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vinces had but few Christians. We have no reason to think that Rome sent out missionaries early. The south of France was christianized from Asia, though so much further off than Rome. The natural inference is, that these parts would receive later copies of any apostolick writing, published in Asia Minor, than those parts which had a regular intercourse, half a dozen times in a year, at least, but probably much oftener, with Ephesus. And whatever versions were extant in the west, would represent the second edition with its variations, whatever they might be.
As to Rome itself, I infer, that that capital of the empire had, if any place had, both editions. Suppose, for a moment, that the first edition had reached Rome, when Aristobulus quitted that city for Britain, or that it was sent to Aristobulus, in Britain, from Rome, it will follow, that the ancient British copies would not contain those additions which the apostle John inserted in the second edition. And to this agrees the fact: for Pelagianism could hardly have been repressed by any text more effectually than by the one in question. Yet that errour rose in Britain, and it was not so decidedly opposed then, as it is now; minus the testimony of this text. Moreover, the text is not quoted by the venerable Bede, in a passage of his works, where we should expect to find it, at least, alluded to. He, therefore, might have the first edition.
In short, almost all the arguments employed against the authenticity of the text may be admitted. They cease to have any great force, after it is once conceded to those who use them, that the first edition, together with all its representatives, in the first century, suppose, had not the words in debate. They are reduced to the infirmity of a negative argument, at best.
I must now observe, that the African churches being planted long after the Asiatick, they, no doubt, would obtain the best transcripts of the works of any inspired writer, which could be procured about the time of their being founded; i. e. the second edition of the letter under consideration. To this agrees the fact; the African bishops quote the passage. Tertullian, Cyprian. Eucherius, Eugenius, with his consistory of 400 bishops, Vigilius, Fulgentius, &c. &c. so that it was undeniably extant in their copies from the second century downwards. The argument, then, is reduced to a point: either these divines found the passage in their copies, or they put it there. The latter alternative is so dishonourable to Christians and to Christianity, that one is willing to accept of any hypothesis which may vindicate professors and teachers from such enormous guilt.-But further:
I have said, that Rome might be expected to procure whatever was most excellent in Christian literature, as well as in other studies. It had, then, the first edition, because that was the earliest which could be procured; and the second, because the influx of persons to Rome from all parts was so great, that every thing which was portable of a literary nature, might be expected to be brought there. Rome had an ancient version of the scriptures, known under the name of the old Italick version It is not of any consequence to our argument, whether this version contained the text of the heavenly witnesses, since it was made very early; but if the revised Roman version of the New Testament contained it, we are reduced to the same dilemma as before, in reference to the African bishops-The reviser of this edition (Jerom) either found it, or forged it. The same arguments that relieve the characters of the African bishops, relieve the character of this father. The accusation is incredible. It is loading the party with a crime so far beyond ordinary culpability, that the mind revolts at the charge. It is admitted, then, that the Latin version reads this verse; that St. Jerom adopted it; that it was adopted by the learned after
him; as by our own famous Alkwin, at the time, and in the court of Char lemagne, and has so continued ever since. The inference is, that St. Jerom preferred the authority and text of the second edition, and followed it.
These, moreover, are independent witnesses; for, the African bishops, who wrote before Jerom, could not receive this passage from his revised version or, if any choose to affirm that the African bishops received this passage from the old Italick version, then the authenticity of the passage follows of course, in proportion to whatever importance is attached to this increased antiquity.
Let us now suggest a few thoughts on the nature of the passage itself, as connected with our views of it. We have seen that all the variations in the second edition by St. John, are additions: and we can very easily conceive, from the knowledge we have, of the gnostick and other heresies, then beginning to spread, that twenty or thirty years might see a considerable difference in the opinions, and floating notions of Christian communities. An opinion which was not so much as broached A. D. 70, or 80, might become sufficiently popular to be entitled to notice, reproof, and correction, in A. D. 100. Admitting, then, that the longest liver of the Apostles would endeavour to preserve his readers from the contagion of errour, either incipient, or advanced, he could not do it, by expunging any part of an inspired work; since that would be to accuse inspiration with having been the cause of errour; but he might do it, by adding to his own works, by strengthening former sentiments, or by enlarged or by explanatory expressions so arranged as to meet the mistake in question. This enlargement was the way of our Lord himself. We have seen that it was the way of St John in other instances; and if in others, why not in this?
