« Prev Article I. The New Greek Text. Next »

Article I. The New Greek Text.

One question in connexion with the Authorized Version I have purposely neglected. It seemed useless to discuss its Revision. The Revision of the original Texts must precede the Revision of the Translation: and the time for this, even in the New Testament, has not yet fully come.Dr. Westcott.2828Preface to History of the English Bible (p. ix.),—1868.

It is my honest conviction that for any authoritative Revision, we are not yet mature; either in Biblical learning or Hellenistic scholarship. There is good scholarship in this country, ... but it has certainly not yet been sufficiently directed to the study of the New Testament ... to render any national attempt at Revision either hopeful or lastingly profitable.Bishop Ellicott.2929Preface to Pastoral Epistles (p. xiv.),—1861.

I am persuaded that a Revision ought to come: I am convinced that it will come. Not however, I would trust, as yet; for we are not as yet in any respect prepared for it. The Greek and the English which should enable us to bring this to a successful end, might, it is feared, be wanting alike.Archbishop Trench.3030The Authorized Version of the N. T. (p. 3),—1858.

It is happened unto them according to the true proverb, Κύων ἐπιστρέψας ἐπὶ τὸ ἴδιον ἐξέραμα; and Ὕς λουσαμένη εἰς κύλισμα βορβόρου.—2 Peter ii. 22.

Little children,—Keep yourselves from idols.—1 John v. 21.

At a period of extraordinary intellectual activity like the present, it can occasion no surprise—although it may reasonably create anxiety—if the most sacred and cherished of our Institutions are constrained each in turn to submit to the ordeal of hostile scrutiny; sometimes even to bear the brunt of actual attack. When however at last the very citadel of revealed Truth is observed to have been reached, and to be undergoing systematic assault and battery, lookers-on may be excused if they show themselves more than usually solicitous, ne quid detrimenti Civitas DEI capiat. A Revision of the Authorized Version of the New Testament,3131The New Testament of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ translated out of the Greek: being the Version set forth a.d. 1611, compared with the most ancient Authorities, and Revised a.d. 1881. Printed for the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge, 1881. purporting to have been executed by authority of the Convocation of the Southern Province, and declaring itself the exclusive property of our two ancient Universities, has recently (17th May, 1881) appeared; of which the essential feature proves to be, that it is founded on an 002 entirely New Recension of the Greek Text.3232   The New Testament in the Original Greek, according to the Text followed in the Authorized Version, together with the Variations adopted in the Revised Version. Edited for the Syndics of the Cambridge University Press, by F. H. A. Scrivener, M.A., D.C.L., LL.D., Prebendary of Exeter and Vicar of Hendon. Cambridge, 1881.
    Ἡ ΚΑΙΝΗ ΔΙΑΘΗΚΗ. The Greek Testament, with the Readings adopted by the Revisers of the Authorized Version. [Edited by the Ven. Archdeacon Palmer, D.D.] Oxford, 1881.
A claim is at the same time set up on behalf of the last-named production that it exhibits a closer approximation to the inspired Autographs than the world has hitherto seen. Not unreasonable therefore is the expectation entertained by its Authors that the New English Version founded on this New Greek Text is destined to supersede the Authorized Version of 1611. Quæ cum ita sint, it is clearly high time that every faithful man among us should bestir himself: and in particular that such as have made Greek Textual Criticism in any degree their study should address themselves to the investigation of the claims of this, the latest product of the combined Biblical learning of the Church and of the sects.

For it must be plain to all, that the issue which has been thus at last raised, is of the most serious character. The Authors of this new Revision of the Greek have either entitled themselves to the Church's profound reverence and abiding gratitude; or else they have laid themselves open to her gravest censure, and must experience at her hands nothing short of stern and well-merited rebuke. No middle course presents itself; since assuredly to construct a new Greek Text formed no part of the Instructions which the Revisionists received at the hands of the Convocation of the Southern Province. Rather were they warned against venturing on such an experiment; the fundamental principle of the entire undertaking having been declared at the outset to be—That 003 a Revision of the Authorized Version is desirable; and the terms of the original Resolution of Feb. 10th, 1870, being, that the removal of plain and clear errors was alone contemplated,—whether in the Greek Text originally adopted by the Translators, or in the Translation made from the same. Such were in fact the limits formally imposed by Convocation, (10th Feb. and 3rd, 5th May, 1870,) on the work of Revision. Only necessary changes were to be made. The first Rule of the Committee (25th May) was similar in character: viz.—To introduce as few alterations as possible into the Text of the Authorized Version, consistently with faithfulness.

But further, we were reconciled to the prospect of a Revised Greek Text, by noting that a limit was prescribed to the amount of licence which could by possibility result, by the insertion of a proviso, which however is now discovered to have been entirely disregarded by the Revisionists. The condition was enjoined upon them that whenever decidedly preponderating evidence constrained their adoption of some change in the Text from which the Authorized Version was made, they should indicate such alteration in the margin. Will it be believed that, this notwithstanding, not one of the many alterations which have been introduced into the original Text is so commemorated? On the contrary: singular to relate, the Margin is disfigured throughout with ominous hints that, had Some ancient authorities, Many ancient authorities, Many very ancient authorities, been attended to, a vast many more changes might, could, would, or should have been introduced into the Greek Text than have been actually adopted. And yet, this is precisely the kind of record which we ought to have been spared:—

(1) First,—Because it was plainly external to the province of the Revisionists to introduce any such details into their margin at all: their very function being, on the contrary, to 004 investigate Textual questions in conclave, and to present the ordinary Reader with the result of their deliberations. Their business was to correct plain and clear errors; not, certainly, to invent a fresh crop of unheard-of doubts and difficulties. This first.—Now,

(2) That a diversity of opinion would sometimes be found to exist in the revising body was to have been expected, but when once two-thirds of their number had finally settled any question, it is plainly unreasonable that the discomfited minority should claim the privilege of evermore parading their grievance before the public; and in effect should be allowed to represent that as a corporate doubt, which was in reality the result of individual idiosyncrasy. It is not reasonable that the echoes of a forgotten strife should be thus prolonged for ever; least of all in the margin of the Gospel of peace.

(3) In fact, the privilege of figuring in the margin of the N. T., (instead of standing in the Text,) is even attended by a fatal result: for, (as Bp. Ellicott remarks,) the judgment commonly entertained in reference to our present margin, (i.e. the margin of the A. V.) is, that its contents are exegetically or critically superior to the Text.3333On Revision,—pp. 215-6. It will certainly be long before this popular estimate is unconditionally abandoned. But,

(4) Especially do we deprecate the introduction into the margin of all this strange lore, because we insist on behalf of unlearned persons that they ought not to be molested with information which cannot, by possibility, be of the slightest service to them: with vague statements about ancient authorities,—of the importance, or unimportance, of which they know absolutely nothing, nor indeed ever can know. Unlearned readers on taking the Revision into their hands, (i.e. at least 999 readers out of 1000,) will never be 005 aware whether these (so-called) Various Readings are to be scornfully scouted, as nothing else but ancient perversions of the Truth; or else are to be lovingly cherished, as alternative [see the Revisers' Preface (iii. 1.)] exhibitions of the inspired Verity,—to their own abiding perplexity and infinite distress.

Undeniable at all events it is, that the effect which these ever-recurring announcements produce on the devout reader of Scripture is the reverse of edifying: is never helpful: is always bewildering. A man of ordinary acuteness can but exclaim,—Yes, very likely. But what of it? My eye happens to alight on Bethesda (in S. John v. 2); against which I find in the margin,—Some ancient authorities read Bethsaida, others Bethzatha. Am I then to understand that in the judgment of the Revisionists it is uncertain which of those three names is right?... Not so the expert, who is overheard to moralize concerning the phenomena of the case after a less ceremonious fashion:—Bethsaida! Yes, the old Latin3434Tertullian, bis. and the Vulgate,3535Hieron. Opp. ii. 177 c (see the note). countenanced by one manuscript of bad character, so reads. Bethzatha! Yes, the blunder is found in two manuscripts, both of bad character. Why do you not go on to tell us that another manuscript exhibits Belzetha?—another (supported by Eusebius3636Apud Hieron. iii. 121. and [in one place] by Cyril3737iv. 617 c (ed. Pusey).), Bezatha? Nay, why not say plainly that there are found to exist upwards of thirty blundering representations of this same word; but that Bethesda—(the reading of sixteen uncials and the whole body of the cursives, besides the Peschito and Cureton's Syriac, the Armenian, Georgian and Slavonic Versions,—Didymus,3838P. 272. Chrysostom,3939i. 548 c; viii. 207 a. and Cyril4040iv. 205.),—is the only reasonable way of exhibiting it? To 006 speak plainly, Why encumber your margin with such a note at all?... But we are moving forward too fast.

It can never be any question among scholars, that a fatal error was committed when a body of Divines, appointed to revise the Authorized English Version of the New Testament Scriptures, addressed themselves to the solution of an entirely different and far more intricate problem, namely the re-construction of the Greek Text. We are content to pass over much that is distressing in the antecedent history of their enterprise. We forbear at this time of day to investigate, by an appeal to documents and dates, certain proceedings in and out of Convocation, on which it is known that the gravest diversity of sentiment still prevails among Churchmen.4141A reference to the Journal of Convocation, for a twelvemonth after the proposal for a Revision of the Authorized Version was seriously entertained, will reveal more than it would be convenient in this place even to allude to. This we do, not by any means as ourselves halting between two opinions, but only as sincerely desirous that the work before us may stand or fall, judged by its own intrinsic merits. Whether or no Convocation,—when it nominated certain of its own members to undertake the work of Revision, and authorized them to refer when they considered it desirable to Divines, Scholars, and Literary men, at home or abroad, for their opinion;—whether Convocation intended thereby to sanction the actual co-optation into the Company appointed by themselves, of members of the Presbyterian, the Wesleyan, the Baptist, the Congregationalist, the Socinian body; this we venture to think may fairly be doubted.—Whether again Convocation can have foreseen that of the ninety-nine Scholars in all who have taken part in this work of Revision, only forty-nine would be Churchmen, while the remaining fifty would belong to the sects:4242We derive our information from the learned Congregationalist, Dr. Newth,—Lectures on Bible Revision (1881), p. 116.this also we 007 venture to think may be reasonably called in question.—Whether lastly, the Canterbury Convocation, had it been appealed to with reference to the Westminster-Abbey scandal (June 22nd, 1870), would not have cleared itself of the suspicion of complicity, by an unequivocal resolution,—we entertain no manner of doubt.—But we decline to enter upon these, or any other like matters. Our business is exclusively with the result at which the Revisionists of the New Testament have arrived: and it is to this that we now address ourselves; with the mere avowal of our grave anxiety at the spectacle of an assembly of scholars, appointed to revise an English Translation, finding themselves called upon, as every fresh difficulty emerged, to develop the skill requisite for critically revising the original Greek Text. What else is implied by the very endeavour, but a singular expectation that experts in one Science may, at a moment's notice, show themselves proficients in another,—and that one of the most difficult and delicate imaginable?

Enough has been said to make it plain why, in the ensuing pages, we propose to pursue a different course from that which has been adopted by Reviewers generally, since the memorable day (May 17th, 1881) when the work of the Revisionists was for the first time submitted to public scrutiny. The one point which, with rare exceptions, has ever since monopolized attention, has been the merits or demerits of their English rendering of certain Greek words and expressions. But there is clearly a question of prior interest and infinitely greater importance, which has to be settled first: namely, the merits or demerits of the changes which the same Scholars have taken upon themselves to introduce into the Greek Text. Until it has been ascertained that the result of their labours exhibits a decided improvement upon what before was read, it is clearly a mere waste of time to enquire into the merits of their work as Revisers of a 008 Translation. But in fact it has to be proved that the Revisionists have restricted themselves to the removal of plain and clear errors from the commonly received Text. We are distressed to discover that, on the contrary, they have done something quite different. The treatment which the N. T. has experienced at the hands of the Revisionists recals the fate of some ancient edifice which confessedly required to be painted, papered, scoured,—with a minimum of masons' and carpenters' work,—in order to be inhabited with comfort for the next hundred years: but those entrusted with the job were so ill-advised as to persuade themselves that it required to be to a great extent rebuilt. Accordingly, in an evil hour they set about removing foundations, and did so much structural mischief that in the end it became necessary to proceed against them for damages.

Without the remotest intention of imposing views of our own on the general Reader, but only to enable him to give his intelligent assent to much that is to follow, we find ourselves constrained in the first instance,—before conducting him over any part of the domain which the Revisionists have ventured uninvited to occupy,—to premise a few ordinary facts which lie on the threshold of the science of Textual Criticism. Until these have been clearly apprehended, no progress whatever is possible.

(1) The provision, then, which the Divine Author of Scripture is found to have made for the preservation in its integrity of His written Word, is of a peculiarly varied and highly complex description. First,—By causing that a vast multiplication of Copies should be required all down the ages,—beginning at the earliest period, and continuing in an ever-increasing ratio until the actual invention of Printing,—He provided the most effectual security imaginable against fraud. True, that millions of the copies so produced have long since 009 perished: but it is nevertheless a plain fact that there survive of the Gospels alone upwards of one thousand copies to the present day.

(2) Next, Versions. The necessity of translating the Scriptures into divers languages for the use of different branches of the early Church, procured that many an authentic record has been preserved of the New Testament as it existed in the first few centuries of the Christian era. Thus, the Peschito Syriac and the old Latin version are believed to have been executed in the IInd century. It is no stretch of imagination (wrote Bp. Ellicott in 1870,) to suppose that portions of the Peschito might have been in the hands of S. John, or that the Old Latin represented the current views of the Roman Christians of the IInd century.4343On Revision, pp. 26-7. The two Egyptian translations are referred to the IIIrd and IVth. The Vulgate (or revised Latin) and the Gothic are also claimed for the IVth: the Armenian, and possibly the Æthiopic, belong to the Vth.

(3) Lastly, the requirements of assailants and apologists alike, the business of Commentators, the needs of controversialists and teachers in every age, have resulted in a vast accumulation of additional evidence, of which it is scarcely possible to over-estimate the importance. For in this way it has come to pass that every famous Doctor of the Church in turn has quoted more or less largely from the sacred writings, and thus has borne testimony to the contents of the codices with which he was individually familiar. Patristic Citations accordingly are a third mighty safeguard of the integrity of the deposit.

To weigh these three instruments of Criticism—Copies, Versions, Fathers—one against another, is obviously impossible 010 on the present occasion. Such a discussion would grow at once into a treatise.4444Dr. Scrivener's Plain Introduction to the Criticism of the New Testament, 2nd edition, 1874 (pp. 607), may be confidently recommended to any one who desires to master the outlines of Textual Criticism under the guidance of a judicious, impartial, and thoroughly competent guide. A new and revised edition of this excellent treatise will appear shortly. Certain explanatory details, together with a few words of caution, are as much as may be attempted.

I. And, first of all, the reader has need to be apprised (with reference to the first-named class of evidence) that most of our extant copies of the N. T. Scriptures are comparatively of recent date, ranging from the Xth to the XIVth century of our era. That these are in every instance copies of yet older manuscripts, is self-evident; and that in the main they represent faithfully the sacred autographs themselves, no reasonable person doubts.4545Studious readers are invited to enquire for Dr. Scrivener's Full and exact Collation of about Twenty Greek Manuscripts of the Holy Gospels (hitherto unexamined), deposited in the British Museum, the Archiepiscopal Library at Lambeth, &c., with a Critical Introduction. (Pp. lxxiv. and 178.) 1853. The introductory matter deserves very attentive perusal.—With equal confidence we beg to recommend his Exact Transcript of the Codex Augiensis, a Græco-Latin Manuscript of S. Paul's Epistles, deposited in the Library of Trinity College, Cambridge; to which is added a full Collation of Fifty Manuscripts, containing various portions of the Greek New Testament, in the Libraries of Cambridge, Parham, Leicester, Oxford, Lambeth, the British Museum, &c. With a Critical Introduction (which must also be carefully studied). (Pp. lxxx. and 563.) 1859.—Learned readers can scarcely require to be told of the same learned scholar's Novum Testamentum Textûs Stephanici, a.d. 1550. Accedunt variæ Lectiones Editionum Bezæ, Elzeviri, Lachmanni, Tischendorfii, Tregellesii. Curante F. H. A. Scrivener, A.M., D.C.L., LL.D. [1860.] Editio auctior et emendatior. 1877.—Those who merely wish for a short popular Introduction to the subject may be grateful to be told of Dr. Scrivener's Six Lectures on the Text of the N. T. and the Ancient MSS. which contain it, chiefly addressed to those who do not read Greek. 1875. Still, it is undeniable that 011 they are thus separated by about a thousand years from their inspired archetypes. Readers are reminded, in passing, that the little handful of copies on which we rely for the texts of Herodotus and Thucydides, of Æschylus and Sophocles, are removed from their originals by full 500 years more: and that, instead of a thousand, or half a thousand copies, we are dependent for the text of certain of these authors on as many copies as may be counted on the fingers of one hand. In truth, the security which the Text of the New Testament enjoys is altogether unique and extraordinary. To specify one single consideration, which has never yet attracted nearly the amount of attention it deserves,—Lectionaries abound, which establish the Text which has been publicly read in the churches of the East, from at least a.d. 400 until the time of the invention of printing.

But here an important consideration claims special attention. We allude to the result of increased acquaintance with certain of the oldest extant codices of the N. T. Two of these,—viz. a copy in the Vatican technically indicated by the letter b, and the recently-discovered Sinaitic codex, styled after the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet א,—are thought to belong to the IVth century. Two are assigned to the Vth, viz. the Alexandrian (a) in the British Museum, and the rescript codex preserved at Paris, designated c. One is probably of the VIth, viz. the codex Bezæ (d) preserved at Cambridge. Singular to relate, the first, second, fourth, and fifth of these codices (b א c d), but especially b and א, have within the last twenty years established a tyrannical ascendency over the imagination of the Critics, which can only be fitly spoken of as a blind superstition. It matters nothing that all four are discovered on careful scrutiny to differ essentially, not only from ninety-nine out of a hundred of 012 the whole body of extant MSS. besides, but even from one another. This last circumstance, obviously fatal to their corporate pretensions, is unaccountably overlooked. And yet it admits of only one satisfactory explanation: viz. that in different degrees they all five exhibit a fabricated text. Between the first two (b and א) there subsists an amount of sinister resemblance, which proves that they must have been derived at no very remote period from the same corrupt original. Tischendorf insists that they were partly written by the same scribe. Yet do they stand asunder in every page; as well as differ widely from the commonly received Text, with which they have been carefully collated. On being referred to this standard, in the Gospels alone, b is found to omit at least 2877 words: to add, 536: to substitute, 935: to transpose, 2098: to modify, 1132 (in all 7578):—the corresponding figures for א being severally 3455, 839, 1114, 2299, 1265 (in all 8972). And be it remembered that the omissions, additions, substitutions, transpositions, and modifications, are by no means the same in both. It is in fact easier to find two consecutive verses in which these two MSS. differ the one from the other, than two consecutive verses in which they entirely agree.

But by far the most depraved text is that exhibited by codex d. No known manuscript contains so many bold and extensive interpolations. Its variations from the sacred Text are beyond all other example.4646Scrivener's Plain Introduction,—p. 118. This, however, is not the result of its being the most recent of the five, but (singular to relate) is due to quite an opposite cause. It is thought (not without reason) to exhibit a IInd-century text. When we turn to the Acts of the 013 Apostles, (says the learned editor of the codex in question, Dr. Scrivener,4747Bezæ Codex Cantabrigiensis: being an exact Copy, in ordinary Type, of the celebrated Uncial Græco-Latin Manuscript of the Four Gospels and Acts of the Apostles, written early in the Sixth Century, and presented to the University of Cambridge by Theodore Beza, a.d. 1581. Edited, with a Critical Introduction, Annotations, and Facsimiles, by Frederick H. Scrivener, M.A., Rector of S. Gerrans, Cornwall. (Pp. lxiv. and 453.) Cambridge, 1864. No one who aspires to a competent acquaintance with Textual Criticism can afford to be without this book.)—

We find ourselves confronted with a text, the like to which we have no experience of elsewhere. It is hardly an exaggeration to assert that codex d reproduces the Textus receptus much in the same way that one of the best Chaldee Targums does the Hebrew of the Old Testament: so wide are the variations in the diction, so constant and inveterate the practice of expounding the narrative by means of interpolations which seldom recommend themselves as genuine by even a semblance of internal probability.

Vix dici potest (says Mill) quam supra omnem modum licenter se gesserit, ac plane lasciverit Interpolator. Though a large portion of the Gospels is missing, in what remains (tested by the same standard) we find 3704 words omitted: no less than 2213 added, and 2121 substituted. The words transposed amount to 3471: and 1772 have been modified: the deflections from the Received Text thus amounting in all to 13,281.—Next to d, the most untrustworthy codex is א, which bears on its front a memorable note of the evil repute under which it has always laboured: viz. it is found that at least ten revisers between the IVth and the XIIth centuries busied themselves with the task of correcting its many and extraordinary perversions of the truth of Scripture.4848On the subject of codex א we beg (once for all) to refer scholars to Scrivener's Full Collation of the Codex Sinaiticus with the Received Text of the New Testament. To which is prefixed a Critical Introduction. [1863.] 2nd Edition, revised. (Pp. lxxii. and 163.) 1867.—Next in 014 impurity comes b:—then, the fragmentary codex c: our own a being, beyond all doubt, disfigured by the fewest blemishes of any.

What precedes admits to some extent of further numerical illustration. It is discovered that in the 111 (out of 320) pages of an ordinary copy of the Greek Testament, in which alone these five manuscripts are collectively available for comparison in the Gospels,—the serious deflections of a from the Textus receptus amount in all to only 842: whereas in c they amount to 1798: in b, to 2370: in א, to 3392: in d, to 4697. The readings peculiar to a within the same limits are 133: those peculiar to c are 170. But those of b amount to 197: while א exhibits 443: and the readings peculiar to d (within the same limits), are no fewer than 1829.... We submit that these facts—which result from merely referring five manuscripts to one and the same common standard—are by no means calculated to inspire confidence in codices b א c d:—codices, be it remembered, which come to us without a character, without a history, in fact without antecedents of any kind.

But let the learned chairman of the New Testament company of Revisionists (Bp. Ellicott) be heard on this subject. He is characterizing these same old uncials, which it is just now the fashion—or rather, the craze—to hold up as oracular, and to which his lordship is as devotedly and blindly attached as any of his neighbours:—

The simplicity and dignified conciseness (he says) of the Vatican manuscript (b): the greater expansiveness of our own Alexandrian (a): the partially mixed characteristics of the Sinaitic (א): the paraphrastic tone of the singular codex Bezæ (d), are now brought home to the student.4949Bishop Ellicott's Considerations on Revision, &c. (1870), p. 40.

Could ingenuity have devised severer satire than such a 015 description of four professing transcripts of a book; and that book, the everlasting Gospel itself?—transcripts, be it observed in passing, on which it is just now the fashion to rely implicitly for the very orthography of proper names,—the spelling of common words,—the minutiæ of grammar. What (we ask) would be thought of four such copies of Thucydides or of Shakspeare? Imagine it gravely proposed, by the aid of four such conflicting documents, to re-adjust the text of the funeral oration of Pericles, or to re-edit Hamlet. Risum teneatis amici? Why, some of the poet's most familiar lines would cease to be recognizable: e.g. a,—Toby or not Toby; that is the question: b,—Tob or not, is the question: א,—To be a tub, or not to be a tub; the question is that: c,—The question is, to beat, or not to beat Toby?: d (the singular codex),—The only question is this: to beat that Toby, or to be a tub?

And yet—without by any means subscribing to the precise terms in which the judicious Prelate characterizes those ignes fatui which have so persistently and egregiously led his lordship and his colleagues astray—(for indeed one seems rather to be reading a description of four styles of composition, or of as many fashions in ladies' dress, than of four copies of the Gospel)—we have already furnished indirect proof that his estimate of the codices in question is in the main correct. Further acquaintance with them does but intensify the bad character which he has given them. Let no one suppose that we deny their extraordinary value,—their unrivalled critical interest,—nay, their actual use in helping to settle the truth of Scripture. What we are just now insisting upon is only the depraved text of codices א a b c d,—especially of א b d. And because this is a matter which lies at the root of the whole controversy, and because we cannot afford that there shall exist in our reader's mind the slightest doubt on 016 this part of the subject, we shall be constrained once and again to trouble him with detailed specimens of the contents of א b, &c., in proof of the justice of what we have been alleging. We venture to assure him, without a particle of hesitation, that א b d are three of the most scandalously corrupt copies extant:—exhibit the most shamefully mutilated texts which are anywhere to be met with:—have become, by whatever process (for their history is wholly unknown), the depositories of the largest amount of fabricated readings, ancient blunders, and intentional perversions of Truth,—which are discoverable in any known copies of the Word of God.

