

    1. - Quoniam tres sunt qui testimonium dant in coelo, Pater, Verbum, et Spiritus Sanctus, et hii tres unum sunt. Et tres sunt qui testimonium dant in terra, spiritus, sanguis, et aqua. This is the same with the text in the Complutensian Polyglot, only aqua is placed before sanguis.

    2. - Quoniam tres sunt qui testimonium dant in terra, spiritus, aqua, et sanguis, et hii tres unum sunt. Et tres sunt qui testimonium dant in coelo, Pater, Verbum, et Spiritus Sanctus, et hii tres unum sunt.

    3. - Quoniam tres sunt qui testimonium dant in coelo, Pater, et Filius, et Spiritus Sanctus, et hii tres unum sunt. Et tres sunt qui testimonium dant in terra, spiritus, aqua, et sanguis.

    4. - Quoniam tres sunt qui testimonium dant in terra, spiritus, aqua, et sanguis, et hii tres unum sunt. Et tres sunt qui testimonium dant in coelo, Pater, et Filius, et Spiritus Sanctus, et hii tres unum sunt.

    5. - Quoniam tres sunt qui testimonium dant in terra, spiritus, aqua, et sanguis, et tres sunt qui testitnonium perhibent in coelo, Pater, Verbum, et Spiritus Sanctus, et hi tres unum sunt.

    This last I took from an ancient manuscript in Marsh's library, St. Patrick's, Dublin.

    In what has been denominated the Editio Princeps of the Latin Bible, and supposed to have been printed between 1455 and 1468, the text stands thus: "Quoniam tres sunt qui testimonium dant in coelo, Pater, Verbum, et Spiritus Sanctus, et hii tres unum sunt. Et tres sunt qui testimonium dant in terra. Spiritus, aqua, et sanguis, et tres unum sunt." In the Bible printed by Fradin and Pinard, Paris, 1497, fol., the text is the same with No. 2, only instead of testimonium dant, it reads dant testimonium.

    The reader will observe that in Nos. 2, 4, and 5, the eighth verse is put before the seventh, and that 3 and 4 have filius instead of verbum. But both these readings are united in an ancient English manuscript of my own, which contains the Bible from the beginning of Proverbs to the end of the New Testament, written on thick strong vellum, and evidently prior to most of those copies attributed to Wiclif.

    For three ben that geven witnessing in heven the Fadir, the Word or Sone and the Hooly Goost, and these three ben oon. And three ben that geven witnessing in erthe, the Spirit, Water, and Blood, and these three ben oon.