We have seen, also, that the placing of the verses containing other additions, in our present copies, is incorrect: arising, most probably, from the addition being inserted on a first edition MS. in the margin; but brought in erroneously, as to its true situation, by the transcriber who next copied that MS. The same I apprehend, is the case here; I confess myself to be of opinion that those copies which place the 8th verse before the 7th are right. It is well known, also, that copies vary in the words they introduce: some insert the words "on earth," and "in Heaven :" others omit them; some omit," water;" some omit "the Word:" and, I might, did I not think it would tire your readers' patience. treat them with a long and delectable discourse, on the Greek accents, articles, &c. inserted or omitted in this famous passage: but, it is enough for my purpose to say, that these variations are proofs, in my estimation, that the addition has been made on first edition copies, and introduced with more or less skill, or convenience, &c. &c. according to the ability of the possessor of those copies.
Your readers, sir, will distinguish between what I verily think to be founded on fact, I mean the foregoing statement, and what I am about to submit as conjecture only; I mean the following view of the passage. Nay, I must even apologize for some of the language I am about to use, by saying, that I use it not strictly, but for the purpose of conveying my meaning. Let us, now, attempt to show the propriety of introducing this addition, in opposition to the sentiments of those who considered the Christ, as consisting of one nature, only, i. e. the human: but who denied the residence of the other nature, i. e. the divine, in the humanity; which combination we hold to be necessary to constitute the Christ.
Who is he, says the apostle, who overcometh the world, unless it be one who believes that Jesus [the humanity] is the Son of God? This [Jesus the humanity] is he who came into this world by assuming the component parts of
human nature, 1. water, i. e. animal life; and 2. blood, i. e. a body. [Some copies read caro or carno. Vide Simon, Crit. Hist.] Such is JESUS THE CHRIST: Who came, not by assuming water, animal life, only, being a mere phantom, as some pretend, but by water, life, and blood, a body, also. However, the assumption of both these two principles, though necessary, yet would not qualify him effectually for his office, which was, to bear witness of God; for an animal may have life and a body, yet it is incapable of bearing witness: no; but the intelligent and immortal spirit, is that part of a man, which beareth witness, since it only is capable of understanding. And these three principles are those which bear witness on earth [i. e. which compose the humanity] the intelligent spirit, and the water, or animal life, and the blood, flesh, or body, and these three agree in one testimony; [or rather, these three are necessary to be combined into one person, in order to enable that person to bear testimony; since if you take away either of these principles, you incapacitate the party from all power of bearing witness.] Correspondently to this [r] three are those who bear witness in heaven; the Father, and the Word, and the Holy Spirit; and these three are THE ONE, the Being of Beings! If we receive the witness of men, on human subjects and questions, with confidence, the witness of God is infinitely greater, both as to subject and certainty, since God is an infinite spirit, and not subject to errour. Assuredly this is the witness of God, which is witnessed concerning his Son, as above. He who believeth in [this representation of] the Son of God [Jesus, the humanity] hath the witness in himself, not only of the possibility but of the actual existence, of such a combination, since his own nature is an instance of the same combination of principles as was extant in [the man] Jesus. He who believeth not God makes him worse than an honest man, a liar, &c.
Under this view of the passage, let us endeavour to state, and compare the editions.
Who is he who overcometh the world, unless it be one who believes, that Jesus is the Son of God? This is he who came by water and blood; Jesus the Christ not by water only, but by water and blood: but the spirit is that which beareth witness. They which bear witness then, are these three ; the spirit, and the water, and the blood; and these three are combined in If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater; and assuredly this is the witness of God, which is witnessed of his Son, &c.
Who is he who overcometh the world, unless it be one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? This is he who came by water, and blood; Jesus the Christ: not by water only, but by water and blood: but the spirit is that which beareth witness. They which bear witness then, on earth, are these three: the spirit, and the water, and the blood; and these three are combined in one. Correspondently, those who bear witness in heaven are three, the Father, and the Word, and the Holy Spirit; and these three are THE ONE. If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater; and assuredly this is the witness of God, which is witnessed of his Son, &c.
I am justified in affirming, that (as I observed in my former letter) here is no change of sentiment in the apostle. Every thing he said formerly he says again now. He retracts nothing. Every syllable stands untouched; but he adds, and increases the strength, the beauty, and the correspondence member to member, of the passage, while at the same time, his addition is in direct opposition to those opinions, which peeped forth toward the close of his long continued life; and which, most certainly, this passage as it stood in the first edition, was not particularly calculated to repress.
You will understand, sir, that I hint at this explanation with great deference, and as a mere conjecture only. Let it be judged by reason and candour, and whatever may be proposed as superiour by any of your learned correspondents, shall at least be accepted with all due respect, by sir, Yours, &c. FIDELIS.