But in fact take a single page of any ordinary copy of the Greek Testament,—Bp. Lloyd's edition, suppose. Turn to page 184. It contains ten verses of S. Luke's Gospel, ch. viii. 35 to 44. Now, proceed to collate those ten verses. You will make the notable discovery that, within those narrow limits, by codex d alone the text has been depraved 53 times, resulting in no less than 103 corrupt readings, 93 of which are found only in d. The words omitted by d are 40: the words added are 4. Twenty-five words have been substituted for others, and 14 transposed. Variations of case, tense, &c., amount to 16; and the phrase of the Evangelist has been departed from 11 times. Happily, the other four old uncials are here available. And it is found that (within the same limits, and referred to the same test,) a exhibits 3 omissions, 2 of which are peculiar to a.—b omits 12 words, 6 of which are peculiar to b: substitutes 3 words: transposes 4: and exhibits 6 lesser changes—2 of them being its own peculiar property.—א has 5 readings (affecting 8 words) peculiar to itself. Its omissions are 7: its additions, 2: its substitutions, 4: 2 words are transposed; and it exhibits 4 lesser discrepancies.—c has 7 readings (affecting 15 words) peculiar to itself. Its omissions are 4: 017 its additions, 7: its substitutions, 7: its words transposed, 7. It has 2 lesser discrepancies, and it alters the Evangelist's phrase 4 times.

But (we shall be asked) what amount of agreement, in respect of Various Readings, is discovered to subsist between these 5 codices? for that, after all, is the practical question. We answer,—a has been already shown to stand alone twice: b, 6 times: א, 8 times: c, 15 times; d, 93 times.—We have further to state that a b stand together by themselves once: b א, 4 times: b c, 1: b d, 1: א c, 1: c d, 1.—a א c conspire 1: b א c, 1: b א d, 1: a b א c, once (viz. in reading ἐρώτησεν, which Tischendorf admits to be a corrupt reading): b א c d, also once.—The 5 old uncials therefore (a b א c d) combine, and again stand apart, with singular impartiality.—Lastly, they are never once found to be in accord in respect of any single various Reading.—Will any one, after a candid survey of the premisses, deem us unreasonable, if we avow that such a specimen of the concordia discors which everywhere prevails between the oldest uncials, but which especially characterizes א b d, indisposes us greatly to suffer their unsupported authority to determine for us the Text of Scripture?

Let no one at all events obscure the one question at issue, by asking,—Whether we consider the Textus Receptus infallible? The merit or demerit of the Received Text has absolutely nothing whatever to do with the question. We care nothing about it. Any Text would equally suit our present purpose. Any Text would show the old uncials perpetually at discord among themselves. To raise an irrelevant discussion, at the outset, concerning the Textus Receptus:—to describe the haste with which Erasmus produced the first published edition of the N. T.:—to make sport about the 018 copies which he employed:—all this kind of thing is the proceeding of one who seeks to mislead his readers:—to throw dust into their eyes:—to divert their attention from the problem actually before them:—not—(as we confidently expect when we have to do with such writers as these)—the method of a sincere lover of Truth. To proceed, however.

II. and III. Nothing has been said as yet concerning the Text exhibited by the earliest of the Versions and by the most ancient of the Fathers. But, for the purpose we have just now in hand, neither are such details necessary. We desire to hasten forward. A somewhat fuller review of certain of our oldest available materials might prove even more discouraging. But that would only be because it is impossible, within such narrow limits as the present, to give the reader any idea at all of the wealth of our actual resources; and to convince him of the extent to which the least trustworthy of our guides prove in turn invaluable helps in correcting the exorbitances of their fellows. The practical result in fact of what has been hitherto offered is after all but this, that we have to be on our guard against pinning our faith exclusively on two or three,—least of all on one or two ancient documents; and of adopting them exclusively for our guides. We are shown, in other words, that it is utterly out of the question to rely on any single set or group of authorities, much less on any single document, for the determination of the Text of Scripture. Happily, our Manuscripts are numerous: most of them are in the main trustworthy: all of them represent far older documents than themselves. Our Versions (two of which are more ancient by a couple of centuries than any sacred codex extant) severally correct and check one another. Lastly, in the writings of a host of Fathers,—the principal being Eusebius, Athanasius, Basil, the Gregories, Didymus, 019 Epiphanius, Chrysostom, the Cyrils, Theodoret,—we are provided with contemporaneous evidence which, whenever it can be had, becomes an effectual safeguard against the unsupported decrees of our oldest codices, a b א c d, as well as the occasional vagaries of the Versions. In the writings of Irenæus, Clemens Alex., Origen, Dionysius Alex., Hippolytus, we meet with older evidence still. No more precarious foundation for a reading, in fact, can be named, than the unsupported advocacy of a single Manuscript, or Version, or Father; or even of two or three of these combined.

But indeed the principle involved in the foregoing remarks admits of being far more broadly stated. It even stands to reason that we may safely reject any reading which, out of the whole body of available authorities,—Manuscripts, Versions, Fathers,—finds support nowhere save in one and the same little handful of suspicious documents. For we resolutely maintain, that external Evidence must after all be our best, our only safe guide; and (to come to the point) we refuse to throw in our lot with those who, disregarding the witness of every other known Codex—every other Version—every other available Ecclesiastical Writer,—insist on following the dictates of a little group of authorities, of which nothing whatever is known with so much certainty as that often, when they concur exclusively, it is to mislead. We speak of codices b or א or d; the IXth-century codex l, and such cursives5050The epithet cursive, is used to denote manuscripts written in running-hand, of which the oldest known specimens belong to the IXth century. Uncial manuscripts are those which are written in capital letters. A codex popularly signifies a manuscript. A version is a translation. A recension is a revision. (We have been requested to explain these terms.) as 13 or 33; a few copies of the old Latin and one of the Egyptian versions: perhaps Origen.—Not theory 020 therefore:—not prejudice:—not conjecture:—not unproved assertion:—not any single codex, and certainly not codex b:—not an imaginary Antiochene Recension of another imaginary Pre-Syrian Text:—not antecedent fancies about the affinity of documents:—neither the [purely arbitrary] method of genealogy,—nor one man's notions (which may be reversed by another man's notions) of Transcriptional Probability:—not instinctive processes of Criticism,—least of all the individual mind, with its supposed power of divining the Original Text—of which no intelligible account can be rendered:—nothing of this sort,—(however specious and plausible it may sound, especially when set forth in confident language; advocated with a great show of unintelligible learning; supported by a formidable array of cabalistic symbols and mysterious contractions; above all when recommended by justly respected names,)—nothing of this sort, we say, must be allowed to determine for us the Text of Scripture. The very proposal should set us on our guard against the certainty of imposition.

We deem it even axiomatic, that, in every case of doubt or difficulty—supposed or real—our critical method must be the same: namely, after patiently collecting all the available evidence, then, without partiality or prejudice, to adjudicate between the conflicting authorities, and loyally to accept that verdict for which there is clearly the preponderating evidence. The best supported Reading, in other words, must always be held to be the true Reading: and nothing may be rejected from the commonly received Text, except on evidence which shall clearly outweigh the evidence for retaining it. We are glad to know that, so far at least, we once had Bp. Ellicott with us. He announced (in 1870) that the best way of proceeding with the work of Revision is, to make the Textus Receptus the standard,—departing from it 021 only when critical or grammatical considerations show that it is clearly necessary.5151Considerations on Revision, p. 30. We ourselves mean no more. Whenever the evidence is about evenly balanced, few it is hoped will deny that the Text which has been in possession for three centuries and a half, and which rests on infinitely better manuscript evidence than that of any ancient work which can be named,—should, for every reason, be let alone.5252Once for all, we request it may be clearly understood that we do not, by any means, claim perfection for the Received Text. We entertain no extravagant notions on this subject. Again and again we shall have occasion to point out (e.g. at page 107) that the Textus Receptus needs correction. We do but insist, (1) That it is an incomparably better text than that which either Lachmann, or Tischendorf, or Tregelles has produced: infinitely preferable to the New Greek Text of the Revisionists. And, (2) That to be improved, the Textus Receptus will have to be revised on entirely different principles from those which are just now in fashion. Men must begin by unlearning the German prejudices of the last fifty years; and address themselves, instead, to the stern logic of facts.

But, (we shall perhaps be asked,) has any critical Editor of the N. T. seriously taught the reverse of all this? Yes indeed, we answer. Lachmann, Tregelles, Tischendorf,—the most recent and most famous of modern editors,—have all three adopted a directly opposite theory of textual revision. With the first-named, fifty years ago (1831), virtually originated the principle of recurring exclusively to a few ancient documents to the exclusion of the many. Lachmann's text seldom rests on more than four Greek codices, very often on three, not unfrequently on two, sometimes on only one.5353Scrivener's Introduction, pp. 342-4. Bishop Ellicott speaks of it as a text composed on the narrowest and most exclusive principles.5454Ut suprà, p. 46. We prefer to quote the indictment against Lachmann, Tischendorf, Tregelles, from the pages of Revisionists. Of the Greek 022 Fathers (Lachmann says) he employed only Origen.5555Ex scriptoribus Græcis tantisper Origene solo usi sumus.—Præfatio, p. xxi. Paying extraordinary deference to the Latin Version, he entirely disregarded the coëval Syriac translation. The result of such a system must needs prove satisfactory to no one except its author.

Lachmann's leading fallacy has perforce proved fatal to the value of the text put forth by Dr. Tregelles. Of the scrupulous accuracy, the indefatigable industry, the pious zeal of that estimable and devoted scholar, we speak not. All honour to his memory! As a specimen of conscientious labour, his edition of the N. T. (1857-72) passes praise, and will never lose its value. But it has only to be stated, that Tregelles effectually persuaded himself that eighty-nine ninetieths of our extant manuscripts and other authorities may safely be rejected and lost sight of when we come to amend the text and try to restore it to its primitive purity,5656Scrivener's Plain Introd. p. 397.—to make it plain that in Textual Criticism he must needs be regarded as an untrustworthy teacher. Why he should have condescended to employ no patristic authority later than Eusebius [fl. a.d. 320], he does not explain. His critical principles, (says Bishop Ellicott,) especially his general principles of estimating and regarding modern manuscripts, are now perhaps justly called in question.5757Ut suprà, p. 48.

The case of Dr. Tischendorf (proceeds Bp. Ellicott) is still more easily disposed of. Which of this most inconstant Critic's texts are we to select? Surely not the last, in which an exaggerated preference for a single Manuscript which he has had the good fortune to discover, has betrayed him into 023 an almost child-like infirmity of critical judgment. Surely also not his seventh edition, which ... exhibits all the instability which a comparatively recent recognition of the authority of cursive manuscripts might be supposed likely to introduce.5858Ut suprà, p. 47. With Dr. Tischendorf,—(whom one vastly his superior in learning, accuracy, and judgment, has generously styled the first Biblical Critic in Europe5959Prebendary Scrivener, ibid. (ed. 1874), p. 429.)—the evidence of codex א, supported or even unsupported by one or two other authorities of any description, is sufficient to outweigh any other witnesses,—whether Manuscripts, Versions, or ecclesiastical Writers.6060Ibid. p. 470. We need say no more. Until the foregoing charge has been disproved, Dr. Tischendorf's last edition of the N. T., however precious as a vast storehouse of materials for criticism,—however admirable as a specimen of unwearied labour, critical learning, and first-rate ability,—must be admitted to be an utterly unsatisfactory exhibition of the inspired Text. It has been ascertained that his discovery of codex א caused his 8th edition (1865-72) to differ from his 7th in no less than 3505 places,—to the scandal of the science of Comparative Criticism, as well as to his own grave discredit for discernment and consistency.6161Ibid. But, in fact, what is to be thought of a Critic who,—because the last verse of S. John's Gospel, in א, seemed to himself to be written with a different pen from the rest,—has actually omitted that verse (xxi. 25) entirely, in defiance of every known Copy, every known Version, and the explicit testimony of a host of Fathers? Such are Origen (in 11 places),—Eusebius (in 3),—Gregory Nyss. (in 2),—Gregory Nazian.,—ps.-Dionys. Alex.,6262Concilia, i. 852.—Nonnus,—Chrysostom (in 6 places),—Theodoras Mops. (in 2),—Isidorus,—Cyril Alex. (in 2),—Victor Ant.,—Ammonius,—Severus,—Maximus,—Andreas 024 Cretensis,—Ambrose,—Gaudentius,—Philastrius,— Sedulius,—Jerome,—Augustine (in 6 places). That Tischendorf was a critic of amazing research, singular shrewdness, indefatigable industry; and that he enjoyed an unrivalled familiarity with ancient documents; no fair person will deny. But (in the words of Bishop Ellicott,6363Ut suprà, p. 47. whom we quote so perseveringly for a reason not hard to divine,) his great inconstancy,—his natural want of sobriety of critical judgment,—and his unreasonable deference to the readings found in his own codex Sinaiticus;—to which should be added the utter absence in him of any intelligible fixed critical principles;—all this makes Tischendorf one of the worst of guides to the true Text of Scripture.

The last to enter the field are Drs. Westcott and Hort, whose beautifully-printed edition of the New Testament in the original Greek6464The New Testament in the Original Greek. The Text revised by Brooke Foss Westcott, D.D., and Fenton John Anthony Hort, D.D. Cambridge and London, 1881. was published within five days of the Revised Authorized Version itself; a confidential copy of their work having been already entrusted to every member of the New Test. company of Revisionists to guide them in their labours,—under pledge that they should neither show nor communicate its contents to any one else.—The learned Editors candidly avow, that they have deliberately chosen on the whole to rely for documentary evidence on the stores accumulated by their predecessors, and to confine themselves to their proper work of editing the text itself.6565From the Preface prefixed to the limited and private issue of 1870, p. vi. Nothing therefore has to be enquired after, except the critical principles on which they have proceeded. And, after assuring 025 us that the study of Grouping is the foundation of all enduring Criticism,6666Ut suprà, p. xv. they produce their secret: viz. That in every one of our witnesses except codex b, the corruptions are innumerable;6767Ibid. p. xviii. and that, in the Gospels, the one group of witnesses of incomparable value, is codex b in combination with another primary Greek manuscript, as א b, b l, b c, b t, b d, b Ξ, a b, b z, b 33, and in S. Mark b Δ.6868Ibid. p. xvi. This is Textual Criticism made easy, certainly. Well aware of the preposterous results to which such a major premiss must inevitably lead, we are not surprised to find a plea straightway put in for instinctive processes of Criticism of which the foundation needs perpetual correction and recorrection. But our confidence fairly gives way when, in the same breath, the accomplished Editors proceed as follows:—But we are obliged to come to the individual mind at last; and canons of Criticism are useful only as warnings against natural illusions, and aids to circumspect consideration, not as absolute rules to prescribe the final decision. It is true that no individual mind can ever work with perfect uniformity, or free itself completely from its own idiosyncrasies. Yet a clear sense of the danger of unconscious caprice may do much towards excluding it. We trust also that the present Text has escaped some risks of this kind by being the joint production of two Editors of different habits of mind6969Ibid. pp. xviii., xix. ... A somewhat insecure safeguard surely! May we be permitted without offence to point out that the idiosyncrasies of an individual mind (to which we learn with astonishment we are obliged to come at last) are probably the very worst foundation possible on which to build the recension of an inspired writing? With regret we record our conviction, that these accomplished scholars have succeeded in producing a Text vastly more remote from the inspired autographs of 026 the Evangelists than any which has appeared since the invention of printing. When full Prolegomena have been furnished we shall know more about the matter;7070   [Note,—that I have thought it best, for many reasons, to retain the ensuing note as it originally appeared; merely restoring [within brackets] those printed portions of it for which there really was no room. The third Article in the present volume will be found to supply an ample exposure of the shallowness of Drs. Westcott and Hort's Textual Theory.]
    While these sheets are passing through the press, a copy of the long-expected volume reaches us. The theory of the respected authors proves to be the shallowest imaginable. It is briefly this:—Fastening on the two oldest codices extant (b and א, both of the IVth century), they invent the following hypothesis:—That the ancestries of those two manuscripts diverged from a point near the autographs, and never came into contact subsequently. [No reason is produced for this opinion.]

    Having thus secured two independent witnesses of what was in the sacred autographs, the Editors claim that the coincidence of א and b must mark those portions of text in which two primitive and entirely separate lines of transmission had not come to differ from each other through independent corruption: and therefore that, in the absence of specially strong internal evidence to the contrary, the readings of א and b combined may safely be accepted as genuine.

    But what is to be done when the same two codices diverge one from the other?—In all such cases (we are assured) the readings of any binary combination of b are to be preferred; because on the closest scrutiny, they generally have the ring of genuineness; hardly ever look suspicious after full consideration. Even when b stands quite alone, its readings must never be lightly rejected. [We are not told why.]

    But, (rejoins the student who, after careful collation of codex b, has arrived at a vastly different estimate of its character,)—What is to be done when internal and external evidence alike condemn a reading of B? How is mumpsimus for example to be treated?—Mumpsimus (the Editors solemnly reply) as the better attested reading—(by which they mean the reading attested by b,)—we place in our margin. Sumpsimus, apparently the right reading, we place in the text within ††; in token that it is probably a successful ancient conjecture.

    We smile, and resume:—But how is the fact to be accounted for that the text of Chrysostom and (in the main) of the rest of the IVth-century Fathers, to whom we are so largely indebted for our critical materials, and who must have employed codices fully as old as b and א: how is it, we ask, that the text of all these, including codex a, differs essentially from the text exhibited by codices b and א?—The editors reply,—The text of Chrysostom and the rest, we designate Syrian, and assume to have been the result of an editorial Revision, which we conjecturally assign to the second half of the IIIrd century. It is the Pre-Syrian text that we are in search of; and we recognize the object of our search in codex b.

    We stare, and smile again. But how then does it come to pass (we rejoin) that the Peschito, or primitive Syriac, which is older by full a century and a half than the last-named date, is practically still the same text?—This fatal circumstance (not overlooked by the learned Editors) they encounter with another conjectural assumption. A Revision (say they) of the Old Syriac version appears to have taken place early in the IVth century, or sooner; and doubtless in some connexion with the Syrian revision of the Greek text, the readings being to a very great extent coincident.

    And pray, where is the Old Syriac version of which you speak?—It is (reply the Editors) our way of designating the fragmentary Syriac MS. commonly known as Cureton's.—Your way (we rejoin) of manipulating facts, and disposing of evidence is certainly the most convenient, as it is the most extraordinary, imaginable: yet is it altogether inadmissible in a grave enquiry like the present. Syriac scholars are of a widely different opinion from yourselves. Do you not perceive that you have been drawing upon your imagination for every one of your facts?

    We decline in short on the mere conjectural ipse dixit of these two respected scholars to admit either that the Peschito is a Revision of Cureton's Syriac Version;—or that it was executed about a.d. 325;—or that the text of Chrysostom and the other principal IVth-century Fathers is the result of an unrecorded Antiochian Revision which took place about the year a.d. 275.

    [But instead of troubling ourselves with removing the upper story of the visionary structure before us,—which reminds us painfully of a house which we once remember building with playing-cards,—we begin by removing the basement-story, which brings the entire superstructure in an instant to the ground.]

    For we decline to admit that the texts exhibited by b א can have diverged from a point near the sacred autographs, and never come into contact subsequently. We are able to show, on the contrary, that the readings they jointly embody afford the strongest presumption that the MSS. which contain them are nothing else but specimens of those corrected, i.e. corrupted copies, which are known to have abounded in the earliest ages of the Church. From the prevalence of identical depravations in either, we infer that they are, on the contrary, derived from the same not very remote depraved original: and therefore, that their coincidence, when they differ from all (or nearly all) other MSS., so far from marking two primitive and entirely separate lines of transmission of the inspired autographs, does but mark what was derived from the same corrupt common ancestor; whereby the supposed two independent witnesses to the Evangelic verity become resolved into a single witness to a fabricated text of the IIIrd century.

    It is impossible in the meantime to withhold from these learned and excellent men (who are infinitely better than their theory) the tribute of our sympathy and concern at the evident perplexity and constant distress to which their own fatal major premiss has reduced them. The Nemesis of Superstition and Idolatry is ever the same. Doubt,—unbelief,—credulity,—general mistrust of all evidence, is the inevitable sequel and penalty. In 1870, Drs. Westcott and Hort solemnly assured their brother Revisionists that the prevalent assumption, that throughout the N. T. the true text is to be found somewhere among recorded readings, does not stand the test of experience;[P. xxi.] and they are evidently still haunted by the same spectral suspicion. They see a ghost to be exorcised in every dark corner. The Art of Conjectural Emendation (says Dr. Hort) depends for its success so much on personal endowments, fertility of resource in the first instance, and even more an appreciation of language too delicate to acquiesce in merely plausible corrections, that it is easy to forget its true character as a critical operation founded on knowledge and method.[Introd. p. 71.] Specimens of the writer's skill in this department abound. One occurs at p. 135 (App.) where, in defiance of every known document, he seeks to evacuate S. Paul's memorable injunction to Timothy (2 Tim. i. 13) of all its significance. [A fuller exposure of Dr. Hort's handling of this important text will be found later in the present volume.] May we be allowed to assure the accomplished writer that in Biblical Textual Criticism, Conjectural Emendation has no place?
but to 027 judge from the Remarks (in pp. 541-62) which the learned Editors (Revisionists themselves) have subjoined to their elegantly-printed volume, it is to be feared that the fabric 028 will be found to rest too exclusively on vague assumption and unproved hypothesis. In other words, a painful apprehension is created that their edition of The New Testament in the original Greek will be found to partake inconveniently 029 of the nature of a work of the Imagination. As codex א proved fatal to Dr. Tischendorf, so is codex b evidently the rock on which Drs. Westcott and Hort have split. Did it ever occur to those learned men to enquire how the Septuagint Version of the Old Testament has fared at the hands of codex b? They are respectfully invited to address themselves to this very damaging enquiry.

But surely (rejoins the intelligent Reader, coming fresh to these studies), the oldest extant Manuscripts (b א a c d) must exhibit the purest text! Is it not so?

It ought to be so, no doubt (we answer); but it certainly need not be the case.

We know that Origen in Palestine, Lucian at Antioch, Hesychius in Egypt, revised the text of the N. T. Unfortunately, they did their work in an age when such fatal misapprehension prevailed on the subject, that each in turn will have inevitably imported a fresh assortment of monstra into the sacred writings. Add, the baneful influence of such spirits as Theophilus (sixth Bishop of Antioch, a.d. 168), Tatian, Ammonius, &c., of whom we know there were very many in the primitive age,—some of whose productions, we further know, were freely multiplied in every quarter of ancient Christendom:—add, the fabricated Gospels which anciently abounded; notably the Gospel of the Hebrews, about which Jerome is so communicative, and which (he says) he had translated into Greek and Latin:—lastly, freely grant that here and there, with well-meant assiduity, the orthodox themselves may have sought to prop up truths which the early heretics (Basilides, a.d. 134, Valentinus, a.d. 140, with his disciple Heracleon, Marcion, a.d. 150, and the rest,) most perseveringly assailed;—and we have sufficiently explained how it comes to pass that not a few of the codices of primitive Christendom must have exhibited Texts which 030 were even scandalously corrupt. It is no less true to fact than paradoxical in sound, writes the most learned of the Revisionist body,

that the worst corruptions, to which the New Testament has ever been subjected, originated within a hundred years after it was composed: that Irenæus [a.d. 150] and the African Fathers, and the whole Western, with a portion of the Syrian Church, used far inferior manuscripts to those employed by Stunica, or Erasmus, or Stephens thirteen centuries later, when moulding the Textus Receptus.7171Scrivener, Introduction, p. 453.—Stunica, it will be remembered, was the chief editor of the Complutensian, or first printed edition of the New Testament, (1514).

