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Title: The Revision Revised

Author: John William Burgon

Release date: July 13, 2011 [eBook #36722]

Language: English


The Revision Revised.

Three Articles

Reprinted From The Quarterly Review.

I. The New Greek Text.

II. The New English Version.

III. Westcott and Hort's New Textual Theory.

To Which is Added A

Reply to Bishop Ellicott's Pamphlet

In Defence Of

The Revisers and Their Greek Text of the New Testament:

Including a Vindication of the Traditional Reading of 1 Timothy III. 16.

By John William Burgon, B.D.

Dean of Chichester.

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

Dover Publications, Inc.

New York


[pg iv]

[Transcriber's Note: This book contains much Greek text, which will not be well-rendered in plain text versions of this E-book. Also, there is much use of Greek characters with a vertical bar across the tops of the letters to indicate abbreviations; because the coding system used in this e-book does not have such an “overline”, they are rendered here with underlines. It also contains some text in Syriac, which is written right-to-left; for the sake of different transcription methods, it is transcribed here in both right-to-left and left-to-rights, so that regardless of the medium of this E-book, one or the other should be readable.]

The following is Prebendary Scrivener's recently published estimate of the System on which Drs. Westcott and Hort have constructed their Revised Greek Text of the New Testament (1881).—That System, the Chairman of the Revising Body (Bishop Ellicott) has entirely adopted (see below, pp. 391 to 397), and made the basis of his Defence of The Revisers and their New Greek Text.

(1.) There is little hope for the stability of their imposing structure, if its foundations have been laid on the sandy ground of ingenious conjecture. And, since barely the smallest vestige of historical evidence has ever been alleged in support of the views of these accomplished Editors, their teaching must either be received as intuitively true, or dismissed from our consideration as precarious and even visionary.

(2.) Dr. Hort's System is entirely destitute of historical foundation.

(3.) We are compelled to repeat as emphatically as ever our strong conviction that the Hypothesis to whose proof he has devoted so many laborious years, is destitute not only of historical foundation, but of all probability, resulting from the internal goodness of the Text which its adoption would force upon us.

(4.) “ We cannot doubt (says Dr. Hort) that S. Luke xxiii. 34 comes from an extraneous source. [Notes, p. 68.]—Nor can we, on our part, doubt, (rejoins Dr. Scrivener,) that the System which entails such consequences is hopelessly self-condemned.

Scrivener's “Plain Introduction,” &c. [ed. 1883]: pp. 531, 537, 542, 604.

[pg v]


To The
Right Hon. Viscount Cranbrook, G.C.S.I.,
&c., &c., &c.

My dear Lord Cranbrook,

Allow me the gratification of dedicating the present Volume to yourself; but for whom—(I reserve the explanation for another day)—it would never have been written.

This is not, (as you will perceive at a glance,) the Treatise which a few years ago I told you I had in hand; and which, but for the present hindrance, might by this time have been completed. It has however grown out of that other work in the manner explained at the beginning of my Preface. Moreover it contains not a few specimens of the argumentation of which the work in question, when at last it sees the light, will be discovered to be full.

My one object has been to defeat the mischievous attempt which was made in 1881 to thrust upon this Church and Realm a Revision of the Sacred Text, which—recommended though it be by eminent names—I am thoroughly convinced, and am able to prove, is untrustworthy from beginning to end.

[pg vi]

The reason is plain. It has been constructed throughout on an utterly erroneous hypothesis. And I inscribe this Volume to you, my friend, as a conspicuous member of that body of faithful and learned Laity by whose deliberate verdict, when the whole of the evidence has been produced and the case has been fully argued out, I shall be quite willing that my contention may stand or fall.

The English (as well as the Greek) of the newly Revised Version is hopelessly at fault. It is to me simply unintelligible how a company of Scholars can have spent ten years in elaborating such a very unsatisfactory production. Their uncouth phraseology and their jerky sentences, their pedantic obscurity and their unidiomatic English, contrast painfully with the happy turns of expression, the music of the cadences, the felicities of the rhythm of our Authorized Version. The transition from one to the other, as the Bishop of Lincoln remarks, is like exchanging a well-built carriage for a vehicle without springs, in which you get jolted to death on a newly-mended and rarely-traversed road. But the Revised Version is inaccurate as well; exhibits defective scholarship, I mean, in countless places.

It is, however, the systematic depravation of the underlying Greek which does so grievously offend me: for this is nothing else but a poisoning of the River of Life at its sacred source. Our Revisers, (with the best and purest intentions, no doubt,) stand convicted of having deliberately rejected the words of [pg vii] Inspiration in every page, and of having substituted for them fabricated Readings which the Church has long since refused to acknowledge, or else has rejected with abhorrence; and which only survive at this time in a little handful of documents of the most depraved type.

As Critics they have had abundant warning. Twelve years ago (1871) a volume appeared on the “last Twelve Verses of the Gospel according to S. Mark,”of which the declared object was to vindicate those Verses against certain critical objectors, and to establish them by an exhaustive argumentative process. Up to this hour, for a very obvious reason, no answer to that volume has been attempted. And yet, at the end of ten years (1881),—not only in the Revised English but also in the volume which professes to exhibit the underlying Greek, (which at least is indefensible,)—the Revisers are observed to separate off those Twelve precious Verses from their context, in token that they are no part of the genuine Gospel. Such a deliberate preference of “mumpsimus” to “sumpsimus” is by no means calculated to conciliate favour, or even to win respect. The Revisers have in fact been the dupes of an ingenious Theorist, concerning whose extraordinary views you are invited to read what Dr. Scrivener has recently put forth. The words of the last-named writer (who is facile princeps in Textual Criticism) will be found facing the beginning of the present Dedication.

If, therefore, any do complain that I have sometimes hit my opponents rather hard, I take leave to point out that to everything [pg viii] there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the sun: a time to embrace, and a time to be far from embracing: a time for speaking smoothly, and a time for speaking sharply. And that when the words of Inspiration are seriously imperilled, as now they are, it is scarcely possible for one who is determined effectually to preserve the Deposit in its integrity, to hit either too straight or too hard. In handling certain recent utterances of Bishop Ellicott, I considered throughout that it was the “Textual Critic”not the Successor of the Apostles,—with whom I had to do.

And thus I commend my Volume, the fruit of many years of incessant anxious toil, to your indulgence: requesting that you will receive it as a token of my sincere respect and admiration; and desiring to be remembered, my dear Lord Cranbrook, as

Your grateful and affectionate
Friend and Servant,
John W. Burgon.

Deanery, Chichester,
All Saints' Day., 1883.

[pg ix]


The ensuing three Articles from the “Quarterly Review,”—(wrung out of me by the publication [May 17th, 1881] of the “Revision” of our “Authorized Version of the New Testament,”)—appear in their present form in compliance with an amount of continuous solicitation that they should be separately published, which it would have been alike unreasonable and ungracious to disregard. I was not prepared for it. It has caused me—as letter after letter has reached my hands—mixed feelings; has revived all my original disinclination and regret. For, gratified as I cannot but feel by the reception my labours have met with,—(and only the Author of my being knows what an amount of antecedent toil is represented by the ensuing pages,)—I yet deplore more heartily than I am able to express, the injustice done to the cause of Truth by handling the subject in this fragmentary way, and by exhibiting the evidence for what is most certainly true, in such a very incomplete form. A systematic Treatise is the indispensable condition for securing cordial assent to the view for which I mainly contend. The cogency of the argument lies entirely in the cumulative character of the proof. It requires to be demonstrated by induction from a large collection of particular instances, as well as by the complex exhibition of many converging lines of evidence, that the testimony of one small group of documents, or rather, of one particular manuscript,—(namely [pg x] the Vatican Codex b, which, for some unexplained reason, it is just now the fashion to regard with superstitious deference,)—is the reverse of trustworthy. Nothing in fact but a considerable Treatise will ever effectually break the yoke of that iron tyranny to which the excellent Bishop of Gloucester and Bristol and his colleagues have recently bowed their necks; and are now for imposing on all English-speaking men. In brief, if I were not, on the one hand, thoroughly convinced of the strength of my position,—(and I know it to be absolutely impregnable);—yet more, if on the other hand, I did not cherish entire confidence in the practical good sense and fairness of the English mind;—I could not have brought myself to come before the public in the unsystematic way which alone is possible in the pages of a Review. I must have waited, at all hazards, till I had finished “my Book.”

But then, delay would have been fatal. I saw plainly that unless a sharp blow was delivered immediately, the Citadel would be in the enemy's hands. I knew also that it was just possible to condense into 60 or 70 closely-printed pages what must logically prove fatal to the “Revision.” So I set to work; and during the long summer days of 1881 (June to September) the foremost of these three Articles was elaborated. When the October number of “the Quarterly” appeared, I comforted myself with the secret consciousness that enough was by this time on record, even had my life been suddenly brought to a close, to secure the ultimate rejection of the “Revision” of 1881. I knew that the “New Greek Text,” (and therefore the “New English Version”), [pg xi] had received its death-blow. It might for a few years drag out a maimed existence; eagerly defended by some,—timidly pleaded for by others. But such efforts could be of no avail. Its days were already numbered. The effect of more and yet more learned investigation,—of more elaborate and more extended inquiry,—must be to convince mankind more and yet more thoroughly that the principles on which it had been constructed were radically unsound. In the end, when partisanship had cooled down, and passion had evaporated, and prejudice had ceased to find an auditory, the “Revision” of 1881 must come to be universally regarded as—what it most certainly is,—the most astonishing, as well as the most calamitous literary blunder of the Age.

I. I pointed out that “the New Greek Text,”—which, in defiance of their instructions,1 the Revisionists of “the Authorized English Version” had been so ill-advised as to spend ten years in elaborating,—was a wholly untrustworthy performance: was full of the gravest errors from beginning to end: had been constructed throughout on an entirely mistaken Theory. Availing myself of the published confession of one of the Revisionists,2 I explained the nature of the calamity which had befallen the Revision. I traced the mischief home to its true authors,—Drs. Westcott and Hort; a copy of whose unpublished Text of the N. T. (the most vicious in existence) had been confidentially, and under pledges of the strictest secrecy, placed in the hands of every [pg xii] member of the revising Body.3 I called attention to the fact that, unacquainted with the difficult and delicate science of Textual Criticism, the Revisionists had, in an evil hour, surrendered themselves to Dr. Hort's guidance: had preferred his counsels to those of Prebendary Scrivener, (an infinitely more trustworthy guide): and that the work before the public was the piteous—but inevitable—result. All this I explained in the October number of the “Quarterly Review” for 1881.4

II. In thus demonstrating the worthlessness of the “New Greek Text” of the Revisionists, I considered that I had destroyed the key of their position. And so perforce I had: for if the underlying Greek Text be mistaken, what else but incorrect must the English Translation be? But on examining the so-called “Revision of the Authorized Version,” I speedily made the further discovery that the Revised English would have been in itself intolerable, even had the Greek been let alone. In the first place, to my surprise and annoyance, it proved to be a New Translation (rather than a Revision of the Old) which had been attempted. Painfully apparent were the tokens which met me on every side that the Revisionists had been supremely eager not so much to correct none but “plain and clear errors,”—as to introduce as many changes into the English of the New Testament Scriptures as they conveniently could.5 A skittish impatience of the admirable work before them, and a strange inability [pg xiii] to appreciate its manifold excellences:—a singular imagination on the part of the promiscuous Company which met in the Jerusalem Chamber that they were competent to improve the Authorized Version in every part, and an unaccountable forgetfulness that the fundamental condition under which the task of Revision had been by themselves undertaken, was that they should abstain from all but necessary changes:—this proved to be only part of the offence which the Revisionists had committed. It was found that they had erred through defective Scholarship to an extent, and with a frequency, which to me is simply inexplicable. I accordingly made it my business to demonstrate all this in a second Article which appeared in the next (the January) number of the “Quarterly Review,” and was entitled The New English Translation.”6

III. Thereupon, a pretence was set up in many quarters, (but only by the Revisionists and their friends,) that all my labour hitherto had been thrown away, because I had omitted to disprove the principles on which this “New Greek Text” is founded. I flattered myself indeed that quite enough had been said to make it logically certain that the underlying “Textual Theory” must be worthless. But I was not suffered to cherish this conviction in quiet. It was again and again cast in my teeth that I had not yet grappled with Drs. Westcott and Hort's “arguments.” “Instead of condemning their Text, why do you not disprove their Theory?” It was tauntingly insinuated that I knew better than to cross swords [pg xiv] with the two Cambridge Professors. This reduced me to the necessity of either leaving it to be inferred from my silence that I had found Drs. Westcott and Hort's “arguments” unanswerable; or else of coming forward with their book in my hand, and demonstrating that in their solemn pages an attentive reader finds himself encountered by nothing but a series of unsupported assumptions: that their (so called) “Theory” is in reality nothing else but a weak effort of the Imagination: that the tissue which these accomplished scholars have been thirty years in elaborating, proves on inspection to be as flimsy and as worthless as any spider's web.

