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ought to be expunged from our English Bible. The true reading of the place is this, “Hereby perceive we (Gr. Thy ayany) love, because he (viz. Christ, who is understood,) laid down his life for us.'
1 John iv. 3. • Every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh, is not of God: and this is that spirit of Antichrist,' &c. Jesus Christ coming in the flesh, or appearing as a man, 'is no proof at all of divinity, but the contrary. These words of the Apostle were pointed at the Docetæ, a sect of early heretics, who taught that Jesus had not a real body or was not truly a man. If Christ had been God, he could not have been incar. nate, or have come in the flesh; and therefore the Trinitarians who affirm that he was so, and thereby render his coming in the flesh impossible, appear to join issue with these ancient heretics, and fall under the censure of the Apostle in this place.
i John v. 7, 8. “ For there are three that bear record, (in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost; and these three are one. And there are three that bear witness in earth,) the spirit, and the water, and the blood, and these three agree in one.
The words in parenthesis, have been fully proved by many able writers to be spurious, and Father Simon, Dr. Wall, Professor Michaelis, and other learned Trinitarians, have acknowledged them to be so. They are wanting in all the Greek manuscripts, excepting two, which are of no authority. They are not quoted by any of the Geeek Fa. thers, in any work which is allowed to be genuine, although some of them quote the verses immediately before and after. Nor do any of the Latin Fathers quote this text for several centuries after Christ. During the time of the Arian controversy, this text was never produced, although the whole Bible was ransacked, and many passages far less to the purpose were urged as proofs of the divinity of Christ. These words are wanting in the Syriac, Arabic, Coptic, Ethiopic, and Armenian versions, and although they are in the Latin Vulgate, yet many MSS. of that version also want them. Luther and Bullinger, omitted them in their translations of the German Bible at the time of the Reformation: and in the English Bibles in the reigns of Henry the eighth, and Edward the sixth, they were either printed in a differa
ent character, or separated by a parenthesis or both : as also in one edition in the reign of Queen Elizabeth, This passage was left out in several famous editions of the Greek Testament printed about the time of the Reformation, viz. in the first and second of Erasmus, in one of Aldus, those of Wolfius, Cepbalius, and Colinæus. and one printed at Hagenau, and another at Strasburg; and several Dutch editions which followed them. And Harwood, and Griesbach, in their late editions of the New Testament have also omitted them.
In favour of the genuineness of this passage have been alleged ;—the authority of two Greek MSS. ;-the testi. monies of Tertullian, Cyprian, and Jerom ; some spurious works in Greek, and Vicior Vitensis, and Vigilius Thapsensis, &c. who lived about the end of the fifth century. As to the two Greek MSS. the one of them hardly deserves to be called a MS, being a mere copy of the Complutense edition even to the errors of the press, written since the in. vention of printing; and is lodged in the king of Prussia's library at Berlin : * and the other which belongs to the Unie versity of Dublin, is in the opinion of the best judges a mere modern manuscript, of no value or accuracy. Ter. tullian does not allude to this passage at all, but only gives his own sentiments, and refers to John x. 30; which he would never have done had this passage been extant in his time. The words of Cyprian, as we are assured from the testimonies of Eucherius, and Facundus, are only a mystical interpretation of the eighth verse, which prevailed in the African church: and the preface which has been ase cribed to St. Jerom, in which this text is mentioned and asserted to have been restored by him, has been itself proved to be spurious. Works confessedly counterfeited, are of no authority to establish the genuineness of any passage: and
* The eminently learned Michaelis, expresses his doubts in the third edition of his Enleitung, whether, the Codex Ravianus, at Berlin, be really a copy of the Complutense edition: and points out several places where that Codex and the Complutense edition differ. La Croze however, had no doubts with respect to the former being a copy of the latter. And the learned Griesbach who informs his readers that he has compared both in several places, is of opinion, that the Codex is nothing else but (apographum editionis Complutensis) a transcript of the Complutense edition.
