Page images
PDF
EPUB

IS.

The author ranges the subjects of his reprehenfions under three heads. First, Mistakes. Secondly, Redundancies. Third, ly, Errors ariling from Spleen, Party. spirit, or Prejudice.

The mistakes are indeed very inconfiderable, and the redundancies are so pleasing, that by way of penance we would en. join a repetition of the fault. The mait prominent feature of party-fpirit, which the Letter-writer chattises, is a light com. mendacion of bishop Parker, viz.' that he was a popular writer, certainly a man of learning, and afterwards a bihop. Of this extraordinary praise, the first and last parts are allo:ved facts, and the critic has not advanced a single circumstance to invali: date the second. The author seems to be angry that Parker was once mentioned without an anathema.

On the whole, this Letter is a very trilling one, and rather fhows a carping discontented spirit, than a wiih to reform error or to supply defects. A Letter to the Aulor of Thougbts on Executive Juffice. Small

8.10.

Debrett. In this Letter, the ingenious and benevolent author examines the 'Thoughts on Executive Justice' with some attention. His chief argument arises from the facts, thai in those countries where the punishment has been certain and severe, crimes have been more fanguinary; on this principle, that where no more cruel, punishment than death can be inflicted for very dispropor-. tioned crimes, the culprit will endeavour to secure his detection, for the robbery, by the death of the person whom he has plundered. At the same time he contends that, at the end of the war, in 1762, crimes were more numerous, and of a deeper die, than at present. These are circumstances which deferve attention ; but we apprehend, that the ficuation of the present criminals will not allow us to extend the analogy of other times, and different situations, Robbery is now a fyrtem in which proficients are gradually inkructed, from picking pockets to robbing on the highway; from petty pilfering in a ihop to housebreaking and its violent consequences. It ought to be considered, whether such dangerous combinations thould not be broken by violence, since the common methods have failed; and, in many refpeéis, the arguments of the author of the • Thoughts' seem yet to have been unassailed.

Luculrations by a Lady. 12mo.. Is. 6d. Johnson. This is the production of a serious and contemplative young woman, who appears to have spent her leisure hours very laudably, in improving her mind, and cultivating the virtues of the heart. It cồnsists of thirteen Lucubrations, or thort essays, on the following subjects : Poverty, Nature, Knowledge, Laws, Society; a Future State, Virtue, Religion, the Passions, the Miseries of Mankind, Fame, and the Being and Perfections of God.

The writer is the daughter of Dr. Harwood.

CRITICAL REVIEW.

For SEPTEMBER, 1735.

Letters to Edward Gibbon, E/. Author of the History of the Dee

cline, and Fall, of the Roman Empire. By George Travis, A. M. 8vo. Second Edition,

55. Rivington. THIS is a learned and elaborate defence of the celebrated

passage in 1 John v. 7: • There are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost; and these three are one.'

It was occasioned by the following note in Mr. Gibbon's second volume of the History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire :

- The three witnesses (1 John y. 7.) have been established in our Greek Teftaments by the prudence of Erasmus; the honeft bigotry of the Complutenfian editors; the typographical fraud, or error, of Robert Stephens, in placing a crotchet; and the deliberate falthood, or strange misapprehension of Theodore Beza."

In the first Letter, our author endeavours to shew, that this charge against the Complutenfian editors, Robert Stephens, and Beza, • is not warranted by fact, and cannot be supported in argument.'

As to Erasmus, he fays, His conduct betrays, at least, great weakness. If he was really possessed of five ancient manuscripts, in which this verse had no place, and had thought it his duty to expel it accordingly from his two former editions [in 1;16, and 1519] he ought not to have restored it in his third edition in 1522] upon the authority of a single MS. only:-Either he could not produce the five MSS, in which he had alleged the verse to be omitted; or he had other authorities, much fuperior to the testimony of a single MS. for replacing the verse, which he was not, however, ingenuous enough to acknowledge.' VOL. LX, Sept. 1785.