And what else are codices א b c d but specimensin vastly different degreesof the class thus characterized by Prebendary Scrivener? Nay, who will venture to deny that those codices are indebted for their preservation solely to the circumstance, that they were long since recognized as the depositories of Readings which rendered them utterly untrustworthy?

Only by singling out some definite portion of the Gospels, and attending closely to the handling it has experienced at the hands of a א b c d,—to the last four of which it is just now the fashion to bow down as to an oracular voice from which there shall be no appeal,—can the student become aware of the hopelessness of any attempt to construct the Text of the N. T. out of the materials which those codices exclusively supply. Let us this time take S. Mark's account of the healing of the paralytic borne of four (ch. ii. 1-12),—and confront their exhibition of it, with that of the commonly received Text. In the course of those 12 verses, (not reckoning 4 blunders and certain peculiarities of spelling,) there will be found to be 60 variations of reading,—of which 031 55 are nothing else but depravations of the text, the result of inattention or licentiousness. Westcott and Hort adopt 23 of these:—(18, in which א b conspire to vouch for a reading: 2, where א is unsupported by b: 2, where b is unsupported by א: 1, where c d are supported by neither א nor b). Now, in the present instance, the five old uncials cannot be the depositories of a tradition,—whether Western or Eastern,—because they render inconsistent testimony in every verse. It must further be admitted, (for this is really not a question of opinion, but a plain matter of fact,) that it is unreasonable to place confidence in such documents. What would be thought in a Court of Law of five witnesses, called up 47 times for examination, who should be observed to bear contradictory testimony every time?

But the whole of the problem does not by any means lie on the surface. All that appears is that the five oldest uncials are not trustworthy witnesses; which singly, in the course of 12 verses separate themselves from their fellows 33 times: viz. a, twice;—א, 5 times;—b, 6 times;—c, thrice;—d, 17 times: and which also enter into the 11 following combinations with one another in opposition to the ordinary Text:—a c, twice;—א b, 10 times;—א d, once;—c d, 3 times;—א b c, once;—א b d, 5 times;—א c d, once;—b c d, once;—a א c d, once;—a b c d, once;—a א b c d, once. (Note, that on this last occasion, which is the only time when they all 5 agree, they are certainly all 5 wrong.) But this, as was observed before, lies on the surface. On closer critical inspection, it is further discovered that their testimony betrays the baseness of their origin by its intrinsic worthlessness. Thus, in Mk. ii, 1, the delicate precision of the announcement ἠκούσθη ὅτι ΕἸΣ ΟἾΚΟΝ ἘΣΤΙ (that He has gone in), disappears from א b d:—as well as (in ver. 2) the circumstance that it became the signal for many immediatelyb) to assemble about the door.—In ver. 4, S. Mark explains his predecessor's concise 032 statement that the paralytic was brought to our Saviour,7272προσέφορον αὐτῷ,—S. Matt. ix. 2. by remarking that the thing was impossible by the ordinary method of approach. Accordingly, his account of the expedient resorted to by the bearers fills one entire verse (ver. 4) of his Gospel. In the mean time, א b by exhibiting (in S. Mark ii. 3,) bringing unto Him one sick of the palsy (φέροντες πρὸς αὐτὸν παραλυτικόν,—which is but a senseless transposition of πρὸς αὐτόν, παραλυτικὸν φέροντες), do their best to obliterate the exquisite significance of the second Evangelist's method.—In the next verse, the perplexity of the bearers, who, because they could not come nigh Him (προσεγγίσαι αὐτῷ), unroofed the house, is lost in א b,—whose προσενέγκαι has been obtained either from Matt. ix. 2, or else from Luke v. 18, 19 (εἰσενεγκεῖν, εἰσενέγκωσιν). The bed where was the paralytic (τὸν κράββατον ὍΠΟΥ ἮΝ ὁ παραλυτικός), in imitation of the roof where was Jesus (τὴν στέγην ὍΠΟΥ ἮΝ [ὁ Ἰησοῦς], which had immediately preceded), is just one of those tasteless depravations, for which א b, and especially d, are conspicuous among manuscripts.—In the last verse, the instantaneous rising of the paralytic, noticed by S. Mark (ἠγέρθη εὐθέως), and insisted upon by S. Luke (and immediately he rose up before them,—καὶ παραχρῆμα ἀναστὰς ἐνώπιον αὐτῶν), is obliterated by shifting εὐθέως in א b and c to a place where εὐθέως is not wanted, and where its significancy disappears.

Other instances of Assimilation are conspicuous. All must see that, in ver. 5, καὶ ἰδών (א b c) is derived from Matt. ix. 2 and Luke v. 20: as well as that Son, be of good cheer (c) is imported hither from Matt. ix. 2. My son, on the other hand (א), is a mere effort of the imagination. In the same verse, σου αἱ ἁμαρτίαι (א b d) is either from Matt. ix. 5 (sic); or 033 else from ver. 9, lower down in S. Mark's narrative. Λέγοντες, in ver. 6 (d), is from S. Luke v. 21. Ὕπαγε (א) in ver. 9, and ὕπαγε εἰς τὸν οἶκόν σου (d), are clearly importations from ver 11. The strange confusion in ver. 7,—Because this man thus speaketh, he blasphemeth (b),—and Why doth this man thus speak? He blasphemethd),—is due solely to Mtt. ix. 3:—while the appendix proposed by א as a substitute for We never saw it on this fashion (οὐδέποτε οὕτως εἴδομεν), in ver 12 (viz. It was never so seen in Israel, οὐδέποτε οὕτως ἐφάνη ἐν τῷ Ἰσραήλ), has been transplanted hither from S. Matt. ix. 33.

We shall perhaps be told that, scandalously corrupt as the text of א b c d hereabouts may be, no reason has been shown as yet for suspecting that heretical depravation ever had anything to do with such phenomena. That (we answer) is only because the writings of the early depravers and fabricators of Gospels have universally perished. From the slender relics of their iniquitous performances which have survived to our time, we are sometimes able to lay our finger on a foul blot and to say, This came from Tatian's Diatessaron; and that from Marcion's mutilated recension of the Gospel according to S. Luke. The piercing of our Saviour's side, transplanted by codices א b c from S. John xix. 34 into S. Matt, xxvii. 49, is an instance of the former,—which it may reasonably create astonishment to find that Drs. Westcott and Hort (alone among Editors) have nevertheless admitted into their text, as equally trustworthy with the last 12 verses of S. Mark's Gospel. But it occasions a stronger sentiment than surprise to discover that this, the gravest interpolation yet laid to the charge of b,—this sentence which neither they nor any other competent scholar can possibly believe that the Evangelist ever wrote,7373Scrivener, Plain Introd. p. 472.—has been 034 actually foisted into the margin of the Revised Version of S. Matthew xxvii. 49. Were not the Revisionists aware that such a disfigurement must prove fatal to their work? For whose benefit is the information volunteered that many ancient authorities are thus grossly interpolated?

An instructive specimen of depravation follows, which can be traced to Marcion's mutilated recension of S. Luke's Gospel. We venture to entreat the favour of the reader's sustained attention to the license with which the Lord's Prayer as given in S. Luke's Gospel (xi. 2-4), is exhibited by codices א a b c d. For every reason one would have expected that so precious a formula would have been found enshrined in the old uncials in peculiar safety; handled by copyists of the IVth, Vth, and VIth centuries with peculiar reverence. Let us ascertain exactly what has befallen it:—

(a) d introduces the Lord's Prayer by interpolating the following paraphrase of S. Matt. vi. 7:—Use not vain repetitions as the rest: for some suppose that they shall be heard by their much speaking. But when ye pray ... After which portentous exordium,

(b) b א omit the 5 words, Our which art in heaven, Then,

(c) d omits the article (τό) before name: and supplements the first petition with the words upon us (ἐφ᾽ ἡμᾶς). It must needs also transpose the words Thy Kingdom (ἡ βασιλεία σου).

(d) b in turn omits the third petition,—Thy will be done, as in heaven, also on the earth; which 11 words א retains, but adds so before also, and omits the article (τῆς); finding for once an ally in a c d.

(e) א d for δίδου write δός (from Matt.).

(f) א omits the article (τό) before day by day. And,

(g) d, instead of the 3 last-named words, writes this day (from Matt.): substitutes debts (τὰ ὀφειλήματα) for sins (τὰ 035 ἁμαρτήματα,—also from Matt.): and in place of for [we] ourselves (καὶ γὰρ αὐτοί) writes as also we (ὡς καὶ ἡμεῖς, again from Matt.).—But,

(h) א shows its sympathy with d by accepting two-thirds of this last blunder: exhibiting as also [we] ourselves (ὡς καὶ αὐτοί).

(i) d consistently reads our debtors (τοῖς ὀφειλέταις ἡμῶν) in place of every one that is indebted to us (παντὶ ὀφείλοντι ἡμῖν).—Finally,

(j) b א omit the last petition,—but deliver us from evil (ἀλλὰ ῥῦσαι ἡμᾶς ἀπὸ τοῦ πονηροῦ)—unsupported by a c or d. Of lesser discrepancies we decline to take account.

So then, these five first-class authorities are found to throw themselves into six different combinations in their departures from S. Luke's way of exhibiting the Lord's Prayer,—which, among them, they contrive to falsify in respect of no less than 45 words; and yet they are never able to agree among themselves as to any single various reading: while only once are more than two of them observed to stand together,—viz. in the unauthorized omission of the article. In respect of 32 (out of the 45) words, they bear in turn solitary evidence. What need to declare that it is certainly false in every instance? Such however is the infatuation of the Critics, that the vagaries of bare all taken for gospel. Besides omitting the 11 words which b omits jointly with א, Drs. Westcott and Hort erase from the Book of Life those other 11 precious words which are omitted by b only. And in this way it comes to pass that the mutilated condition to which the scalpel of Marcion the heretic reduced the Lord's Prayer some 1730 years ago,7474The words omitted are therefore the following 22:—ἡμῶν, ὁ ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς ... γενηθήτω τὸ θελημά σου, ὡς ἐν οὐρανῷ, καὶ ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς ... ἀλλὰ ῥῦσαι ἡμᾶς ἀπὸ τοῦ πονηροῦ. (for the mischief can all be traced back 036 to him!), is palmed off on the Church of England by the Revisionists as the work of the Holy Ghost!

(a) We may now proceed with our examination of their work, beginning—as Dr. Roberts (one of the Revisionists) does, when explaining the method and results of their labours—with what we hold to be the gravest blot of all, viz. the marks of serious suspicion which we find set against the last Twelve verses of S. Mark's Gospel. Well may the learned Presbyterian anticipate that—

The reader will be struck by the appearance which this long paragraph presents in the Revised Version. Although inserted, it is marked off by a considerable space from the rest of the Gospel. A note is also placed in the margin containing a brief explanation of this.7575Companion to the Revised Version, p. 61.

A very brief explanation certainly: for the note explains nothing. Allusion is made to the following words—

The two oldest Greek manuscripts, and some other authorities, omit from ver. 9 to the end. Some other authorities have a different ending to the Gospel.

But now,—For the use of whom has this piece of information been volunteered? Not for learned readers certainly: it being familiarly known to all, that codices b and א alone of manuscripts (to their own effectual condemnation) omit these 12 verses. But then scholars know something more about the matter. They also know that these 12 verses have been made the subject of a separate treatise extending to upwards of 300 pages,—which treatise has now been before the world for a full decade of years, and for the best of reasons has never yet been answered. Its object, stated on its title-page, was to vindicate against recent critical objectors, and to 037 establish the last Twelve Verses of S. Mark's Gospel.7676The last Twelve Verses of the Gospel according to S. Mark, vindicated against recent critical Objectors and established, by the Rev. J. W. Burgon,—pp. 334, published by Parker, Oxford, 1871. Moreover, competent judges at once admitted that the author had succeeded in doing what he undertook to do.7777As Dr. Jacobson and Dr. Chr. Wordsworth,—the learned Bishops of Chester and Lincoln. It is right to state that Bp. Ellicott considers the passage doubtful. (On Revision, p. 36.) Dr. Scrivener (it is well known) differs entirely from Bp. Ellicott on this important point. Can it then be right (we respectfully enquire) still to insinuate into unlearned minds distrust of twelve consecutive verses of the everlasting Gospel, which yet have been demonstrated to be as trustworthy as any other verses which can be named?

The question arises,—But how did it come to pass that such evil counsels were allowed to prevail in the Jerusalem Chamber? Light has been thrown on the subject by two of the New Test. company. And first by the learned Congregationalist, Dr. Newth, who has been at the pains to describe the method which was pursued on every occasion. The practice (he informs us) was as follows. The Bishop of Gloucester and Bristol, as chairman, asks—

Whether any Textual Changes are proposed? The evidence for and against is briefly stated, and the proposal considered. The duty of stating this evidence is by tacit consent devolved upon (sic) two members of the Company, who from their previous studies are specially entitled to speak with authority upon such questions,—Dr. Scrivener and Dr. Hort,—and who come prepared to enumerate particularly the authorities on either side. Dr. Scrivener opens up the matter by stating the facts of the case, and by giving his judgment on the bearings of the evidence. Dr. Hort follows, and mentions any additional matters that may call for notice; and, if differing from Dr. Scrivener's estimate of the weight of the evidence, gives his 038 reasons and states his own view. After discussion, the vote of the Company is taken, and the proposed Reading accepted or rejected. The Text being thus settled, the Chairman asks for proposals on the Rendering.7878Lectures on Bible Revision, pp. 119-20.

And thus, the men who were appointed to improve the English Translation are exhibited to us remodelling the original Greek. At a moment's notice, as if by intuition,—by an act which can only be described as the exercise of instinct,—these eminent Divines undertake to decide which shall be deemed the genuine utterances of the Holy Ghost,7979τὰς ἀληθεῖς ῥήσεις Πνεύματος τοῦ Ἁγίου.—Clemens Rom., c. 45.—which not. Each is called upon to give his vote, and he gives it. The Text being thus settled they proceed to do the only thing they were originally appointed to do; viz. to try their hands at improving our Authorized Version. But we venture respectfully to suggest, that by no such rough and ready process is that most delicate and difficult of all critical problems—the truth of Scripture—to be settled.

Sir Edmund Beckett remarks that if the description above given of the process by which the Revisionists settled the Greek alterations, is not a kind of joke, it is quite enough to settle this Revised Greek Testament in a very different sense.8080Should the Revised New Testament be authorized?—p. 42. And so, in truth, it clearly is.—Such a proceeding appeared to me so strange, (writes the learned and judicious Editor of the Speaker's Commentary,) that I fully expected that the account would be corrected, or that some explanation would be given which might remove the very unpleasant impression.8181Revised Version of the first three Gospels, considered,—by Canon Cook,—pp. 221-2. We have since heard on the best authority, 039 that namely of Bishop Ellicott himself,8282At p. 34 of his pamphlet in reply to the first two of the present Articles. that Dr. Newth's account of the method of settling the text of the N. T., pursued in the Jerusalem Chamber, is correct.

But in fact, it proves to have been, from the very first, a definite part of the Programme. The chairman of the Revisionist body, Bishop Ellicott,—when he had to consider the practical question,—whether (1), to construct a critical Text first: or (2), to use preferentially, though not exclusively, some current Text: or (3), simply to proceed onward with the work of Revision, whether of Text or Translation, making the current Textus Receptus the standard, and departing from it only when critical or grammatical considerations show that it is clearly necessary,—in fact, solvere ambulando; announces, at the end of 19 pages,—We are driven then to the third alternative.8383On Revision, pp. 30 and 49.

We naturally cast about for some evidence that the members of the New Testament company possess that mastery of the subject which alone could justify one of their number (Dr. Milligan) in asserting roundly that these 12 verses are not from the pen of S. Mark himself;8484Words of the N. T. p. 193. and another (Dr. Roberts) in maintaining that the passage is not the immediate production of S. Mark.8585Companion to the Revised Version, p. 63. Dr. Roberts assures us that—

Eusebius, Gregory of Nyssa, Victor of Antioch, Severus of Antioch, Jerome, as well as other writers, especially Greeks, testify that these verses were not written by S. Mark, or not found in the best copies.8686Ibid. p. 62.

Will the learned writer permit us to assure him in return that he is entirely mistaken? He is requested to believe that Gregory of Nyssa says nothing of the sort—says 040 nothing at all concerning these verses: that Victor of Antioch vouches emphatically for their genuineness: that Severus does but copy, while Jerome does but translate, a few random expressions of Eusebius: and that Eusebius himself nowhere testifies that these verses were not written by S. Mark. So far from it, Eusebius actually quotes the verses, quotes them as genuine. Dr. Roberts is further assured that there are no other writers whether Greek or Latin, who insinuate doubt concerning these verses. On the contrary, besides both the Latin and all the Syriac—besides the Gothic and the two Egyptian versions—there exist four authorities of the IInd century;—as many of the IIIrd;—five of the Vth;—four of the VIth;—as many of the VIIth;—together with at least ten of the IVth8787Viz. Eusebius,—Macarius Magnes,—Aphraates,—Didymus,—the Syriac Acts of the App.,—Epiphanius,—Ambrose,—Chrysostom,—Jerome,—Augustine. It happens that the disputation of Macarius Magnes (a.d. 300-350) with a heathen philosopher, which has recently come to light, contains an elaborate discussion of S. Mark xvi. 17, 18. Add the curious story related by the author of the Paschal Chronicle (a.d. 628) concerning Leontius, Bishop of Antioch (a.d. 348),—p. 289. This has been hitherto overlooked. (contemporaries therefore of codices b and א);—which actually recognize the verses in question. Now, when to every known Manuscript but two of bad character, besides every ancient Version, some one-and-thirty Fathers have been added, 18 of whom must have used copies at least as old as either b or א,—Dr. Roberts is assured that an amount of external authority has been accumulated which is simply overwhelming in discussions of this nature.

But the significance of a single feature of the Lectionary, of which up to this point nothing has been said, is alone sufficient to determine the controversy. We refer to the fact that in every part of Eastern Christendom these same 12 verses—neither more nor less—have been from the earliest recorded period, and still are, a proper lesson both for the Easter season and for Ascension Day.


We pass on.

(b) A more grievous perversion of the truth of Scripture is scarcely to be found than occurs in the proposed revised exhibition of S. Luke ii. 14, in the Greek and English alike; for indeed not only is the proposed Greek text (ἐν ἀνθρώποις εὐδοκίας) impossible, but the English of the Revisionists (peace among men in whom he is well pleased) can be arrived at (as one of themselves has justly remarked) only through some process which would make any phrase bear almost any meaning the translator might like to put upon it.8888Scrivener's Introduction, p. 515. More than that: the harmony of the exquisite three-part hymn, which the Angels sang on the night of the Nativity, becomes hopelessly marred, and its structural symmetry destroyed, by the welding of the second and third members of the sentence into one. Singular to relate, the addition of a single final letter (ς) has done all this mischief. Quite as singular is it that we should be able at the end of upwards of 1700 years to discover what occasioned its calamitous insertion. From the archetypal copy, by the aid of which the old Latin translation was made, (for the Latin copies all read pax hominibus bonæ voluntatis,) the preposition ἐν was evidently away,—absorbed apparently by the ἀν which immediately follows. In order therefore to make a sentence of some sort out of words which, without ἐν, are simply unintelligible, εὐδοκία was turned into εὐδοκίας. It is accordingly a significant circumstance that, whereas there exists no Greek copy of the Gospels which omits the ἐν, there is scarcely a Latin exhibition of the place to be found which contains it.8989Tisch. specifies 7 Latin copies. Origen (iii. 946 f.), Jerome (vii. 282), and Leo (ap. Sabatier) are the only patristic quotations discoverable. To return however to the genuine clause,—Good-will towards men (ἐν ἀνθρώποις εὐδοκία).


Absolutely decisive of the true reading of the passage—irrespectively of internal considerations—ought to be the consideration that it is vouched for by every known copy of the Gospels of whatever sort, excepting only א a b d: the first and third of which, however, were anciently corrected and brought into conformity with the Received Text; while the second (a) is observed to be so inconstant in its testimony, that in the primitive Morning-hymn (given in another page of the same codex, and containing a quotation of S. Luke ii. 14), the correct reading of the place is found. d's complicity in error is the less important, because of the ascertained sympathy between that codex and the Latin. In the meantime the two Syriac Versions are a full set-off against the Latin copies; while the hostile evidence of the Gothic (which this time sides with the Latin) is more than neutralized by the unexpected desertion of the Coptic version from the opposite camp. The Armenian, Georgian, Æthiopic, Slavonic and Arabian versions, are besides all with the Received Text. It therefore comes to this:—We are invited to make our election between every other copy of the Gospels,—every known Lectionary,—and (not least of all) the ascertained ecclesiastical usage of the Eastern Church from the beginning,—on the one hand: and the testimony of four Codices without a history or a character, which concur in upholding a patent mistake, on the other. Will any one hesitate as to which of these two parties has the stronger claim on his allegiance?

Could doubt be supposed to be entertained in any quarter, it must at all events be borne away by the torrent of Patristic authority which is available on the present occasion:—

In the IInd century,—we have the testimony of (1) Irenæus.9090i. 459


In the IIIrd,—that of (2) Origen9191i. 374; ii. 714; iv. 15. in 3 places,—and of (3) the Apostolical Constitutions9292vii. 47; viii. 13. in 2.

In the IVth,—(4) Eusebius,9393Dem. Ev. pp. 163, 342.—(5) Aphraates the Persian,9494i. 180, 385.—(6) Titus of Bostra,9595In loc. Also in Luc. xix. 29 (Cat. Ox. 141). each twice;—(7) Didymus9696De Trin. p. 84; Cord. Cat. in Ps. ii. 450, 745. in 3 places;—(8) Gregory of Nazianzus,9797i. 845,—which is reproduced in the Paschal Chronicle, p. 374.—(9) Cyril of Jerusalem,9898P. 180; cf. p. 162.—(10) Epiphanius9999i. 154, 1047. twice;—(11) Gregory of Nyssa100100i. 355, 696, 6; 97 iii. 346. 4 times,—(12) Ephraem Syrus,101101Gr. iii. 434.—(13) Philo bishop of Carpasus,102102Ap. Galland. ix. 754.—(14) Chrysostom,103103i. 587; ii. 453, 454; vi. 393; vii. 311, 674; viii. 85; xi. 347. Also Cat. in Ps. iii. 139. in 9 places,—and (15) a nameless preacher at Antioch,104104Ap. Chrys. vi. 424; cf. p. 417.—all these, contemporaries (be it remembered) of b and א, are found to bear concurrent testimony in favour of the commonly received text.

In the Vth century,—(16) Cyril of Alexandria,105105In Luc. pp. 12, 16, 502 ( = Mai, ii. 128). Also Mai, ii. 343, Hom. de Incarn. p. 109. Opp. ii. 593; v.1 681, 30, 128, 380, 402, 154; vi. 398. Maii, iii.2 286. on no less than 14 occasions, vouches for it also;—(17) Theodoret106106i. 290, 1298; ii. 18; iii. 480. on 4;—(18) Theodotus of Ancyra107107Ap. Galland. ix. 446, 476. Concil. iii. 1001, 1023. on 5 (once108108Concil. iii. 1002. in a homily preached before the Council of Ephesus on Christmas-day, a.d. 431);—(19) Proclus109109Ap. Galland. ix. 629. archbishop of Constantinople;—(20) Paulus110110Concil. iii. 1095. bishop of Emesa (in a sermon preached before Cyril of Alexandria on Christmas-day, a.d. 431);—(21) the Eastern bishops111111Concil. iii. 829 = Cyr. Opp. vi. 159. at Ephesus collectively, a.d. 431 (an unusually weighty piece of evidence);—and lastly, (22) Basil 044 of Seleucia.112112Nov. Auctar. i. 596. Now, let it be remarked that these were contemporaries of codex a.

In the VIth century,—the Patristic witnesses are (23) Cosmas, the voyager,113113Montf. ii. 152, 160, 247, 269. 5 times,—(24) Anastasius Sinaita,114114Hexaem. ed. Migne, vol. 89, p. 899.—(25) Eulogius115115Ap. Galland. xii. 308. archbishop of Alexandria: contemporaries, be it remembered, of codex d.

In the VIIth,—(26) Andreas of Crete116116Ed. Combefis, 14, 54; ap. Galland. xiii. 100, 123. twice.