the testimonies of Victor Vitensis and other Latin writers in the end of the fifth century, are too late in time to be regarded. In short from the universal consent of the Greek MSS. the silence of all the Greek, and the earliest Latin writers, the omission of this place in all the ancient versions, (the Vulgate excepted, which is divided in regard to it,) there is no doubt, but that the words included in the paren. thesis above, have been either wilfully, or ignorantly, thrust into the sacred text; and they ought therefore to be erased from our Bibles, that they may no longer deceive the ignorant; who in this place as well as some others, read the words of men instead of the words of God. *
It has been asserted, that the sense of the Apostle is not perfect, without these words. But on the contrary, this interpolation rather darkens the tenor of the Apostle's discourse, and breaks its connection. What occasion is there for witnesses in heaven? The Messiahship of Jesus is unquestionably admitted there. The Spirit is also made a witness both in heaven and earth, which reduces the six witnesses to five, and is inconsistent even with the interpo. lation itself. But when the passage is read according to the Greek manuscripts, the sense is quite regular and clear, and runs in the following manner. Ver. 6. This is he that came by water and blood, even Jesus Christ; not by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the spirit that beareth witness, because the spirit is truth. For there are three that bear record, the spirit, and the water, and the blood : and these three agree in one;' s viz. one testi. mony, that Jesus is the son of God. Some understand by the water and the blood, the blood and water that came from the side of our Lord when he was pierced upon
cross; but others more properly, refer the water to the baptism of
* It was for some time imagined, that seven of Stephen's manuscripts had this passage: but on a stricter scrutiny it has been found, that these seven want the first Epistle of John altogether. The above is a brief but just account of this passage, and the reasons for rejecting it. The subject is discussed at large in Mill, Wetstein, and Griesbach in loco. In Sir Isaac Newton's letters to Le Clerc, Dr. Benson's Dissertation ; and above all the rest, in Mr. Emlyn's full enquiry into this text, and his defence of that enquiry in reply to Mr. Martin.
$ The Alexandrine MS. read here, ver. 6. “ This is he that came by water, blood, and the Spirit; not by water only, but by water and the Spirit.”
Jesus, when he was declared by a voice from heaven to be the beloved son of God: or to the spätless purity and innocence of the life and character of our Lord, compared to water on that account: and the blood to his death and resurrection, by wbich he was declared or defined to be the son of God with power. The spirit evidently relates to the miracles performed by Christ and his Apostles, and the supernatural gifts bestowed upon them; by which our Lord's divine mission and sonship, were ascertained to the world. So that all these three witnesses concur in one testimony. And St. John adds with great propriety, ver. 9. “If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater: for this is the witness, of God, which he hath testified of his son.' If we admit the testimony or evidence of two or three persons of veracity to establish the truth of any fact, ought we not much rather to admit the testimony that God has given in behalf of his Son, particularly the miraculous works and gifts, which being performed by the spirit or power of God, may be called the very witness or evidence of God himself.
John v. 20, 21. ' And we know that the son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding that we may know him that is true; and we are in him that is true, even in his son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life. Little children, keep yourselves from idols.' 'Amen. The word even in the twentieth verse, is an arbitrary and unnecessary insertion of our translators, which darkens the sense of the passage, and has a tendency to mislead the reader. Take it away, and the sense is quite clear. • And we are in him that is true, in or by his son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life,' that is this God, viz. the Father, in whom we are by Jesus Christ, is the true God; and eternal life or a blessed immortality, is his gift by Jesus Christ, or the happy consequence of being in him. The Alexandrine, and eleven other manuscripts, with the Vulgate, Coptic, Arabic, and Ethiopic versions, and some early editions of the Greek Testament, have in the twentieth verse, toy any Ovoy Jeov the true God, in place of him that is true. For a more particular explication of this place turn to Discourse I. p. 4, 5.
Wetstein in loco
Jude verse 4.- Denying the only Lord God, and ou Lord Jesus Christ.' The'word God in this place, is want, ing in the Alexandrine, Ephrem, and nine or ten other MSS. in the Vulgate, Coptic, Armenian, and Arabic versions, and in the writings of several Fathers. Grotius, Hammond, Mill, and Bengelius are of opinion that it should be set, aside; and Griesbach and Harwood have actually omitted it; in their editions of the Greek Testament. But whetlier we read here τον μονον δεσποτην “ the only Sovereign Lord, or tov povoy ÒsonOTNY JECK' the only Sovereign Lord God, it is as clear as the sun, that it is the Father that is so called, and not Christ; for he is afterwards distinguished by the title of τον κυριον ημών Ιησgν Χριςον our Lord Jesus Christ; and the particle roi is not in this place: copulative, but disjunctive. Jesus Christ. is the Lord or master of Christians, made so by the Father; but can never be called, the only Sovereign Lord; because there is one greater than he, who made him both Lord and Christ $: and to whose glory he is only to be acknowledged as Lord t. The ungodly persons here mentioned, who turned the grace of God into lasciviousness, were probably the Nicolaitans, Gnostics, and other heretics, who corrupted the doctrines of Christianity, both in regard to the Father and the Son ; and seein to be the same persons to whom St. Peter alludes, \ Eph. chap. ii. ver.:1. The Trinitarians also may be justly said to deny, or dishonour the only Sovereign Lord: of the Universe, who is the Father, because they acknow. ledge two other persons or agents, to be equal with him in power and in glory..
Jude ver. 24, 25. Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory, with exceeding joy, to the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and for ever. Amen.' It is the Father that is here styled, the only wise God' our Saviour. The Father has also this title, Titus i. 3. ii. 10. and iji. 4. in which last place, if we compare the fourth and sixth verses together, we shall find that the construction necessarily restrains it to the Father. And well may the Fa.