And I have done it the more freely, because to You, who understand the many abuses which they of the Roman Church have put upon the world, it will scarce be ungratefull, to be convinced of one more than is commonly believed. For they act according to their religion but we con trary to ours. There can not be better ser vice done to the truth, than to purge it of things spurious. The History of the Corruption in short is this. Then Ierome for the same end inserted the Trinity in express words in his Version. Out of him the Africans began to allege it against the Vandals about 64 years after his death.
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No 30 An historical account of two notable corruptions of Scripture, in a Letter to a Friend. Sir Since the discourses of some late writers have raised in you a curiosity, of knowing the truth of that text of Scripture concerning the testimony of the three in heaven 1 Iohn 5.
And I have done it the more freely because to you who understand the many abuses which they of the Roman Church have put upon the world, it will scarce be ungratefull to be convinced of one more than is commonly believed.
For they act according to their religion but we contrary to ours. The history of the corruption in short is this. Then Ierome for the same end inserted the Trinity in expres words into his Version. Now the truth of this history will appear by considering the arguments on both sides. Cyprians words run thus. And these three are one. The Socinians here deale too injuriously with Cyprian while they would have this place corrupted: for Cyprian in another place repeats almost the same thing b If, saith he, [one baptized amongst hereticks] be made the temple of God, tell me I pray of what God?
If of the Holy ghost, since these three are one, how can the Holy ghost be reconciled to him who is the enemy of either the Father or the Son. In reconciling this difficulty I consider therefore that the only words of the text quoted by Cyprian in both places are, And these three are one: which words may belong to the eighth verse as well as to the seventh.
And d S. This at least may be gathered from this passage of Facundus, that some in those early ages interpreted Cyprian after this manner. If it be pretended that the words cited by Cyprian are taken out of the seventh verse rather then out of the eighth because he reads not Hi tres in unum sunt but hi tres unum sunt I answer that the Latines generally read hi tres unum sunt as well in the eighth verse as in the seventh as you may see in the newly cited places of S.
That is, one Deity one God. This MS is about years old. And the first upon record that inserted it is Ierome, if the f Preface to the Canonical Epistles which pass under his name are his. And whilst he was accused by his contemporaries of falsifying the scriptures in inserting it, this accusation also confirms that he altered the public reading.
For had the reading been dubious before he made it so, no man would have charged him with falsification for following either part. They that have been conversant in his writings observe a strange liberty he takes in asserting things. But I accuse him not. And all three are against him. For by the unanimous evidence of all these, it will appear that the testimony of the three in heaven was wanting in the Greek Manuscripts from whence Ierome, or whoever was the author of that Preface to the Canonical Epistles, pretends to have borrowed it.
The words in terra he omits, which is never done but in copies where the testimony of the three in heaven is wanting. Cassiodorus, or who ever was the author of the latin Version of the discourse of Clemens Alexandrinus on these Epistles of St Iohn, reads it thus. Beda in his commentary on the place reads it thus: Et spiritus est qui testificatur quoniam Christus est veritas. Si testimonium. The author of the first Epistle ascribed to Pope Eusebius reads it as Beda doth, omitting only the words in terra.
And if the authority of Popes be valuable, Pope Leo the great, in his tenth Epistle thus cites the place. Et spiritus est qui testificatur, quoniam spiritus est veritas. Quia tres sunt qui testimonium dant, spiritus et aqua et sanguis et hi tres unum sunt. Ambrose in the sixt Chapter of his first book de spiritu sancto disputing for the unity of the three persons, saith, Hi tres unum sunt Ioannes dixit, Aqua sanguis et spiritus. Vnum in mysterio non in natura. Yea in the 11th chapter of his third book, he fully recites the Text thus.
Quia tres sunt testes spiritus aqua et sanguis, et hi tres unum sunt in Christo Iesu. Austin you have in the places cited above. These are the Latines as late or later then Ierome.
And so doth Oecu menius a later Greek in his commentary on this place of S. And in this Epistle the text was thus cited. Et spiritus est qui testificatur quoniam Christus est veritas: Quia tres sunt qui testimonium dant, spiritus et aqua et sanguis et hi tres unum sunt. Will you now say that the testimony of the three in heaven was rased out of their books by the prevailing Arians? Will you now say that Ierome followed some Copy different from what the Greeks were acquainted with?
The authority of this Version being thus far discust, it remains that we consider the authority of the Manuscripts wherein we now read the testimony of the three in heaven. And by the best enquiry that I have been able to make it is wanting in the ma nuscripts of all Languages but the Latine.
Few of these Manuscripts are above or years old. The latest generally have the testimony of the three in heaven; the oldest of all usually want it: which shews that it has crept in by degrees.
Peter Cholinus notes in the margin of his Latine Edition of the scriptures printed A. Lucas himself collating many Latine ones notes it wanting in only five, that is in the few old ones he had, his manuscripts being almost all of them new ones. The Lateran Council collected under Innocent the third.
To the same Vigilius he asserts also the book de unita Deitate Trinitatis. Certainly Atha nasius was not its Author. So then Eugenius is the first upon record that quotes it.
