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ing and examining their prejudices, in order to detect their ignorance and presumption, and to mortify their pride, on all occasions, and declares that he must persevere in the same course, even when he clearly foresaw that the loss of his life would certainly attend it: nay, that he would continue this course, though he were to die ever so often for it. When merely out of envy, he is delivered up to his enemies, and on a most malicious prosecution brought to his trial, instead of having recourse to the usual way of supplication, and applying to the passions of his judges, he proves to them, that they ought not to admit of any such application; he informs their reason, and appeals to their consciences; and proceeds so far in his own defence, as would be just sufficient to assert his innocence, and show them the great sin of persecuting and oppressing it.
Instead of using, or permitting, any other means to avoid his death, he signifies that it was free and voluntary in him, because it had become necessary for the world, and meets the instruments of it with the utmost calmness and serenity.
He left none of his philosophy in writing, but took good care, as he said, to imprint it deeply in the hearts of his disciples, which some of them delivered down to us, though in a manner very different from that simplicity and strict propriety with which the gospels are recorded, and indeed the effects which his instructions and example had upon them were prodigious.
Some other circumstances might be pointed out, were we to draw a parallel between them, considered as
public teachers: but notwithstanding any such, and without derogating from the character of Socrates, we still may affirm, that he was far surpassed by Christ, as well in the importance of the doctrines taught by him, as in the candid, clear, convincing manner of delivering them, and in that purity and general perfection which distinguish christianity from any other system of religion.
From these slight strictures on a character justly reputed one of the most upright and complete among mere men; when it is placed in opposition to that of Christ our Lord, it is easy to distinguish which has the advantage, as is freely owned by some modern unbelievers. The same thing would appear more clearly, were the latter to be drawn out at large, and exhibited together with any other of the most celebrated legislators or professors of philosophy. But such a comparative view seems to be little necessary to its illustration.
And I content myself with only touching on some few of those remarkable circumstances in the life of Jesus, which were recorded by his first disciples, as the evidences of his being the Son of God, which brought such multitudes to believe on him at that time, and which one would think sufficient to produce the same belief in every age, as they have actually done both with the generality wherever they have been fairly offered to them, and with the best and wisest men, who have given themselves leave duly to reflect upon them.
Summary of the Evidence against the spurious Passage:—I. John, v. 7, 8.
For there are three that bear record in beaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost, and these three are one. And there are three that bear witness on earth, the Spirit, the Water, and the Blood, and these three agree in one."
THAT the words in italics were not written by the apostle John is proved by the following arguments:
There are no less than ONE HUNDRED AND TWELVE Greek manuscript copies of this epistle, and the words are found in only THREE, viz. the Dublin, the Berlin, and a manuscript mentioned by Matthæi.
The Dublin manuscript is certainly not earlier than the fifteenth century, possibly as late as the sixteenth, and the passage is aukwardly translated from the modern copies of the Vulgate or Latin Version. It was probably interpolated in this place for the purpose of deceiving Erasmus.*
The Berlin manuscript is not original, but a mere transcript of printed editions; and the greater part of it, even to the typographical errors, is copied from the Complutensian or Polyglot, published by cardinal Ximenes in 1515, the remainder from Stephens. Pappelbaum has ascertained this beyond the possibility of doubt, by an accurate collation.
The manuscript of Matthæi is later than the editions of Erasmus and Beza, whose versions it contains. Matthæi indeed mentions another, written in the thirteenth century which has the text in its margin, and by a later hand.
These words are not found in the Syriac versions, prior and posterior, except only in the printed editions of the former. Tremellius inserted them in his margin, A. D. 1569, Gutbier
When Erasmus published his first edition of the Greek Testament, which did not contain the disputed passage, some British divines took the liberty to inquire into the reason of the omission; and when they understood it was owing to his not being able to find it in any ancient copy, they assured him that it was in a certain British copy, and on this authority he inserted it in his second edition.
1664, and Schaaf 1709, inserted them in their text. Neither are they found in the Coptic, Arabic, Ethiopic, Sclavonic, nor Armenian versions. The Vulgate is the only version in which they are found, and there are now existing of this version twenty nine manuscripts, in general the oldest, the fairest, and most correct, in which they are wanting.
They are found in no Greek writer before the thirteenth century; and most of the Latin fathers down to the middle of the eighth century are silent respecting the passage. Thirty Greek and twenty one Latin authors, there is sufficient reason to believe, were ignorant of it. It is such as must have been quoted in their controversies if they had possessed it; and in several cases they have quoted the eighth verse in proof of their opinions, when they would have been much better defended by the seventh.
In the earliest editions of the English Bible these words were printed in a different character from the rest of the text, of which any one may be satisfied by inspecting the copy of that edited in the reign of Henry VIII, by the Bishops of Durham and Rochester, which is in the Philadelphia Library.
The simple fact that this passage had its origin in the Latin is indisputable; and it might be occasioned by the mystical sense in which some of the Latin fathers understood the words, Spiritus, Aqua & Sanguis; supposing Aqua to allude to the Father, Sanguis to the Son, and Spiritus to the Holy Ghost. But this very recondite sense not being obvious to common apprehension, it is probable that a marginal glossary was added (in the words of the interpolation) which by degrees found its way into the text. Marginal glosses were very common in the Latin manuscripts.
Neither the supposed truth of the doctrine which this passage contains, nor the clamours of the Catholics against those who rejected it, could induce Luther to insert a translation of it in his German Bible. But Luther had not been dead thirty years when the passage was interpolated in his translation.