Obrazy na stronie

erit.' In this account, we find a strong confirmation of the truth of Mr. Porson's description of the method of collation adopted by the critics of those early times. That exactness of quotation, says he, ( Letters to Travis, p. 30.) which is now justly thought necessary, was uvhappily never attempted by the critics of the fif. teen and sixteenth centuries. The method in which Valla performed his task was probably to chuse the MS. that he judged to be the best, to read it diligently, and whenever he was stopped by a difficulty, or was desirous to know how the same passage was read in other Latin, or in the Greek MSS. to have recourse to them.' It will hardly be imagined that these observations are thrown out for the purpose of disparaging the labours of those learned persons. Beyond controversy, they performed all that in their circumstances was deemed requisite. • To engage in regular combat with the Pseudo-Jerome, the author of the prologue to the Canonical Epistles,' would be a great waste of time. Perhaps, however, it may be argued, --if the adversaries of the verse urge, as they do, the statement of the author of the Prologue as a proof that the text was wanting in some Latin manuscriptsmought they not to admit, on the same evidence, that it was extant in some Greek manuscripts at that day? We think not. Little would in general be known of Greek manuscripts compared with what was known of Latin manuscripts. With regard to subjects of which little is known, there are always considerable numbers ready to believe any thing that may be boldly affirmed. In such cases a confident assertion will often prove a successful experiment. The Bishop of St. David's seems to admit, with most learned men, that the Prologue is not Jerome's, although professing to be his. As therefore the main object of the writer of the Prologue is obviously to give currency to the seventh verse in question, we cannot suppose that, after he had gone so far as to assume a name which did not belong to him, he would scruple to support his cause by another assumption, and talk of manuscripts which did not exist.

With respect to the remaining evidence adduced by the learned prelate during the second period, we have already admitted that the verse is quoted by Fulgentius; but we are surprised that his lordship should lay any stress upon the passage from the Formula of Eucherius, which labours under heavy suspicions of interpolation; and that he should refer to a passage in Vigilius Tapsensis, or whoever was the author of the treatise de Trinitate, which Mr. Porson has decidedly shown to be spurious.*

* We would entreat our readers to compare the Bishop's first quotation (p. 48.) withi Mr. Porson's remarks (p. 341.)

As As to the authorities of Cassiodorus and the African Bishops at the Council of Carthage, we are of opinion that the former did not quote the seventh verse ; and our information concerning the latter being derived solely from the improbable narrative of Victor Vitensis, we cannot persuade ourselves to make this part of the evidence a subject of serious discussion.

Sone persons may be disposed to ask-if, on the one hand, the agreement of the existing Greek manuscripts in omitting the verse affords a presumptive proof that it was omitted in the earlier manuscripts from which they are transcribed ; and so on, till we arrive at the autograph of St. John,-does not, on the other hand, the agreement of the great majority of the manuscripts of the Vulgate, in exhibiting the verse, equally imply that it existed in the earlier Latin manuscripts, and, consequently, in the original copy of the Latin version ? To this question we will reply by simply stating the circumstances of the two cases : first with regard to the Greek, and then with regard to the Latin manuscripts. On the Greek manuscripts we adopt the language of Matthäi :-Præterea, bona fide testor me, in nullo codice, hoc loco lituram deprehendisse, nec hujus loci ullum vestigium animadvertisse; nec in marginibus codicum, nec in scholiis, nec in catenis; cum tamen ad manus mihi fuerint tres codices cum scholiis ineditis orthodoxorum Theologorum, et unus, cum catena novendecim nobilissimorum Ecclesiæ Græcæ Patrum, sæculo ix scriptus.' (Matthäi ad loc.) On tlie Latin manuscripts we remark :-The more ancient of them omit the verse : those manuscripts in which it appears represent it under very different forms; some having the seventh verse before the eighth, and some after. In some manuscripts the seventh verse is found only in the margin; and in a very large portion the concluding clause of the eighth verse (et hi tres unum sunt) is omitted. From this comparative view of the state of the Greek and Latin manuscripts, as to the controverted text, we leave our readers to draw their own conclusions. In our owu judgment there is but one conclusion that can fairly be drawn.

The learned prelate presents to his readers the result of his inquiries into the merits of this long-disputed question in the following words :-Upon the whole view of the important and interesting subject of these pages, the evidences internal and external, direct and indirect, of the controverted verse, are so many, so various, and so powerful, as to leave in my own mind no room to doubt that we have, in the testimony of the three heavenly witnesses, the authentic words of St. John. The Bishop then, on his own avowal, has been able to dismiss every doubt respecting the genuineness of a verse which is found only in a single Greek manuscript, and that of recent date; which is not quoted by a single


Greek father, nor, in express terms, by any Latin father before the sixth century; which is wanting in the more ancient manuscripts of the Vulgate, and, even in those in which it is found, appears in such a variety of shapes as clearly to show that those transcribers who thought proper to insert the verse had no certain reading before them. We have the most sincere respect for the Bishop of St. David's, but we cannot peruse the declaration without astonishment.

Should we be required to express a general opinion of the merits, of the tract under review, we should be obliged to confess that the arguments of the learned author are, to our minds, not at all more convincing than those which had previously been employed in the same cause. If the evidence against the text preponderated before the tract was written, we are quite sure that the scale has not been turned in its favour.

In conclusion, we beg leave to offer a few words of advice to the consideration of future advocates of i John v. 7.

We entreat them to bear in mind, that whatever censures may be justly due to those who would reject any text which really forms a portion of the sacred volume, may with equal propriety be directed against those who would introduce a text which is not proved really to belong to it.