In those ages S. By this means the old Latine has been so generally corrected that it is no where to be found sincere. For who that inserted the rest of Ierome into the text would leave out such a passage for the Trinity as this has been taken to be? But to put the question out of dispute there are footsteps of the insertion still remaining. For in some old Manuscripts it has been found noted in the margin, in others the various read ings are such as ought to arise by transcribing it out of the margin into the text.
I shall only mention the three follow ing varieties. Of the MSS which have not the testimony of the three in heaven some have the words in terra in the eighth verse but the most want it. Of the MSS which have the testimony of the three in heaven some in the eighth verse have hi tres unum sunt others not.
And lastly the testimony of the three in heaven is in most books set before the testimony of the three in earth, in some set after. Varimadum c. Which seems to proceed from hence that it was sometimes so noted in the margin that the Reader or transcriber knew not whether it were to come before or after. Those who first printed the greek Testament did generally in following their manuscripts omit the testimony of the three in heaven except in Spain.
The first edition in greek which has the testimo ny of the three in heaven was that of Cardinal Xime nes printed at Complutum in Spain A. The Cardinal in his edition used the assistance of several Divines which he called together to Complutum, there founding an Vni versity A. And so it continued in his two following editions: And at length Robert Stephens A. Whence Beza tells us that he had read it in the rest.
Legimus et nos in nonnullis Roberti nostri veteribus libris. So then he had the collati ons of two more Manuscripts then Stephens has given us in print. And this was all his furniture. The original manuscripts he does not here pretend to have, nor could he have them.
And were Stephens does not cite various lections there he reccons that in the text of Stephens collated book he read all the Manuscripts. So in Marc. In 1 Iohn. In Iames 1.
Legimus et nos in nonnullis Roberti Stephani codicibus. Thus he did in the first edition of his Annotations. But if they please to consider the business a little better they will find themselves very much mistaken. And this any one may gather by noting what manuscripts the various lections are cited out of in every book of the new Testament. And because Stephen had some of his various lections from Italy I will add that a Gentleman who in his travells had consulted twelve MSS in several Libraries in Italy, assured me that he found it wanting in them all.
Let those who have such a manuscript at length tell us where it is. So also let them who insist upon the edition of Cardinal Ximenes tell us by what Manuscript he printed this testimony, or at least where any such manuscript of good note is to be seen. Secondly I startle at the marginal note in this place of the Cardinals edition. In 1 Cor. In Matt. And so here where the testimony of the three in heaven is generally wanting in the greek copies, they make a third marginal note to secure themselves from being blamed for printing it.
But this is not the main designe, for so the annotation should have been set in the margin of the Latin Version. Which is manifest by the Prologue of S. In other places of scripture where he had greek Manuscripts on his side, he produces them readily.
So in 1 Thes. In 1 Thes. In Phil 4. Know, saith he, that in this place the greek manuscripts are most evidently corrupted. In other places if he hath but one manuscript on his side, he produces it magnificently enough, as the Codex Rhodiensis in his discourse upon 2 Cor. Neither could Sepulueda or the Spanish Moncks who next undertook the controversy find any one greek manuscript which here made against Erasmus.
So then to summe up the argument, the Complutensian Divines did sometimes correct the greek by the Latine without the authority of any one greek Ma nuscript, as appears by their practise in Mat. Nor has all the zeal for this text been able since to discover one either in Spain or any where else.
Two Notable Corruptions of Scripture (part 2: ff. 43-48)
No 30 An historical account of two notable corruptions of Scripture, in a Letter to a Friend. Sir Since the discourses of some late writers have raised in you a curiosity, of knowing the truth of that text of Scripture concerning the testimony of the three in heaven 1 Iohn 5. And I have done it the more freely because to you who understand the many abuses which they of the Roman Church have put upon the world, it will scarce be ungratefull to be convinced of one more than is commonly believed. For they act according to their religion but we contrary to ours.
Two Notable Corruptions of Scripture (part 1: ff. 1-41)
He then traced the way in which the spurious reading crept into the Latin versions, first as a marginal note, and later into the text itself. He showed that it was first taken into a Greek text in by Cardinal Ximenes on the strength of a late Greek manuscript corrected from the Latin. Summing up both passages, Newton said: "If the ancient churches in debating and deciding the greatest mysteries of religion, knew nothing of these two texts, I understand not, why we should be so fond of them now the debates are over. Yet it was only in the nineteenth century that Bible translations appeared correcting these passages.
Using the writings of the early Church Fathers , the Greek and Latin manuscripts and the testimony of the first versions[ clarification needed ] of the Bible, Newton claims to have demonstrated that the words "in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one", that support the Trinity doctrine, did not appear in the original Greek Scriptures. He then attempts to demonstrate that the purportedly spurious reading crept into the Latin versions, first as a marginal note , and later into the text itself. Newton argued that, by a small alteration in the Greek text, the word "God" was substituted to make the phrase read "God was manifest in the flesh" instead of "which was manifested in the flesh". Modern versions of the Bible from the Critical Text usually omit the addition to 1 John , but some place it in a footnote, with a comment indicating that "it is not found in the earliest manuscripts". Later, Frederick Nolan in , Ebenezer Henderson in and John William Burgon in the Revision Revised in all contributed substantially to the verse discussion. Historical background[ edit ] Newton did not publish these findings during his lifetime, likely due to the political climate. Those who wrote against the doctrine of the Trinity were subject to persecution in England.