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principal passages, John i. 1, and Rom. ix. 5, and this very.dc&rine, instead of being thaken by the collections of Mill and Wetlicin, has been rendered more certain than ever. This is so trongly felt by the modern ico formers in Germany, that they begin to think less favourably of that species of criticilin which they at first so highly recommended, in the hope of its leading to discoveries more suitable to their masims, than the antient system !
* The most important readings, which make an alteration in the sense, relate in general to subjects that have no connexion with articles of faith, of which the Cambridge manuscript, that differs more than any other from the common text, affords sufficient proof. By far the greatest number relate to trifles, and make no alteration in the sense, such as sayin for xon.eyou, ελαττων for ελασσων, Κυριος for Θεος, which in Anot cafes may be uted indifferently." (Pp. 266, 267.)
« The various readings in our manuscripts of the New Testament have been occasioved by one of the five following causes, 1. The omillion, addi. tion, or exchange of letters, syllables, or words, from the mere carelellnels of transcribers. 2. Miltakes of the transcribers in regard to the true text of the original. 3. Errors or imperfections in the antient manuscript, from which the trancriber copied. 4. Critical conjecture, or intended improvements of the original text. 5. Wilful corruptions to serve the purposes of a party, whether orthodox or heterodox.” · The author fhews that very few passages indeed have been wilfully corrupted even by Marcion and his followers, 'who, of all the lects of antiquity, seem to have been moft guilty of this fraud. It was the practice of these, and other heretics, to reject in toto such parts of the New Testament as did not harmonize with their preconceived opinions, rather than alter them; which, to any great extent, would indeed have been impossible. The various sects into which the Chrilo tian Church was, at an early period, divided, hated cach other too cordially, and kept too vigilant a watch over each other's conduct to permit any great or glaring corruption of what all professed to consider as the fountain of truth ; and such alterations as seem to have been wilfully made, were probably at first marginal notes explanatory of the passages opposite to them ; which, through the ignorance or careJefsness of transcribers, were gradually transferred into the sacred text, 'The author gives some admirable directions for collating manuscripts, · as well as sime very cautious rules for deciding on the various read
ings; and the whole “chapter has been written, as the learned trans- Jator obferves, with the coolness and impartiality," to which we may
add accuracy, “ of a truly learned critic, regardless of every interest, but the interests of truth.
Much the same character may be given of the next chapter. It is replete with learning; but the subjects of discussion are litile interest: ing to the generality of readers, even of readers whose labouis are devoted to the service of the church. In thirty eight seations the author gives a critical view of the most celebrated antient versions of the New Testament, viz. The Syriac, Coptic, Arabic, Ethiopic, Armenian, Persian, Latin, Gothic, Rusian or Slavonian, and Anglo-Saxon. Of these versions he says that,
“ In cases where the sense is not affected by different readings, or the translator might have taken them for synonimous, the evidence of the Greek manu!cripts is to be preferred to that of an antient version. The lame preference is due to the manuscripts, wherever the tranllator has omitted words that appeared of little importance, or a pallage in the Greek original is attended with a difficulty, which the translator was unable to solve, and therefore either omitted or altered, according to the arbitrary dictates of his own judyment. On the other hand, there aie cales in which the antient versions are of more authority than the original ittelf. The greateit part of those, which will be examined in this chapter, surpasses in antiquity the oldest Greek manufcripts that are now extani; and they lead to a discovery of the readings in the very antient manuscript that was used by the translatr. By their means, rather than from the aid of our Greek , manulcrints, none of which is prior to the lixel century, * we arrive at the certain knowledge that the sacred writings have been transmilted from the carliest to the prelent age without material alteration; and that our prezent text, if we except the pallages that are rendered doubtful by an opposition in the Tradings, is the lame which proceeded from the hands of the apotiles. Whenever the reading can be preci ely determined, which the translator found in his Greek manuicript, the version is of equal authority with a manuscript of that period; but as it is forretines difficult to acquire this absolute certainty, great caution is necellary in collecting readings from the audient versions." (Vol. II. p. 2.)