M

This,

[ocr errors]

This, and what follows, seems to be too severe a censure upon the conduct of Erasmus. We see no great impropriety in giving way to the zeal of his opponents, on the authority of a single manufcript. The text was admitted; but it was admitted as a doubtful reading; and its authenticity was left to be determined by more manuscripts, and a farther investigation.

• Veruntamen, fays Erasmus, ne quid diffimulem, repertus eft apud Anglos Græcus codex unus, in quo habetur quod in vulgatis deeit. Ex hoc igitur codice Britannico reposuimus quod in noftris dicebatur deesse, ne cui fit causa calumniandi.'

Surely the conduct of Erasmus, in this inftance, does not deserve to be called mean,' or 'grossly difingenuous.'

Though we do not by any means join with Mr. Gibbon in the cenfure of Robert Stephens, yet it may not be improper to observe, that he is not the first who supposed there was a mistake or misrepresentation with regard to this passage, in Stephens's Greek Teftament.

F. Simon (who may be supposed to have been well acquainted with the Greek MSS. in France) makes the following remark:

• Since we are come to Greek manuscripts, it will not be amifs to make this obfervation, that there is an apparent fault in the printing of this place, in the fair Greek edition of the New Testament of Robert Stephens; the femicircle or hook, that shews how it should be read, is placed after ev tw egzyw ; whereas it ought to be put immediately before er on yn ; infomuch that all thefe words εν τω έρανώ, ο Πατης, ο Λογος, και το αγιον Πνευμα" και ετοι οι τρεις έν εισι. Και τρεις εισιν οι μαρτυράντες, were not in the seven copies that are quoted in the margin of this edition. Lucas Brugensis has already made this conjecture; for he durft rot avouch that this verse is entire in all Robert Stephens's. Greek manuscripts, without the words e TW egavą. Therefore having observed this, he subjoins, “ Si tamen semicircalus, lectionis designans terminum, suo loco fit collocatus :"

provided the semicircle, which denotes the end of the read. ing, be inserted in its proper place." Indeed it is difficult to find Greek MSS, in which these words are expressed. They are, not found in any of those of the king's library, that I have 'consulted.'

In the second Letter our author proceeds to efablih the au• thenticity of the verse itself, by testimonies of different kinds, all antecedent, in point of time, to the days of any of the editors here mentioned ; by proofs, commencing with the age of Erasmus, and ascending from thence to that of the apostles.

Theft

These testimonies are those of Laurentius Valla, Nicholas de Lyra, St. Thomas, Durandus, Lombard, Rupert, St. Ber. nard, Radulphus Ardens, Hugo Victorinas, Scotus, Walafrid Strabo, Ansbert, Etherius, Beatus; Caliiodorus, Fulgentius, [A. D. 508) Vigilius Tapfenîs, [484,] Eucherius, [434,] Jerome, (378,] St. Austin, (396,) Marcus Celedenfis, (one of Jerom's correspondents,] Phæbadius, [359], Cyprian, [248] Tertullian, [192.]

To the evidence, furnished by these writers, the author fubjoins the testimony of councils, and other collective bodies of men.

With regard to the preceding testimonies it may be faid, that the authority of writers, or even manuscripts, of a thou. sand or thirteen hundred years antiquity, is fallacious; be. cause the verse in question, supposing it to be an interpolation, was most probably inserted in some copies of St. John's Epistle, in the fourth or fifth century, by fome orthodox zealot *

In treating of Jerome's testimony, our author says:

• When the pious Jerome, who died A. D. 420, had completed that great work of correcting the Latin version of the Old, and settling the text of the New Testament, which he undertook at the request of pope Damasus, he closed the arduous tak with the folemn protestation, that in revising the New Testament he had adhered entirely to the Greek 'MSS, " Novum Testamentum Græcæ fidei reddidi.” And in Jea rome's Testament, this verfe of St. John is read without any doubt of its authenticity.'