    As many suppose the Complutensian editors must have had a manuscript or manuscripts which contained this disputed passage, I judge it necessary to add the note which they subjoin at the bottom of the page, by which (though nothing is clearly expressed) it appears they either had such a manuscript, or wished to have it thought they had such. However, the note is curious, and shows us how this disputed passage was read in the most approved manuscripts of the Vulgate extant in the thirteenth century, when St. Thomas Aquinas wrote, from whom this note is taken. The following is the whole note literatim:- "Sanctus Thomas in oppositione secunde Decretalis de suma Trinitate et fide Catholica, tractans istum passum contra Abbatem Joachim, ut tres sunt qui testimonium dant in celo, Pater, Verbum, et Spiritus Sanctus; dicet ad literam verba sequentia. Et ad insinuandam unitatem trium personarum subditur. Et hii tres unum sunt. Quodquidem dicitur propter essentie Unitatem. Sed hoc Joachim perverse trahere volens ad unitatem charitatis et consensus, inducebat consequentem auctoritatem. Nam subditur ibidem: et tres sunt qui testimonium dant in terra, S. Spiritus: Aqua; et sanguis. Et in quibusdam libris additur: et hii tres unum sunt. Sed hoc in veris exemplaribus non habetur: sed dicitur esse appossitum ab hereticis arrianis ad pervertendum intellectem sanum auctoritatis premisse de unitate essentie trium personarum. Hec beatus Thomas ubi supra." If the Complutensian editors translated the passage into Greek from the Vulgate, it is strange they made no mention of it in this place, where they had so fair an opportunity while speaking so very pointedly on the doctrine in question and forming a note for the occasion, which is indeed the only theological note in the whole volume. It is again worthy of note that, when these editors found an important various reading in any of their Greek manuscripts, they noted it in the margin: an example occurs 1 Cor. xiii. 3, and another, ibid. xvi.; why was it then that they took no notice of so important an omission as the text of the three witnesses, if they really had no manuscript in which it was contained? Did they intend to deceive the reader, and could they possibly imagine that the knavery could never be detected? If they designed to deceive, they took the most effectual way to conceal the fraud, as it is supposed they destroyed the manuscripts from which they printed their text; for the story of their being sold in 1749 to a rocket-maker (see Michaelis, vol. ii., page 440) is every way so exceptionable and unlike the truth, that I really wonder there should be found any person who would seriously give it credit. The substance of this story, as given by Michaelis, is as follows: "Professor Moldenhawer, who was in Spain in 1784, went to Alcala on purpose to discover these MSS., but was informed that a very illiterate librarian, about thirty-five years before, who wanted room for some new books, sold the ancient vellum MSS. as useless parchments, to one Toryo who dealt in fireworks, as materials for making rockets." It is farther added that "Martinez, a man of learning, heard of it soon after they were sold, and hastened to save these treasures from destruction; but it was too late, for they were already destroyed, except a few scattered leaves which are now in the library." On the whole of this account, it is natural to ask the following questions: Is it likely that the management of so important a trust should be in the hands of a person so ignorant that he could not know a Hebrew or Greek MS. from a piece of useless parchment? Could such a person be intrusted to make a purchase of new books for the library, for which he wanted room? or if they were purchased by the trustees of the library, is it likely they would leave the classification and arrangement of these to such a Goth as this librarian is said to be? Would such a librarian, or indeed any other, be permitted to dispose of any part of the library which he might deem useless? If Mr. Martinez heard of it soon after they were sold, and hastened to rescue them, is it likely that almost the whole should have been converted into rockets before he got to the place, when we are informed they were so many as to cost originally 4, 000 aurei; and that even the price which the librarian sold them for was so considerable, that it had to be paid at two different installments? Was it possible that in so short a time the rocket-maker could have already consumed the whole? The whole account is so improbable that I cannot help saying, Credat Judaeus Apella; non ego.

    It is more likely the manuscripts were destroyed at first, or that they are still kept secret, to prevent the forgery (if it be one) of the text of the three witnesses from being detected; or the librarian already mentioned may have converted them to his own use. If they were not destroyed by the Complutensian editors, I should not be surprised if the same manuscripts should come to light in some other part of the world, if not in the Alcala library itself.

    It is worthy of remark that Luther never admitted the text of the three witnesses into any of the editions of his translation; it is true it was afterwards added, but never during his lifetime. On this Professor Michaelis makes the following observation: "It is uncandid in the extreme for one Protestant to condemn another for rejecting ver. 7, since it was rejected by the author of our Reformation." Any conscientious Trinitarian may innocently hesitate to receive the feebly supporting evidence of this disputed text, in confirmation of a doctrine which he finds it his duty and interest to receive on the unequivocal testimony of various other passages in the book of Gad.

    Professor Griesbach, who does not appear to be an enemy to the doctrine, and who has carefully and critically examined all the evidences and arguments, pro and con, has given up the text as utterly defenceless, and thinks that to plead for its authenticity is dangerous. "For if," says he, "a few dubious, suspicious, and modern evidences, with such weak arguments as are usually adduced, are sufficient to demonstrate the authenticity of a reading, then there remains no longer any criterion by which the spurious may be distinguished from the genuine; and consequently the whole text of the New Testament is unascertained and dubious." Much stress has been laid on Bengel's defense of this text: Michaelis has considered the strength of his arguments in a candid and satisfactory manner.