Few of our readers perhaps will ever employ themselves in making such collections; but many of them may be called upon by duty to compare the collections made by authors with the common printed text. We beg leave, therefore, to caution them against receivinz with implicit credit all the various readings which may be offered to them even by collaters of established reputation ; for we have here leveral instances of different accounts of the very fame passage of the very same manuscript, given by men deservedly eminent in the repube lic of letters. Thus, Afleman, in his catalogue of the Medicean library, published at Florence in 1752, asserts that the story of the adultere's, John vili. is contained in the Codex Florentinus of the Philoxenian Syriac. version, while Adler, who carefully examined that manuscript, afferts the direct contrary. "Deeft certe, says he, et ini noftro, et omnibus quæ vidi utriusque versionis Syriacæ exemplis.”+ Speaking of this passage, Storr, according to our author, observes that, as it stands in the Paris manuscript, it differs froin the text of Usher's manuscript, from which it was taken for the London Polyglot. (P. 71.) But Mr. Marsh, after alluring us that Archbishop Ulher's manuscript has never been heard of fince the publication of the London Polyglot, says, “I have collated the Syriac text, John viii, 1-11, as printed in the London Polyglot from Archbishop User's manuscript, with
* This is probably a millake. Rev.
. : K4 .
the text of the Paris manuscript of the Philoxenian version, printed in Adler's Verfionis Syriacæ, p. 57, and found that the fix first verses agree, word for word, and letter for letter, and that in the following verses are only four triling differences in single words.” Storr indeed fays, that the difference between the Paris manuscript and Umer's, with respect to this passage, is only trifling ; so that the inaccuracy of the report must here be laid principally to the charge of our author; but when such men as he are so very inaccurate, and when Alleman and Adler, with other collators of manuscripts, directly contradict cach other, it is surely prudent to receive with some hesitation the various readings with which they present us. .
Still we are decidedly of opinion that the Greek text of the New Testament may often be corrected from antient versions, more especially from the Syriac; the Sahidic, of which there are two copies in the British Museum ; the Armenian; and the Latin. Among these our author gives the preference to the old Syriac, called Pehito; though, from his own view of both versions, we should greatly prefer the Latin. Both are certainly of very high antiquity, not lower, as it appears to us, than the second century; and where they differ from other versions, they generally agree with each other, as well as with the most approved Greek manuscripts. Of the various Latin verfions, of which there was certainly one in the days of Tertullian, we have here an instructive account. They had beeome numerous before the age of St. Augustine, who greatly prefers one of them to the rest; but that version, which has been called the Itala, or old Italic, if it still exist, cannot now be distinguished from the others. We think, indeed, with our author, that it,could not be the version which was used in Italy that the bishop of Hippo preferred; for it is not probable that he was acquainted with an Italian version; and the word liala, which gave rise to the supposition, is here shewn, by very plaufible criticism, to be an error of the transcribers. The style of all the antient versions, which is flill visible in the Vulgate, is certainly far removed from classic elegance;
“ But, says our author, the latin of these versions is not therefore to be treated with contempt, for though no (cholar would attempt to imitate their style, he may learn by their means the language in a greater extent. For it is certain that no man can know more than the half of a language, nor have an adequate notion of its etymology, who is acquainted only with the small portion that is prelerved in elegantly written books. Those phrases of common life, which are used by men of liberal education at farihest in epistolary correspondence, and even the expressions of the illiterate, are not unworthy the notice of philology.” (P. 115.) Pam.sy. 1.110.)
. . . We have quoted this passage in support of the censure which we have passed on the author's presumption in pronouncing barbarous or Cilicisms, certain words or phrases in the New Testament, only because he never found them in a Greek claffic. For the rest; his account of these antient Latin versions ; of the collection of them by, Jerom; and of the present Vulgate, is equally learned and juft.
,." The Church of Rome, and the Protestant Church, consider this Vulgate in a very different light. By some it is extolled too highly, by others unjustly depreciated, who speak with contempt of an antient and excellent version, upon the emendations and editions of which so great care and pains llave been bestowed. Few have preserved a proper medium. The Church of Rome is obliged to treat this version with the utmost veneration, since the council of Trent, in the sixth fellion, declared the same to be aü-: thentic, and to be ufed whenever the Bible is publicly read, and in all difputations, fermons, and expofitions. Herce several bigotted divines of that Church, conclude that the Vulgate is absolutely free from error, and that no one is at liberty to vary from it in a translation or expofition. But the most sensible part is of a different opinion, and interpret the words in a moderate sense. According to their explanation, authentic signifies not in fallible, but legal*; and the council has not declared this version to be authentic in all cafes, but only in public readings, disputations, fermons, and exhortations; that is, no other version shall be read in the Church. The words being thus explained, the council of Trent did no more than every church has a right to do, with respect to a translation that contains no errors of faith ; and the Church of Rome is the more to be justified, as it has given the preference to a version of the highest antiquity.” (P. 128.)