And in the VIIIth,—(27) Cosmas117117Ap. Galland. xiii. 235. bishop of Maiuma near Gaza,—and his pupil (28) John Damascene,118118ii. 836.—and (29) Germanus119119Ap. Galland. xiii. 212. archbishop of Constantinople.

To these 29 illustrious names are to be added unknown writers of uncertain date, but all of considerable antiquity; and some120120E.g. Chrys. Opp. viii.; Append. 214. are proved by internal evidence to belong to the IVth or Vth century,—in short, to be of the date of the Fathers whose names 16 of them severally bear, but among whose genuine works their productions are probably not to be reckoned. One of these was anciently mistaken for (30) Gregory Thaumaturgus:121121P. 6 d. a second, for (31) Methodius:122122Ap. Galland. iii. 809. a third, for (32) Basil.123123ii. 602. Three others, with different degrees of reasonableness, have been supposed to be (33, 34, 35) Athanasius.124124ii. 101, 122, 407. One has passed for (36) Gregory of Nyssa;125125iii. 447. another for (37) Epiphanius;126126ii. 298. while no less than eight (38 to 45) have been mistaken for Chrysostom,127127ii. 804; iii. 783; v. 638, 670, 788; viii. 214, 285; x. 754, 821. some of them being certainly his contemporaries. Add (46) one anonymous Father,128128Cord. Cat. in Ps. ii. 960. and (47) the author of the apocryphal 045 Acta Pilati,—and it will be perceived that 18 ancient authorities have been added to the list, every whit as competent to witness what was the text of S. Luke ii. 14 at the time when a b א d were written, as Basil or Athanasius, Epiphanius or Chrysostom themselves.129129Of the ninety-two places above quoted, Tischendorf knew of only eleven, Tregelles adduces only six.—Neither critic seems to have been aware that Gregory Thaum. is not the author of the citation they ascribe to him. And why does Tischendorf quote as Basil's what is known not to have been his? For our present purpose they are Codices of the IVth, Vth, and VIth centuries. In this way then, far more than forty-seven ancient witnesses have come back to testify to the men of this generation that the commonly received reading of S. Luke ii. 14 is the true reading, and that the text which the Revisionists are seeking to palm off upon us is a fabrication and a blunder. Will any one be found to maintain that the authority of b and א is appreciable, when confronted by the first 15 contemporary Ecclesiastical Writers above enumerated? or that a can stand against the 7 which follow?

This is not all however. Survey the preceding enumeration geographically, and note that, besides 1 name from Gaul,—at least 2 stand for Constantinople,—while 5 are dotted over Asia Minor:—10 at least represent Antioch; and—6, other parts of Syria:—3 stand for Palestine, and 12 for other Churches of the East:—at least 5 are Alexandrian,—2 are men of Cyprus, and—1 is from Crete. If the articulate voices of so many illustrious Bishops, coming back to us in this way from every part of ancient Christendom and all delivering the same unfaltering message,—if this be not allowed to be decisive on a point of the kind just now before us, then pray let us have it explained to us,—What amount of evidence will men accept as final? It is high time that this were known.... The plain truth is, that a case has 046 been established against א a b d and the Latin version, which amounts to proof that those documents, even when they conspire to yield the self-same evidence, are not to be depended on as witnesses to the text of Scripture. The history of the reading advocated by the Revisionists is briefly this:—It emerges into notice in the IInd century; and in the Vth, disappears from sight entirely.

Enough and to spare has now been offered concerning the true reading of S. Luke ii. 14. But because we propose to ourselves that no uncertainty whatever shall remain on this subject, it will not be wasted labour if at parting we pour into the ruined citadel just enough of shot and shell to leave no dark corner standing for the ghost of a respectable doubt hereafter to hide in. Now, it is confessedly nothing else but the high estimate which Critics have conceived of the value of the testimony of the old uncials (א a b c d), which has occasioned any doubt at all to exist in this behalf. Let the learned Reader then ascertain for himself the character of codices א a b c d hereabouts, by collating the context in which S. Luke ii. 14 is found, viz. the 13 verses which precede and the one verse (ver. 15) which immediately follows. If the old uncials are observed all to sing in tune throughout, hereabouts, well and good: but if on the contrary, their voices prove utterly discordant, who sees not that the last pretence has been taken away for placing any confidence at all in their testimony concerning the text of ver. 14, turning as it does on the presence or absence of a single letter?... He will find, as the result of his analysis, that within the space of those 14 verses, the old uncials are responsible for 56 various readings (so-called): singly, for 41; in combination with one another, for 15. So diverse, however, is the testimony they respectively render, that they are found severally to differ from the Text of the cursives no 047 less than 70 times. Among them, besides twice varying the phrase,—they contrive to omit 19 words:—to add 4:—to substitute 17:—to alter 10:—to transpose 24.—Lastly, these five codices are observed (within the same narrow limits) to fall into ten different combinations: viz. b א, for 5 readings;—b d, for 2;—א c, א d, a c, א b d, a א d, a b א d, b א c d, a b א c d, for 1 each. a therefore, which stands alone twice, is found in combination 4 times;—c, which stands alone once, is found in combination 4 times;130130But then, note that c is only available for comparison down to the end of ver. 5. In the 9 verses which have been lost, who shall say how many more eccentricities would have been discoverable?b, which stands alone 5 times, is found in combination 6 times;—א, which stands alone 11 times, is found in combination 8 times;—d, which stands alone 22 times, is found in combination 7 times.... And now,—for the last time we ask the question,—With what show of reason can the unintelligible εὐδοκίας (of א a b d) be upheld as genuine, in defiance of the whole body of Manuscripts, uncial and cursive,—the great bulk of the Versions,—and the mighty array of (upwards of fifty) Fathers exhibited above?

(c) We are at last able to proceed, with a promise that we shall rarely prove so tedious again. But it is absolutely necessary to begin by clearing the ground. We may not go on doubting for ever. The Angelic hymn and The last 12 Verses of S. Mark's Gospel, are convenient places for a trial of strength. It has now been proved that the commonly received text of S. Luke ii. 14 is the true text,—the Revisionists' emendation of the place, a palpable mistake. On behalf of the second Gospel, we claim to have also established that an important portion of the sacred narrative has been unjustly branded with a note of ignominy; from which we solemnly call upon the Revisionists to set the Evangelist free. The pretence that no harm has been done 048 him by the mere statement of what is an undeniable fact,—(viz. that the two oldest Greek manuscripts, and some other authorities, omit from verse 9 to the end; and that some other authorities have a different ending to the Gospel,)—will not stand examination. Pin to the shoulder of an honourable man a hearsay libel on his character, and see what he will have to say to you! Besides,—Why have the 12 verses been further separated off from the rest of the Gospel? This at least is unjustifiable.

Those who, with Drs. Roberts and Milligan,131131Companion to the Revised Version, pp. 62, 63. Words of the N. T. p. 193. have been taught to maintain that the passage is not the immediate production of S. Mark,can hardly be regarded as a part of the original Gospel; but is rather an addition made to it at a very early age, whether in the lifetime of the Evangelist or not, it is impossible to say:—such Critics are informed that they stultify themselves when they proceed in the same breath to assure the offended reader that the passage is nevertheless possessed of full canonical authority.132132Words of the N. T. p. 193. Men who so write show that they do not understand the question. For if these 12 verses are canonical Scripture,—as much inspired as the 12 verses which precede them, and as worthy of undoubting confidence,—then, whether they be the production of S. Mark, or of some other, is a purely irrelevant circumstance. The Authorship of the passage, as every one must see, is not the question. The last 12 verses of Deuteronomy, for instance, were probably not written by Moses. Do we therefore separate them off from the rest of Deuteronomy, and encumber the margin with a note expressive of our opinion? Our Revisionists, so far from holding what follows to be canonical Scripture, are careful to state that a rival ending to be found elsewhere merits serious attention. S. Mark xvi. 9-20, therefore (according to them), 049 is not certainly a genuine part of the Gospel; may, after all, be nothing else but a spurious accretion to the text. And as long as such doubts are put forth by our Revisionists, they publish to the world that, in their account at all events, these verses are not possessed of full canonical authority. If the two oldest Greek manuscripts justly omit from verse 9 to the end (as stated in the margin), will any one deny that our printed Text ought to omit them also?133133Drs. Westcott and Hort (consistently enough) put them on the self-same footing with the evidently spurious ending found in l. On the other hand, if the circumstance is a mere literary curiosity, will any one maintain that it is entitled to abiding record in the margin of the English Version of the everlasting page?—affords any warrant whatever for separating the last Twelve Verses from their context?

(d) We can probably render ordinary readers no more effectual service, than by offering now to guide them over a few select places, concerning the true reading of which the Revisionists either entertain such serious doubts that they have recorded their uncertainty in the margin of their work; or else, entertaining no doubts at all, have deliberately thrust a new reading into the body of their text, and that, without explanation, apology, or indeed record of any kind.134134   True, that a separate volume of Greek Text has been put forth, showing every change which has been either actually accepted, or else suggested for future possible acceptance. But (in the words of the accomplished editor), the Revisers are not responsible for its publication. Moreover, (and this is the chief point,) it is a sealed book to all but Scholars.
    It were unhandsome, however, to take leave of the learned labours of Prebendary Scrivener and Archdeacon Palmer, without a few words of sympathy and admiration. Their volumes (mentioned at the beginning of the present Article) are all that was to have been expected from the exquisite scholarship of their respective editors, and will be of abiding interest and value. Both volumes should be in the hands of every scholar, for neither of them supersedes the other. Dr. Scrivener has (with rare ability and immense labour) set before the Church, for the first time, the Greek Text which was followed by the Revisers of 1611, viz. Beza's N. T. of 1598, supplemented in above 190 places from other sources; every one of which the editor traces out in his Appendix, pp. 648-56. At the foot of each page, he shows what changes have been introduced into the Text by the Revisers of 1881.—Dr. Palmer, taking the Text of Stephens (1550) as his basis, presents us with the Readings adopted by the Revisers of the Authorized Version, and relegates the displaced Readings (of 1611) to the foot of each page.—We cordially congratulate them both, and thank them for the good service they have rendered.
One remark should be premised, viz. that various 050 Readings as they are (often most unreasonably) called, are seldom if ever the result of conscious fraud. An immense number are to be ascribed to sheer accident. It was through erroneous judgment, we repeat, not with evil intent, that men took liberties with the deposit. They imported into their copies whatever readings they considered highly recommended. By some of these ancient Critics it seems to have been thought allowable to abbreviate, by simply leaving out whatever did not appear to themselves strictly necessary: by others, to transpose the words—even the members—of a sentence, almost to any extent: by others, to substitute easy expressions for difficult ones. In this way it comes to pass that we are often presented, and in the oldest documents of all, with Readings which stand self-condemned; are clearly fabrications. That it was held allowable to assimilate one Gospel to another, is quite certain. Add, that as early as the IInd century there abounded in the Church documents,—Diatessarons they were sometimes called,—of which the avowed object was to weave one continuous and connected narrative out of the four;—and we shall find that as many heads have been provided, as will suffice for the classification of almost every various reading which we are likely to encounter in our study of the Gospels.

I. To accidental causes then we give the foremost place, 051 and of these we have already furnished the reader with two notable and altogether dissimilar specimens. The first (viz. the omission of S. Mark xvi. 9-20 from certain ancient copies of the Gospel) seems to have originated in an unique circumstance. According to the Western order of the four, S. Mark occupies the last place. From the earliest period it had been customary to write τέλος (end) after the 8th verse of his last chapter, in token that there a famous ecclesiastical lection comes to a close. Let the last leaf of one very ancient archetypal copy have begun at ver. 9; and let that last leaf have perished;—and all is plain. A faithful copyist will have ended the Gospel perforce—as b and א have done—at S. Mark xvi. 8.... Our other example (S. Luke ii. 14) will have resulted from an accident of the most ordinary description,—as was explained at the outset.—To the foregoing, a few other specimens of erroneous readings resulting from Accident shall now be added.

(a) Always instructive, it is sometimes even entertaining to trace the history of a mistake which, dating from the IInd or IIIrd century, has remained without a patron all down the subsequent ages, until at last it has been suddenly taken up in our own times by an Editor of the sacred Text, and straightway palmed off upon an unlearned generation as the genuine work of the Holy Ghost. Thus, whereas the Church has hitherto supposed that S. Paul's company were in all in the ship two hundred threescore and sixteen souls (Acts xxvii. 37), Drs. Westcott and Hort (relying on the authority of b and the Sahidic version) insist that what S. Luke actually wrote was about seventy-six. In other words, instead of διακόσιαι ἑβδομηκονταέξ, we are invited henceforth to read ὩΣ ἑβδομηκονταέξ. What can have given rise to so formidable a discrepancy? Mere accident, we answer. First, whereas S. Luke certainly wrote ἦμεν δὲ ἐν τῷ πλοίῳ 052 αἱ πᾶσαι ψυχαί, his last six words at some very early period underwent the familiar process of Transposition, and became, αἱ πᾶσαι ψυχαὶ ἐν τῷ πλοίῳ; whereby the word πλοίῳ and the numbers διακόσιαι ἑβδομηκονταέξ were brought into close proximity. (It is thus that Lachmann, Tischendorf, Tregelles, &c., wrongly exhibit the place.) But since 276 when represented in Greek numerals is ΣΟΣ, the inevitable consequence was that the words (written in uncials) ran thus: ΨΥΧΑΙΕΝΤΩΠΛΟΙΩΣΟΣ. Behold, the secret is out! Who sees not what has happened? There has been no intentional falsification of the text. There has been no critical disinclination to believe that a corn-ship, presumably heavily laden, would contain so many souls,—as an excellent judge supposes.135135The number is not excessive. There were about 600 persons aboard the ship in which Josephus traversed the same waters. (Life, c. iii.) The discrepancy has been the result of sheer accident: is the merest blunder. Some IInd-century copyist connected the last letter of ΠΛΟΙΩ with the next ensuing numeral, which stands for 200 (viz. Σ); and made an independent word of it, viz. ὡς—i.e. about. But when Σ (i.e. 200) has been taken away from ΣΟΣ (i.e. 276), 76 is perforce all that remains. In other words, the result of so slight a blunder has been that instead of two hundred and seventy-six (ΣΟΣ), some one wrote ὡς ος´—i.e. about seventy-six. His blunder would have been diverting had it been confined to the pages of a codex which is full of blunders. When however it is adopted by the latest Editors of the N. T. (Drs. Westcott and Hort),—and by their influence has been foisted into the margin of our revised English Version—it becomes high time that we should reclaim against such a gratuitous depravation of Scripture.

All this ought not to have required explaining: the blunder is so gross,—its history so patent. But surely, had 053 its origin been ever so obscure, the most elementary critical knowledge joined to a little mother-wit ought to convince a man that the reading ὡς ἑβδομηκονταέξ cannot be trustworthy. A reading discoverable only in codex b and one Egyptian version (which was evidently executed from codices of the same corrupt type as codex b) may always be dismissed as certainly spurious. But further,—Although a man might of course say about seventy or about eighty, (which is how Epiphanius136136ii. 61 and 83. quotes the place,) who sees not that about seventy-six is an impossible expression? Lastly, the two false witnesses give divergent testimony even while they seem to be at one: for the Sahidic (or Thebaic) version arranges the words in an order peculiar to itself.

(b) Another corruption of the text, with which it is proposed henceforth to disfigure our Authorized Version, (originating like the last in sheer accident,) occurs in Acts xviii. 7. It is related concerning S. Paul, at Corinth, that having forsaken the synagogue of the Jews, he entered into a certain man's house named Justus (ὀνόματι Ἰούστου). That this is what S. Luke wrote, is to be inferred from the fact that it is found in almost every known copy of the Acts, beginning with a d g h l p. Chrysostom—the only ancient Greek Father who quotes the place—so quotes it. This is, in consequence, the reading of Lachmann, Tregelles, and Tischendorf in his 7th edition. But then, the last syllable of name (ΟΝΟΜΑΤΙ) and the first three letters of Justus (ΙΟΥΣΤΟΥ), in an uncial copy, may easily get mistaken for an independent word. Indeed it only wants a horizontal stroke (at the summit of the second Ι in ΤΙΙΟΥ) to produce Titus (ΤΙΤΟΥ). In the Syriac and Sahidic versions accordingly, Titus actually stands in place of Justus,—a reading 054 no longer discoverable in any extant codex. As a matter of fact, the error resulted not in the substitution of Titus for Justus, but in the introduction of both names where S. Luke wrote but one. א and e, the Vulgate, and the Coptic version, exhibit Titus Justus. And that the foregoing is a true account of the birth and parentage of Titus is proved by the tell-tale circumstance, that in b the letters ΤΙ and ΙΟΥ are all religiously retained, and a supernumerary letter (Τ) has been thrust in between,—the result of which is to give us one more imaginary gentleman, viz. Titius Justus; with whose appearance,—(and he is found nowhere but in codex b,)—Tischendorf in his 8th ed., with Westcott and Hort in theirs, are so captivated, that they actually give him a place in their text. It was out of compassion (we presume) for the friendless stranger Titus Justus that our Revisionists have, in preference, promoted him to honour: in which act of humanity they stand alone. Their new Greek Text is the only one in existence in which the imaginary foreigner has been advanced to citizenship, and assigned a local habitation and a name. ... Those must have been wondrous drowsy days in the Jerusalem Chamber when such manipulations of the inspired text were possible!

(c) The two foregoing depravations grew out of the ancient practice of writing the Scriptures in uncial characters (i.e. in capital letters), no space being interposed between the words. Another striking instance is supplied by S. Matthew xi. 23 and S. Luke x. 15, where however the error is so transparent that the wonder is how it can ever have imposed upon any one. What makes the matter serious is, that it gives a turn to a certain Divine saying, of which it is incredible that either our Saviour or His Evangelists knew anything. We have hitherto believed that the solemn words ran as follows:—And thou, Capernaum, 055 which art exalted (ἡ ... ὑψωθεῖσα) unto heaven, shalt be brought down (καταβιβασθήσῃ) to hell. For this, our Revisionists invite us to substitute, in S. Luke as well as in S. Matthew,—And thou, Capernaum, shalt thou be exalted (μὴ ... ὑψωθήσῃ;) unto heaven? And then, in S. Matthew, (but not in S. Luke,)—Thou shalt go down (καταβήσῃ) into Hades. Now, what can have happened to occasion such a curious perversion of our Lord's true utterance, and to cause Him to ask an unmeaning question about the future, when He was clearly announcing a fact, founded on the history of the past?

A stupid blunder has been made (we answer), of which traces survive (as usual) only in the same little handful of suspicious documents. The final letter of Capernaum (Μ) by cleaving to the next ensuing letter (Η) has made an independent word (ΜΗ); which new word necessitates a change in the construction, and causes the sentence to become interrogative. And yet, fourteen of the uncial manuscripts and the whole body of the cursives know nothing of this: neither does the Peschito—nor the Gothic version: no,—nor Chrysostom,—nor Cyril,—nor ps.-Cæsarius,—nor Theodoret,—the only Fathers who quote either place. The sole witnesses for μὴ ... ὑψωθήσῃ in both Gospels are א b, copies of the old Latin, Cureton's Syriac, the Coptic, and the Æthiopic versions,—a consensus of authorities which ought to be held fatal to any reading. c joins the conspiracy in Matthew xi. 23, but not in Luke x. 15: d l consent in Luke, but not in Matthew. The Vulgate, which sided with א b in S. Matthew, forsakes them in S. Luke. In writing both times καταβήσῃ (thou shalt go down), codex b (forsaken this time by א) is supported by a single manuscript, viz. d. But because, in Matthew xi. 23, b obtains the sanction of the Latin copies, καταβήσῃ is actually introduced into the Revised Text, and we are quietly informed in the margin that Many ancient 056 authorities read be brought down: the truth being (as the reader has been made aware) that there are only two manuscripts in existence which read anything else. And (what deserves attention) those two manuscripts are convicted of having borrowed their quotation from the Septuagint,137137Isaiah xiv. 15. and therefore stand self-condemned.... Were the occupants of the Jerusalem Chamber all—saving the two who in their published edition insist on reading (with b and d) καταβήσῃ in both places—all fast asleep when they became consenting parties to this sad mistake?

II. It is time to explain that, if the most serious depravations of Scripture are due to Accident, a vast number are unmistakably the result of Design, and are very clumsily executed too. The enumeration of a few of these may prove instructive: and we shall begin with something which is found in S. Mark xi. 3. With nothing perhaps will each several instance so much impress the devout student of Scripture, as with the exquisite structure of a narrative in which corrupt readings stand self-revealed and self-condemned, the instant they are ordered to come to the front and show themselves. But the point to which we especially invite his attention is, the sufficiency of the external evidence which Divine Wisdom is observed to have invariably provided for the establishment of the truth of His written Word.

(a) When our Lord was about to enter His capital in lowly triumph, He is observed to have given to two of His disciples directions well calculated to suggest the mysterious nature of the incident which was to follow. They were commanded to proceed to the entrance of a certain village,—to unloose a certain colt which they would find 057 tied there,—and to bring the creature straightway to Jesus. Any obstacle which they might encounter would at once disappear before the simple announcement that the Lord hath need of him.138138S. Matthew xxi. 1-3. S. Mark xi. 1-6. S. Luke xix. 29-34. But, singular to relate, this transaction is found to have struck some third-rate IIIrd-century Critic as not altogether correct. The good man was evidently of opinion that the colt,—as soon as the purpose had been accomplished for which it had been obtained,—ought in common fairness to have been returned to the owners thereof. (S. Luke xix. 33.) Availing himself therefore of there being no nominative before will send (in S. Mark xi. 3), he assumed that it was of Himself that our Lord was still speaking: feigned that the sentence is to be explained thus:—say ye, that the Lord hath need of him and will straightway send him hither. According to this view of the case, our Saviour instructed His two Disciples to convey to the owner of the colt an undertaking from Himself that He would send the creature back as soon as He had done with it: would treat the colt, in short, as a loan. A more stupid imagination one has seldom had to deal with. But in the meantime, by way of clenching the matter, the Critic proceeded on his own responsibility to thrust into the text the word again (πάλιν). The fate of such an unauthorized accretion might have been confidently predicted. After skipping about in quest of a fixed resting-place for a few centuries (see the note at foot139139א d l read—αὐτον ἀποστελλει ΠΑΛΙΝ ὡδε: C*,—αὐτον ΠΑΛΙΝ ἀποστελλει ὡδε: b,—ἀποστελλει ΠΑΛΙΝ αὐτον ὡδε: Δ,—ἀποστελλει ΠΑΛΙΝ ὡδε: yscr—αὐτον ἀποστελλει ΠΑΛΙΝ.), πάλιν has shared the invariable fate of all such spurious adjuncts to the truth of Scripture, viz.: It has been effectually eliminated from the copies. Traces of it linger on only in those untrustworthy witnesses א b c d L Δ, and about twice as many cursive 058 copies, also of depraved type. So transparent a fabrication ought in fact to have been long since forgotten. Yet have our Revisionists not been afraid to revive it. In S. Mark xi. 3, they invite us henceforth to read, And if any one say unto you, Why do ye this? say ye, The Lord hath need of him, and straightway He (i.e. the Lord) will send him back hither. ... Of what can they have been dreaming? They cannot pretend that they have Antiquity on their side: for, besides the whole mass of copies with a at their head, both the Syriac, both the Latin, and both the Egyptian versions, the Gothic, the Armenian,—all in fact except the Æthiopic,—are against them. Even Origen, who twice inserts πάλιν,140140iii. 722, 740. twice leaves it out.141141iii. 737, iv. 181. Quid plura?

(b) No need to look elsewhere for our next instance. A novel statement arrests attention five verses lower down: viz. that Many spread their garments upon the way [and why not in the way? εἰς does not mean upon]; and others, branches which they had cut from the fields (S. Mark xi. 8). But how in the world could they have done that? They must have been clever people certainly if they cut branches from anything except trees. Was it because our Revisionists felt this, that in the margin they volunteer the information, that the Greek for branches is in strictness layers of leaves? But what are layers of leaves? and what proof is there that στοιβάδες has that meaning? and how could layers of leaves have been suddenly procured from such a quarter? We turn to our Authorized Version, and are refreshed by the familiar and intelligible words: And others cut down branches off the trees and strawed them in the way. Why then has this been changed? In an ordinary sentence, consisting of 12 words, we find that 2 059 words have been substituted for other 2; that 1 has undergone modification; that 5 have been ejected. Why is all this? asks the unlearned Reader. He shall be told.