I made it my business in consequence to expose, somewhat in detail, (in a third Article, which appeared in the “Quarterly Review” for April 1882), the absolute absurdity,—(I use the word advisedly)—of Westcott and Hort's New Textual Theory;”7 and I now respectfully commend those 130 pages to the attention of candid and unprejudiced readers. It were idle to expect to convince any others. We have it on good authority (Dr. Westcott's) that “he who has long pondered over a train of Reasoning, becomes unable to detect its weak points.”8 A yet stranger phenomenon is, that those who have once committed themselves to an erroneous Theory, seem to be incapable of opening their eyes to the untrustworthiness of the fabric they have erected, even when it comes down in their sight, like a child's house built with playing-cards,—and presents to every eye but their own the appearance of a shapeless ruin.

[pg xv]

§ 1. Two full years have elapsed since the first of these Essays was published; and my Criticism—for the best of reasons—remains to this hour unanswered. The public has been assured indeed, (in the course of some hysterical remarks by Canon Farrar9), that “the ‘Quarterly Reviewer’ can be refuted as fully as he desires as soon as any scholar has the leisure to answer him.” The “Quarterly Reviewer” can afford to wait,—if the Revisers can. But they are reminded that it is no answer to one who has demolished their master's “Theory,” for the pupils to keep on reproducing fragments of it; and by their mistakes and exaggerations, to make both themselves and him, ridiculous.

[pg xvi]

§ 2. Thus, a writer in the “Church Quarterly” for January 1882, (whose knowledge of the subject is entirely derived from what Dr. Hort has taught him,)—being evidently much exercised by the first of my three Articles in the “Quarterly Review,”—gravely informs the public that “it is useless to parade such an array of venerable witnesses,” (meaning the enumerations of Fathers of the iiird, ivth, and vth centuries which are given below, at pp. 42-4: 80-1: 84: 133: 212-3: 359-60: 421: 423: 486-90:)—for they have absolutely nothing to say which deserves a moment's hearing.”10—What a pity it is, (while he was about it), that the learned gentleman did not go on to explain that the moon is made of green cheese!

§ 3. Dr. Sanday,11 in a kindred spirit, delivers it as his opinion, that “the one thing” I lack “is a grasp on the central condition of the problem:”—that I do “not seem to have the faintest glimmering of the principle of ‘Genealogy:’ ”—that I am “all at sea:”—that my “heaviest batteries are discharged at random:”—and a great deal more to the same effect. The learned Professor is quite welcome to think such things of me, if he pleases. Οὐ φροντὶς Ἱπποκλείδῃ.

§ 4. At the end of a year, a Reviewer of quite a different calibre made his appearance in the January number (1883) of the “Church Quarterly:” in return for whose not very [pg xvii] encouraging estimate of my labours, I gladly record my conviction that if he will seriously apply his powerful and accurate mind to the department of Textual Criticism, he will probably produce a work which will help materially to establish the study in which he takes such an intelligent interest, on a scientific basis. But then, he is invited to accept the friendly assurance that the indispensable condition of success in this department is, that a man should give to the subject, (which is a very intricate one and abounds in unexplored problems), his undivided attention for an extended period. I trust there is nothing unreasonable in the suggestion that one who has not done this, should be very circumspect when he sits in judgment on a neighbour of his who, for very many years past, has given to Textual Criticism the whole of his time;—has freely sacrificed health, ease, relaxation, even necessary rest, to this one object;—has made it his one business to acquire such an independent mastery of the subject as shall qualify him to do battle successfully for the imperilled letter of God's Word. My friend however thinks differently. He says of me,—

In his first Article there was something amusing in the simplicity with which Lloyd's Greek Testament (which is only a convenient little Oxford edition of the ordinary kind) was put forth as the final standard of appeal. It recalled to our recollection Bentley's sarcasm upon the text of Stephanus, which your learned Whitbyus takes for the sacred original in every syllable. (P. 354.)

§ 5. On referring to the passage where my “simplicity” has afforded amusement to a friend whose brilliant conversation is always a delight to me, I read as follows,—

[pg xviii]
It is discovered that in the 111 (out of 320) pages of a copy of Lloyd's 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 are not altogether calculated to inspire confidence in codices b א c d.12

§ 6. But how (let me ask) does it appear from this, that I have “put forth Lloyd's Greek Testament as the final standard of Appeal? True, that, in order to exhibit clearly their respective divergences, I have referred five famous codices (a b א c d)—certain of which are found to have turned the brain of Critics of the new school—to one and the same familiar exhibition of the commonly received Text of the New Testament: but by so doing I have not by any means assumed the Textual purity of that common standard. In other words I have not made it the final standard of Appeal.” All Critics,—wherever found,—at all times, have collated with the commonly received Text: but only as the most convenient standard of Comparison; not, surely, as the [pg xix] absolute standard of Excellence. The result of the experiment already referred to,—(and, I beg to say, it was an exceedingly laborious experiment,)—has been, to demonstrate that the five Manuscripts in question stand apart from one another in the following proportions:—

842 (a) : 1798 (c) : 2370 (b) : 3392 (א) : 4697 (d).

But would not the same result have been obtained if the “five old uncials” had been referred to any other common standard which can be named? In the meantime, what else is the inevitable inference from this phenomenon but that four out of the five must be—while all the five may be—outrageously depraved documents? instead of being fit to be made our exclusive guides to the Truth of Scripture,—as Critics of the school of Tischendorf and Tregelles would have us believe that they are?

§ 7. I cited a book which is in the hands of every schoolboy, (Lloyd's “Greek Testament,”) only in order to facilitate reference, and to make sure that my statements would be at once understood by the least learned person who could be supposed to have access to the “Quarterly.” I presumed every scholar to be aware that Bp. Lloyd (1827) professes to reproduce Mill's text; and that Mill (1707) reproduces the text of Stephens;13 and that Stephens (1550) exhibits with sufficient accuracy the Traditional text,—which is confessedly [pg xx] at least 1530 years old.14 Now, if a tolerable approximation to the text of a.d. 350 may not be accepted as a standard of Comparison,—will the writer in the “Church Quarterly” be so obliging as to inform us which exhibition of the sacred Text may?

§ 8. A pamphlet by the Bishop of Gloucester and Bristol,15 which appeared in April 1882, remains to be considered. Written expressly in defence of the Revisers and their New Greek Text, this composition displays a slenderness of acquaintance with the subject now under discussion, for which I was little prepared. Inasmuch however as it is the production of the Chairman of the Revisionist body, and professes to be a reply to my first two Articles, I have bestowed upon it an elaborate and particular rejoinder extending to an hundred-and-fifty pages.16 I shall in consequence be very brief concerning it in this place.

§ 9. The respected writer does nothing else but reproduce Westcott and Hort's theory in Westcott and Hort's words. He contributes nothing of his own. The singular infelicity which attended his complaint that the “Quarterly Reviewer” “censures their [Westcott and Hort's] Text,” but, “has not attempted a serious examination of the arguments which they allege in its support,” I have sufficiently dwelt upon elsewhere.17 The rest of the Bishop's contention may be summed [pg xxi] up in two propositions:—The first, (I.) That if the Revisionists are wrong in their “New Greek Text,” then (not only Westcott and Hort, but) Lachmann, Tischendorf and Tregelles must be wrong also,—a statement which I hold to be incontrovertible.—The Bishop's other position is also undeniable: viz. (II.) That in order to pass an equitable judgment on ancient documents, they are to be carefully studied, closely compared, and tested by a more scientific process than rough comparison with the Textus Receptus.18... Thus, on both heads, I find myself entirely at one with Bp. Ellicott.

§ 10. And yet,—as the last 150 pages of the present volume show,—I have the misfortune to be at issue with the learned writer on almost every particular which he proposes for discussion. Thus,

§ 11. At page 64 of his pamphlet, he fastens resolutely upon the famous problem whether God (Θεός), or “who” (ὅς), is to be read in 1 Timothy iii. 16. I had upheld the former reading in eight pages. He contends for the latter, with something like acrimony, in twelve.19 I have been at the pains, in consequence, to write a Dissertation of seventy-six pages on this important subject,20—the preparation of which (may I be allowed to record the circumstance in passing?) occupied me closely for six months,21 and taxed me severely. Thus, the only point which Bishop Ellicott has condescended to discuss argumentatively with me, will be found to enjoy full half of my letter to him in reply.

[pg xxii]

The “Dissertation” referred to, I submit with humble confidence to the judgment of educated Englishmen. It requires no learning to understand the case. And I have particularly to request that those who will be at the pains to look into this question, will remember,—(1) That the place of Scripture discussed (viz. 1 Tim. iii. 16) was deliberately selected for a trial of strength by the Bishop: (I should not have chosen it myself):—(2) That on the issue of the contention which he has thus himself invited, we have respectively staked our critical reputation. The discussion exhibits very fairly our two methods,—his and mine; and “is of great importance as an example,” “illustrating in a striking manner” our respective positions,—as the Bishop himself has been careful to remind his readers.22

§ 12. One merely desirous of taking a general survey of this question, is invited to read from page 485 to 496 of the present volume. To understand the case thoroughly, he must submit to the labour of beginning at p. 424 and reading down to p. 501.

§ 13. A thoughtful person who has been at the pains to do this, will be apt on laying down the book to ask,—“But is it not very remarkable that so many as five of the ancient Versions should favour the reading ‘which,’ (μυστήριον; ὃ ἐφανερώθη,) instead of God (Θεός)”?—“Yes, it is very remarkable,” I answer. “For though the Old Latin and the two Egyptian Versions are constantly observed to conspire [pg xxiii] in error, they rarely find allies in the Peschito and the Æthiopic. On the other hand, you are to remember that besides Versions, the Fathers have to be inquired after: while more important than either is the testimony of the Copies. Now, the combined witness to God (Θεός),—so multitudinous, so respectable, so varied, so unequivocal,—of the Copies and of the Fathers (in addition to three of the Versions) is simply overwhelming. It becomes undeniable that Θεός is by far the best supported reading of the present place.”