The eighth chapter is employed on the manuscripts of the Greek Testament, which were written before the 'invention of printing. These are undoubtedly of very great importance; for though our common text may be, and probably is, more correct on the whole than any one manuscript now existing, yet, as our author observes, no printed edition can be held as authority to decide on the genuineness of a controverted text. Some over-zealous protestants, by endeavouring to convict the Church of Rome of altering the Greek manuscripts in order to bring them to a closer agreernent with the Vulgate, have done what they can to deprive even the manuscripts themselves of this authority, and of course to undermine the foundations of the doctrine of Chrift; but it is here completely proved that this charge against that Church is a groundless calumny. Some such alterations may have been introduced into modern manuscripts by those Greeks who took refuge in Italy from the fury of the Turks, and who, with the 'sycophantish spirit of their degenerate nation, wished to gain the favour of the court of Rome; but there is not even the shadow of evidence that any design was entered into at the council of Florence to corrupt the antient manuscripts. Those manuscripts were indeed so dispersed, and many of them, at that period, so utterly unknown, that no such design could have been effectually carried into execution.
Of antient manuscripts there appears to our author to have existed four principal editions.
“ift. The Western edition, or that formerly used in countries where the Latin language was spoken, for our modern manuscripts have been
: . This was unquestionably the meaning of the council.-Rev.
chiefly brought from Greece. With this edition coincide the Latin version, which was made from it, more efpecially as it stood before the time of Je
rom, and the quotations of the Latin fathers, not excepting thole who lived - in Africa, though Jerom, in his correclion of the Vulgate, made frequent uid of manuscripts that were written in Greece.
" 2d. The Alexandrine or Egyptian edition. With this, as might be naturaliy expected, coincide the quotations from Origen, which Grielbach has collaled with very particular care, as also the Coptic verlion.
“ 3d. The Edescrie edition, which comprehends ihole manuscripts from which the old Syriac verlion was made. Of this edition we have at present no manuscripts, a circumsance by no means estiaordinary, when we recollect that the Syriac literati had an early p:ejudice for whatever was Grecian, and that the East, during many ages, that elapled after the filth centuy, was the seat ol' war and devastation. But by lone accident, which is difficult to be explained, we find manuscripts in the West of Europe, accampanied even with a Latin tranflation, such as the Codex Bezæ, which to eininently coincide with the Syriac version, that their relationship is not to be denied. All there three editions, though they sometimes differ in their readings, harmonize very frequently with each other. This is to be a cribed in a great measure to their high antiquity, for our oldett manufcripts belong to one for other of these editions, and the translations thenilelves are very antievt. A reading, confirmed by the evidence of all thele three editions, is lupported by the very highest authority, but it niult not be confidered as infallible, fiuce the true reading may be sometimes found only in the fourthi.
“ tih. The Byzantine edition, or that in general use at Constantinople, after this city was become the capital and metropolitan See of the eastern empire. With this edition those of the neighbouring provinces were closely allied. To it are likewile to be relerred the quotations of Chrysostom, and Theophylact, bishop of Bulgaria, with the Slavonjan, or Rullịan verlion." (Pp. 175, 176, 177.)
Of these four editions, our author and his learned translator have descr:bed no fewer than 469 manuscripts, which have been wholly or partially collated ; and of these manuscripts the Codex Alexandrinus, The Codex Vaticanus, and the Codex Bezæ or Cantabrigiensis have atliacted most of their attention. To this these codices are indeed well entitled; for they are certainly the most antient manuscripts which are now known to exist; and two of them comprehend, each, the whole Bible. Both Michaelis and Mr. Marth consider the Codex Alexandrinus as the least antient of the three; but we are far from being converted to their opinion. Whether it be more or less valuable than the Codex Vaticanus, as we have not collated them, we have no right to lay; but taking for granted the facts here stated, or data on which critics form their judgment of the antiquity of manuscripts, we should conclude the Alexandrinus to be of at least equal anciquity with the Codex Bezze, which both critics admit to be more antiene thain the Codex Vaticanus. If the extracts which Mr. Marsh gives in page 898, from an inscription on a monument erected in the rime of the Peloponnesian war, and in page 899, from the ancient farcophagus preferved at Florence, be fac-fimisies, we must conclude the