An instance is furnished us of the perplexity which a difficult word sometimes occasioned the ancients, as well as of the serious consequences which have sometimes resulted therefrom to the text of Scripture itself. S. Matthew, after narrating that a very great multitude spread their garments in the way, adds, others cut branches (κλάδους) from the trees and strawed them in the way.142142S. Matt. xxi. 8. But would not branches of any considerable size have impeded progress, inconveniently encumbering the road? No doubt they would. Accordingly, as S. Mark (with S. Matthew's Gospel before him) is careful to explain, they were not branches of any considerable size, but leafy twigsfoliage, in fact it was—cut from the trees and strawed in the way. The word, however, which he employs (στοιβάδας) is an unique word—very like another of similar sound (στιβάδας), yet distinct from it in sense, if not in origin. Unfortunately, all this was not understood in a highly uncritical and most licentious age. With the best intentions, (for the good man was only seeking to reconcile two inconvenient parallel statements,) some Revisionist of the IInd century, having convinced himself that the latter word (στιβάδας) might with advantage take the place of S. Mark's word (στοιβάδας), substituted this for that. In consequence, it survives to this day in nine uncial copies headed by א b. But then, στιβάς does not mean a branch at all; no, nor a layer of leaves either; but a palleta floor-bed, in fact, of the humblest type, constructed of grass, rushes, straw, brushwood, leaves, or any similar substance. On the other hand, because such materials are not obtainable from trees exactly, the ancient 060 Critic judged it expedient further to change δένδρων into ἀγρῶν (fields). Even this was not altogether satisfactory. Στιβάς, as explained already, in strictness means a bed. Only by a certain amount of license can it be supposed to denote the materials of which a bed is composed; whereas the Evangelist speaks of something strawn. The self-same copies, therefore, which exhibit fields (in lieu of trees), by introducing a slight change in the construction (κόψαντες for ἔκοπτον), and omitting the words and strawed them in the way, are observed—after a summary fashion of their own, (with which, however, readers of b א d are only too familiar)—to dispose of this difficulty by putting it nearly out of sight. The only result of all this misplaced officiousness is a miserable travestie of the sacred words:—ἄλλοι δὲ στιβάδας, κόψαντες ἐκ τῶν ἀγρῶν: 7 words in place of 12!

But the calamitous circumstance is that the Critics have all to a man fallen into the trap. True, that Origen (who once writes στοιβάδας and once στιβάδας), as well as the two Egyptian versions, side with א b c l Δ in reading ἐκ τῶν ἀγρῶν: but then both versions (with c) decline to alter the construction of the sentence; and (with Origen) decline to omit the clause ἐστρώννυον εἰς τὴν ὁδόν: while, against this little band of disunited witnesses, are marshalled all the remaining fourteen uncials, headed by a d—the Peschito and the Philoxenian Syriac; the Italic, the Vulgate, the Gothic, the Armenian, the Georgian, and the Æthiopic as well as the Slavonic versions, besides the whole body of the cursives. Whether therefore Antiquity, Variety, Respectability of witnesses, numbers, or the reason of the thing be appealed to, the case of our opponents breaks hopelessly down. Does any one seriously suppose that, if S. Mark had written the common word στΙβάδας, so vast a majority of the copies at this day would exhibit the improbable στΟΙβάδας? Had the same S. Mark expressed nothing else but ΚΌΨΑΝΤΕΣ ἐκ τῶν 061 ἈΓΡΩ´Ν, will any one persuade us that every copy in existence but five would present us with ἜΚΟΠΤΟΝ ἐκ τῶν ΔΈΝΔΡΩΝ, καὶ ἘΣΤΡΏΝΝΥΟΝ ἘΙΣ ΤῊΝ ὉΔΌΝ? And let us not be told that there has been Assimilation here. There has been none. S. Matthew (xxi. 8) writes ἈΠῸ τῶν δένδρον ... ἘΝ τῇ ὡδῷ: S. Mark (xi. 8), ἘΚ τῶν δένδρων ... ἘΙΣ τὴν ὁδόν. The types are distinct, and have been faithfully retained all down the ages. The common reading is certainly correct. The Critics are certainly in error. And we exclaim (surely not without good reason) against the hardship of thus having an exploded corruption of the text of Scripture furbished up afresh and thrust upon us, after lying deservedly forgotten for upwards of a thousand years.

(c) Take a yet grosser specimen, which has nevertheless imposed just as completely upon our Revisionists. It is found in S. Luke's Gospel (xxiii. 45), and belongs to the history of the Crucifixion. All are aware that as, at the typical redemption out of Egypt, there had been a preternatural darkness over the land for three days,143143Exod. x. 21-23. so, preliminary to the actual Exodus of the Israel of God, there was darkness over all the land for three hours.144144S. Matth. xxvii. 45; S. Mark xv. 33; S. Lu. xxiii. 44. S. Luke adds the further statement,—And the sun was darkened (καὶ ἐσκοτίσθη ὁ ἥλιος). Now the proof that this is what S. Luke actually wrote, is the most obvious and conclusive possible. Ἐσκοτίσθη is found in all the most ancient documents. Marcion145145Ap. Epiphan. i. 317 and 347. (whose date is a.d. 130-50) so exhibits the place:—besides the old Latin146146Intenebricatus est sol—a: obscuratus est sol—b: tenebricavit sol—c. and the Vulgate:—the Peschito, Cureton's, and the Philoxenian Syriac versions:—the Armenian,—the Æthiopic,—the Georgian,—and the 062 Slavonic.—Hippolytus147147Ap. Routh, Opusc. i. 79. (a.d. 190-227),—Athanasius,148148i. 90, 913; ap. Epiph. i. 1006.—Ephraem Syr.,149149Syr. ii. 48. So also Evan. Conc. pp. 245, 256, 257.—Theodore Mops.,150150Mai, Scriptt. Vett. vi. 64.—Nilus the monk,151151i. 305.—Severianus, (in a homily preserved in Armenian, p. 439,)—Cyril of Alexandria,152152Ap. Mai, ii. 436; iii. 395. Also Luc. 722.—the apocryphal Gospel of Nicodemus—and the Anaphora Pilati,153153i. 288, 417.—are all witnesses to the same effect. Add the Acta Pilati154154P. 233.—and the Syriac Acts of the Apostles.155155Ed. by Wright, p. 16.—Let it suffice of the Latins to quote Tertullian.156156Sol mediâ die tenebricavit. Adv. Jud. c. xiii.—But the most striking evidence is the consentient testimony of the manuscripts, viz. all the uncials but 3 and-a-half, and every known Evangelium.

That the darkness spoken of was a divine portent—not an eclipse of the sun, but an incident wholly out of the course of nature—the ancients clearly recognize. Origen,157157iii. 922-4. Read the whole of cap. 134. See also ap. Galland. xiv. 82, append., which by the way deserves to be compared with Chrys. vii. 825 a.—Julius Africanus158158ἀλλ᾽ ἦν σκότος θεοποίητον, διότι τὸν Κύριον συνέβη παθεῖν.—Routh, ii. 298. (a.d. 220),—Macarius Magnes159159εἶτ᾽ ἐξαίφνης κατενεχθὲν ψηλαφητὸν σκότος, ἡλίου τὴν οἰκείαν αὐγὴν ἀποκρύψαντος, p. 29. (a.d. 330),—are even eloquent on the subject. Chrysostom's evidence is unequivocal.160160ὅτι γὰρ οὐκ ἠν ἔκλειψις [sc. τὸ σκότος ἐκεῖνο] οὐκ ἐντεῦθεν μόνον δῆλον ἦν, ἀλλὰ καὶ ἀπὸ τοῦ καιροῦ. τρεῖς γὰρ ὥρας παρέμεινιν; ἡ δὲ ἔκλειψις ἐν μιᾷ καιροῦ γίνεται ῥοπῇ.—vii. 825 a. It is, nevertheless, well known that this place of S. Luke's Gospel was tampered with from a very early period; and that Origen161161i. 414, 415; iii. 56. (a.d. 186-253), and perhaps Eusebius,162162Ap. Mai, iv. 206. But further on he says: αὐτίκα γοῦν ἐπὶ τῷ πάθει οὐχ ἥλιος μόνον ἐσκότασεν κ.τ.λ.—Cyril of Jerusalem (pp. 57, 146, 199, 201, 202) and Cosmas (ap. Montf. ii. 177 bis) were apparently acquainted with the same reading, but neither of them actually quotes Luke xxiii. 45. 063 employed copies which had been depraved. In some copies, writes Origen, instead of and the sun was darkened (καὶ ἐσκοτίσθη ὁ ἥλιος), is found the sun having become eclipsed (τοῦ ἡλίου ἐκλιπόντος). He points out with truth that the thing spoken of is a physical impossibility, and delivers it as his opinion that the corruption of the text was due either to some friendly hand in order to account for the darkness; or else, (which he,163163In quibusdam exemplaribus non habetur tenebræ factæ sunt, et obscuratus est sol: sed ita, tenebræ factæ sunt super omnem terram, sole deficiente. Et forsitan ausus est aliquis quasi manifestius aliquid dicere volens, pro, et obscuratus est sol, ponere deficiente sole, existimans quod non aliter potuissent fieri tenebræ, nisi sole deficiente. Puto autem magis quod insidiatores ecclesiæ Christi mutaverunt hoc verbum, quoniam tenebræ factæ sunt sole deficiente, ut verisimiliter evangelia argui possint secundum adinventiones volentium arguere illa. (iii. 923 f. a.) and Jerome164164vii. 235. Qui scripserunt contra Evangelia, suspicantur deliquium solis, &c. after him, thought more likely,) to the enemies of Revelation, who sought in this way to provide themselves with a pretext for cavil. Either way, Origen and Jerome elaborately assert that ἐσκοτίσθη is the only true reading of S. Luke xxiii. 45. Will it be believed that this gross fabrication—for no other reason but because it is found in א b l, and probably once existed in c165165This rests on little more than conjecture. Tisch. Cod. Ephr. Syr. p. 327.—has been resuscitated in 1881, and foisted into the sacred Text by our Revisionists?

It would be interesting to have this proceeding of theirs explained. Why should the truth dwell exclusively166166Ἐκλείποντος is only found besides in eleven lectionaries. with א b l? It cannot be pretended that between the IVth and Vth centuries, when the copies א b were made, and the Vth and VIth centuries, when the copies a q d r were executed, this 064 corruption of the text arose: for (as was explained at the outset) the reading in question (καὶ ἐσκοτίσθη ὁ ἥλιος) is found in all the oldest and most famous documents. Our Revisionists cannot take their stand on Antiquity,—for as we have seen, all the Versions (with the single exception of the Coptic167167The Thebaic represents the sun setting; which, (like the mention of eclipse,) is only another interpretation of the darkness,—derived from Jer. xv. 9 or Amos viii. 9 (occidit sol meridie). Compare Irenæus iv. 33. 12, (p. 273,) who says that these two prophecies found fulfilment in eum occasum solis qui, crucifixo eo, fuit ab horâ sextâ. He alludes to the same places in iv. 34. 3 (p. 275). So does Jerome (on Matt. xxvii. 45),—Et hoc factum reor, ut compleatur prophetia, and then he quotes Amos and Jeremiah; finely adding (from some ancient source),—Videturque mihi clarissimum lumen mundi, hoc est luminare majus, retraxisse radios suos, ne aut pendentem videret Dominum; aut impii blasphemantes suâ luce fruerentur.),—and the oldest Church writers, (Marcion, Origen, Julius Africanus, Hippolytus, Athanasius, Gregory Naz., Ephraem, &c.,) are all against them.—They cannot advance the claim of clearly preponderating evidence; for they have but a single Version,—not a single Father,—and but three-and-a-half Evangelia to appeal to, out of perhaps three hundred and fifty times that number.—They cannot pretend that essential probability is in favour of the reading of א b; seeing that the thing stated is astronomically impossible.—They will not tell us that critical opinion is with them: for their judgment is opposed to that of every Critic ancient and modern, except Tischendorf since his discovery of codex א.—Of what nature then will be their proof?... Nothing results from the discovery that א reads τοῦ ἡλίου ἐκλιπόντος, b ἐκλείποντος,—except that those two codices are of the same corrupt type as those which Origen deliberately condemned 1650 years ago. In the meantime, with more of ingenuity than of ingenuousness, our Revisionists attempt to conceal the foolishness of the text of their choice by translating it 065 unfairly. They present us with, the sun's light failing. But this is a gloss of their own. There is no mention of the sun's light in the Greek. Nor perhaps, if the rationale of the original expression were accurately ascertained, would such a paraphrase of it prove correct168168Our old friend of Halicarnassus (vii. 37), speaking of an eclipse which happened b.c. 481, remarks: ὁ ἥλιος ἐκλιπὼν τὴν ἐκ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ ἕδρην.. But, in fact, the phrase ἔκλειψις ἡλίου means an eclipse of the sun and no other thing. In like manner, τοῦ ἡλίου ἐκλείποντος169169For it will be perceived that our Revisionists have adopted the reading vouched for only by codex b. What c* once read is as uncertain as it is unimportant. (as our Revisionists are perfectly well aware) means the sun becoming eclipsed, or suffering eclipse. It is easy for Revisionists to emphatically deny that there is anything in the Greek word ἐκλείπειν, when associated with the sun, which involves necessarily the notion of an eclipse.170170Bp. Ellicott's pamphlet, p. 60. The fact referred to may not be so disposed of. It lies outside the province of emphatic denial. Let them ask any Scholar in Europe what τοῦ ἡλίου ἐκλιπόντος means; and see if he does not tell them that it can only mean, the sun having become eclipsed! They know this every bit as well as their Reviewer. And they ought either to have had the manliness to render the words faithfully, or else the good sense to let the Greek alone,—which they are respectfully assured was their only proper course. Καί ἐσκοτίσθη ὁ ἥλιος is, in fact, clearly above suspicion. Τοῦ ἡλίου ἐκλείποντος, which these learned men (with the best intentions) have put in its place, is, to speak plainly, a transparent fabrication. That it enjoys clearly preponderating evidence, is what no person, fair or unfair, will for an instant venture to pretend.

III. Next, let us produce an instance of depravation of Scripture resulting from the practice of Assimilation, which 066 prevailed anciently to an extent which baffles arithmetic. We choose the most famous instance that presents itself.

(a) It occurs in S. Mark vi. 20, and is more than unsuspected. The substitution (on the authority of א b l and the Coptic) of ἠπόρει for ἐποίει in that verse, (i.e. the statement that Herod was much perplexed,—instead of Herod did many things,) is even vaunted by the Critics as the recovery of the true reading of the place—long obscured by the very singular expression ἐποίει. To ourselves the only very singular thing is, how men of first-rate ability can fail to see that, on the contrary, the proposed substitute is simply fatal to the Spirit's teaching in this place. Common sense is staggered by such a rendering, (remarks the learned Bishop of Lincoln). People are not wont to hear gladly those by whom they are much perplexed.171171On the Revised Version, p. 14. But in fact, the sacred writer's object clearly is, to record the striking circumstance that Herod was so moved by the discourses of John, (whom he used to listen to with pleasure,) that he even did many things (πολλὰ ἐποίει) in conformity with the Baptist's teaching.172172πολλὰ κατὰ γνώμην αὐτοῦ διεπράττετο, as (probably) Victor of Antioch (Cat. p. 128), explains the place. He cites some one else (p. 129) who exhibits ἠπόρει; and who explains it of Herod's difficulty about getting rid of Herodias.... And yet, if this be so, how (we shall be asked) has he was much perplexed (πολλὰ ἠπόρει) contrived to effect a lodgment in so many as three copies of the second Gospel?

It has resulted from nothing else, we reply, but the determination to assimilate a statement of S. Mark (vi. 20) concerning Herod and John the Baptist, with another and a distinct statement of S. Luke (ix. 7), having reference to Herod 067 and our Lord. S. Luke, speaking of the fame of our Saviour's miracles at a period subsequent to the Baptist's murder, declares that when Herod heard all things that were done by Him (ἤκουσε τὰ γινόμενα ὑπ᾽ αὐτοῦ πάντα), he was much perplexed (διηπόρει).—Statements so entirely distinct and diverse from one another as this of S. Luke, and that (given above) of S. Mark, might surely (one would think) have been let alone. On the contrary. A glance at the foot of the page will show that in the IInd century S. Mark's words were solicited in all sorts of ways. A persistent determination existed to make him say that Herod having heard of many things which the Baptist did, &c.173173   καὶ ἀκούσας αὐτοῦ πολλὰ ἂ ἐποίει, καὶ ἡδέως αὐτοῦ ἤκουεν, will have been the reading of that lost venerable codex of the Gospels which is chiefly represented at this day by Evann. 13-69-124-346,—as explained by Professor Abbott in his Introduction to Prof. Ferrar's Collation of four important MSS., etc. (Dublin 1877). The same reading is also found in Evann. 28 : 122 : 541 : 572, and Evst. 196.
    Different must have been the reading of that other venerable exemplar which supplied the Latin Church with its earliest Text. But of this let the reader judge:—Et cum audisset illum multa facere, libenter, &c. (c: also Codex Aureus and γ, both at Stockholm): et audito eo quod multa faciebat, et libenter, &c. (g2 q): et audiens illum quia multa faciebat, et libenter, &c. (b). The Anglo-Saxon, (and he heard that he many wonders wrought, and he gladly heard him) approaches nearest to the last two.

    The Peschito Syriac (which is without variety of reading here) in strictness exhibits:—And many things he was hearing [from] him and doing; and gladly he was hearing him. But this, by competent Syriac scholars, is considered to represent,—καὶ πολλὰ ἀκούων αὐτοῦ, ἐποίει; καὶ ἡδέως ἤκουεν αὐτοῦ.—Cod. Δ is peculiar in exhibiting καὶ ἀκούσας αὐτοῦ πολλά, ἡδέως αὐτοῦ ἤκουεν,—omitting ἐποίει, καί.—The Coptic also renders, et audiebat multa ab eo, et anxio erat corde. From all this, it becomes clear that the actual intention of the blundering author of the text exhibited by א b l was, to connect πολλά, not with ἠπόρει, but with ἀκούσας. So the Arabian version: but not the Gothic, Armenian, Sclavonic, or Georgian,—as Dr. S. C. Malan informs the Reviewer.
—a strange perversion of the Evangelist's meaning, truly, and only to be accounted for in one way.174174Note, that tokens abound of a determination anciently to assimilate the Gospels hereabouts. Thus, because the first half of Luke ix. 10 (ϟα / η) and the whole of Mk. vi. 30 (ξα / η) are bracketed together by Eusebius, the former place in codex a is found brought into conformity with the latter by the unauthorized insertion of the clause καὶ ὅσα ἐδίδαξαν.—The parallelism of Mtt. xiv. 13 and Lu. ix. 10 is the reason why d exhibits in the latter place ἀν- (instead of ὑπ)εχώρησε.—In like manner, in Lu. ix. 10, codex a exhibits εἰς ἔρημον τόπον, instead of εἰς τόπον ἔρημον; only because ἔρημον τόπον is the order of Mtt. xiv. 13 and Mk. vi. 32.—So again, codex א, in the same verse of S. Luke, entirely omits the final clause πόλεως καλουμένης Βηθσαῖδά, only in order to assimilate its text to that of the two earlier Gospels.—But there is no need to look beyond the limits of S. Mark vi. 14-16, for proofs of Assimilation. Instead of ἐκ νεκρῶν ἠγέρθη (in ver. 14), b and א exhibit ἐγήγερται ἐκ νεκρῶν—only because those words are found in Lu. ix. 7. a substitutes ἀνέστη (for ἠγέρθη)—only because that word is found in Lu. ix. 8. For ἠγέρθη ἐκ νεκρῶν, c substitutes ἠγέρθη ἀπὸ τῶν νεκρῶν—only because S. Matth. so writes in ch. xiv. 2. d inserts καὶ ἔβαλεν εἰς φυλακήν into ver. 17—only because of Mtt. xiv. 3 and Lu. iii. 20. In א b l Δ, βαπτίζοντος (for βαπτιστοῦ) stands in ver. 24—only by Assimilation with ver. 14. (l is for assimilating ver. 25 likewise), Κ Δ Π, the Syr., and copies of the old Latin, transpose ἐνεργοῦσιν αἱ δυνάμεις (in ver. 14)—only because those words are transposed in Mtt. xiv. 2.... If facts like these do not open men's eyes to the danger of following the fashionable guides, it is to be feared that nothing ever will. The foulest blot of all remains to be noticed. Will it be believed that in ver. 22, codices א b d l Δ conspire in representing the dancer (whose name is known to have been Salome) as another Herodias—Herod's own daughter? This gross perversion of the truth, alike of Scripture and of history—a reading as preposterous as it is revolting, and therefore rejected hitherto by all the editors and all the critics—finds undoubting favour with Drs. Westcott and Hort. Calamitous to relate, it also disfigures the margin of our Revised Version of S. Mark vi. 22, in consequence.


Had this been all, however, the matter would have attracted no attention. One such fabrication more or less in the Latin version, which abounds in fabricated readings, is of little moment. But then, the Greek scribes had recourse to a more subtle device for assimilating Mark vi. 20 to Luke ix. 7. They perceived that S. Mark's ἐποίει might be almost identified with S. Luke's διηπόρει, by merely changing two of the letters, viz. by substituting η for ε and ρ for ι. From this, there results in S. Mk. vi. 20: and having heard many things of him, he was perplexed; which is very nearly identical 069 with what is found in S. Lu. ix. 7. This fatal substitution (of ἠπόρει for ἐποίει) survives happily only in codices א b l and the Coptic version—all of bad character. But (calamitous to relate) the Critics, having disinterred this long-since-forgotten fabrication, are making vigorous efforts to galvanize it, at the end of fifteen centuries, into ghastly life and activity. We venture to assure them that they will not succeed. Herod's perplexity did not begin until John had been beheaded, and the fame reached Herod of the miracles which our Saviour wrought. The apocryphal statement, now for the first time thrust into an English copy of the New Testament, may be summarily dismissed. But the marvel will for ever remain that a company of distinguished Scholars (a.d. 1881) could so effectually persuade themselves that ἐποίει (in S. Mark vi. 20) is a plain and clear error, and that there is decidedly preponderating evidence in favour of ἠπόρει,—as to venture to substitute the latter word for the former. This will for ever remain a marvel, we say; seeing that all the uncials except three of bad character, together with every known cursive without exception;—the old Latin and the Vulgate, the Peschito and the Philoxenian Syriac, the Armenian, Æthiopic, Slavonian and Georgian versions,—are with the traditional Text. (The Thebaic, the Gothic, and Cureton's Syriac are defective here. The ancient Fathers are silent.)

IV. More serious in its consequences, however, than any other source of mischief which can be named, is the process of Mutilation, to which, from the beginning, the Text of Scripture has been subjected. By the Mutilation of Scripture we do but mean the intentional Omission—from whatever cause proceeding—of genuine portions. And the causes of it have been numerous as well as diverse. Often, indeed, there seems to have been at work nothing else but a strange passion for getting rid of whatever portions of the 070 inspired Text have seemed to anybody superfluous,—or at all events have appeared capable of being removed without manifest injury to the sense. But the estimate of the tasteless IInd-century Critic will never be that of the well-informed Reader, furnished with the ordinary instincts of piety and reverence. This barbarous mutilation of the Gospel, by the unceremonious excision of a multitude of little words, is often attended by no worse consequence than that thereby an extraordinary baldness is imparted to the Evangelical narrative. The removal of so many of the coupling-hooks is apt to cause the curtains of the Tabernacle to hang wondrous ungracefully; but often that is all. Sometimes, however, (as might have been confidently anticipated,) the result is calamitous in a high degree. Not only is the beauty of the narrative effectually marred, (as e.g. by the barbarous excision of καί—εὐθέως—μετὰ δακρύων—Κύριε, from S. Mark ix. 24):175175i.e. And is omitted by b l Δ: immediately by א c: with tears by א a b c l Δ: Lord by א a b c d l.—In S. Mark vi. 16—(viz. But when Herod heard thereof, he said [This is] John whom I beheaded. He is risen [from the dead],)—the five words in brackets are omitted by our Revisers on the authority of א b (d) l Δ. But א d further omit Ἰωάννην: c d omit ὁ: א b d l omit ὅτι. To enumerate and explain the effects of all the barbarous Mutilations which the Gospels alone have sustained at the hands of א, of b, and of d—would fill many volumes like the present.—the doctrinal teaching of our Saviour's discourses in countless places, damaged, (as e.g. by the omission of καὶ νηστείᾳ from verse 29):—absurd expressions attributed to the Holy One which He certainly never uttered, (as e.g. by truncating of its last word the phrase τό, Εἰ δύνασαι πιστεῦσαι in verse 23):—but (i.) The narrative is often rendered in a manner unintelligible; or else (ii.), The entire point of a precious incident is made to disappear from sight; or else (iii.), An imaginary incident is fabricated: or lastly (iv.), Some precious saying of our Divine Lord is turned into absolute nonsense. Take a 071 single short example of what has last been offered, from each of the Gospels in turn.