    "The ancient writers which Bengel has produced in favour of 1 John v. 7, are all Latin writers, for he acknowledges that no Greek father has ever quoted it. Now, if no objection could be made to Bengel's witnesses, and the most ancient Latin fathers had quoted in express terms the whole of the controverted passage, their quotations would prove nothing more than that the passage stood in their manuscripts of the Latin version, and therefore that the Latin version contained it in a very early age. But it will appear upon examination that their evidence is very unsatisfactory. The evidence of Tertullian, the oldest Latin writer who has been quoted in favour of ver. 7, is contained in the following passage of his treatise against Praxeas, book i. , chap. xxv Ita connexus Patris in Filio et Filii in Paracleto, tres efficit cohaerentes, alterum ex altero; qui tres unum sunt, non unus; quomodo dictum est: Ego et Pater unum sumus. Hence it is inferred, that because tres unum sunt stand at present in the Latin version, ver. 7, these words stood there likewise in the time of Tertullian, and that Tertullian borrowed them from the Latin version. But this inference is wholly without foundation; for Tertullian does not produce these words as a quotation, and the bare circumstance of his using the expression tres unum sunt will not prove that he found that expression in the Bible. On the contrary, it is evident, from what immediately follows, that chap. v. 7 was not contained in the Latin version when Tertullian wrote. For, in proof of this assertion, qui tres unum sunt, he immediately adds, quomodo dictum est: Ego et Pater unum sumus, which is a quotation from St. John's gospel, John x. 30. Now as this quotation relates only to the Father and the Son, and not to the Holy Ghost, surely Tertullian would not have proved the unity of the Trinity from this passage, if ver. 7, which is much more to the purpose, had then been contained in any Latin manuscript with which he was acquainted. At any rate, the mere use of the words tres unum sunt affords no argument in favour of the controverted passage; and if any inference is to be deduced from their agreement with our present copies of the Latin version in 1 John v. 7; it is this: that the person who afterwards fabricated this passage retained an expression which had been sanctioned by the authority of Tertullian. So much for the evidence of this Latin father, the only writer of the second century to whom appeal has been made.

    "Of the Latin fathers who lived in the third century, Cyprian alone has been produced as evidence in favour of ver. 7. From the writings of Cyprian two passages have been quoted as proofs that ver. 7 was contained in his manuscript of the Latin version. The one is from his epistle to Jubaianus; where Cyprian writes thus: Si baptizari quis apud haereticum potuit, utique et remissam consecutus est, et sanctificatus est, et templum Dei factus est; quaero cujus Dei? Si Creatoris; non potuit; qui in eum non credidit: si Christi, non hujus potest fieri templum, qui negat, Deum Christum: si Spiritus Sancti, cum tres unum sint, quomodo Spiritus Sanctus placatus esse ei potest, qui aut Patris aut Filit inimicus est? Here it must be observed, that the words cum tres unum sint, though inserted in the later editions of Cyprian's works, are not contained in that edition which was published by Erasmus; and even if they were genuine, they will prove nothing more than the same words just quoted from Tertullian. The other passage, which is much more to the purpose; is in Cyprian's treatise, Deuteronomy Ecclesiae Unitate, where Cyprian writes thus: Dicit Dominus: Ego et Pater unum sumus; et iterum de Patre et Filio, et Spiritu Sancto, scriptum est: Et tres unum sunt. Now, admitting that the words et tres unum sunt were quoted by Cyprian from ver. 7, I seriously ask every impartial judge whether a passage found in no ancient Greek manuscript, quoted by no Greek father, and contained in no other ancient version than the Latin, (and not in all copies of this,) is therefore to be pronounced genuine; merely because one Latin father of the three first centuries, who was bishop of Carthage, where the Latin version only was used, and where Greek was unknown, has quoted it? Under these circumstances, should we conclude that the passage stood originally in the Greek autograph of St. John? Certainly not; for the only inference which could be deduced from Cyprian's quotation would be this, that the passage had been introduced into the Latin version so early as the third century.