§ 14. When, however, such an one as Tischendorf or Tregelles,—Hort or Ellicott,—would put me down by reminding me that half-a-dozen of the oldest Versions are against me,—That argument” (I reply) “is not allowable on your lips. For if the united testimony of five of the Versions really be, in your account, decisive,—Why do you deny the genuineness of the last Twelve Verses of S. Mark's Gospel, which are recognized by every one of the Versions? Those Verses are besides attested by every known Copy, except two of bad character: by a mighty chorus of Fathers: by the unfaltering Tradition of the Church universal. First remove from S. Mark xvi. 20, your brand of suspicion, and then come back to me in order that we may discuss together how 1 Tim. iii. 16 is to be read. And yet, when you come back, it must not be to plead in favour of ‘who’ (ὅσ), in place of God (Θεός). For not ‘who’ (ὅς), remember, but ‘which’ (ὅ) is the reading advocated by those five earliest Versions.” ... In other words,—the reading of 1 Tim. iii. 16, which the Revisers have adopted, enjoys, (as I have shown from page 428 to page 501), the feeblest attestation of any; besides [pg xxiv] being condemned by internal considerations and the universal Tradition of the Eastern Church.

§ 15. I pass on, after modestly asking,—Is it too much to hope, (I covet no other guerdon for my labour!) that we shall hear no more about substituting “who” for God in 1 Tim. iii. 16? We may not go on disputing for ever: and surely, until men are able to produce some more cogent evidence than has yet come to light in support of “the mystery of godliness, who (τὸ τῆς εὐσβείας μυστήριον: ὅς),—all sincere inquirers after Truth are bound to accept that reading which has been demonstrated to be by far the best attested. Enough however on this head.

§ 16. It was said just now that I cordially concur with Bp. Ellicott in the second of his two propositions,—viz. That “no equitable judgment can be passed on ancient documents until they are carefully studied, and closely compared with each other, and tested by a more scientific process than rough comparison with” the Textus Receptus. I wish to add a few words on this subject: the rather, because what I am about to say will be found as applicable to my Reviewer in the “Church Quarterly” as to the Bishop. Both have misapprehended this matter, and in exactly the same way. Where such accomplished Scholars have erred, what wonder if ordinary readers should find themselves all a-field?

§ 17. In Textual Criticism then, “rough comparison” can seldom, if ever, be of any real use. On the other hand, the exact Collation of documents whether ancient or modern with [pg xxv] the received Text, is the necessary foundation of all scientific Criticism. I employ that Text,—(as Mill, Bentley, Wetstein; Griesbach, Matthæi, Scholz; Tischendorf, Tregelles, Scrivener, employed it before me,)—not as a criterion of Excellence, but as a standard of Comparison. All this will be found fully explained below, from page 383 to page 391. Whenever I would judge of the authenticity of any particular reading, I insist on bringing it, wherever found,—whether in Justin Martyr and Irenæus, on the one hand; or in Stephens and Elzevir, on the other;—to the test of Catholic Antiquity. If that witness is consentient, or very nearly so, whether for or against any given reading, I hold it to be decisive. To no other system of arbitration will I submit myself. I decline to recognise any other criterion of Truth.

§ 18. What compels me to repeat this so often, is the impatient self-sufficiency of these last days, which is for breaking away from the old restraints; and for erecting the individual conscience into an authority from which there shall be no appeal. I know but too well how laborious is the scientific method which I advocate. A long summer day disappears, while the student—with all his appliances about him—is resolutely threshing out some minute textual problem. Another, and yet another bright day vanishes. Comes Saturday evening at last, and a page of illegible manuscript is all that he has to show for a week's heavy toil. Quousque tandem? And yet, it is the indispensable condition of progress in an unexplored region, that a few should thus labour, until a path has been cut through the forest,—a road laid down,—huts built,—a modus vivendi established. In this department [pg xxvi] of sacred Science, men have been going on too long inventing their facts, and delivering themselves of oracular decrees, on the sole responsibility of their own inner consciousness. There is great convenience in such a method certainly,—a charming simplicity which is in a high degree attractive to flesh and blood. It dispenses with proof. It furnishes no evidence. It asserts when it ought to argue.23 It reiterates when it is called upon to explain.24 “I am sir Oracle.” ... This,—which I venture to style the unscientific method,—reached its culminating point when Professors Westcott and Hort recently put forth their Recension of the Greek Text. Their work is indeed quite a psychological curiosity. Incomprehensible to me is it how two able men of disciplined understandings can have seriously put forth the volume which they call IntroductionAppendix.” It is the very Reductio ad absurdum of the uncritical method of the last fifty years. And it is especially in opposition to this new method of theirs that I so strenuously insist that the consentient voice of Catholic Antiquity is to be diligently inquired after and submissively listened to; for that this, in the end, will prove our only safe guide.

§ 19. Let this be a sufficient reply to my Reviewer in the “Church Quarterly”—who, I observe, notes, as a fundamental defect in my Articles, “the want of a consistent working Theory, such as would enable us to weigh, as well as count, the suffrages of MSS., Versions, and Fathers.”25 He is reminded that it was no part of my business to propound a [pg xxvii] “Theory.” My method I have explained often and fully enough. My business was to prove that the theory of Drs. Westcott and Hort,—which (as Bp. Ellicott's pamphlet proves) has been mainly adopted by the Revisionists,—is not only a worthless, but an utterly absurd one. And I have proved it. The method I persistently advocate in every case of a supposed doubtful Reading, (I say it for the last time, and request that I may be no more misrepresented,) is, that an appeal shall be unreservedly made to Catholic Antiquity; and that the combined verdict of Manuscripts, Versions, Fathers, shall be regarded as decisive.

§ 20. I find myself, in the mean time, met by the scoffs, jeers, misrepresentations of the disciples of this new School; who, instead of producing historical facts and intelligible arguments, appeal to the decrees of their teachers,—which I disallow, and which they are unable to substantiate. They delight in announcing that Textual Criticism made a fresh departure with the edition of Drs. Westcott and Hort: that the work of those scholars marks an era,” and is spoken of in Germany as epoch-making.” My own belief is, that the Edition in question, if it be epoch-making at all, marks that epoch at which the current of critical thought, reversing its wayward course, began once more to flow in its ancient healthy channel. “Cloud-land” having been duly sighted on the 14th September 1881,26 “a fresh departure” was insisted upon by public opinion,—and a deliberate return was made,—to terra firma, and terra cognita, and common sense. So [pg xxviii] far from “its paramount claim to the respect of future generations,” being “the restitution of a more ancient and a purer Text,”—I venture to predict that the edition of the two Cambridge Professors will be hereafter remembered as indicating the furthest point ever reached by the self-evolved imaginations of English disciples of the school of Lachmann, Tischendorf, Tregelles. The recoil promises to be complete. English good sense is ever observed to prevail in the long run; although for a few years a foreign fashion may acquire the ascendant, and beguile a few unstable wits.

§ 21. It only remains to state that in republishing these Essays I have availed myself of the opportunity to make several corrections and additions; as well as here and there to expand what before had been too briefly delivered. My learned friend and kind neighbour, the Rev. R. Cowley Powles, has ably helped me to correct the sheets. Much valuable assistance has been zealously rendered me throughout by my nephew, the Rev. William F. Rose, Vicar of Worle, Somersetshire. But the unwearied patience and consummate skill of my Secretary (M. W.) passes praise. Every syllable of the present volume has been transcribed by her for the press; and to her I am indebted for two of my Indices.—The obligations under which many learned men, both at home and abroad, have laid me, will be found faithfully acknowledged, in the proper place, at the foot of the page. I am sincerely grateful to them all.

§ 22. It will be readily believed that I have been sorely tempted to recast the whole and to strengthen my position [pg xxix] in every part: but then, the work would have no longer been,—“Three Articles reprinted from the Quarterly Review.” Earnestly have I desired, for many years past, to produce a systematic Treatise on this great subject. My aspiration all along has been, and still is, in place of the absolute Empiricism which has hitherto prevailed in Textual inquiry to exhibit the logical outlines of what, I am persuaded, is destined to become a truly delightful Science. But I more than long,—I fairly ache to have done with Controversy, and to be free to devote myself to the work of Interpretation. My apology for bestowing so large a portion of my time on Textual Criticism, is David's when he was reproached by his brethren for appearing on the field of battle,—“Is there not a cause?”

§ 23. For,—let it clearly be noted,—it is no longer the case that critical doubts concerning the sacred Text are confined to critical Editions of the Greek. So long as scholars were content to ventilate their crotchets in a little arena of their own,—however mistaken they might be, and even though they changed their opinions once in every ten years,—no great harm was likely to come of it. Students of the Greek Testament were sure to have their attention called to the subject,—which must always be in the highest degree desirable; and it was to be expected that in this, as in every other department of learning, the progress of Inquiry would result in gradual accessions of certain Knowledge. After many years it might be found practicable to put forth by authority a carefully considered Revision of the commonly received Greek Text.

[pg xxx]

§ 24. But instead of all this, a Revision of the English Authorised Version having been sanctioned by the Convocation of the Southern Province in 1871, the opportunity was eagerly snatched at by two irresponsible scholars of the University of Cambridge for obtaining the general sanction of the Revising body, and thus indirectly of Convocation, for a private venture of their own,—their own privately devised Revision of the Greek Text. On that Greek Text of theirs, (which I hold to be the most depraved which has ever appeared in print), with some slight modifications, our Authorised English Version has been silently revised: silently, I say, for in the margin of the English no record is preserved of the underlying Textual changes which have been introduced by the Revisionists. On the contrary. Use has been made of that margin to insinuate suspicion and distrust in countless particulars as to the authenticity of the Text which has been suffered to remain unaltered. In the meantime, the country has been flooded with two editions of the New Greek Text; and thus the door has been set wide open for universal mistrust of the Truth of Scripture to enter.

§ 25. Even schoolboys, it seems, are to have these crude views thrust upon them. Witness the “Cambridge Greek Testament for Schools,” edited by Dean Perowne,—who informs us at the outset that the Syndics of the Cambridge University Press have not thought it desirable to reprint the text in common use.” A consensus of Drs. Tischendorf and Tregelles,—who confessedly employed the self-same mistaken major premiss in remodelling the Sacred Text,—seems, in a general way, to represent those Syndics' notion of Textual [pg xxxi] purity. By this means every most serious deformity in the edition of Drs. Westcott and Hort, becomes promoted to honour, and is being thrust on the unsuspecting youth of England as the genuine utterance of the Holy Ghost. Would it not have been the fairer, the more faithful as well as the more judicious course,—seeing that in respect of this abstruse and important question adhuc sub judice lis est,—to wait patiently awhile? Certainly not to snatch an opportunity “while men slept,” and in this way indirectly to prejudge the solemn issue! Not by such methods is the cause of God's Truth on earth to be promoted. Even this however is not all. Bishop Lightfoot has been informed that “the Bible Society has permitted its Translators to adopt the Text of the Revised Version where it commends itself to their judgment.”27 In other words, persons wholly unacquainted with the dangers which beset this delicate and difficult problem are invited to determine, by the light of Nature and on the solvere ambulando principle, what is inspired Scripture, what not: and as a necessary consequence are encouraged to disseminate in heathen lands Readings which, a few years hence,—(so at least I venture to predict,)—will be universally recognized as worthless.

§ 26. If all this does not constitute a valid reason for descending into the arena of controversy, it would in my judgment be impossible to indicate an occasion when the Christian soldier is called upon to do so:—the rather, because certain of those who, from their rank and station in the [pg xxxii] Church, ought to be the champions of the Truth, are at this time found to be among its most vigorous assailants.