We entreat them to ascertain what advantages are likely to be gained to the cause of religious truth, by vehement contention in defence of arguments which have been already found unable to defend themselves ;—to reflect whether it may not afford matter of triumph to the Socinian, when he finds hard names and reproachful language applied to all who, compelled by the evidence before them, doubt the genuineness of a single text which is supposed to favour a leading doctrine of the Christian faith.

We entreat them to be careful that, in their anxiety to maintain the genuineness of the verse, they have not recourse to arguments, the direct tendency of which is to involve the whole sacred text in doubt and uncertainty. For instance, if it were possible to believe that Mr. Nolan's theory, which the Bishop of St. David's seems to approve, is well founded, and that all. the existing Greek manuscripts are derived from a corrupted source; from an edition mutilated by Eusebius, in order to suit his own peculiar notions—what confidence could we feel, that, in our present copies of the Greek Testament, we possess a text which can be relied on as representing the writings of the Evangelists and Apostles? We have already stated our opinion that Mr. Nolan has entirely failed in his attempts to substantiate the charge which he has advanced against Eusebius; and we now declare our firm persua-.

[ocr errors][ocr errors]


sion that Christian antiquity will not be found to supply a particle of evidence in its support. * Before we lay down the pen there is one request which we are anxious to make on our parts. It is this that the very learned and orthodox Bishop of St. David's, for whom we cannot but feel the utmost respect, would not entertain suspicions of our orthodoxy, because we have not been induced, by all the arguments which have yet been advanced, to establish the doctrine of the Trinity on the verse, of which he is the advocate. We trust that our ortho-" ' doxy is not inferior to his own ; and we are persuaded that the doctrine which he labours to support by the passage in question, is in no need of that disputable assistance. It is capable of being satisfactorily maintained from many other passages of Scripture,passages less open and direct, indeed, than this before us, but borrowing a peculiar force from the incidental manner in which they occur, and from the appearance which they everywhere present, of allusion to a doctrine familiar to the minds of the sacred writers, and essentially connected with the original plan of the Gospel.

Art. III.- A Voyage of Discovery into the South Sea and

Beering's Straits, for the purpose of exploring a North-East Passage; undertaken in the years 1815–1818, at the Expense of His Highness the Chancellor of the Empire, Count Romanzoff, in the Ship Rurick, under the Command of the Lieutenant in the Russian Imperial Navy, Otto Von Kotzebue. 3 vols.

London. 1821. SINCE the general peace of Europe, and more particularly within w the last three years, the Russian government has been anxiously and eagerly employed in prosecuting discoveries in every part of the globe. In the southern ocean, her ships have penetrated the fields of ice as far as the seventieth parallel of latitude, and discovered, it is said, islands which had escaped the searching eye of Cook: they boast of having rounded the Sandwich land of that celebrated navigator; and of having ascertained that the Southern Shetland, which was supposed to be a continent connected with it, consists only of mumerous groups of small islands. They have sent land expeditions into the unknown regions of Tartary, behind Thibet, and into the interior of the north-western side of North America. Men of science have been commissioned to explore the northern boundaries of Siberia, and to determine points, on that extensive coast, hitherto of doubtful position. In February, 1821, Baron Wrangel, an officer of great merit, and of considerable science, left his headquarters on the Nishney Kolyma, to settle, by astronomical observaVOL. XXVI. No. LII.



tions, the position of Shalatzkoi-Noss, or the north-east cape of Asia, which he found to lie in lat. 70° 05' N. considerably lower than it is usually placed on the maps. Having arranged this point, he undertook the hazardous enterprize of crossing the ice of the polar sea on sledges drawn by dogs, in search of the land said to have been discovered, in 1762, to the northward of the Kolyma. He travelled directly worth, eighty miles, without perceiving apy thing but a field of interminable ice, the surface of which had now become so broken and uneven, as to prevent a further prosecution of his journey. He had gone far enough, however, to ascertain that no such land could ever have been discovered. The idle speculation, therefore, of the junction of Asia with North America, whịch we always rejected as chimerical, may now be considered as finally set at rest. Indeed, the simple narrative of the voyage performed by Deshnew in the year 1648, from the mouth of the Kolyma to the gulf of Anadyr, never, for a moment, left a doubt on our minds, of its authenticity. :.

The reader will recollect our recent statement of that enterprizing pedestrian, Captain Cochrane, having reached the Altai mountains, on the frontier of China. Further accounts from this extraordinary traveller have since reached us; they are dated from the mouth of the Kolyma, and from Okotsk, the former in March, the latter in June, 1821. He had proceeded to the neighbourhood of the North-east cape of Asia, which he places half a degree more to the northward than Baron Wrangel; but either he had no instrument sufficiently accurate to ascertain its latitude with precision, or, as we have some reason to believe, he states it only from computation; for it does not clearly appear from his letter to us that he was actually on that part of the coast, though, from another letter addressed to the President of the Royal Society of London, it might be conjectured that his information was obtained from observation on the spot... No land,' he says, is considered to exist to the northward of it. The east side of the Noss is composed of bold and perpendicular bluffs, while the west side exhibits gradual declivities; the whole most sterile, but presenting an awfully magnificent appearance. From the Kolyma to Okotsk, he had, he says, a 'dangerous, difficult, and fatiguing journey of three thousand versts,' a great part of which he performed, on foot, in seventy days. After such an adventurous expedition from Petersburgh, to the north-eastern extremity of Siberia, we regret to find that the shores of Kamschatka are likely to be the boundary of his arduous and perilous enterprize. After gratefully noticing the generosity and consideration which he every where experienced at the hands of the Russian government and of individuals, he adds that government has an expedition in Behring's Straits, whose object is to trace


« PoprzedniaDalej »