(i.) In S. Matthew xiv. 30, we are invited henceforth to submit to the information concerning Simon Peter, that when he saw the wind, he was afraid. The sight must have been peculiar, certainly. So, indeed, is the expression. But Simon Peter was as unconscious of the one as S. Matthew of the other. Such curiosities are the peculiar property of codices א b—the Coptic version—and the Revisionists. The predicate of the proposition (viz. that it was strong, contained in the single word ἰσχυρόν) has been wantonly excised. That is all!—although Dr. Hort succeeded in persuading his colleagues to the contrary. A more solemn—a far sadder instance, awaits us in the next Gospel.

(ii.) The first three Evangelists are careful to note the loud cry with which the Redeemer of the World expired. But it was reserved for S. Mark (as Chrysostom pointed out long since) to record (xv. 39) the memorable circumstance that this particular portent it was, which wrought conviction in the soul of the Roman soldier whose office it was to be present on that terrible occasion. The man had often witnessed death by Crucifixion, and must have been well acquainted with its ordinary phenomena. Never before had he witnessed anything like this. He was stationed where he could see and hear all that happened: standing (S. Mark says) near our Saviour,—over against Him. Now, when the Centurion saw that it was after so crying out (κράξας), that He expired (xv. 39) he uttered the memorable words, Truly this man was the Son of God! What chiefly moved him to make that confession of his faith was that our Saviour evidently died with power.176176Chrysostom, vii. 825. The miracle (says Bp. Pearson) was not in the death, but in the voice. The 072 strangeness was not that He should die, but that at the point of death He should cry out so loud. He died not by, but with a Miracle.177177On the Creed, Art. iv. Dead: about half-way through. ... All this however is lost in א b l, which literally stand alone178178The Coptic represents ὅτι ἐξέπνευσε. in leaving out the central and only important word, κράξας. Calamitous to relate, they are followed herein by our Revisionists: who (misled by Dr. Hort) invite us henceforth to read,—Now when the Centurion saw that He so gave up the ghost.

(iii.) In S. Luke xxiii. 42, by leaving out two little words (τω and κε), the same blind guides, under the same blind guidance, effectually misrepresent the record concerning the repentant malefactor. Henceforth they would have us believe that he said, Jesus, remember me when thou comest in thy Kingdom. (Dr. Hort was fortunately unable to persuade the Revisionists to follow him in further substituting into thy kingdom for in thy kingdom; and so converting what, in the A. V., is nothing worse than a palpable mistranslation,179179Namely, of ἘΝ τῇ Βας. σου, which is the reading of every known copy but two; besides Origen, Eusebius, Cyril Jer., Chrysostom, &c. Only b l read ΕἸΣ,—which Westcott and Hort adopt. into what would have been an indelible blot. The record of his discomfiture survives in the margin). Whereas none of the Churches of Christendom have ever yet doubted that S. Luke's record is, that the dying man said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me, &c.

(iv.) In S. John xiv. 4, by eliminating the second καί and the second οἴδατε, our Saviour is now made to say, And whither I go, ye know the way; which is really almost nonsense. What He actually said was, And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know; in consequence of which (as we all remember) Thomas saith unto Him, Lord, we know 073 not whither Thou goest, and how can we know the way? ... Let these four samples suffice of a style of depravation with which, at the end of 1800 years, it is deliberately proposed to disfigure every page of the everlasting Gospel; and for which, were it tolerated, the Church would have to thank no one so much as Drs. Westcott and Hort.

We cannot afford, however, so to dismiss the phenomena already opened up to the Reader's notice. For indeed, this astonishing taste for mutilating and maiming the Sacred Deposit, is perhaps the strangest phenomenon in the history of Textual Criticism.

It is in this way that a famous expression in S. Luke vi. 1 has disappeared from codices א b l. The reader may not be displeased to listen to an anecdote which has hitherto escaped the vigilance of the Critics:—

I once asked my teacher, Gregory of Nazianzus,—(the words are Jerome's in a letter to Nepotianus),—to explain to me the meaning of S. Luke's expression σάββατον δευτερόπρωτον, literally the second-first sabbath. I will tell you all about it in church, he replied. The congregation shall shout applause, and you shall have your choice,—either to stand silent and look like a fool, or else to pretend you understand what you do not. But eleganter lusit, says Jerome180180i. 261.. The point of the joke was this: Gregory, being a great rhetorician and orator, would have descanted so elegantly on the signification of the word δευτερόπρωτον that the congregation would have been borne away by his mellifluous periods, quite regardless of the sense. In other words, Gregory of Nazianzus [a.d. 360] is found to have no more understood the word than Jerome did [370].

Ambrose181181i. 936, 1363. of Milan [370] attempts to explain the difficult 074 expression, but with indifferent success. Epiphanius182182i. 158. of Cyprus [370] does the same;—and so, Isidorus183183P. 301. [400] called Pelusiota after the place of his residence in Lower Egypt.—Ps.-Cæsarius184184Ap. Galland. vi. 53. also volunteers remarks on the word [a.d. 400?].—It is further explained in the Paschal Chronicle,185185P. 396.—and by Chrysostom186186vii. 431. [370] at Antioch.—Sabbatum secundo-primum is found in the old Latin, and is retained by the Vulgate. Earlier evidence on the subject does not exist. We venture to assume that a word so attested must at least be entitled to its place in the Gospel. Such a body of first-rate positive IVth-century testimony, coming from every part of ancient Christendom, added to the significant fact that δευτερόπρωτον is found in every codex extant except א b l, and half a dozen cursives of suspicious character, ought surely to be regarded as decisive. That an unintelligible word should have got omitted from a few copies, requires no explanation. Every one who has attended to the matter is aware that the negative evidence of certain of the Versions also is of little weight on such occasions as the present. They are observed constantly to leave out what they either failed quite to understand, or else found untranslateable. On the other hand, it would be inexplicable indeed, that an unique expression like the present should have established itself universally, if it were actually spurious. This is precisely an occasion for calling to mind the precept proclivi scriptioni præstat ardua. Apart from external evidence, it is a thousand times more likely that such a peculiar word as this should be genuine, than the reverse. Tischendorf accordingly retains it, moved by this very consideration.187187Ut ab additamenti ratione alienum est, ita cur omiserint in promptu est. It got excised, however, here and there from manuscripts at a very early date. And, incredible as it may appear, it is a fact, that in consequence of its absence from 075 the mutilated codices above referred to, S. Luke's famous second-first Sabbath has been thrust out of his Gospel by our Revisionists.

But indeed, Mutilation has been practised throughout. By codex b (collated with the traditional Text), no less than 2877 words have been excised from the four Gospels alone: by codex א,—3455 words: by codex d,—3704 words.188188But then, 25 (out of 320) pages of d are lost: d's omissions in the Gospels may therefore be estimated at 4000. Codex a does not admit of comparison, the first 24 chapters of S. Matthew having perished; but, from examining the way it exhibits the other three Gospels, it is found that 650 would about represent the number of words omitted from its text.—The discrepancy between the texts of b א d, thus for the first time brought distinctly into notice, let it be distinctly borne in mind, is a matter wholly irrespective of the merits or demerits of the Textus Receptus,—which, for convenience only, is adopted as a standard: not, of course, of Excellence but only of Comparison.

As interesting a set of instances of this, as are to be anywhere met with, occurs within the compass of the last three chapters of S. Luke's Gospel, from which about 200 words have been either forcibly ejected by our Revisionists, or else served with notice to quit. We proceed to specify the chief of these:—

(1) S. Luke xxii. 19, 20. (Account of the Institution of the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper,—from which is given for you to the end,—32 words.)

(2) ibid. 43, 44. (Our Saviour's Agony in the garden,—26 words.)

(3) xxiii. 17. (The custom of releasing one at the Passover,—8 words.)

(4) ibid. 34. (Our Lord's prayer on behalf of His murderers,—12 words.)

(5) ibid. 38. (The record that the title on the Cross was written in Greek, Latin, and Hebrew,—7 words.)


(6) xxiv. 1. (and certain with them,—4 words.)

(7) ibid. 3. (of the Lord Jesus,—3 words.)

(8) ibid. 6. (He is not here, but He is risen,—5 words.)

(9) ibid. 9. (from the sepulchre,—3 words.)

(10) ibid. 12. (The mention of S. Peter's visit to the sepulchre,—22 words.)

(11) ibid. 36. (and saith unto them, Peace be unto you!—5 words.)

(12) ibid. 40. (and when He had thus spoken, He showed them His hands and His feet,—10 words.)

(13) ibid. 42. (and of an honeycomb,—4 words.)

(14) ibid. 51. (and was carried up into Heaven,—5.)

(15) ibid. 52. (worshipped Him,—2 words.)

(16) ibid. 53. (praising and,—2 words.)

On an attentive survey of the foregoing sixteen instances of unauthorized Omission, it will be perceived that the 1st passage (S. Luke xxii. 19, 20) must have been eliminated from the Text because the mention of two Cups seemed to create a difficulty.—The 2nd has been suppressed because (see p. 82) the incident was deemed derogatory to the majesty of God Incarnate.—The 3rd and 5th were held to be superfluous, because the information which they contain has been already conveyed by the parallel passages.—The 10th will have been omitted as apparently inconsistent with the strict letter of S. John xx. 1-10.—The 6th and 13th are certainly instances of enforced Harmony.—Most of the others (the 4th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 11th, 12th, 14th, 15th, 16th) seem to have been excised through mere wantonness,—the veriest licentiousness.—In the meantime, so far are Drs. Westcott and Hort from accepting the foregoing account of the matter, that they even style the 1st a perverse interpolation: in which view of the subject, however, they enjoy the distinction of standing entirely alone. With the same moral certainty, they further proceed to shut up within double 077 brackets the 2nd, 4th, 7th, 10th, 11th, 12th, 14th, 15th: while the 3rd, 5th, 6th, 13th, and 16th, they exclude from their Text as indisputably spurious matter.

Now, we are not about to abuse our Readers' patience by an investigation of the several points raised by the foregoing statement. In fact, all should have been passed by in silence, but that unhappily the Revision of our Authorized Version is touched thereby very nearly indeed. So intimate (may we not say, so fatal?) proves to be the sympathy between the labours of Drs. Westcott and Hort and those of our Revisionists, that whatever the former have shut up within double brackets, the latter are discovered to have branded with a note of suspicion, conceived invariably in the same terms: viz., Some ancient authorities omit. And further, whatever those Editors have rejected from their Text, these Revisionists have rejected also. It becomes necessary, therefore, briefly to enquire after the precise amount of manuscript authority which underlies certain of the foregoing changes. And happily this may be done in a few words.

The sole authority for just half of the places above enumerated189189Viz. the 1st, the 7th to 12th inclusive, and the 15th. is a single Greek codex,—and that, the most depraved of all,—viz. Beza's d.190190Concerning the singular codex d,—as Bp. Ellicott phrases it,—see back, pages 14 and 15. It should further be stated that the only allies discoverable for d are a few copies of the old Latin. What we are saying will seem scarcely credible: but it is a plain fact, of which any one may convince himself who will be at the pains to inspect the critical apparatus at the foot of the pages of Tischendorf's last (8th) edition. Our Revisionists' notion, therefore, of what constitutes weighty evidence is now before the Reader. If, in his judgment, the testimony of one single manuscript, (and that manuscript the 078 Codex Bezæ (d),)—does really invalidate that of all other Manuscripts and all other Versions in the world,—then of course, the Greek Text of the Revisionists will in his judgment be a thing to be rejoiced over. But what if he should be of opinion that such testimony, in and by itself, is simply worthless? We shrewdly suspect that the Revisionists' view of what constitutes weighty Evidence will be found to end where it began, viz. in the Jerusalem Chamber.

For, when we reach down codex d from the shelf, we are reminded that, within the space of the three chapters of S. Luke's Gospel now under consideration, there are in all no less than 354 words omitted; of which, 250 are omitted by d alone. May we have it explained to us why, of those 354 words, only 25 are singled out by Drs. Westcott and Hort for permanent excision from the sacred Text? Within the same compass, no less than 173 words have been added by d to the commonly Received Text,—146, substituted,—243, transposed. May we ask how it comes to pass that of those 562 words not one has been promoted to their margin by the Revisionists?... Return we, however, to our list of the changes which they actually have effected.

(1) Now, that ecclesiastical usage and the parallel places would seriously affect such precious words as are found in S. Luke xxii. 19, 20,—was to have been expected. Yet has the type been preserved all along, from the beginning, with singular exactness; except in one little handful of singularly licentious documents, viz. in d a ff2 i l, which leave all out;—in b e, which substitute verses 17 and 18;—and in the singular and sometimes rather wild Curetonian Syriac Version,191191Bp. Ellicott On Revision,—p. 42. Concerning the value of the last-named authority, it is a satisfaction to enjoy the deliberate testimony of the Chairman of the Revisionist body. See below, p. 85. which, retaining the 10 words of ver. 19, substitutes 079 verses 17, 18 for ver. 20. Enough for the condemnation of d survives in Justin,192192i. 156.—Basil,193193ii. 254.—Epiphanius,194194i. 344—Theodoret,195195iv. 220, 1218.—Cyril,196196In Luc. 664 (Mai, iv. 1105).—Maximus,197197ii. 653.—Jerome.198198In Lucâ legimus duos calices, quibus discipulis propinavit, vii. 216. But why delay ourselves concerning a place vouched for by every known copy of the Gospels except d? Drs. Westcott and Hort entertain no moral doubt that the [32] words [given at foot199199Τὸ ὑπὲρ ὑμῶν διδόμενον; τοῦτο ποιεῖτε εἰς τὴν ἐμὴν ἀνάμνησιν. ὡσαύτως καὶ τὸ ποτήριον μετὰ τὸ δειπνῆσαι, λέγων, Τοῦτο τὸ ποτήριον, ἡ καινὴ διαθήκη ἐν τῷ αἵματί μου, τὸ ὑπὲρ ὑμῶν ἐκχυνόμενον.] were absent from the original text of S. Luke; in which opinion, happily, they stand alone. But why did our Revisionists suffer themselves to be led astray by such blind guidance?

The next place is entitled to far graver attention, and may on no account be lightly dismissed, seeing that these two verses contain the sole record of that Agony in the Garden which the universal Church has almost erected into an article of the Faith.

(2) That the incident of the ministering Angel, the Agony and bloody sweat of the world's Redeemer (S. Luke xxii. 43, 44), was anciently absent from certain copies of the Gospels, is expressly recorded by Hilary,200200P. 1062. by Jerome,201201ii. 747. and others. Only necessary is it to read the apologetic remarks which Ambrose introduces when he reaches S. Luke xxii. 43,202202i. 1516. See below, p. 82. to understand what has evidently led to this serious mutilation of Scripture,—traces of which survive at this day exclusively in four codices, viz. a b r t. Singular to relate, in the Gospel which was read on Maundy-Thursday these two verses of S. Luke's Gospel are thrust in between the 39th 080 and the 40th verses of S. Matthew xxvi. Hence, 4 cursive copies, viz. 13-69-124-346—(confessedly derived from a common ancient archetype,203203Abbott's Collation of four important Manuscripts, &c., 1877. and therefore not four witnesses but only one),—actually exhibit these two Verses in that place. But will any unprejudiced person of sound mind entertain a doubt concerning the genuineness of these two verses, witnessed to as they are by the whole body of the Manuscripts, uncial as well as cursive, and by every ancient Version?... If such a thing were possible, it is hoped that the following enumeration of ancient Fathers, who distinctly recognize the place under discussion, must at least be held to be decisive:—viz.

Justin M.,204204ii. 354.—Irenæus205205Pp. 543 and 681 ( = ed. Mass. 219 and 277). in the IInd century:—

Hippolytus,206206Contra Noet. c. 18; also ap. Theodoret iv. 132-3.—Dionysius Alex.,207207Ap. Galland. xix.; Append. 116, 117.—ps. Tatian,208208Evan. Conc. pp. 55, 235. in the IIIrd.—

Arius,209209Ap. Epiph. i. 742, 785.—Eusebius,210210It is § 283 in his sectional system.—Athanasius,211211P. 1121.—Ephraem Syr.,212212ii. 43; v. 392; vi. 604. Also Evan. Conc. 235. And see below, p. 82.—Didymus,213213Pp. 394, 402.—Gregory Naz.,214214i. 551.—Epiphanius,215215[i. 742, 785;] ii. 36, 42.—Chrysostom,216216v. 263; vii. 791; viii. 377.—ps.-Dionysius Areop.,217217ii. 39. in the IVth:—

Julian the heretic,218218Ap. Theod. Mops.—Theodoras Mops.,219219In loc. bis; ap. Galland. xii. 693; and Mai, Scriptt. Vett. vi. 306.—Nestorius,220220Concilia, iii. 327 a.—Cyril Alex.,221221Ap. Mai, iii. 389.—Paulus, bishop of Emesa,222222Concilia, iii. 1101 d.—Gennadius,223223Schol. 34.—Theodoret,224224i. 692; iv. 271, 429; v. 23. Conc. iii. 907 e.—and several Oriental Bishops (a.d. 431),225225Concilia, iii. 740 d. in the Vth:—besides 081 Ps.-Cæsarius,226226Ap. Galland. vi. 16, 17, 19.—Theodosius Alex.,227227Ap. Cosmam, ii. 331.—John Damascene,228228i. 544.—Maximus,229229In Dionys. ii. 18, 30.—Theodorus hæret.,230230Ap. Galland. xii. 693.—Leontius Byz.,231231Ibid. 688.—Anastasius Sin.,232232Pp. 108, 1028, 1048.—Photius:233233Epist. 138 and of the Latins, Hilary,234234P. 1061.—Jerome,235235ii. 747.—Augustine,236236iv. 901, 902, 1013, 1564.—Cassian,237237P. 373.—Paulinus,238238Ap. Galland. ix. 40.—Facundus.239239Ibid. xi. 693.

It will be seen that we have been enumerating upwards of forty famous personages from every part of ancient Christendom, who recognize these verses as genuine; fourteen of them being as old,—some of them, a great deal older,—than our oldest MSS.—Why therefore Drs. Westcott and Hort should insist on shutting up these 26 precious words—this article of the Faith—in double brackets, in token that it is morally certain that verses 43 and 44 are of spurious origin, we are at a loss to divine.240240Let their own account of the matter be heard:—The documentary evidence clearly designates [these verses] as an early Western interpolation, adopted in eclectic texts.—They can only be a fragment from the Traditions, written or oral, which were for a while at least locally current:—an evangelic Tradition, therefore, rescued from oblivion by the Scribes of the second century. We can but ejaculate (in the very words they proceed to disallow),—Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. But our especial concern is with our Revisionists; and we do not exceed our province when we come forward to reproach them sternly for having succumbed to such evil counsels, and deliberately branded these Verses with their own corporate expression of doubt. For unless that be the purpose of the marginal Note which they have set against these verses, we fail to understand the Revisers' language and are wholly at a loss to divine what purpose that note of theirs can be meant to serve. It is prefaced 082 by a formula which, (as we learn from their own Preface,) offers to the reader the alternative of omitting the Verses in question: implies that it would not be safe any longer to accept them,—as the Church has hitherto done,—with undoubting confidence. In a word,—it brands them with suspicion.... We have been so full on this subject,—(not half of our references were known to Tischendorf,)—because of the unspeakable preciousness of the record; and because we desire to see an end at last to expressions of doubt and uncertainty on points which really afford not a shadow of pretence for either. These two Verses were excised through mistaken piety by certain of the orthodox,—jealous for the honour of their Lord, and alarmed by the use which the impugners of His Godhead freely made of them.241241Consider the places referred to in Epiphanius. Hence Ephraem [Carmina Nisibena, p. 145] puts the following words into the mouth of Satan, addressing the host of Hell:—One thing I witnessed in Him which especially comforts me. I saw Him praying; and I rejoiced, for His countenance changed and He was afraid. His sweat was drops of blood, for He had a presentiment that His day had come. This was the fairest sight of all,—unless, to be sure, He was practising deception on me. For verily if He hath deceived me, then it is all over,—both with me, and with you, my servants!

(4) Next in importance after the preceding, comes the Prayer which the Saviour of the World breathed from the Cross on behalf of His murderers (S. Luke xxiii. 34). These twelve precious words,—(Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do,)—like those twenty-six words in S. Luke xxii. 43, 44 which we have been considering already, Drs. Westcott and Hort enclose within double brackets in token of the moral certainty they entertain 083 that the words are spurious.242242   The Editors shall speak for themselves concerning this, the first of the Seven last Words:We cannot doubt that it comes from an extraneous source:need not have belonged originally to the book in which it is now included:—is a Western interpolation.
    Dr. Hort,—unconscious apparently that he is at the bar, not on the bench,—passes sentence (in his usual imperial style)—Text, Western and Syrian (p. 67).—But then, (1st) It happens that our Lord's intercession on behalf of His murderers is attested by upwards of forty Patristic witnesses from every part of ancient Christendom: while, (2ndly) On the contrary, the places in which it is not found are certain copies of the old Latin, and codex d, which is supposed to be our great Western witness.
And yet these words are found in every known uncial and in every known cursive Copy, except four; besides being found in every ancient Version. And what,—(we ask the question with sincere simplicity,)—what amount of evidence is calculated to inspire undoubting confidence in any existing Reading, if not such a concurrence of Authorities as this?... We forbear to insist upon the probabilities of the case. The Divine power and sweetness of the incident shall not be enlarged upon. We introduce no considerations resulting from Internal Evidence. True, that few verses of the Gospels bear in themselves a surer witness to the Truth of what they record, than this. (It is the admission of the very man243243Dr. Hort's N. T. vol. ii. Note, p. 68. who has nevertheless dared to brand it with suspicion.) But we reject his loathsome patronage with indignation. Internal Evidence,Transcriptional Probability,—and all such chaff and draff, with which he fills his pages ad nauseam, and mystifies nobody but himself,—shall be allowed no place in the present discussion. Let this verse of Scripture stand or fall as it meets with sufficient external testimony, or is forsaken thereby. How then about the Patristic evidence,—for this is all that remains unexplored?

Only a fraction of it was known to Tischendorf. We find our Saviour's Prayer attested,—


In the IInd century by Hegesippus,244244Ap. Eus. Hist. Eccl. ii. 23.—and by Irenæus:245245P. 521 and ... [Mass. 210 and 277.]

In the IIIrd, by Hippolytus,246246Ed. Lagarde, p. 65 line 3.—by Origen,247247ii. 188. Hær. iii. 18 p. 5.—by the Apostolic Constitutions,248248Ap. Gall. iii. 38, 127.—by the Clementine Homilies,249249Ibid. ii. 714. (Hom. xi. 20.)—by ps.-Tatian,250250Evan. Conc. 275.—and by the disputation of Archelaus with Manes:251251Ap. Routh, v. 161.

In the IVth, by Eusebius,252252He places the verses in Can. x.—by Athanasius,253253i. 1120.—by Gregory Nyss.,254254iii. 289.—by Theodoras Herac.,255255Cat. in Ps. iii. 219.—by Basil,256256i. 290.—by Chrysostom,25725715 times.—by Ephraem Syr.,258258ii. 48, 321, 428; ii. (syr.) 233.—by ps.-Ephraim,259259Evan. Conc. 117, 256.—by ps.-Dionysius Areop.,260260i. 607.—by the Apocryphal Acta Pilati,261261Pp. 232, 286.—by the Acta Philippi,262262P. 85.—and by the Syriac Acts of the App.,263263Pp. 11, 16. Dr. Wright assigns them to the IVth century.—by ps.-Ignatius,264264Eph. c. x.—and ps.-Justin:265265ii. 166, 168, 226.