§ 27. Let me,—(and with this I conclude),—in giving the present Volume to the world, be allowed to request that it may be accepted as a sample of how Deans employ their time,—the use they make of their opportunities. Nowhere but under the shadow of a Cathedral, (or in a College,) can such laborious endeavours as the present pro Ecclesiâ Dei be successfully prosecuted.

J. W. B.

Deanery, Chichester,
All Saints' Day, 1883.

[pg 001]

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.28

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.29

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.30

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,31 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 [pg 002] entirely New Recension of the Greek Text.32 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 [pg 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 [pg 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.”33 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 [pg 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 Latin34 and the Vulgate,35 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 Eusebius36 and [in one place] by Cyril37), 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,38 Chrysostom,39 and Cyril40),—is the only reasonable way of exhibiting it? To [pg 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.41 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:42this also we [pg 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 [pg 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 [pg 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.”43 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 [pg 010] on the present occasion. Such a discussion would grow at once into a treatise.44 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.45 Still, it is undeniable that [pg 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 [pg 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.”46 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 [pg 013] Apostles,” (says the learned editor of the codex in question, Dr. Scrivener,47)—

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.48—Next in [pg 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.49

Could ingenuity have devised severer satire than such a [pg 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 [pg 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: [pg 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 [pg 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, [pg 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 cursives50 as 13 or 33; a few copies of the old Latin and one of the Egyptian versions: perhaps Origen.—Not theory [pg 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 [pg 021] only when critical or grammatical considerations show that it is clearly necessary.”51 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.52

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.”53 Bishop Ellicott speaks of it as “a text composed on the narrowest and most exclusive principles.”54 Of the Greek [pg 022] Fathers (Lachmann says) he employed only Origen.55 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,56—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.”57

“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 [pg 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.”58 With Dr. Tischendorf,—(whom one vastly his superior in learning, accuracy, and judgment, has generously styled “the first Biblical Critic in Europe”59)—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.”60 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.”61 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.,62—Nonnus,—Chrysostom (in 6 places),—Theodoras Mops. (in 2),—Isidorus,—Cyril Alex. (in 2),—Victor Ant.,—Ammonius,—Severus,—Maximus,—Andreas [pg 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,63 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 Greek”64 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.”65 Nothing therefore has to be enquired after, except the critical principles on which they have proceeded. And, after assuring [pg 025] us that “the study of Grouping is the foundation of all enduring Criticism,”66 they produce their secret: viz. That in “every one of our witnesses” except codex b, the “corruptions are innumerable;”67 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.”68 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 mind”69 ... 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 [pg 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;70 but to [pg 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 [pg 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 [pg 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 [pg 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.71

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 [pg 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 [pg 032] statement that the paralytic was “brought to” our Saviour,72 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 [pg 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,”73—has been [pg 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 [pg 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,74 (for the mischief can all be traced back [pg 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.75

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 [pg 037] establish “the last Twelve Verses” of S. Mark's Gospel.76 Moreover, competent judges at once admitted that the author had succeeded in doing what he undertook to do.77 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 [pg 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.78

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,79—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.”80 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.”81 We have since heard on the best authority, [pg 039] that namely of Bishop Ellicott himself,82 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.”83

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;”84 and another (Dr. Roberts) in maintaining that “the passage is not the immediate production of S. Mark.”85 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.86

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 [pg 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 IVth87 (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.

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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.”88 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.89 To return however to the genuine clause,—“Good-will towards men” (ἐν ἀνθρώποις εὐδοκία).

[pg 042]

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.90

[pg 043]

In the IIIrd,—that of (2) Origen91 in 3 places,—and of (3) the Apostolical Constitutions92 in 2.

In the IVth,—(4) Eusebius,93—(5) Aphraates the Persian,94—(6) Titus of Bostra,95 each twice;—(7) Didymus96 in 3 places;—(8) Gregory of Nazianzus,97—(9) Cyril of Jerusalem,98—(10) Epiphanius99 twice;—(11) Gregory of Nyssa100 4 times,—(12) Ephraem Syrus,101—(13) Philo bishop of Carpasus,102—(14) Chrysostom,103 in 9 places,—and (15) a nameless preacher at Antioch,104—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,105 on no less than 14 occasions, vouches for it also;—(17) Theodoret106 on 4;—(18) Theodotus of Ancyra107 on 5 (once108 in a homily preached before the Council of Ephesus on Christmas-day, a.d. 431);—(19) Proclus109 archbishop of Constantinople;—(20) Paulus110 bishop of Emesa (in a sermon preached before Cyril of Alexandria on Christmas-day, a.d. 431);—(21) the Eastern bishops111 at Ephesus collectively, a.d. 431 (an unusually weighty piece of evidence);—and lastly, (22) Basil [pg 044] of Seleucia.112 Now, let it be remarked that these were contemporaries of codex a.

In the VIth century,—the Patristic witnesses are (23) Cosmas, the voyager,113 5 times,—(24) Anastasius Sinaita,114—(25) Eulogius115 archbishop of Alexandria: contemporaries, be it remembered, of codex d.

In the VIIth,—(26) Andreas of Crete116 twice.

And in the VIIIth,—(27) Cosmas117 bishop of Maiuma near Gaza,—and his pupil (28) John Damascene,118—and (29) Germanus119 archbishop of Constantinople.

To these 29 illustrious names are to be added unknown writers of uncertain date, but all of considerable antiquity; and some120 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:121 a second, for (31) Methodius:122 a third, for (32) Basil.123 Three others, with different degrees of reasonableness, have been supposed to be (33, 34, 35) Athanasius.124 One has passed for (36) Gregory of Nyssa;125 another for (37) Epiphanius;126 while no less than eight (38 to 45) have been mistaken for Chrysostom,127 some of them being certainly his contemporaries. Add (46) one anonymous Father,128 and (47) the author of the apocryphal [pg 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.129 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 [pg 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 [pg 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;130b, 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 [pg 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,131 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.”132 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), [pg 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?133 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.134 One remark should be premised, viz. that “various [pg 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, [pg 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 [pg 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.135 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 [pg 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 Epiphanius136 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 [pg 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, [pg 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 [pg 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,137 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 [pg 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.”138 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 foot139), 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 [pg 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,140 twice leaves it out.141 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 [pg 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.”142 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 twigs”foliage,” 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 [pg 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 [pg 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,143 so, preliminary to the actual Exodus of “the Israel of God,” “there was darkness over all the land” for three hours.144 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. Marcion145 (whose date is a.d. 130-50) so exhibits the place:—besides the old Latin146 and the Vulgate:—the Peschito, Cureton's, and the Philoxenian Syriac versions:—the Armenian,—the Æthiopic,—the Georgian,—and the [pg 062] Slavonic.—Hippolytus147 (a.d. 190-227),—Athanasius,148—Ephraem Syr.,149—Theodore Mops.,150—Nilus the monk,151—Severianus, (in a homily preserved in Armenian, p. 439,)—Cyril of Alexandria,152—the apocryphal Gospel of Nicodemus—and the Anaphora Pilati,153—are all witnesses to the same effect. Add the Acta Pilati154—and the Syriac Acts of the Apostles.155—Let it suffice of the Latins to quote Tertullian.156—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,157—Julius Africanus158 (a.d. 220),—Macarius Magnes159 (a.d. 330),—are even eloquent on the subject. Chrysostom's evidence is unequivocal.160 It is, nevertheless, well known that this place of S. Luke's Gospel was tampered with from a very early period; and that Origen161 (a.d. 186-253), and perhaps Eusebius,162 [pg 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,163 and Jerome164 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 c165—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 exclusively166 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 [pg 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 Coptic167),—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 [pg 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 correct168. But, in fact, the phrase ἔκλειψις ἡλίου means “an eclipse of the sun” and no other thing. In like manner, τοῦ ἡλίου ἐκλείποντος169 (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.”170 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 [pg 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.”171 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.172... 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 [pg 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.173—a strange perversion of the Evangelist's meaning, truly, and only to be accounted for in one way.174

[pg 068]

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 [pg 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 [pg 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):175—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 [pg 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.”176 “The miracle” (says Bp. Pearson) “was not in the death, but in the voice. The [pg 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.”177 ... All this however is lost in א b l, which literally stand alone178 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,179 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 [pg 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 Jerome180. 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].

Ambrose181 of Milan [370] attempts to explain the difficult [pg 074] expression, but with indifferent success. Epiphanius182 of Cyprus [370] does the same;—and so, Isidorus183 [400] called “Pelusiota” after the place of his residence in Lower Egypt.—Ps.-Cæsarius184 also volunteers remarks on the word [a.d. 400?].—It is further explained in the Paschal Chronicle,185—and by Chrysostom186 [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.187 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 [pg 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.188

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.)

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(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 [pg 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 enumerated189 is a single Greek codex,—and that, the most depraved of all,—viz. Beza's d.190 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 [pg 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,”191 which, retaining the 10 words of ver. 19, substitutes [pg 079] verses 17, 18 for ver. 20. Enough for the condemnation of d survives in Justin,192—Basil,193—Epiphanius,194—Theodoret,195—Cyril,196—Maximus,197—Jerome.198 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 foot199] 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,200 by Jerome,201 and others. Only necessary is it to read the apologetic remarks which Ambrose introduces when he reaches S. Luke xxii. 43,202 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 [pg 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,203 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.,204—Irenæus205 in the IInd century:—

Hippolytus,206—Dionysius Alex.,207—ps. Tatian,208 in the IIIrd.—

Arius,209—Eusebius,210—Athanasius,211—Ephraem Syr.,212—Didymus,213—Gregory Naz.,214—Epiphanius,215—Chrysostom,216—ps.-Dionysius Areop.,217 in the IVth:—

Julian the heretic,218—Theodoras Mops.,219—Nestorius,220—Cyril Alex.,221—Paulus, bishop of Emesa,222—Gennadius,223—Theodoret,224—and several Oriental Bishops (a.d. 431),225 in the Vth:—besides [pg 081] Ps.-Cæsarius,226—Theodosius Alex.,227—John Damascene,228—Maximus,229—Theodorus hæret.,230—Leontius Byz.,231—Anastasius Sin.,232—Photius:233 and of the Latins, Hilary,234—Jerome,235—Augustine,236—Cassian,237—Paulinus,238—Facundus.239

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.240 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 [pg 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.241 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 [pg 083] that the words are spurious.242 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 man243 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,—

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In the IInd century by Hegesippus,244—and by Irenæus:245

In the IIIrd, by Hippolytus,246—by Origen,247—by the Apostolic Constitutions,248—by the Clementine Homilies,249—by ps.-Tatian,250—and by the disputation of Archelaus with Manes:251

In the IVth, by Eusebius,252—by Athanasius,253—by Gregory Nyss.,254—by Theodoras Herac.,255—by Basil,256—by Chrysostom,257—by Ephraem Syr.,258—by ps.-Ephraim,259—by ps.-Dionysius Areop.,260—by the Apocryphal Acta Pilati,261—by the Acta Philippi,262—and by the Syriac Acts of the App.,263—by ps.-Ignatius,264—and ps.-Justin:265

In the Vth, by Theodoret,266—by Cyril,267—by Eutherius:268

In the VIth, by Anastasius Sin.,269—by Hesychius:270

In the VIIth, by Antiochus mon.,271—by Maximus,272—by Andreas Cret.:273

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In the VIIIth, by John Damascene,274—besides ps.-Chrysostom,275—ps. Amphilochius,276—and the Opus imperf.277

Add to this, (since Latin authorities have been brought to the front),—Ambrose,278—Hilary,279—Jerome,280—Augustine,281—and other earlier writers.282

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. Ellicott283) “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 [pg 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 overlooked284—and Cyril.285 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.286 For the moment, let it be added that [pg 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 Ambrose287 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,288—the Peschito,—Cureton's Syriac,—the Philoxenian;—besides the Coptic,—Armenian,—and Æthiopic versions—are all on the same side: lastly, that Origen,289—Eusebius,—and Gregory of Nyssa290 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 [pg 088] Readings adopted by the Revisers of the Authorized Version291 to exhibit S. Luke xxiii. 38 as it stands in the mutilated recension of Drs. Westcott and Hort.292 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.”293 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,294 d and Evan. 29, besides five copies of the old Latin (a b e ff2 q), are [pg 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 place295 though not in another.296 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,297—Gregory of Nyssa,298—Cyril,299—Severus,300—Ammonius,301 [pg 090] and others302 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,303—and Ambrose,304—by Chrysostom,305—and Cyril,306—and Augustine.307

(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,308—the Syriac,—the Egyptian,—in short, in all the ancient Versions. Besides these, ps.-Justin,309—Eusebius,310—Athanasius,311—Ambrose (in Greek),312—Epiphanius,313—Chrysostom,314—Cyril,315—Theodoret,316—Ammonius,317—and [pg 091] John Damascene318—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 already319), 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,320—Athanasius,321—Basil,322—Chrysostom,323—the Opus imperf.,324—the Syriac Clement,325—and John Damascene;326—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 [pg 092] “exceptionally retained in association with the true Text.”327 “Western and Syrian” is their oracular sentence.328

(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:329—by Origen,330—Theodoras Heracl.,331—Chrysostom332—and Jovius333 the monk;—by Tertullian,334—Ambrose,335—Hilary,336—Jerome,337—pope Damasus338—and Augustine:339—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.340 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.”341... 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?