    "The preceding answer is sufficient to invalidate Cyprian's authority in establishing the authenticity of ver. 7, on the supposition that Cyprian really quoted it; but that he did so is more than any man can prove. The words tres unum sunt are contained not only in the seventh, but also in the eighth verse, which is a part of the ancient and genuine test of St. John; and therefore it is at least possible that Cyprian took them not from the seventh, but from the eighth verse. It is true that he says these words are written of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost; whereas tres unum sunt, in the eighth verse, relates only to the spirit, the water, and the blood. But it must be observed that the Latin fathers interpreted spiritus, aquas et sanguis, not literally, but mystically; and some of them really understood by these words, Pater, Filius, et Spiritus Sanctus, taking aqua in the sense of Pater, sanguis in the sense of Filius, and spiritus in the sense of Spiritus Sanctus.

    "This is expressly asserted by Eucherius in his Questiones N. T. difficiliores; for after having quoted ver. 8, thus: Tria sunt, quae testimonium perhibent, aqua, sanguis, et spiritus, he adds, soon after, plures tamen hic ipsam interpretatione mystica intelligere Trinitatem; aqua Patrem, sanguine Christum, spiritu Spiritum Sanctum manifestante. But if Cyprian really thought that aqua, sanguis, et spiritus, ver. 8, denoted Pater, Filius, et Spiritus Sanctus, he might say of tres unum sunt, ver. 8, that it was written, de Patre, et Filio, et Spiritu Sancto. And that he actually did so, that he quoted not ver. 7, but understood 1 John v. 8, mystically, appears from the following passage of Facundus, who lived in the neighbourhood of Carthage, and consequently used the same Latin version as Cyprian. Johannes 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 unum sunt: in spiritu significans Patrem, &c. Quod Johannis Apostoli teslimonium beatus Cyprianus, in epistola, sive libro, quem de Trinitate scripsit, de Patre, Filio, et Spiritu Sancto, dictum intelligit." Facundus then quotes the words of Cyprian, which are the subject of our present inquiry. From the preceding passage it is manifest that ver. 7 was unknown to Facundus; for he proves the doctrine of the Trinity by a mystical interpretation of ver. 8, and appeals to the authority of Cyprian, who, he says, gave the same interpretation. But if chap. v. 7 was unknown to Facundus, who lived in the same country as Cyprian, used the same Latin version, and wrote almost three centuries later, it is incredible that ver. 7 was already introduced in the Latin manuscripts which Cyprian used. Consequently we must conclude that the assertion of Facundus is true, and that the words of Cyprian contain, not a quotation from 1 John v. 7, but a mystical application of ver. 8. This is farther confirmed by Augustine, who was likewise an African bishop, who lived a hundred years later than Cyprian, and still knew nothing of ver. 7, for he has never quoted this passage, not even where he speaks of the Trinity, but he has mystically applied the eighth verse." - MICHAELIS, vol. vi. p. 420.

    The Greek writers who have not quoted this verse, though several of them wrote professedly on the Deity of Christ, and on the Trinity, are the following:-

    Irenaeus. Cyril of Alexandria. Clemens Alexandrinus. The Exposition of Faith Dionysius Alexandrinus (or in Justin Martyr's the writer against Paul works. of Samosatsa under his Caesarius. name.) Proclus. Athanasius.

    "The Council of Nice, as The Synopsis of Scripture. it is represented by Ge" - The Synod of Sardica. lasius Cyzicenus. Epiphanius. Hippolytus. Basil. Andreas. Alexander of Alexandria. Six catenae, quoted by Gregory Nyssen. Simon. Gregory Nazianzen, with The marginal scholia of his two commentators, three MSS. Elias Cretensis and Hesychius. Nicetas. John Damascenus. Didysus de Spiritu Sancto. Germanus of Constanti-Chrysostom. nople. An author under his name, OEcumenius. de sancta et consubstan] Euthymius Zigabenus tiali Trinitate.


    Novatian. Facundus. Hilary. Junilius. Lucifer Calaritanus. Cerealis. Jerome. Rusticus. Augustine. Bede. Ambrose. Gregogy. Faustinus. Philastrius. Leo Magnus. Paschasius. The author de Promissis. Arnobius, junior Eucherius. Pope Eusebius.