In the Vth, by Theodoret,2662666 times.—by Cyril,267267Ap. Mai, ii. 197 ( = Cramer 52); iii. 392.—Dr. Hort's strenuous pleading for the authority of Cyril on this occasion (who however is plainly against him) is amusing. So is his claim to have the cursive 82 on his side. He is certainly reduced to terrible straits throughout his ingenious volume. Yet are we scarcely prepared to find an upright and honourable man contending so hotly, and almost on any pretext, for the support of those very Fathers which, when they are against him, (as, 99 times out of 100, they are,) he treats with utter contumely. He is observed to put up with any ally, however insignificant, who even seems to be on his side.—by Eutherius:268268Ap. Theod. v. 1152.

In the VIth, by Anastasius Sin.,269269Pp. 423, 457.—by Hesychius:270270Cat. in Ps. i. 768; ii. 663.

In the VIIth, by Antiochus mon.,271271Pp. 1109, 1134.—by Maximus,272272i. 374.—by Andreas Cret.:273273P. 93.


In the VIIIth, by John Damascene,274274ii. 67, 747.—besides ps.-Chrysostom,275275i. 814; ii. 819; v. 735.—ps. Amphilochius,276276P. 88.—and the Opus imperf.277277Ap. Chrys. vi. 191.

Add to this, (since Latin authorities have been brought to the front),—Ambrose,27827811 times.—Hilary,279279P. 782 f.—Jerome,28028012 times.—Augustine,281281More than 60 times.—and other earlier writers.282282Ap. Cypr. (ed. Baluze), &c. &c.

We have thus again enumerated upwards of forty ancient Fathers. And again we ask, With what show of reason is the brand set upon these 12 words? Gravely to cite, as if there were anything in it, such counter-evidence as the following, to the foregoing torrent of Testimony from every part of ancient Christendom:—viz: b d, 38, 435, a b d and one Egyptian version—might really have been mistaken for a mauvaise plaisanterie, were it not that the gravity of the occasion effectually precludes the supposition. How could our Revisionists dare to insinuate doubts into wavering hearts and unlearned heads, where (as here) they were bound to know, there exists no manner of doubt at all?

(5) The record of the same Evangelist (S. Luke xxiii. 38) that the Inscription over our Saviour's Cross was written ... in letters of Greek, and Latin, and Hebrew, disappears entirely from our Revised version; and this, for no other reason, but because the incident is omitted by b c l, the corrupt Egyptian versions, and Cureton's depraved Syriac: the text of which (according to Bp. Ellicott283283On Revision,—p. 42 note. See above, p. 78 note.) is of a very composite nature,—sometimes inclining to the shortness and simplicity of the Vatican manuscript (b): e.g. on the present occasion. But surely the negative testimony of this little band of disreputable witnesses is entirely outweighed by the positive evidence of א a d q r with 13 other uncials,—the 086 evidence of the entire body of the cursives,—the sanction of the Latin,—the Peschito and Philoxenian Syriac,—the Armenian,—Æthiopic,—and Georgian versions; besides Eusebius—whose testimony (which is express) has been hitherto strangely overlooked284284Eclog. Proph. p. 89.—and Cyril.285285In Luc. 435 and 718. Against the threefold plea of Antiquity, Respectability of witnesses, Universality of testimony,—what have our Revisionists to show? (a) They cannot pretend that there has been Assimilation here; for the type of S. John xix. 20 is essentially different, and has retained its distinctive character all down the ages. (b) Nor can they pretend that the condition of the Text hereabouts bears traces of having been jealously guarded. We ask the Reader's attention to this matter just for a moment. There may be some of the occupants of the Jerusalem Chamber even, to whom what we are about to offer may not be altogether without the grace of novelty:—

That the Title on the Cross is diversely set down by each of the four Evangelists,—all men are aware. But perhaps all are not aware that S. Luke's record of the Title (in ch. xxiii. 38) is exhibited in four different ways by codices a b c d:—


b (with א L and a) exhibits—Ο ΒΑΣΙΛΕΥΣ ΤΩΝ ΙΟΥΔΑΙΩΝ ΟΥΤΟΣ

c exhibits—Ο ΒΑΣΙΛΕΥΣ ΤΩΝ ΙΟΥΔΑΙΩΝ (which is Mk. xv. 26).

d (with e and ff2) exhibits—Ο ΒΑΣΙΛΕΥΣ ΤΩΝ ΙΟΥΔΑΙΩΝ ΟΥΤΟΣ ΕΣΤΙΝ (which is the words of the Evangelist transposed).

We propose to recur to the foregoing specimens of licentiousness by-and-by.286286See pages 93 to 97. For the moment, let it be added that 087 codex x and the Sahidic version conspire in a fifth variety, viz., ΟΥΤΟΣ ΕΣΤΙΝ ΙΗΣΟΥΣ Ο ΒΑΣΙΛΕΥΣ ΤΩΝ ΙΟΥΔΑΙΩΝ (which is S. Matt. xxvii. 37); while Ambrose287287i. 1528. is found to have used a Latin copy which represented ΙΗΣΟΥΣ Ο ΝΑΖΩΡΑΙΟΣ Ο ΒΑΣΙΛΕΥΣ ΤΩΝ ΙΟΥΔΑΙΩΝ (which is S. John xix. 18). We spare the reader any remarks of our own on all this. He is competent to draw his own painful inferences, and will not fail to make his own damaging reflections. He shall only be further informed that 14 uncials and the whole body of the cursive copies side with codex a in upholding the Traditional Text; that the Vulgate,288288So Sedulius Paschalis, ap. Galland. ix. 595.—the Peschito,—Cureton's Syriac,—the Philoxenian;—besides the Coptic,—Armenian,—and Æthiopic versions—are all on the same side: lastly, that Origen,289289iii. 2.—Eusebius,—and Gregory of Nyssa290290Euseb. Ecl. Proph. p. 89: Greg. Nyss. i. 570.—These last two places have hitherto escaped observation. are in addition consentient witnesses;—and we can hardly be mistaken if we venture to anticipate (1st),—That the Reader will agree with us that the Text with which we are best acquainted (as usual) is here deserving of all confidence; and (2ndly),—That the Revisionists who assure us that they did not esteem it within their province to construct a continuous and complete Greek Text; (and who were never authorized to construct a new Greek Text at all;) were not justified in the course they have pursued with regard to S. Luke xxiii. 38. This is the King of the Jews is the only idiomatic way of rendering into English the title according to S. Luke, whether the reading of a or of b be adopted; but, in order to make it plain that they reject the Greek of a in favour of b, the Revisionists have gone out of their way. They have instructed the two Editors of The Greek Testament with the 088 Readings adopted by the Revisers of the Authorized Version291291See above, pp. 49-50, note 2. to exhibit S. Luke xxiii. 38 as it stands in the mutilated recension of Drs. Westcott and Hort.292292Viz., thus:—ἦν δὲ καὶ ἐπιγραφὴ ἐπ᾽ αὐτῷ, Ὁ βασιλεὺς τῶν Ἰουδαίων οὗτος. And if this procedure, repeated many hundreds of times, be not constructing a new Greek Text of the N. T., we have yet to learn what is.

(6) From the first verse of the concluding chapter of S. Luke's Gospel, is excluded the familiar clause—and certain others with them (καί τινες σὺν αὐταῖς). And pray, why? For no other reason but because א b c l, with some Latin authorities, omit the clause;—and our Revisionists do the like, on the plea that they have only been getting rid of a harmonistic insertion.293293Dean Alford, in loc. But it is nothing of the sort, as we proceed to explain.

Ammonius, or some predecessor of his early in the IInd century, saw fit (with perverse ingenuity) to seek to force S. Luke xxiii. 55 into agreement with S. Matt. xxvii. 61 and S. Mark xv. 47, by turning κατακολουθήσασαι δὲ καὶ γυναῖκες,—into κατηκολούθησαν δὲ ΔΎΟ γυναῖκες. This done, in order to produce harmonistic agreement and to be thorough, the same misguided individual proceeded to run his pen through the words and certain with them (καί τινες σὺν αὐταῖς) as inopportune; and his work was ended. 1750 years have rolled by since then, and—What traces remain of the man's foolishness? Of his first feat (we answer), Eusebius,294294ὁ Λουκᾶς μιᾷ λέγει τῶν σαββάτων ὄρθρου βαθέος φέρειν ἀρώματα γυναῖκας ΔΎΟ τὰς ἀκολουθησάσας ἀυτῷ, αἵ τινες ἦσαν ἀπὸ τῆς Γαλιλαίας συνακολουθήσασαι, ὅτε ἔθαπτον αὐτὸν ἐλθοῦσαι ἐπὶ τὸ μνῆμα; αἵτινες ΔΎΟ, κ.τ.λ.,—ad Marinum, ap. Mai, iv. 266. d and Evan. 29, besides five copies of the old Latin (a b e ff2 q), are 089 the sole surviving Witnesses. Of his second achievement, א b c l, 33, 124, have preserved a record; besides seven copies of the old Latin (a b c e ff2 g-1 1), together with the Vulgate, the Coptic, and Eusebius in one place295295Ps. i. 79. though not in another.296296Dem. 492. The Reader is therefore invited to notice that the tables have been unexpectedly turned upon our opponents. S. Luke introduced the words and certain with them, in order to prepare us for what he will have to say in xxiv. 10,—viz. It was Mary Magdalene, and Joanna, and Mary the mother of James, and other women with them, which told these things unto the Apostles. Some stupid harmonizer in the IInd century omitted the words, because they were in his way. Calamitous however it is that a clause which the Church has long since deliberately reinstated should, in the year 1881, be as deliberately banished for the second time from the sacred page by our Revisionists; who under the plea of amending our English Authorized Version have (with the best intentions) falsified the Greek Text of the Gospels in countless places,—often, as here, without notice and without apology.

(10) We find it impossible to pass by in silence the treatment which S. Luke xxiv. 12 has experienced at their hands. They have branded with doubt S. Luke's memorable account of S. Peter's visit to the sepulchre. And why? Let the evidence for this precious portion of the narrative be first rehearsed. Nineteen uncials then, with א a b at their head, supported by every known cursive copy,—all these vouch for the genuineness of the verse in question. The Latin,—the Syriac,—and the Egyptian versions also contain it. Eusebius,297297Ap. Mai, iv. 287, 293.—Gregory of Nyssa,298298i. 364.—Cyril,299299Ap. Mai, ii. 439.—Severus,300300Ap. Galland. xi. 224.—Ammonius,301301Cat. in Joann. p. 453. 090 and others302302Ps.-Chrys. viii. 161-2. Johannes Thessal. ap. Galland. xiii. 189. refer to it: while no ancient writer is found to impugn it. Then, why the double brackets of Drs. Westcott and Hort? and why the correlative marginal note of our Revisionists?—Simply because d and 5 copies of the old Latin (a b e l fu) leave these 22 words out.

(11) On the same sorry evidence—(viz. d and 5 copies of the old Latin)—it is proposed henceforth to omit our Saviour's greeting to His disciples when He appeared among them in the upper chamber on the evening of the first Easter Day. And yet the precious words (and saith unto them, Peace be unto you [Lu. xxiv. 36],) are vouched for by 18 uncials (with א a b at their head), and every known cursive copy of the Gospels: by all the Versions: and (as before) by Eusebius,303303Ap. Mai, iv. 293 bis; 294 diserte.—and Ambrose,304304i. 506, 1541.—by Chrysostom,305305iii. 91.—and Cyril,306306iv. 1108, and Luc. 728 ( = Mai, ii. 441).—and Augustine.307307iii.2 142; viii. 472.

(12) The same remarks suggest themselves on a survey of the evidence for S. Luke xxiv. 40:—And when He had thus spoken, He showed them His hands and His feet. The words are found in 18 uncials (beginning with א a b), and in every known cursive: in the Latin,308308So Tertullian:—Manus et pedes suos inspiciendos offert (Carn. c. 5). Inspectui eorum manus et pedes suos offert (Marc. iv. c. 43). Also Jerome i. 712.—the Syriac,—the Egyptian,—in short, in all the ancient Versions. Besides these, ps.-Justin,309309De Resur. 240 (quoted by J. Damascene, ii. 762).—Eusebius,310310Ap. Mai, iv. 294.—Athanasius,311311i. 906, quoted by Epiph. i. 1003.—Ambrose (in Greek),312312Ap. Theodoret, iv. 141.—Epiphanius,313313i. 49.—Chrysostom,314314i. 510; ii. 408, 418; iii. 91.—Cyril,315315iv. 1108; vi. 23 (Trin.). Ap. Mai, ii. 442 ter.—Theodoret,316316iv. 272.—Ammonius,317317Cat. in Joan. 462, 3.—and 091 John Damascene318318i. 303.—quote them. What but the veriest trifling is it, in the face of such a body of evidence, to bring forward the fact that d and 5 copies of the old Latin, with Cureton's Syriac (of which we have had the character already319319See above, pp. 78 and 85.), omit the words in question?

The foregoing enumeration of instances of Mutilation might be enlarged to almost any extent. Take only three more short but striking specimens, before we pass on:—

(a) Thus, the precious verse (S. Matthew xvii. 21) which declares that this kind [of evil spirit] goeth not out but by prayer and fasting, is expunged by our Revisionists; although it is vouched for by every known uncial but two (b א), every known cursive but one (Evan. 33); is witnessed to by the Old Latin and the Vulgate,—the Syriac, Coptic, Armenian, Georgian, Æthiopic, and Slavonic versions; by Origen,320320iii. 579.—Athanasius,321321ii. 114 (ed. 1698).—Basil,322322ii. 9, 362, 622.—Chrysostom,323323ii. 309; iv. 30; v. 531; vii. 581.—the Opus imperf.,324324vi. 79.—the Syriac Clement,325325Ep. i. (ap. Gall. i. p. xii.)—and John Damascene;326326ii. 464.—by Tertullian,—Ambrose,—Hilary,—Juvencus,—Augustine,—Maximus Taur.,—and by the Syriac version of the Canons of Eusebius: above all by the Universal East,—having been read in all the churches of Oriental Christendom on the 10th Sunday after Pentecost, from the earliest period. Why, in the world, then (our readers will ask) have the Revisionists left those words out?... For no other reason, we answer, but because Drs. Westcott and Hort place them among the interpolations which they consider unworthy of being even 092 exceptionally retained in association with the true Text.327327Text, pp. 565 and 571. Western and Syrian is their oracular sentence.328328Append. p. 14.

(b) The blessed declaration, The Son of Man is come to save that which was lost,—has in like manner been expunged by our Revisionists from S. Matth. xviii. 11; although it is attested by every known uncial except b א l, and every known cursive except three: by the old Latin and the Vulgate: by the Peschito, Cureton's and the Philoxenian Syriac: by the Coptic, Armenian, Æthiopic, Georgian and Slavonic versions:329329We depend for our Versions on Dr. S. C. Malan: pp. 31, 44.—by Origen,330330ii. 147. Conc. v. 675.—Theodoras Heracl.,331331Cord. Cat. i. 376.—Chrysostom332332vii. 599, 600 diserte.—and Jovius333333Ap. Photium, p. 644. the monk;—by Tertullian,334334Three times.—Ambrose,335335i. 663, 1461, ii. 1137.—Hilary,336336Pp. 367, 699.—Jerome,337337vii. 139.—pope Damasus338338Ap. Galland. vi. 324.—and Augustine:339339iii. P. i. 760.—above all, by the Universal Eastern Church,—for it has been read in all assemblies of the faithful on the morrow of Pentecost, from the beginning. Why then (the reader will again ask) have the Revisionists expunged this verse? We can only answer as before,—because Drs. Westcott and Hort consign it to the limbus of their Appendix; class it among their Rejected Readings of the most hopeless type.340340Text, p. 572. As before, all their sentence is Western and Syrian. They add, Interpolated either from Lu. xix. 10, or from an independent source, written or oral.341341Append. p. 14.... Will the English Church suffer herself to be in this way defrauded of her priceless inheritance,—through the irreverent bungling of well-intentioned, but utterly misguided men?


(c) In the same way, our Lord's important saying,—Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of: for the Son of man is not come to destroy men's lives, but to save them (S. Luke ix. 55, 56), has disappeared from our Revised Version; although Manuscripts, Versions, Fathers from the second century downwards, (as Tischendorf admits,) witness eloquently in its favour.

V. In conclusion, we propose to advert, just for a moment, to those five several mis-representations of S. Luke's Title on the Cross, which were rehearsed above, viz. in page 86. At so gross an exhibition of licentiousness, it is the mere instinct of Natural Piety to exclaim,—But then, could not those men even set down so sacred a record as that, correctly? They could, had they been so minded, no doubt, (we answer): but, marvellous to relate, the Transposition of words,—no matter how significant, sacred, solemn;—of short clauses,—even of whole sentences of Scripture;—was anciently accounted an allowable, even a graceful exercise of the critical faculty.

The thing alluded to is incredible at first sight; being so often done, apparently, without any reason whatever,—or rather in defiance of all reason. Let candidus lector be the judge whether we speak truly or not. Whereas S. Luke (xxiv. 41) says, And while they yet believed not for joy, and wondered, the scribe of codex a (by way of improving upon the Evangelist) transposes his sentence into this, And while they yet disbelieved Him, and wondered for joy:342342ἔτι δὲ ἀπιστούντων αὐτῷ, καὶ θαυμαζόντων ἀπὸ τῆς χαρᾶς. which is almost nonsense, or quite.

But take a less solemn example. Instead of,—And His 094 disciples plucked the ears of corn, and ate them, (τοὺς στάχυας, καὶ ἤσθιον,) rubbing them in their hands (S. Luke vi. 1),—b c l r, by transposing four Greek words, present us with, And His disciples plucked, and ate the ears of corn, (καὶ ἤσθιον τοὺς στάχυας,) rubbing them, &c. Now this might have been an agreeable occupation for horses and for another quadruped, no doubt; but hardly for men. This curiosity, which (happily) proved indigestible to our Revisionists, is nevertheless swallowed whole by Drs. Westcott and Hort as genuine and wholesome Gospel. (O dura Doctorum ilia!)—But to proceed.

Then further, these preposterous Transpositions are of such perpetual recurrence,—are so utterly useless or else so exceedingly mischievous, always so tasteless,—that familiarity with the phenomenon rather increases than lessens our astonishment. What does astonish us, however, is to find learned men in the year of grace 1881, freely resuscitating these long-since-forgotten bêtises of long-since-forgotten Critics, and seeking to palm them off upon a busy and a careless age, as so many new revelations. That we may not be thought to have shown undue partiality for the xxiind, xxiiird, and xxivth chapters of S. Luke's Gospel by selecting our instances of Mutilation from those three chapters, we will now look for specimens of Transposition in the xixth and xxth chapters of the same Gospel. The reader is invited to collate the Text of the oldest uncials, throughout these two chapters, with the commonly Received Text. He will find that within the compass of 88 consecutive verses,343343Viz. from ch. xix. 7 to xx. 46. codices א a b c d q exhibit no less than 74 instances of Transposition:—for 39 of which, d is responsible:—א b, for 14:—א and א b d, for 4 each:—a b and א a b, for 3 each:—a, for 095 2:—b, c, q, א A, and a d, each for 1.—In other words, he will find that in no less than 44 of these instances of Transposition, d is implicated:—א, in 26:—b, in 25:—a, in 10:—while c and q are concerned in only one a-piece.... It should be added that Drs. Westcott and Hort have adopted every one of the 25 in which codex b is concerned—a significant indication of the superstitious reverence in which they hold that demonstrably corrupt and most untrustworthy document.344344   We take leave to point out that, however favourable the estimate Drs. Westcott and Hort may have personally formed of the value and importance of the Vatican Codex (b), nothing can excuse their summary handling, not to say their contemptuous disregard, of all evidence adverse to that of their own favourite guide. They pass by whatever makes against the reading they adopt, with the oracular announcement that the rival reading is Syrian, Western, Western and Syrian, as the case may be.
    But we respectfully submit that Syrian, Western, Western and Syrian, as Critical expressions, are absolutely without meaning, as well as without use to a student in this difficult department of sacred Science. They supply no information. They are never supported by a particle of intelligible evidence. They are often demonstrably wrong, and always unreasonable. They are Dictation, not Criticism. When at last it is discovered that they do but signify that certain words are not found in codex b,—they are perceived to be the veriest foolishness also.

    Progress is impossible while this method is permitted to prevail. If these distinguished Professors have enjoyed a Revelation as to what the Evangelists actually wrote, they would do well to acquaint the world with the fact at the earliest possible moment. If, on the contrary, they are merely relying on their own inner consciousness for the power of divining the truth of Scripture at a glance,—they must be prepared to find their decrees treated with the contumely which is due to imposture, of whatever kind.
Every other case of Transposition they have rejected. By their own confession, therefore, 49 out of the 74 (i.e. two-thirds of the entire number) are instances of depravation. We turn with curiosity to the Revised Version; and discover that out of the 25 so retained, the Editors in question were only able to persuade the Revisionists to adopt 8. So that, in the judgment of the Revisionists, 66 out of 74, or eleven-twelfths, 096 are instances of licentious tampering with the deposit.... O to participate in the verifying faculty which guided the teachers to discern in 25 cases of Transposition out of 74, the genuine work of the Holy Ghost! O, far more, to have been born with that loftier instinct which enabled the pupils (Doctors Roberts and Milligan, Newth and Moulton, Vance Smith and Brown, Angus and Eadie) to winnow out from the entire lot exactly 8, and to reject the remaining 66 as nothing worth!

According to our own best judgment, (and we have carefully examined them all,) every one of the 74 is worthless. But then we make it our fundamental rule to reason always from grounds of external Evidence,—never from postulates of the Imagination. Moreover, in the application of our rule, we begrudge no amount of labour: reckoning a long summer's day well spent if it has enabled us to ascertain the truth concerning one single controverted word of Scripture. Thus, when we find that our Revisionists, at the suggestion of Dr. Hort, have transposed the familiar Angelic utterance (in S. Luke xxiv. 7), λέγων ὅτι δεῖ τὸν υἱὸν τοῦ ἀνθρώπου παραδοθῆναι,—into this, λέγων τὸν υἱὸν τοῦ ἀνθρώπου ὅτι δεῖ, &c., we at once enquire for the evidence. And when we find that no single Father, no single Version, and no Codex—except the notorious א b c l—advocates the proposed transposition; but on the contrary that every Father (from a.d. 150 downwards) who quotes the place, quotes it as it stands in the Textus receptus;345345Marcion (Epiph. i. 317);—Eusebius (Mai, iv. 266);—Epiphanius (i. 348);—Cyril (Mai, ii. 438);—John Thessal. (Galland. xiii. 188).—we have no hesitation whatever in rejecting it. It is found in the midst of a very thicket of fabricated readings. It has nothing whatever to recommend it. It is condemned by the consentient voice of Antiquity. 097 It is advocated only by four copies,—which never combine exclusively, except to misrepresent the truth of Scripture and to seduce the simple.

But the foregoing, which is a fair typical sample of countless other instances of unauthorized Transposition, may not be dismissed without a few words of serious remonstrance. Our contention is that, inasmuch as the effect of such transposition is incapable of being idiomatically represented in the English language,—(for, in all such cases, the Revised Version retains the rendering of the Authorized,)—our Revisionists have violated the spirit as well as the letter of their instructions, in putting forth a new Greek Text, and silently introducing into it a countless number of these and similar depravations of Scripture. These Textual curiosities (for they are nothing more) are absolutely out of place in a Revision of the English Version: achieve no lawful purpose: are sure to mislead the unwary. This first.—Secondly, we submit that,—strong as, no doubt, the temptation must have been, to secure the sanction of the N. T. Revisionists for their own private Recension of the Greek, (printed long since, but published simultaneously with the Revised Version)—it is to be regretted that Drs. Westcott and Hort should have yielded thereto. Man's impatience never promotes God's Truth. The interests of Textual Criticism would rather have suggested, that the Recension of that accomplished pair of Professors should have been submitted to public inspection in the first instance. The astonishing Text which it advocates might have been left with comparative safety to take its chance in the Jerusalem Chamber, after it had undergone the searching ordeal of competent Criticism, and been freely ventilated at home and abroad for a decade of years. But on the contrary. It was kept close. It might be seen only by the Revisers: and even they were tied down to secrecy as 098 to the letter-press by which it was accompanied.... All this strikes us as painful in a high degree.