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(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:”342 which is almost nonsense, or quite.

But take a less solemn example. Instead of,—“And His [pg 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,343 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 [pg 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.344 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, [pg 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;345—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. [pg 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 [pg 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.346 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 [pg 099] this interesting and important passage must stand as it has been given in the Revised Version.347

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.348 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 two349 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 [pg 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,350 (whose date is a.d. 476): and the unknown author of a homily in the appendix to Chrysostom.351 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 [pg 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:352—that Θεός is also recognized by (2) his namesake of Nazianzus in two places;353—as well as by (3) Didymus of Alexandria;354—(4) by ps.-Dionysius Alex.;355—and (5) by Diodorus of Tarsus.356—(6) Chrysostom quotes 1 Tim. iii. 16 in conformity with the received text at least three times;357—and [pg 102] (7) Cyril Al. as often:358—(8) Theodoret, four times:359—(9) an unknown author of the age of Nestorius (a.d. 430), once:360—(10) Severus, Bp. of Antioch (a.d. 512), once.361—(11) Macedonius (a.d. 506) patriarch of CP.,362 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.363—(14) An unknown writer who has been mistaken for Athanasius,364—(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:365—and (20) Gregory Thaum., καὶ ἔστι Θεὸς ἀληθινὸς ὁ ἄσαρκος ἐν σαρκὶ φανερωθείς:366—and before him, (21) Hippolytus, οὗτος προελθὼν εἰς κόσμον, Θεὸς ἐν σώματι ἐφανερώθη:367—and (22) Theodotus the Gnostic, ὁ Σωτὴρ ὤφθη κατιὼν τοῖς [pg 103] ἀγγέλοις:368—and (23) Barnabas, Ἰησοῦς ... ὁ υἱὸς τοῦ Θεοῦ τύπῳ καὶ ἐν σαρκὶ φανερωθείς:369—and earlier still (24) Ignatius: Θεοῦ ἀνθρωπίνως φανερουμένον:—ἐν σαρκὶ γενόμενος Θεός:—εἶς Θεὸς ἔστιν ὁ φανερώσοας ἑαυτὸν διὰ Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ τοῦ υἱοῦ αὐτοῦ.370—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:371—(2) the fact that Epiphanius,—professing to transcribe372 from an earlier treatise of his own373 (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?

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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 [pg 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 back374 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,375—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 [pg 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.376 The silence which Scholars have hitherto maintained on this part [pg 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 [pg 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.377 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 [pg 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. [pg 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,”378 (to adopt another of our Revisionists' unhappy perversions of Scripture,) the fatal objection would remain, viz. that it is not founded upon the rock.”379 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,”380 say the Revisionists: but we venture solemnly to assure them that the old is better;”381 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.

[pg 112]

Article II. The New English Version.

Such is the time-honoured Version which we have been called upon to revise! We have had to study this great Version carefully and minutely, line by line; and the longer we have been engaged upon it the more we have learned to admire its simplicity, its dignity, its power, its happy turns of expression, its general accuracy, and we must not fail to add, the music of its cadences, and the felicities of its rhythm. To render a work that had reached this high standard of excellence, still more excellent; to increase its fidelity, without destroying its charm; was the task committed to us.Preface To the Revised Version.

To pass from the one to the other, is, as it were, to alight from a well-built and well-hung carriage which glides easily over a macadamized road,—and to get into one which has bad springs or none at all, and in which you are jolted in ruts with aching bones over the stones of a newly-mended and rarely traversed road, like some of the roads in our North Lincolnshire villages.Bishop Wordsworth.382

No Revision at the present day could hope to meet with an hour's acceptance if it failed to preserve the tone, rhythm, and diction of the present Authorized Version.Bishop Ellicott.383

I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this Book,—If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this Book.

And if any man shall take away from the words of the Book of this prophecy, GOD shall take away his part out of the Book of Life, and out of the holy City, and from the things which are written in this Book.Revelation xxii. 18, 19.

Whatever may be urged in favour of Biblical Revision, it is at least undeniable that the undertaking involves a tremendous risk. Our Authorized Version is the one religious link which at present binds together ninety millions of English-speaking men scattered over the earth's surface. Is it reasonable that so unutterably precious, so sacred a bond should be endangered, for the sake of representing certain words more accurately,—here and there translating a tense with greater precision,—getting rid of a few archaisms? It may be confidently assumed that no “Revision” of our Authorized Version, however judiciously executed, will ever occupy the place in public esteem which is actually enjoyed by the work of the Translators of 1611,—the noblest literary work in the Anglo-Saxon language. We shall in fact never have another “Authorized Version.” And this single consideration may be thought absolutely fatal to the project, except in a greatly modified form. To be brief,—As a companion in the study and for private edification: as a book of reference for critical purposes, especially in respect [pg 114] of difficult and controverted passages:—we hold that a revised edition of the Authorized Version of our English Bible, (if executed with consummate ability and learning,) would at any time be a work of inestimable value. The method of such a performance, whether by marginal Notes or in some other way, we forbear to determine. But certainly only as a handmaid is it to be desired. As something intended to supersede our present English Bible, we are thoroughly convinced that the project of a rival Translation is not to be entertained for a moment. For ourselves, we deprecate it entirely.

On the other hand, who could have possibly foreseen what has actually come to pass since the Convocation of the Southern Province (in Feb. 1870) declared itself favourable to “a Revision of the Authorized Version,” and appointed a Committee of Divines to undertake the work? Who was to suppose that the Instructions given to the Revisionists would be by them systematically disregarded? Who was to imagine that an utterly untrustworthy “new Greek Text,” constructed on mistaken principles,—(say rather, on no principles at all,)—would be the fatal result? To speak more truly,—Who could have anticipated that the opportunity would have been adroitly seized to inflict upon the Church the text of Drs. Westcott and Hort, in all its essential features,—a text which, as will be found elsewhere largely explained, we hold to be the most vicious Recension of the original Greek in existence? Above all,—Who was to foresee that instead of removing plain and clear errors from our Version, the Revisionists,—(besides systematically removing out of sight so many of the genuine utterances of the Spirit,)—would themselves introduce a countless number of blemishes, unknown to it before? Lastly, how was it to have been believed that the Revisionists would show themselves [pg 115] industrious in sowing broadcast over four continents doubts as to the Truth of Scripture, which it will never be in their power either to remove or to recal? Nescit vox missa reverti.

For, the ill-advised practice of recording, in the margin of an English Bible, certain of the blunders—(such things cannot by any stretch of courtesy be styled “Various Readings”)—which disfigure “some” or “many” “ancient authorities,” can only result in hopelessly unsettling the faith of millions. It cannot be defended on the plea of candour,—the candour which is determined that men shall “know the worst.” “The worst” has not been told: and it were dishonesty to insinuate that it has. If all the cases were faithfully exhibited where “a few,” “some,” or “many ancient authorities” read differently from what is exhibited in the actual Text, not only would the margin prove insufficient to contain the record, but the very page itself would not nearly suffice. Take a single instance (the first which comes to mind), of the thing referred to. Such illustrations might be multiplied to any extent:—

In S. Luke iii. 22, (in place of “Thou art my beloved Son; in Thee I am well pleased,”) the following authorities of the IInd, IIIrd and IVth centuries, read,—this day have I begotten Thee:” viz.—codex d and the most ancient copies of the old Latin (a, b, c, ff-2, 1),—Justin Martyr in three places384 (a.d. 140),—Clemens Alex.385 (a.d. 190),—and Methodius386 (a.d. 290) among the Greeks. Lactantius387 (a.d. 300),—Hilary388 (a.d. 350),—Juvencus389 (a.d. 330),—Faustus390 (a.d. 400), [pg 116] and—Augustine391 amongst the Latins. The reading in question was doubtless derived from the Ebionite Gospel392 (IInd cent.). Now, we desire to have it explained to us why an exhibition of the Text supported by such an amount of first-rate primitive testimony as the preceding, obtains no notice whatever in our Revisionists' margin,—if indeed it was the object of their perpetually recurring marginal annotations, to put the unlearned reader on a level with the critical Scholar; to keep nothing back from him; and so forth?... It is the gross one-sidedness, the patent unfairness, in a critical point of view, of this work, (which professes to be nothing else but a Revision of the English Version of 1611,)—which chiefly shocks and offends us.

For, on the other hand, of what possible use can it be to encumber the margin of S. Luke x. 41, 42 (for example), with the announcement that “A few ancient authorities read Martha, Martha, thou art troubled: Mary hath chosen &c.” (the fact being, that d alone of MSS. omits careful and ... about many things. But one thing is needful, and ...)? With the record of this circumstance, is it reasonable (we ask) to choke up our English margin,—to create perplexity and to insinuate doubt? The author of the foregoing [pg 117] marginal Annotation was of course aware that the same “singular codex” (as Bp. Ellicott styles cod. d) omits, in S. Luke's Gospel alone, no less than 1552 words: and he will of course have ascertained (by counting) that the words in S. Luke's Gospel amount to 19,941. Why then did he not tell the whole truth; and instead of &c.,” proceed as follows?—“But inasmuch as cod. d is so scandalously corrupt that about one word in thirteen is missing throughout, the absence of nine words in this place is of no manner of importance or significancy. The precious saying omitted is above suspicion, and the first half of the present Annotation might have been spared.”... We submit that a Note like that, although rather “singular” in style, really would have been to some extent helpful,—if not to the learned, at least to the unlearned reader.

In the meantime, unlearned and learned readers alike are competent to see that the foregoing perturbation of S. Luke x. 41, 42 rests on the same manuscript authority as the perturbation of ch. iii. 22, which immediately preceded it. The Patristic attestation, on the other hand, of the reading which has been promoted to the margin, is almost nil: whereas that of the neglected place has been shown to be considerable, very ancient, and of high respectability.