Conjecture as to the time of the second edition has already fixed on the period of the publication of St. John's Gospel; which was long after the other gospels were in circulation; when, we may suppose, the apostle revised and edited his "works," complete. As to the time of the first edition, we have very little to help our guesses. It is certain, however, that the third epistle of John was written many years before the date assigned to his Gospel, since Gaius, who was host of St. Paul, and of the whole church, was most probably a man advanced in life; and we cannot think it likely that he should live till towards the end of the first century. The first chapter of the first epistle, seems from its contents to have been the precursor of the introduction to the gospel.
DISCOVERY OF A NEW MEPHITICK GROTTO.
M. PULLY, a chymist of celebrity, in one of his excursions in the neighbourhood of Naples, has discovered a new grotto. It is situated on the banks of lake Agnano, not far from lake Averno, and consequently, at no great distance from the Grotta del Cane, to which it is in many respects similar. This grotto, from the name of its discoverer, has been called Grotta-Pully. It is necessary to keep the face as near the ground as possible, in penetrating into it, in order to avoid the deleterious vapours, which being kept in a state of great volatility by an intense heat, occupy the upper parts. After following many windings, M. Pully discovered at the extremity of the grotto a spring, so intensely hot, that eggs were boiled hard in fifty-seven seconds of time. Réaumur's thermometer, which at the outside was two degrees above O, rose to sixty-one in the interiour, on being kept in an elevated situation; on bringing it within a foot of the ground, it fell five degrees; but on being stuck into the earth it rose to seventy-five. A barrometer in the same situation fell some degrees. Whoever penetrates into this grotto must be completely undressed; and there, as in the baths of Nero, the body is in a short time covered with water, either from the violence of the perspiration, or from the prodigious quantity of water in a state of evaporation which is always floating in this cavity. This grotto seems to have been unknown to the ancients, who have left us no description of it, Perhaps it has been formed by some of those late volcanick eruptions which have so materially altered the face of the country. The sides of the cave are covered with a variety of saline crytallizations; others hang in the form of stalactites from the roof, which is about ten feet high; its width is of above forty feet at the entrance, and fifty in the interiour. Its length is about 250 feet.
EXTRAORDINARY SAGACITY IN THE CANINE SPECIES.
A SHORT time since, a gentleman at Richmond, Surry, betted his friend a rump and dozen that his dog should go from Richmond bridge to Brentford, and return with half a crown, in two hours. The dog was accordingly taken to the entrance of Brentford, where his master placed half a crown under a stone, and then returned to Richmond. The dog was then despatched to perform his master's wager, and he went immediately to the
spot where the money was formerly placed, but the stone had been removed, and the half crown taken away.
Unable to find the money, the dog ran towards Kew-bridge, where he overtook a gentleman and followed him into his house near the Green. The gentleman endeavoured to drive the animal away, but Prince refused to quit him, and, struck by the singularity of the dog's attachment, the gentleman made no further efforts to part.
The time having elapsed for winning the bet, the owner of the dog expressed a belief that some accident had prevented the animal from returning, and requested his friend to go with him in search of the dog. They then walked to Kew Green, where they observed the gentleman before described coming out of his house, with Prince at his heels. The owner instantly accosted the gentleman, and requested to know how he came by the dog, observing, the dog was his. The gentleman described the manner in which the dog had followed him, and assured the party he had no wish to detain him. The owner then asked the gentleman if he had any thing about him that was not his own property? In answer to this interrogatory he exclaimed: "What do you mean, sir; do you take me for a thief?" The master of the dog replied: ""Pon my honour I mean nothing personal; but the dog has a wonderful sagacity in discovering any article that may have been in my possession. Pray, sir, have you found any thing?"-The gentleman returned: "Why, I have indeed found something of small value: returning from Brentford. I picked up half a crown by the road side.” The dog's master, with a hearty laugh, exclaimed: "That half crown, sir has been the cause of my dog's attachment to you. My friend and I placed the half crown on the spot you found it to decide a wager, and sent the dog for it; not finding it, he has traced it to you, and, as a proof of the truth of what I assert, put the half crown down among twenty others, and if my dog don't pick it out from the rest, I'll forfeit 1001." The gentleman, with surprise, instantly laid down the half crown among five others. It had been previously marked, and the dog immediately selected it from the rest, and carried it to his master, to the great astonishment of all who witnessed the circumstance.
The dog has frequently done similar exploits, and is considered a most extraordinary animal by the surrounding neighbourhood.