The learned author supposes that Jerome translated all the New Testament. Bụt how is this to be proved ? Jerome indeed says, " Novum Testamentum Græcæ fidei reddidi.' But it is most probable, that Jerome's translation was not so extenfive. Jerome wrote his Catalogue of Ecclesiastical Writers, in which these words occur, in the year 392. Yet St. Austin, in a letter to him, which could not be written earlier than 395, after he was bishop of Hippo; returns him thanks for translating · Evangelium ex Græco ;' and Jerom in answer, ftyles his work, · Novi Testamenti emendatio ti' We, therefore, cannot conclude from the words Novum Testamentum, or the corresponding Greek in Jerome's Catalogue, Karun Axarxr, that he translated the apoitolical epiftles, or corrected the ancient Latin version of the whole New Testament.

But granting that he did, where thall we find this transs. tion or emendation ? Mr. Travis tells us, page 93, ' Jerome

Arius was condemned in the Nicene Council, A. D. 325. † Hieron. Oper. ii. 336. 334. edit. 1565,

[ocr errors]
[merged small][ocr errors]

was the author of that translation of the Bible, which is now called the vulgar Latin or the Vulgate : in which translation this verse has always had a place.'

Erasmus places this translation among the lost works of Jerome, and says, Novam Testamentum Græcæ fidei reddidit; qui labor, fi extaret, aut non fuiffet nobis eâdem in re laborandum, aut certè illius ftudio plurimùm fuiffemus'adjuti.' And in his commentary on the words · Evangelium ex Græco,? he says : * Hieronymus dicit se castigasse magis fensum quàm verba, quanquam nec illum habemus caftigationem.'

Poole, in the Preface to his Synopsis, fpeaks of the Valgate in the following terms:

• Vulgata Latina versio, eadem ferè quæ Hieronymi, sed variè immutata atque interpolata, ét decreto Romani pontificis firmata ; quam alii miris laudibus extollunt ; nec alii minùs vituperant; alii verò eam facrum texum modò optimè, modò etiam pesimè, plerumque verò mediocriter, reddere fentiunt.'p.iv.

It may be observed, that neither Bellarmine nor F. Labbé, include a translation or castigation of the New Testament among the works of Jerome.' What Cave fays upon this subject, seems to be the real truth. Quicquid ex iis [libris extat in Vulgatis Bibliis conservatur, cum antiquâ verlione Latinâ ex Græco' falta, permixtum ac confusum ; adeo ut quænam fint Hieronymi, quænam antiquæ verfionis, vix ac ne vix dignofci queat

If we likewise consider the various corruptions, which this Latin translation has undergone in later ages, we cannot by any means agree with our author in believing, that we have at present Jerome's version of the text in dispute.

One of the most important teftimonies which the writings of Jerome afford, is the following passage in a preface to the canonical Epistles, which passes under his name.

• Eft prima earum una Jacobi, Petri duæ, Johannis tres, & Judæ una, Quæ li, ut ab eis digeltæ funt, ita quoque ab interpretibus fideliter in Latinum verterentur eloquium, nec ambiguitatem legentibus facerent, nec fermonum fefe varietas impugnaret; illo præcipuè loco, ubi de Unitate Trinitatis in primâ Johannis epiftolâ pofituin legimus. In quâ etiam ab infidelibus translatoribus multùm erratum effe à fidei veritate comperimus; trium tantummodo vocabula, hoc elt, Aquæ, Sanguinis, & Spiritûs, in suâ editione ponentibus ; & Patris, Verbique ac Spiritûs teftimonium omittentibus, in quo maximè & fides catholica roboratur, et Patris, ac Filii, ac Spiritûs una divinitatis substantia comprobatur f.

* Cave, Hift. Literarii. Vide Apparat. Biblic. by F. Lamy, lib. ii. cap. 8. † Hieronymi Divina Bibliotheca per Martianay, edit. Par. 1693. p. 1607.

There

« PreviousContinue »