But in fact,—(let the Truth be plainly stated; for, when God's Word is at stake, circumlocution is contemptible, while concealment would be a crime;)—Faithfulness towards the public, a stern resolve that the English reader “shall know the worst,” and all that kind of thing,—such considerations have had nothing whatever to do with the matter. A vastly different principle has prevailed with the Revisionists. Themselves the dupes of an utterly mistaken Theory of Textual Criticism, their supreme solicitude has [pg 118] been to impose that same Theory,—(which is Westcott and Hort's,)—with all its bitter consequences, on the unlearned and unsuspicious public.

We shall of course be indignantly called upon to explain what we mean by so injurious—so damning—an imputation? For all reply, we are content to refer to the sample of our meaning which will be found below, in pp. 137-8. The exposure of what has there been shown to be the method of the Revisionists in respect of S. Mark vi. 11, might be repeated hundreds of times. It would in fact fill a volume. We shall therefore pass on, when we have asked the Revisionists in turn—How they have dared so effectually to blot out those many precious words from the Book of Life, that no mere English reader, depending on the Revised Version for his knowledge of the Gospels, can by possibility suspect their existence?... Supposing even that it was the calamitous result of their mistaken principles that they found themselves constrained on countless occasions, to omit from their Text precious sayings of our Lord and His Apostles,—what possible excuse will they offer for not having preserved a record of words so amply attested, at least in their margin?

Even so, however, the whole amount of the mischief which has been effected by our Revisionists has not been stated. For the Greek Text which they have invented proves to be so hopelessly depraved throughout, that if it were to be thrust upon the Church's acceptance, we should be a thousand times worse off than we were with the Text which Erasmus and the Complutensian,—Stephens, and Beza, and the Elzevirs,—bequeathed to us upwards of three centuries ago. On this part of the subject we have remarked at length already [pp. 1-110]: yet shall we be constrained to recur once and again to the underlying Greek Text of the Revisionists, [pg 119] inasmuch as it is impossible to stir in any direction with the task before us, without being painfully reminded of its existence. Not only do the familiar Parables, Miracles, Discourses of our Lord, trip us up at every step, but we cannot open the first page of the Gospel—no, nor indeed read the first line—without being brought to a standstill. Thus,

1. S. Matthew begins,—“The book of the generation of Jesus Christ (ver. 1).—Good. But here the margin volunteers two pieces of information: first,—“Or, birth: as in ver. 18.” We refer to ver. 18, and read—“Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise.” Good again; but the margin says,—“Or, generation: as in ver. 1.” Are we then to understand that the same Greek word, diversely rendered in English, occurs in both places? We refer to the new Greek Text:” and there it stands,—γένεσις in either verse. But if the word be the same, why (on the Revisers' theory) is it diversely rendered?

In the meantime, who knows not that there is all the difference in the world between S. Matthew's γέΝΕσις, in ver. 1,—and the same S. Matthew's γέΝΝΗσις, in ver. 18? The latter, the Evangelist's announcement of the circumstances of the human Nativity of Christ: the former, the Evangelist's unobtrusive way of recalling the Septuagintal rendering of Gen. ii. 4 and v. 1:393 the same Evangelist's calm method of guiding the devout and thoughtful student to discern in the Gospel the History of the “new Creation,”—by thus providing that when first the Gospel opens its lips, it shall syllable the name of the first book of the elder Covenant? We are pointing out that it more than startles—it supremely offends—one who is even slenderly acquainted [pg 120] with the treasures of wisdom hid in the very diction of the N. T. Scriptures, to discover that a deliberate effort has been made to get rid of the very foremost of those notes of Divine intelligence, by confounding two words which all down the ages have been carefully kept distinct; and that this effort is the result of an exaggerated estimate of a few codices which happen to be written in the uncial character, viz. two of the IVth century (b א); one of the Vth (c); two of the VIth (p z); one of the IXth (Δ); one of the Xth (s).

The Versions394—(which are our oldest witnesses)—are perforce only partially helpful here. Note however, that the only one which favours γένεσις is the heretical Harkleian Syriac, executed in the VIIth century. The Peschito and Cureton's Syriac distinguish between γένεσις in ver. 1 and γέννησις in ver. 18: as do the Slavonic and the Arabian Versions. The Egyptian, Armenian, Æthiopic and Georgian, have only one word for both. Let no one suppose however that therefore their testimony is ambiguous. It is γέννησις (not γένεσις) which they exhibit, both in ver. 1 and in ver. 18.395 The Latin (generatio) is an equivocal rendering certainly: but the earliest Latin writer who quotes the two places, (viz. Tertullian) employs the word genitura in S. Matth. i. 1,—but nativitas in ver. 18,—which no one seems to have noticed.396 Now, Tertullian, (as one who sometimes [pg 121] wrote in Greek,) is known to have been conversant with the Greek copies of his day; and “his day,” be it remembered, is a.d. 190. He evidently recognized the parallelism between S. Matt. i. 1 and Gen. ii. 4,—where the old Latin exhibits “liber creaturæ or facturæ,” as the rendering of βίβλος γενέσεως. And so much for the testimony of the Versions.

But on reference to Manuscript and to Patristic authority397 we are encountered by an overwhelming amount of testimony for γέννησις in ver. 18: and this, considering the nature of the case, is an extraordinary circumstance. Quite plain is it that the Ancients were wide awake to the difference between spelling the word with one N or with two,—as the little dissertation of the heretic Nestorius398 in itself would be enough to prove. Γέννησις, in the meantime, is the word employed by Justin M.,399—by Clemens Alex.,400—by Athanasius,401—by Gregory of Nazianzus,402—by Cyril Alex.,403—by Nestorius,404—by Chrysostom,405—by Theodorus [pg 122] Mopsuest.,406—and by three other ancients.407 Even more deserving of attention is it that Irenæus408 (a.d. 170)—(whom Germanus409 copies at the end of 550 years)—calls attention to the difference between the spelling of ver. 1 and ver. 18. So does Didymus:410—so does Basil:411—so does Epiphanius.412—Origen413 (a.d. 210) is even eloquent on the subject.—Tertullian (a.d. 190) we have heard already.—It is a significant circumstance, that the only Patristic authorities discoverable on the other side are Eusebius, Theodoret, and the authors of an heretical Creed414—whom Athanasius holds up to scorn.415 ... Will the Revisionists still pretend to tell us that γέννησις in verse 18 is a plain and clear error?

2. This, however, is not all. Against the words “of Jesus Christ,” a further critical annotation is volunteered; to the effect that “Some ancient authorities read of the Christ.” In reply to which, we assert that not one single known MS. omits the word Jesus:” whilst its presence is vouched for by ps.-Tatian,416—Irenæus,—Origen,—Eusebius,—Didymus,— Epiphanius,—Chrysostom,—Cyril,—in addition to every known Greek copy of the Gospels, and not a few of the Versions, including the Peschito and both the Egyptian. What else but nugatory therefore is such a piece of information as this?

3. And so much for the first, second, and third Critical annotations, with which the margin of the revised N. T. is [pg 123] disfigured. Hoping that the worst is now over, we read on till we reach ver. 25, where we encounter a statement which fairly trips us up: viz.,—“And knew her not till she had brought forth a son.” No intimation is afforded of what has been here effected; but in the meantime every one's memory supplies the epithet (“her first-born”) which has been ejected. Whether something very like indignation is not excited by the discovery that these important words have been surreptitiously withdrawn from their place, let others say. For ourselves, when we find that only א b z and two cursive copies can be produced for the omission, we are at a loss to understand of what the Revisionists can have been dreaming. Did they know417 that,—besides the Vulgate, the Peschito and Philoxenian Syriac, the Æthiopic, Armenian, Georgian, and Slavonian Versions,418—a whole torrent of Fathers are at hand to vouch for the genuineness of the epithet they were so unceremoniously excising? They are invited to refer to ps.-Tatian,419—to Athanasius,420—to Didymus,421—to Cyril of Jer.,422—to Basil,423—to Greg. Nyss.,424—to Ephraem Syr.,425—to Epiphanius,426—to Chrysostom,427—to Proclus,428—to Isidorus Pelus.,429—to John Damasc.,430—to Photius,431—to Nicetas:432—besides, of the Latins, Ambrose,433—the Opus imp.,—Augustine,—and not least to Jerome434—eighteen Fathers in all. And how is it possible, (we ask,) [pg 124] that two copies of the IVth century (b א) and one of the VIth (z)—all three without a character—backed by a few copies of the old Latin, should be supposed to be any counterpoise at all for such an array of first-rate contemporary evidence as the foregoing?

Enough has been offered by this time to prove that an authoritative Revision of the Greek Text will have to precede any future Revision of the English of the New Testament. Equally certain is it that for such an undertaking the time has not yet come. “It is my honest conviction,”—(remarks Bp. Ellicott, the Chairman of the Revisionists,)—“that for any authoritative Revision, we are not yet mature: either in Biblical learning or Hellenistic scholarship.”435 The same opinion precisely is found to have been cherished by Dr. Westcott till within about a year-and-a-half436 of the first assembling of the New Testament Company in the Jerusalem Chamber, 22nd June, 1870. True, that we enjoy access to—suppose from 1000 to 2000—more manuscripts than were available when the Textus Recept. was formed. But nineteen-twentieths of those documents, for any use which has been made of them, might just as well be still lying in the monastic libraries from which they were obtained.—True, that four out of our five oldest uncials have come to light since the year 1628; but, who knows how to use them?—True, that we have made acquaintance with certain ancient Versions, about which little or nothing was known 200 years ago: but,—(with the solitary exception of the Rev. Solomon Cæsar Malan, the learned Vicar of Broadwindsor,—who, by the way, is always ready to lend a torch to his benighted brethren,)—what living Englishman is able to tell [pg 125] us what they all contain? A smattering acquaintance with the languages of ancient Egypt,—the Gothic, Æthiopic, Armenian, Georgian and Slavonian Versions,—is of no manner of avail. In no department, probably, is “a little learning” more sure to prove “a dangerous thing.”—True, lastly, that the Fathers have been better edited within the last 250 years: during which period some fresh Patristic writings have also come to light. But, with the exception of Theodoret among the Greeks and Tertullian among the Latins, which of the Fathers has been satisfactorily indexed?

Even what precedes is not nearly all. The fundamental Principles of the Science of Textual Criticism are not yet apprehended. In proof of this assertion, we appeal to the new Greek Text of Drs. Westcott and Hort,—which, beyond all controversy, is more hopelessly remote from the inspired Original than any which has yet appeared. Let a generation of Students give themselves entirely up to this neglected branch of sacred Science. Let 500 more Copies of the Gospels, Acts, and Epistles, be diligently collated. Let at least 100 of the ancient Lectionaries be very exactly collated also. Let the most important of the ancient Versions be edited afresh, and let the languages in which these are written be for the first time really mastered by Englishmen. Above all, let the Fathers he called upon to give up their precious secrets. Let their writings be ransacked and indexed, and (where needful) let the MSS. of their works be diligently inspected, in order that we may know what actually is the evidence which they afford. Only so will it ever be possible to obtain a Greek Text on which absolute reliance may be placed, and which may serve as the basis for a satisfactory Revision of our Authorized Version. Nay, let whatever unpublished works of the ancient Greek Fathers are anywhere known to exist,—(and not a few precious remains [pg 126] of theirs are lying hid in great national libraries, both at home and abroad,)—let these be printed. The men could easily be found: the money, far more easily.—When all this has been done,—not before—then in God's Name, let the Church address herself to the great undertaking. Do but revive the arrangements which were adopted in King James's days: and we venture to predict that less than a third part of ten years will be found abundantly to suffice for the work. How the coming men will smile at the picture Dr. Newth437 has drawn of what was the method of procedure in the reign of Queen Victoria! Will they not peruse with downright merriment Bp. Ellicott's jaunty proposal simply to proceed onward with the work—[to wit, of constructing a new Greek Text,]—“in fact, solvere ambulando,” [necnon in laqueum cadendo]?438

I. We cannot, it is presumed, act more fairly by the Revisers' work,439 than by following them over some of the ground which they claim to have made their own, and which, at the conclusion of their labours, their Right [pg 127] Reverend Chairman evidently surveys with self-complacency. First, he invites attention to the Principle and Rule for their guidance agreed to by the Committee of Convocation (25th May, 1870), viz. To introduce as few alterations as possible into the Text of the Authorized Version, consistently with faithfulness.” Words could not be more emphatic. Plain and clear errors were to be corrected. Necessary emendations” were to be made. But (in the words of the Southern Convocation) “We do not contemplate any new Translation, or any alteration of the language, except where, in the judgment of the most competent Scholars, such change is necessary.” The watchword, therefore, given to the company of Revisionists was,—Necessity.” Necessity was to determine whether they were to depart from the language of the Authorized Version, or not; for the alterations were to be as few as possible.