VI. Hitherto we have referred almost exclusively to the Gospels. In conclusion, we invite attention to our Revisionists' treatment of 1 Tim. iii. 16—the crux criticorum, as Prebendary Scrivener styles it.346346[The discussion of this text has been left very nearly as it originally stood,—the rather, because the reading of 1 Tim. iii. 16 will be found fully discussed at the end of the present volume. See Index of Texts.] We cannot act more fairly than by inviting a learned member of the revising body to speak on behalf of his brethren. We shall in this way ascertain the amount of acquaintance with the subject enjoyed by some of those who have been so obliging as to furnish the Church with a new Recension of the Greek of the New Testament. Dr. Roberts says:—

The English reader will probably be startled to find that the familiar text,—And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, has been exchanged in the Revised Version for the following,—And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness; He who was manifested in the flesh. A note on the margin states that the word God, in place of He who, rests on no sufficient ancient evidence; and it may be well that, in a passage of so great importance, the reader should be convinced that such is the case.

What, then, let us enquire, is the amount of evidence which can be produced in support of the reading God? This is soon stated. Not one of the early Fathers can be certainly quoted for it. None of the very ancient versions support it. No uncial witnesses to it, with the doubtful exception of a.... But even granting that the weighty suffrage of the Alexandrian manuscript is in favour of God, far more evidence can be produced in support of who. א and probably c witness to this reading, and it has also powerful testimony from the versions and Fathers. Moreover, the relative who is a far more difficult reading than God, and could hardly have been substituted for the latter. On every ground, therefore, we conclude that 099 this interesting and important passage must stand as it has been given in the Revised Version.347347Companion to the Revised Version, &c., by Alex. Roberts, D.D. (2nd edit.), pp. 66-8.

And now, having heard the learned Presbyterian on behalf of his brother-Revisionists, we request that we may be ourselves listened to in reply.

The place of Scripture before us, the Reader is assured, presents a memorable instance of the mischief which occasionally resulted to the inspired Text from the ancient practice of executing copies of the Scriptures in uncial characters. S. Paul certainly wrote μέγα ἐστὶ τὸ τῆς εὐσεβείας μυστήριον; Θεὸς ἐφανερώθη ἐν σαρκί, (Great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifested in the flesh) But it requires to be explained at the outset, that the holy Name when abbreviated (which it always was), thus,—ΘΣ (God), is only distinguishable from the relative pronoun who (ΟΣ), by two horizontal strokes,—which, in manuscripts of early date, it was often the practice to trace so faintly that at present they can scarcely be discerned.348348Of this, any one may convince himself by merely inspecting the 2 pages of codex a which are exposed to view at the British Museum. Need we go on? An archetypal copy in which one or both of these slight strokes had vanished from the word ΘΣ (God), gave rise to the reading ΟΣ (who),—of which nonsensical substitute, traces survive in only two349349For, of the 3 cursives usually cited for the same reading (17, 73, 181), the second proves (on enquiry at Upsala) to be merely an abridgment of Œcumenius, who certainly read Θεός; and the last is non-existent. manuscripts,—א and 17: not, for certain, in one single ancient Father,—no, nor for certain in one single ancient Version. So transparent, in fact, is the absurdity of writing τὸ μυστέριον ὅς (the mystery who), that copyists promptly substituted ὅ (which): thus furnishing another illustration of the well-known property of 100 a fabricated reading, viz. sooner or later inevitably to become the parent of a second. Happily, to this second mistake the sole surviving witness is the Codex Claromontanus, of the VIth century (d): the only Patristic evidence in its favour being Gelasius of Cyzicus,350350Concilia, ii. 217 c. (whose date is a.d. 476): and the unknown author of a homily in the appendix to Chrysostom.351351viii. 214 b. The Versions—all but the Georgian and the Slavonic, which agree with the Received Text—favour it unquestionably; for they are observed invariably to make the relative pronoun agree in gender with the word which represents μυστήριον (mystery) which immediately precedes it. Thus, in the Syriac Versions, ὅς (who) is found,—but only because the Syriac equivalent for μυστήριον is of the masculine gender: in the Latin, quod (which)—but only because mysterium in Latin (like μυστήριον in Greek) is neuter. Over this latter reading, however, we need not linger; seeing that ὅ does not find a single patron at the present day. And yet, this was the reading which was eagerly upheld during the last century: Wetstein and Sir Isaac Newton being its most strenuous advocates.

It is time to pass under hasty review the direct evidence for the true reading. a and c exhibited ΘΣ until ink, thumbing, and the injurious use of chemicals, obliterated what once was patent. It is too late, by full 150 years, to contend on the negative side of this question.—f and g, which exhibit ΟΣ and ΟΣ respectively, were confessedly derived from a common archetype: in which archetype, it is evident that the horizontal stroke which distinguishes Θ from Ο must have been so faintly traced as to be scarcely discernible. The supposition that, in this place, the stroke in question represents the aspirate, is scarcely admissible. There is no single example of ὅς written ΟΣ in any part of 101 either Cod. f or Cod. g. On the other hand, in the only place where ΟΣ represents ΘΣ, it is written ΟΣ in both. Prejudice herself may be safely called upon to accept the obvious and only lawful inference.

To come to the point,—Θεός is the reading of all the uncial copies extant but two (viz. א which exhibits ὅς, and d which exhibits ὅ), and of all the cursives but one (viz. 17). The universal consent of the Lectionaries proves that Θεός has been read in all the assemblies of the faithful from the IVth or Vth century of our era. At what earlier period of her existence is it supposed then that the Church (the witness and keeper of Holy Writ,) availed herself of her privilege to substitute Θεός for ὅς or ὅ,—whether in error or in fraud? Nothing short of a conspiracy, to which every region of the Eastern Church must have been a party, would account for the phenomenon.

We enquire next for the testimony of the Fathers; and we discover that—(1) Gregory of Nyssa quotes Θεός twenty-two times:352352A single quotation is better than many references. Among a multitude of proofs that Christ is God, Gregory says:—Τιμοθέῳ δὲ διαῤῥήδῃν βοᾷ; ὅτι ὁ Θεὸς ἐφανερώθη ἐν σαρκί, ἐδικαιώθη ἐν πνεύματι. ii. 693.—that Θεός is also recognized by (2) his namesake of Nazianzus in two places;353353Τοῦτο ἡμῖν τὸ μέγα μυστήριον ... ὁ ἐνανθρωπήσας δι᾽ ἡμᾶς καὶ πτωχεύσας Θεός, ἵνα ἀναστήσῃ τὴν σάρκα. (i. 215 a.)—Τί τὸ μέγα μυστήριον?... Θεὸς ἄνθρωπος γίνεται. (i. 685 b.)—as well as by (3) Didymus of Alexandria;354354De Trin. p. 83—where the testimony is express.—(4) by ps.-Dionysius Alex.;355355Θεὸς γὰρ ἐφανερώθη ἐν σαρκί.—Concilia, i. 853 d.—and (5) by Diodorus of Tarsus.356356Cramer's Cat. in Rom. p. 124.—(6) Chrysostom quotes 1 Tim. iii. 16 in conformity with the received text at least three times;357357One quotation may suffice:—Τὸ δὲ Θεὸν ὄντα, ἄνθρωπον θελῆσαι γενέσθαι καὶ ἀνεσχέσθαι καταβῆναι τοσοῦτον ... τοῦτό ἐστι τὸ ἐκπλήξεως γέμον. ὂ δὴ καὶ Παῦλος θαυμάζων ἔλεγεν; καὶ ὁμολογουμένως μέγα ἐστὶ τὸ τῆς εὐσεβείας μυστέριον; ποῖον μέγα; Θεὸς ἐφανερώθη ἐν σαρκί; καὶ πάλιν ἀλλαχοῦ; οὐ γὰρ ἀγγέλων ἐπιλαμβάνεται ὁ Θεός, κ.τ.λ. i. 497. = Galland. xiv. 141.—and 102 (7) Cyril Al. as often:358358The following may suffice:—μέγα γὰρ τότε τῆς εὐσεβείας μυστήριον; πεφανέρωται γὰρ ἐν σαρκὶ Θεὸς ὢν καὶ ὁ Λόγος; ἐδικαιώθη δὲ καὶ ἐν πνεύματι. v. p. ii.; p. 154 c d.—In a newly-recovered treatise of Cyril, 1 Tim. iii. 16 is quoted at length with Θεός, followed by a remark on the ἐν ἀυτῷ φανερωθεὶς Θεός. This at least is decisive. The place has been hitherto overlooked.—(8) Theodoret, four times:359359i. 92; iii. 657; iv. 19, 23.—(9) an unknown author of the age of Nestorius (a.d. 430), once:360360Apud Athanasium, Opp. ii. 33, where see Garnier's prefatory note.—(10) Severus, Bp. of Antioch (a.d. 512), once.361361Καθ᾽ ὂ γὰρ ὑπῆρχε Θεὸς [sc. ὁ Χριστὸς] τοῦτον ᾔτει τὸν νομοθέτην δοθῆναι πᾶσι τοῖς ἔθνεσι ... τοιγαροῦν καὶ δεξάμενα τὰ ἔθνη τὸν νομοθέτην, τὸν ἐν σαρκὶ φανερωθέντα Θεόν. Cramer's Cat. iii. 69. The quotation is from the lost work of Severus against Julian of Halicarnassus.—(11) Macedonius (a.d. 506) patriarch of CP.,362362Galland. xii. 152 e, 153 e, with the notes both of Garnier and Gallandius. of whom it has been absurdly related that he invented the reading, is a witness for Θεός perforce; so is—(12) Euthalius, and—(13) John Damascene on two occasions.363363i. 313; ii. 263.—(14) An unknown writer who has been mistaken for Athanasius,364364Ap. Athanas. i. 706.—(15) besides not a few ancient scholiasts, close the list: for we pass by the testimony of—(16) Epiphanius at the 7th Nicene Council (a.d. 787),—of (17) Œcumenius,—of (18) Theophylact.

It will be observed that neither has anything been said about the many indirect allusions of earlier Fathers to this place of Scripture; and yet some of these are too striking to be overlooked: as when—(19) Basil, writing of our Saviour, says αὐτὸς ἐφανερώθη ἐν σαρκί:365365iii. 401-2.—and (20) Gregory Thaum., καὶ ἔστι Θεὸς ἀληθινὸς ὁ ἄσαρκος ἐν σαρκὶ φανερωθείς:366366Ap. Phot. 230.—and before him, (21) Hippolytus, οὗτος προελθὼν εἰς κόσμον, Θεὸς ἐν σώματι ἐφανερώθη:367367Contra Hær. Noet. c. 17.—and (22) Theodotus the Gnostic, ὁ Σωτὴρ ὤφθη κατιὼν τοῖς 103 ἀγγέλοις:368368Ap. Clem. Al. 973.—and (23) Barnabas, Ἰησοῦς ... ὁ υἱὸς τοῦ Θεοῦ τύπῳ καὶ ἐν σαρκὶ φανερωθείς:369369Cap. xii.—and earlier still (24) Ignatius: Θεοῦ ἀνθρωπίνως φανερουμένον:—ἐν σαρκὶ γενόμενος Θεός:—εἶς Θεὸς ἔστιν ὁ φανερώσοας ἑαυτὸν διὰ Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ τοῦ υἱοῦ αὐτοῦ.370370Ad Eph. c. 19, 7; ad Magn. c. 8.—Are we to suppose that none of these primitive writers read the place as we do?

Against this array of Testimony, the only evidence which the unwearied industry of 150 years has succeeded in eliciting, is as follows:—(1) The exploded Latin fable that Macedonius (a.d. 506) invented the reading:371371See Scrivener's Plain Introd. pp. 555-6, and Berriman's Dissertation, pp. 229-263. Also the end of this volume.—(2) the fact that Epiphanius,—professing to transcribe372372i. 887 c. from an earlier treatise of his own373373ii. 74 b. (in which ἐφανερώθη stands without a nominative), prefixes ὅς:—(3) the statement of an unknown scholiast, that in one particular place of Cyril's writings where the Greek is lost, Cyril wrote ὅς,—(which seems to be an entire mistake; but which, even if it were a fact, would be sufficiently explained by the discovery that in two other places of Cyril's writings the evidence fluctuates between ὅς and Θεός):—(4) a quotation in an epistle of Eutherius of Tyana (it exists only in Latin) where qui is found:—(5) a casual reference (in Jerome's commentary on Isaiah) to our Lord, as One qui apparuit in carne, justificatus est in spiritu,—which Bp. Pearson might have written.—Lastly, (6) a passage of Theodorus Mopsuest. (quoted at the Council of Constantinople, a.d. 553), where the reading is qui,—which is balanced by the discovery that in another place of his writings quoted at the same Council, the original is translated quod. And this closes the evidence. Will any unprejudiced person, on reviewing the premisses, seriously declare that ὅς is the better sustained reading of the two?


For ourselves, we venture to deem it incredible that a Reading which—(a) Is not to be found in more than two copies (א and 17) of S. Paul's Epistles: which—(b) Is not certainly supported by a single Version:—(c) Nor is clearly advocated by a single Father,—can be genuine. It does not at all events admit of question, that until far stronger evidence can be produced in its favour, ὅς (who) may on no account be permitted to usurp the place of the commonly received Θεός (God) of 1 Tim. iii. 16. But the present exhibits in a striking and instructive way all the characteristic tokens of a depravation of the text. (1st) At an exceedingly early period it resulted in another deflection. (2nd) It is without the note of Continuity; having died out of the Church's memory well-nigh 1400 years ago. (3rd) It is deficient in Universality; having been all along denied the Church's corporate sanction. As a necessary consequence, (4th) It rests at this day on wholly insufficient Evidence: Manuscripts, Versions, Fathers being all against it. (5th) It carries on its front its own refutation. For, as all must see, ΘΣ might easily be mistaken for ΟΣ: but in order to make ΟΣ into ΘΣ, two horizontal lines must of set purpose be added to the copy. It is therefore a vast deal more likely that ΘΣ became ΟΣ, than that ΟΣ became ΘΣ. (6th) Lastly, it is condemned by internal considerations. Ὅς is in truth so grossly improbable—rather, so impossible—a reading, that under any circumstances we must have anxiously enquired whether no escape from it was discoverable: whether there exists no way of explaining how so patent an absurdity as μυστέριον ὅς may have arisen? And on being reminded that the disappearance of two faint horizontal strokes, or even of one, would fully account for the impossible reading,—(and thus much, at least, all admit,)—should we not have felt that it required an overwhelming consensus of authorities in favour of ὅς, to render such an alternative deserving of serious 105 attention? It is a mere abuse of Bengel's famous axiom to recal it on occasions like the present. We shall be landed in a bathos indeed if we allow gross improbability to become a constraining motive with us in revising the sacred Text.

And thus much for the true reading of 1 Tim. iii. 16. We invite the reader to refer back374374See above, p. 98. to a Reviser's estimate of the evidence in favour of Θεός and ὅς respectively, and to contrast it with our own. If he is impressed with the strength of the cause of our opponents,—their mastery of the subject,—and the reasonableness of their contention,—we shall be surprised. And yet that is not the question just now before us. The only question (be it clearly remembered) which has to be considered, is this:—Can it be said with truth that the evidence for ὅς (as against Θεός) in 1 Tim. iii. 16 is clearly preponderating? Can it be maintained that Θεός is a plain and clear error? Unless this can be affirmed—cadit quæstio. The traditional reading of the place ought to have been let alone. May we be permitted to say without offence that, in our humble judgment, if the Church of England, at the Revisers' bidding, were to adopt this and thousands of other depravations of the sacred page,375375As, that stupid fabrication, Τί με ἐρωτᾷς περὶ τοῦ ἀγαθοῦ; (in S. Matth. xix. 17):—the new incidents and sayings proposed for adoption, as in S. Mark i. 27 (in the Synagogue of Capernaum): in S. John xiii. 21-6 (at the last supper): in S. Luke xxiv. 17 (on the way to Emmaus):—the many proposed omissions, as in S. Matth. vi. 13 (the Doxology): in xvi. 2, 3 (the signs of the weather): in S. Mark ix. 44 & 46 (the words of woe): in S. John v. 3, 4 (the Angel troubling the pool), &c. &c. &c.—with which the Church Universal was once well acquainted, but which in her corporate character she has long since unconditionally condemned and abandoned,—she would deserve to be pointed at with scorn by the rest of Christendom? Yes, and to have that openly said of her 106 which S. Peter openly said of the false teachers of his day who fell back into the very errors which they had already abjured. The place will be found in 2 S. Peter ii. 22. So singularly applicable is it to the matter in hand, that we can but invite attention to the quotation on our title-page and p. 1.

And here we make an end.

1. Those who may have taken up the present Article in expectation of being entertained with another of those discussions (of which we suspect the public must be already getting somewhat weary), concerning the degree of ability which the New Testament Revisionists have displayed in their rendering into English of the Greek, will at first experience disappointment. Readers of intelligence, however, who have been at the pains to follow us through the foregoing pages, will be constrained to admit that we have done more faithful service to the cause of Sacred Truth by the course we have been pursuing, than if we had merely multiplied instances of incorrect and unsatisfactory Translation. There is (and this we endeavoured to explain at the outset) a question of prior interest and far graver importance which has to be settled first, viz. the degree of confidence which is due to the underlying new Greek text which our Revisionists have constructed. In other words, before discussing their new Renderings, we have to examine their new Readings.376376It cannot be too plainly or too often stated that learned Prebendary Scrivener is wholly guiltless of the many spurious Readings with which a majority of his co-Revisionists have corrupted the Word of God. He pleaded faithfully,—but he pleaded in vain.—It is right also to state that the scholarlike Bp. of S. Andrews (Dr. Charles Wordsworth) has fully purged himself of the suspicion of complicity, by his printed (not published) remonstrances with his colleagues.—The excellent Bp. of Salisbury (Dr. Moberly) attended only 121 of their 407 meetings; and that judicious scholar, the Abp. of Dublin (Dr. Trench) only 63. The reader will find more on this subject at the close of Art. II.,—pp. 228-30. The silence which Scholars have hitherto maintained on this part 107 of the subject is to ourselves scarcely intelligible. But it makes us the more anxious to invite attention to this neglected aspect of the problem; the rather, because we have thoroughly convinced ourselves that the new Greek Text put forth by the Revisionists of our Authorized Version is utterly inadmissible. The traditional Text has been departed from by them nearly 6000 times,—almost invariably for the worse.

2. Fully to dispose of all these multitudinous corruptions would require a bulky Treatise. But the reader is requested to observe that, if we are right in the few instances we have culled out from the mass,—then we are right in all. If we have succeeded in proving that the little handful of authorities on which the new Greek Text depends, are the reverse of trustworthy,—are absolutely misleading,—then, we have cut away from under the Revisionists the very ground on which they have hitherto been standing. And in that case, the structure which they have built up throughout a decade of years, with such evident self-complacency, collapses like the baseless fabric of a vision.

3. For no one may flatter himself that, by undergoing a further process of Revision, the Revised Version may after all be rendered trustworthy. The eloquent and excellent Bishop of Derry is convinced that, with all its undeniable merits, it will have to be somewhat extensively revised. And so perhaps are we. But (what is a far more important circumstance) we are further convinced that a prior act of penance to be submitted to by the Revisers would be the restoration of the underlying Greek Text to very nearly—not quite—the state in which they found it when they entered upon their ill-advised undertaking. Very nearly—not quite: for, in not a few particulars, the Textus receptus does call for Revision, certainly; although Revision on entirely different principles from those which are found to have prevailed in the Jerusalem Chamber. To mention a 108 single instance:—When our Lord first sent forth His Twelve Apostles, it was certainly no part of His ministerial commission to them to raise the dead (νεκροὺς ἐγείρετε, S. Matthew x. 8). This is easily demonstrable. Yet is the spurious clause retained by our Revisionists; because it is found in those corrupt witnesses—א b c d, and the Latin copies.377377Eusebius,—Basil,—Chrysostom (in loc.),—Jerome,—Juvencus,—omit the words. P. E. Pusey found them in no Syriac copy. But the conclusive evidence is supplied by the Manuscripts; not more than 1 out of 20 of which contain this clause. When will men learn unconditionally to put away from themselves the weak superstition which is for investing with oracular authority the foregoing quaternion of demonstrably depraved Codices?

4. It may be said—(to quote again from Bp. Alexander's recent Charge),—that there is a want of modesty in dissenting from the conclusions of a two-thirds majority of a body so learned. But the rough process of counting heads imposes unduly on the imagination. One could easily name eight in that assembly, whose unanimity would be practically almost decisive; but we have no means of knowing that these did not form the minority in resisting the changes which we most regret. The Bishop is speaking of the English Revision. Having regard to the Greek Text exclusively, we also (strange to relate) had singled out exactly eight from the members of the New Testament company—Divines of undoubted orthodoxy, who for their splendid scholarship and proficiency in the best learning, or else for their refined taste and admirable judgment, might (as we humbly think), under certain safeguards, have been safely entrusted even with the responsibility of revising the Sacred Text. Under the guidance of Prebendary Scrivener (who among living Englishmen is facile princeps in these pursuits) it is scarcely to be anticipated that, when unanimous, such Divines would ever 109 have materially erred. But then, of course, a previous life-long familiarity with the Science of Textual Criticism, or at least leisure for prosecuting it now, for ten or twenty years, with absolutely undivided attention,—would be the indispensable requisite for the success of such an undertaking; and this, undeniably, is a qualification rather to be desiderated than looked for at the hands of English Divines of note at the present day. On the other hand, (loyalty to our Master constrains us to make the avowal,) the motley assortment of names, twenty-eight in all, specified by Dr. Newth, at p. 125 of his interesting little volume, joined to the fact that the average attendance was not so many as sixteen,—concerning whom, moreover, the fact has transpired that some of the most judicious of their number often declined to give any vote at all,—is by no means calculated to inspire any sort of confidence. But, in truth, considerable familiarity with these pursuits may easily co-exist with a natural inaptitude for their successful cultivation, which shall prove simply fatal. In support of this remark, one has but to refer to the instance supplied by Dr. Hort. The Sacred Text has none to fear so much as those who feel rather than think: who imagine rather than reason: who rely on a supposed verifying faculty of their own, of which they are able to render no intelligible account; and who, (to use Bishop Ellicott's phrase,) have the misfortune to conceive themselves possessed of a power of divining the Original Text,—which would be even diverting, if the practical result of their self-deception were not so exceedingly serious.

5. In a future number, we may perhaps enquire into the measure of success which has attended the Revisers' Revision of the English of our Authorized Version of 1611. We have occupied ourselves at this time exclusively with a survey of the seriously mutilated and otherwise grossly depraved new Greek text, on which their edifice has been reared. 110 And the circumstance which, in conclusion, we desire to impress upon our Readers, is this,—that the insecurity of that foundation is so alarming, that, except as a concession due to the solemnity of the undertaking just now under review, further Criticism might very well be dispensed with, as a thing superfluous. Even could it be proved concerning the superstructure, that it had been [ever so] well builded,378378Revised Text of S. Luke vi. 48. (to adopt another of our Revisionists' unhappy perversions of Scripture,) the fatal objection would remain, viz. that it is not founded upon the rock.379379Authorized Version, supported by a c d and 12 other uncials, the whole body of the cursives, the Syriac, Latin, and Gothic versions. It has been the ruin of the present undertaking—as far as the Sacred Text is concerned—that the majority of the Revisionist body have been misled throughout by the oracular decrees and impetuous advocacy of Drs. Westcott and Hort; who, with the purest intentions and most laudable industry, have constructed a Text demonstrably more remote from the Evangelic verity, than any which has ever yet seen the light. The old is good,380380Revised Text of S. Luke v. 39. say the Revisionists: but we venture solemnly to assure them that the old is better;381381Authorized Version, supported by a c and 14 other uncials, the whole body of the cursives, and all the versions except the Peschito and the Coptic. and that this remark holds every bit as true of their Revision of the Greek throughout, as of their infelicitous exhibition of S. Luke v. 39. To attempt, as they have done, to build the Text of the New Testament on a tissue of unproved assertions and the eccentricities of a single codex of bad character, is about as hopeful a proceeding as would be the attempt to erect an Eddystone lighthouse on the Goodwin Sands.

« Prev Article I. The New Greek Text. Next »


| Define | Popups: Login | Register | Prev Next | Help |