    The writers that have quoted it are comparatively recent or spurious, for those of any note which have been supposed, from certain expressions in their works, to have had reference to this verse, have been proved by learned men to have had no such text in view. A great and good man has said that "the seventh verse, in conjunction with the sixth and eighth, has been quoted by Tertullian, Cyprian, and an uninterrupted train of fathers." But a more incautious assertion was never made, as the preceding list will prove; and the evidence on the subject I have most carefully examined.

    Bengel, who was an excellent critic and a good man, endeavoured to defend it, but without success; and Michaelis demonstrated its spuriousness from Bengel's five concessions. Knittel has defended its authenticity with much critical acumen; Hezelius with great sagacity; David Martin, of Utrecht, with much honest simplicity; and Dean Travis with abundance of zeal, without much knowledge of the critical bearings of the subject. Socinians need not glory that it is indefensible, and that honest Trinitarians give it up; for the sacred doctrine which it appears to express is diffused through every part of the Scriptures, and is as inexpungable as a rock of adamant, and will live and prevail in the Church of Christ while sun and moon endure, and till time shall be swallowed up in eternity.

    SUMMARY of the whole evidence relative to the THREE HEAVENLY WITNESSES, ver. 7.

    1. ONE HUNDRED AND THIRTEEN Greek MSS. are extant, containing the First Epistle of John, and the text in question is wanting in 112. It only exists in the Codex Montfortii, (a comparatively recent MS.,) already described. The Codex Ravianus, in the Royal Library at Berlin, is a transcript taken from the Complutensian Polyglot.

    2. All the GREEK fathers omit the verse, though many of them quote both ver. 6 and ver. 8, applying them to the Trinity, and Divinity of Christ and the Holy Spirit; yea, and endeavour to prove the doctrine of the Trinity from ver. 6 and ver. 8, without referring to any such verse as ver. 7, which, had it existed, would have been a more positive proof, and one that could not have been overlooked.

    3. The first place in which the verse appears in Greek is the Greek translation of the Acts of the Council of Lateran, held A. D. 1215.

    4. Though it is found in many Latin copies, yet it does not appear that any written previously to the TENTH CENTURY contains it.

    5. The LATIN fathers do not quote it, even where it would have greatly strengthened their arguments; and where, had it existed, it might have been most naturally expected.

    6. Virilius, bishop of Tapsum, at the conclusion of the fifth century, is the first who seems to have referred expressly to the three heavenly witnesses; but his quotation does not agree with the present text either in words or in sense; and besides, he is a writer of very little credit, nor does the place alleged appear to learned men to be genuine.

    7. The Latin writers who do refer to the three heavenly witnesses vary greatly in their quotations, the more ancient placing the eighth verse before the seventh, and very many omitting, after the earthly witnesses, the clause these three are one. Others who insert these three are one add in Christ Jesus; others use different terms.

    8. It is wanting in all the ancient VERSIONS, the Vulgate excepted; but the more ancient copies of this have it not; and those which have it vary greatly among themselves, as may be seen in the specimens already produced.

    9. It is wanting in the first edition of Erasmus, A. D. 1516, which is properly the editio princeps of the Greek text.

    It is wanting also in his second edition 1519, but he added it in the third from the Codex Montfortii.

    It is wanting in the editions of Aldus, Gerbelius, Cephalaeus, &c.

    It is wanting in the German translation of LUTHER, and in all the editions of it published during his lifetime.

    It is inserted in our early English translations, but with marks of doubtfulness, as has already been shown.

    10. In short, it stands on no authority sufficient to authenticate any part of a revelation professing to have come from God. See Griesbach's Dissertation on this verse at the end of the second volume of his Greek text. Halae et Londini, 1806.

    In defense of this verse see "Archdeacon Travis' Letters to Gibbon;" and on the other side, "Professor Porson's Answer to Travis." The latter has left nothing farther to be said on the subject either in vindication or reply.

    Finished the correction for a reimpression, Jan. 3, 1832. - A. C.


    God Rules.NET