(a) Now it is idle to deny that this fundamental Principle has been utterly set at defiance. To such an extent is this the case, that even an unlettered Reader is competent to judge them. When we find to substituted for “unto” (passim):—hereby for “by this” (1 Jo. v. 2):—“all that are,” for “all that be” (Rom. i. 7):—alway for “always” (2 Thess. i. 3):—“we that,” “them that,” for “we which,” “them which (1 Thess. iv. 15); and yet “every spirit which,” for “every spirit that” (1 Jo. iv. 3), and “he who is not of God,” for “he that is not of God (ver. 6,—although “he that knoweth God had preceded, in the same verse):—my host” for “mine host” (Rom. xvi. 23); and underneath for under (Rev. vi. 9):—it becomes clear that the Revisers' notion of necessity is not that of the rest of mankind. But let the plain Truth be stated. Certain of them, when remonstrated with by their fellows for the manifest disregard they were showing to the Instructions subject to which they had undertaken the work [pg 128] of Revision, are reported to have even gloried in their shame. The majority, it is clear, have even ostentatiously set those Instructions at defiance.

Was the course they pursued,—(we ask the question respectfully,)—strictly honest? To decline the work entirely under the prescribed Conditions, was always in their power. But, first to accept the Conditions, and straightway to act in defiance of them,—this strikes us as a method of proceeding which it is difficult to reconcile with the high character of the occupants of the Jerusalem Chamber. To proceed however.

“Nevertheless” and “notwithstanding” have had a sad time of it. One or other of them has been turned out in favour of howbeit (S. Lu. x. 11, 20),—of only (Phil. iii. 16),—of only that (i. 18),—of yet (S. Matth. xi. 11),—of but (xvii. 27),—of and yet (James ii. 16).... We find take heed substituted for “beware” (Col. ii. 8):—custom for “manner” (S. Jo. xix. 40):—“he was amazed,” for “he was astonished:” (S. Lu. v. 9):—Is it I, Lord? for Lord, is it I?” (S. Matth. xxvi. 22):—straightway the cock crew,” for “immediately the cock crew” (S. Jo. xviii. 27):—“Then therefore he delivered Him,” for “Then delivered he Him therefore” (xix. 16):—brought it to His mouth,” for “put it to His mouth” (ver. 29):—He manifested Himself on this wise,” for “on this wise shewed He Himself” (xxi. 1):—So when they got out upon the land,” for “As soon then as they were come to land” (ver. 9):—“the things concerning,” for “the things pertaining to the kingdom of God (Acts i. 3):—“as God's steward,” for “as the steward of God” (Tit. i. 7): but “the belly of the whale for “the whale's belly” (S. Matth. xii. 40), and device of man for “man's device” in Acts xvii. 29.—These, and hundreds of similar alterations have been evidently made out of the [pg 129] merest wantonness. After substituting therefore for “then” (as the rendering of οὖν) a score of times,—the Revisionists quite needlessly substitute then for “therefore” in S. Jo. xix. 42.—And why has the singularly beautiful greeting of “the elder unto the well-beloved Gaius,” been exchanged for “unto Gaius the beloved? (3 John, ver. 1).

(b) We turn a few pages, and find “he that doeth sin,” substituted for “he that committeth sin;” and To this end put in the place of “For this purpose” (1 Jo. iii. 8):—have beheld and bear witness,” for “have seen and do testify” (iv. 14):—hereby for “by this” (v. 2):—Judas for “Jude” (Jude ver. 1), although Mark was substituted for “Marcus” (in 1 Pet. v. 13), and Timothy for “Timotheus” (in Phil. i. 1):—“how that they said to you,” for “how that they told you” (Jude ver. 18).—But why go on? The substitution of exceedingly for “greatly” in Acts vi. 7:—the birds for “the fowls,” in Rev. xix. 21:—Almighty for “Omnipotent” in ver. 6:—throw down for “cast down,” in S. Luke iv. 29:—inner chamber for “closet,” in vi. 6:—these are not “necessary” changes.... We will give but three instances more:—In 1 S. Pet. v. 9, “whom resist, stedfast in the faith,” has been altered into “whom withstand.” But how is “withstand” a better rendering for ἀντίστητε, than “resist”? “Resist,” at all events, was the Revisionists' word in S. Matth. v. 39 and S. James iv. 7.—Why also substitute “the race (for “the kindred”) “of Joseph” in Acts vii. 13, although γένος was rendered “kindred” in iv. 6?—Do the Revisionists think that fastening their eyes on him” is a better rendering of ἀτενίσαντες εἰς αὐτόν (Acts vi. 15) than looking stedfastly on him”? They certainly did not think so when they got to xxiii. 1. There, because they found earnestly beholding the council,” they must needs alter the phrase into looking stedfastly.” It is clear therefore that Caprice, not Necessity,—an [pg 130] itching impatience to introduce changes into the A. V., not the discovery of plain and clear errors—has determined the great bulk of the alterations which molest us in every part of the present unlearned and tasteless performance.

II. The next point to which the Revisionists direct our attention is their new Greek text,—“the necessary foundation of” their work. And here we must renew our protest against the wrong which has been done to English readers by the Revisionists' disregard of the IVth Rule laid down for their guidance, viz. that, whenever they adopted a new Textual reading, such alteration was to be indicated in the margin.” This “proved inconvenient,” say the Revisionists. Yes, we reply: but only because you saw fit, in preference, to choke up your margin with a record of the preposterous readings you did not admit. Even so, however, the thing might to some extent have been done, if only by a system of signs in the margin wherever a change in the Text had been by yourselves effected. And, at whatever “inconvenience,” you were bound to do this,—partly because the Rule before you was express: but chiefly in fairness to the English Reader. How comes it to pass that you have never furnished him with the information you stood pledged to furnish; but have instead, volunteered in every page information, worthless in itself, which can only serve to unsettle the faith of unlettered millions, and to suggest unreasonable as well as miserable doubts to the minds of all?

For no one may for an instant imagine that the marginal statements of which we speak are a kind of equivalent for the Apparatus Criticus which is found in every principal edition of the Greek Testament—excepting always that of Drs. Westcott and Hort. So far are we from deprecating (with Daniel Whitby) the multiplication of “Various Readings,” [pg 131] that we rejoice in them exceedingly; knowing that they are the very foundation of our confidence and the secret of our strength. For this reason we consider Dr. Tischendorf's last (8th) edition to be furnished with not nearly enough of them, though he left all his predecessors (and himself in his 7th edition) far behind. Our quarrel with the Revisionists is not by any means that they have commemorated actual “alternative Readings” in their margin: but that, while they have given prominence throughout to patent Errors, they have unfairly excluded all mention of,—have not made the slightest allusion to,—hundreds of Readings which ought in fact rather to have stood in the Text.

The marginal readings, which our Revisers have been so ill-advised as to put prominently forward, and to introduce to the Reader's notice with the vague statement that they are sanctioned by “Some” (or by “Many”) “ancient authorities,”—are specimens arbitrarily selected out of an immense mass; are magisterially recommended to public attention and favour; seem to be invested with the sanction and authority of Convocation itself. And this becomes a very serious matter indeed. No hint is given which be the “ancient Authorities” so referred to:—nor what proportion they bear to the “ancient Authorities” producible on the opposite side:—nor whether they are the most “ancient Authorities” obtainable:—nor what amount of attention their testimony may reasonably claim. But in the meantime a fatal assertion is hazarded in the Preface (iii. 1.), to the effect that in cases where “it would not be safe to accept one Reading to the absolute exclusion of others,” “alternative Readings” have been given “in the margin.” So that the “Agony and bloody sweat” of the World's Redeemer (Lu. xxii. 43, 44),—and His Prayer for His murderers (xxiii. 34),—and much beside of transcendent importance and inestimable value, may, according to our Revisionists, prove to rest upon no foundation whatever. [pg 132] At all events, it would not be safe,” (i.e. it is not safe) to place absolute reliance on them. Alas, how many a deadly blow at Revealed Truth hath been in this way aimed with fatal adroitness, which no amount of orthodox learning will ever be able hereafter to heal, much less to undo! Thus,—

(a) From the first verse of S. Mark's Gospel we are informed that “Some ancient authorities omit the Son of God.” Why are we not informed that every known uncial Copy except one of bad character,—every cursive but two,—every Version,—and the following Fathers,—all contain the precious clause: viz. Irenæus,—Porphyry,—Severianus of Gabala,—Cyril Alex.,—Victor Ant.,—and others,—besides Ambrose and Augustine among the Latins:—while the supposed adverse testimony of Serapion and Titus, Basil and Victorinus, Cyril of Jer. and Epiphanius, proves to be all a mistake? To speak plainly, since the clause is above suspicion, Why are we not rather told so?

(b) In the 3rd verse of the first chapter of S. John's Gospel, we are left to take our choice between,—“without Him was not anything made that hath been made. In him was life; and the life,” &c.,—and the following absurd alternative,—“Without him was not anything made. That which hath been made was life in him; and the life,” &c. But we are not informed that this latter monstrous figment is known to have been the importation of the Gnostic heretics in the IInd century, and to be as destitute of authority as it is of sense. Why is prominence given only to the lie?

(c) At S. John iii. 13, we are informed that the last clause of that famous verse (“No man hath ascended up to heaven, but He that came down from heaven, even the Son of Man—which is in heaven), is not found in “many ancient authorities.” [pg 133] But why, in the name of common fairness, are we not also reminded that this, (as will be found more fully explained in the note overleaf,) is a circumstance of no Textual significancy whatever?

Why, above all, are we not assured that the precious clause in question (ὁ ὢν ἐν τῷ οὐρανῷ) is found in every MS. in the world, except five of bad character?—is recognized by all the Latin and all the Syriac versions; as well as by the Coptic,—Æthiopic,—Georgian,—and Armenian?440—is either quoted or insisted upon by Origen,441—Hippolytus,442—Athanasius,443—Didymus,444—Aphraates the Persian,445—Basil the Great,446—Epiphanius,447—Nonnus,—ps.-Dionysius Alex.,448—Eustathius;449—by Chrysostom,450—Theodoret,451—and Cyril,452 each 4 times;—by Paulus, Bishop of Emesa453 (in a sermon on Christmas Day, a.d. 431);—by Theodoras Mops.,454—Amphilochius,455—Severus,456—Theodorus Heracl.,457—Basilius Cil.,458—Cosmas,459—John Damascene, in 3 places,460—and 4 other ancient Greek writers;461—besides Ambrose,462—Novatian,463—Hilary,464—Lucifer,465—Victorinus,—Jerome,466—Cassian,—Vigilius,467—Zeno,468—Marius,469—Maximus Taur.,470—Capreolus,471—Augustine, &c.:—is acknowledged by Lachmann, Tregelles, Tischendorf: in short, is quite above suspicion: why are we not told that? Those 10 Versions, [pg 134] those 38 Fathers, that host of Copies in the proportion of 995 to 5,—why, concerning all these is there not so much as a hint let fall that such a mass of counter-evidence exists?472... Shame,—yes, shame on the learning which comes abroad only to perplex the weak, and to unsettle the [pg 135] doubting, and to mislead the blind! Shame,—yes, shame on that two-thirds majority of well-intentioned but most incompetent men, who,—finding themselves (in an evil hour) appointed to correct plain and clear errors in the English “Authorized Version,”—occupied themselves instead with falsifying the inspired Greek Text in countless places, and branding with suspicion some of the most precious utterances of the Spirit! Shame,—yes, shame upon them!

Why then, (it will of course be asked,) is the margin—(a) of S. Mark i. 1 and—(b) of S. John i. 3, and—(c) of S. John iii. 13, encumbered after this discreditable fashion? It is (we answer) only because the Text of Drs. Westcott and Hort is thus depraved in all three places. Those Scholars enjoy the unenviable distinction of having dared to expel from S. John iii. 13 the words ὁ ὢν ἐν τῷ οὐρανῷ, which Lachmann, Tregelles and Tischendorf were afraid to touch. Well may Dean Stanley have bestowed upon Dr. Hort the epithet of fearless!... If report speaks truly, it is by the merest accident that the clause in question still retains its place in the Revised Text.

(d) Only once more. And this time we will turn to the very end of the blessed volume. Against Rev. xiii. 18—

“Here is wisdom. He that hath understanding, let him count the number of the Beast; for it is the number of a Man: and his number is six hundred and sixty and six.”

Against this, we find noted,—“Some ancient authorities read six hundred and sixteen.”

But why is not the whole Truth told? viz. why are we not informed that only one corrupt uncial (c):—only one cursive copy (11):—only one Father (Tichonius): and not one ancient Version—advocates this reading?—which, on the contrary, [pg 136] Irenæus (a.d. 170) knew, but rejected; remarking that 666, which is “found in all the best and oldest copies and is attested by men who saw John face to face,” is unquestionably the true reading.473 Why is not the ordinary Reader further informed that the same number (666) is expressly vouched for by Origen,474—by Hippolytus,475—by Eusebius:476—as well as by Victorinus—and Primasius,—not to mention Andreas and Arethas? To come to the moderns, as a matter of fact the established reading is accepted by Lachmann, Tischendorf, Tregelles,—even by Westcott and Hort. Why therefore—for what possible reason—at the end of 1700 years and upwards, is this, which is so clearly nothing else but an ancient slip of the pen, to be forced upon the attention of 90 millions of English-speaking people?

Will Bishop Ellicott and his friends venture to tell us that it has been done because “it would not be safe to accept” 666, “to the absolute exclusion of” 616?... “We have given alternative Readings in the margin,” (say they,) “wherever they seem to be of sufficient importance or interest to deserve notice.” Will they venture to claim either “interest” or “importance” for this? or pretend that it is an “alternative Reading” at all? Has it been rescued from oblivion and paraded before universal Christendom in order to perplex, mystify, and discourage “those that have understanding,” and would fain “count the number of the Beast,” if they were able? Or was the intention only to insinuate one more wretched doubt—one more miserable suspicion—into minds which have been taught (and rightly) to place absolute reliance in the textual accuracy of all the gravest utterances of the Spirit: minds which are utterly incapable [pg 137] of dealing with the subtleties of Textual Criticism; and, from a one-sided statement like the present, will carry away none but entirely mistaken inferences, and the most unreasonable distrust?... Or, lastly, was it only because, in their opinion, the margin of every Englishman's N. T. is the fittest place for reviving the memory of obsolete blunders, and ventilating forgotten perversions of the Truth?... We really pause for an answer.

(e) But serious as this is, more serious (if possible) is the unfair Suppression systematically practised throughout the work before us. “We have given alternative Readings in the margin,”—(says Bishop Ellicott on behalf of his brother-Revisionists,)—wherever they seem to be of sufficient importance or interest to deserve notice. [iii. 1.] From which statement, readers have a right to infer that whenever “alternative Readings” are not “given in the margin,” it is because such Readings do not “seem to be of sufficient importance or interest to deserve notice.” Will the Revisionists venture to tell us that,—(to take the first instance of unfair Suppression which presents itself,)—our Lord's saying in S. Mark vi. 11 is not “of sufficient importance or interest to deserve notice”? We allude to the famous words,—“Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment, than for that city:”—words which are not only omitted from the “New English Version,” but are not suffered to leave so much as a trace of themselves in the margin. And yet, the saying in question is attested by the Peschito and the Philoxenian Syriac Versions: by the Old Latin: by the Coptic, Æthiopic and Gothic Versions:—by 11 uncials and by the whole bulk of the cursives:—by Irenæus and by Victor of Antioch. So that whether Antiquity, or Variety of Attestation is considered,—whether we look for Numbers or for Respectability,—the genuineness [pg 138] of the passage may be regarded as certain. Our complaint however is not that the Revisionists entertain a different opinion on this head from ourselves: but that they give the reader to understand that the state of the Evidence is such, that it is quite “safe to accept” the shorter reading,—“to the absolute exclusion of the other.”—So vast is the field before us, that this single specimen of what we venture to call “unfair Suppression,” must suffice. (Some will not hesitate to bestow upon it a harsher epithet.) It is in truth by far the most damaging feature of the work before us, that its Authors should have so largely and so seriously falsified the Deposit; and yet, (in clear violation of the IVth Principle or Rule laid down for their guidance at the outset,) have suffered no trace to survive in the margin of the deadly mischief which they have effected.

III. From the Text, the Revisionists pass on to the Translation; and surprise us by the avowal, that “the character of the Revision was determined for us from the outset by the first Rule,—‘to introduce as few alterations as possible, consistently with faithfulness.’ Our task was Revision, not Retranslation.” (This is naïve certainly.) They proceed,—

If the meaning was fairly expressed by the word or phrase that was before us in the Authorized Version, we made no change, even where rigid adherence to the rule of Translating, as far as possible, the same Greek word by the same English word might have prescribed some modification.—[iii. 2 init.] (The italics are our own.)

To the rule thus introduced to our notice, we shall recur by and by [pp. 152-4: also pp. 187-202]. We proceed to remark on each of the five principal Classes of alterations indicated by the Revisionists: and first,—“Alterations [pg 139] positively required by change of reading in the Greek Text” (Ibid.).

(1) Thus, in S. John xii. 7, we find Suffer her to keep it against the day of my burying;” and in the margin (as an alternative), “Let her alone: it was that she might keep it.”—Instead of “as soon as Jesus heard the word,”—we are invited to choose between not heeding,” and overhearing the word” (S. Mk. v. 36): these being intended for renderings of παρακούσας,—an expression which S. Mark certainly never employed.—“On earth, peace among men in whom he is well pleased (S. Lu. ii. 14): where the margin informs us that “many ancient authorities read, good pleasure among men.” (And why not good will,”—the rendering adopted in Phil. i. 15?) ... Take some more of the alterations which have resulted from the adoption of a corrupt Text:—“Why askest thou me concerning that which is good?” (Matth. xix. 17,—an absurd fabrication).—“He would fain have been filled with the husks,” &c.... “and I perish here with hunger!” (χορτασθῆναι, borrowed from Lu. xvi. 21: and εγΩΔΕωδε, a transparent error: S. Luke xv. 16, 17).—“When it shall fail, they may receive you into the eternal tabernacles” (xvi. 9).——Elizabeth “lifted up her voice with a loud cry (κραυγή—the private property of three bad MSS. and Origen: Lu. i. 42).—“And they stood still looking sad (xxiv. 17,—a foolish transcriptional blunder).—“The multitude went up and began to ask him,” &c. (ἀναβάς for ἀναβοήσας, Mk. xv. 8).—“But is guilty of an eternal sin (iii. 29).—“And the officers received Him with blows of their hands,”—marg. “or strokes of rods:” ΕΛΑΒΟΝ for ΕΒΑΛΟΝ (xiv. 65).—“Else, that which should fill it up taketh from it, the new from the old (ii. 21): and “No man rendeth a piece from a new garment and putteth it upon an old garment; else he will rend the new,” &c. (Lu. v. 36).—“What is this? a new teaching! (Mk. i. 27).—Jesus saith unto him, If thou canst! (Mk. ix. 23).—“Because of your little [pg 140] faith(Matth. xvii. 20).—We must work the works of Him that sent Me, while it is day” (Jo. ix. 4).—The man that is called Jesus made clay” (ver. 11).—“If ye shall ask Me anything in My name (xiv. 14).—“The Father abiding in Me doeth His works (xiv. 10).—“If ye shall ask anything of the Father, He will give it you in My name (xvi. 23).—“I glorified Thee on the earth, having accomplished the work which Thou hast given Me to do” (xvii. 4).—“Holy Father, keep them in Thy Name which Thou hast given Me ... I kept them in Thy Name which Thou hast given me” (ver. 11, 12).—“She ... saith unto Him in Hebrew, Rabboni” (xx. 16).—“These things said Isaiah, because he saw his glory” (xii. 41,—ΟΤΙ for ΟΤΕ, a common itacism).—“In tables that are hearts of flesh (ἐν πλαξὶ καρδίαις σαρκίναις, a “perfectly absurd reading,” as Scrivener remarks, p. 442: 2 Cor. iii. 3).—Now if we put the horses' bridles [and pray, why not ‘the horses' bits?] into their mouths” (ΕΙΔΕ, an ordinary itacism for ΙΔΕ, James iii. 3).—“Unto the sick were carried away from his body handkerchiefs,” &c. (Acts xix. 12).—Ye know all things once for all (Jude ver. 5).—We love because he first loved us” (1 Jo. iv. 19).—“I have found no work of thine fulfilled before my God (Rev. iii. 2).—“Seven Angels arrayed with [precious] stone (xv. 6), instead of “clothed in linen,” λίθον for λίνον. (Fancy the Angels clothed in stone! “Precious” is an interpolation of the Revisers).—Dwelling in the things which he hath seen:” for which the margin offers as an alternative, taking his stand upon (Colossians ii. 18). But ἐμβατεύων (the word here employed) clearly means neither the one nor the other. S. Paul is delivering a warning against unduly prying into the things not seen.”477 A few MSS. of bad character omit the not.” That is all!... These then are a handful of the less [pg 141] conspicuous instances of a change in the English “positively required by a change of reading in the Greek Text:” every one of them being either a pitiful blunder or else a gross fabrication.—Take only two more: “I neither know, nor understand: thou, what sayest thou? (Mk. xiv. 68 margin):—“And whither I go, ye know the way (Jo. xiv. 4).... The A. V. is better in every instance.

(2) and (3) Next, alterations made because the A. V. “appeared to be incorrect” or else “obscure.” They must needs be such as the following:—“He that is bathed needeth not save to wash his feet” (S. John xiii. 10).—Lord, if he is fallen asleep he will recover (σωθήσεται, xi. 12).—“Go ye therefore into the partings of the highways (Matth. xxii. 9).—“Being grieved at the hardening of their heart” (Mk. iii. 5).—“Light a lamp and put it on the stand (Matt. v. 15).—“Sitting at the place of toll (ix. 9).—“The supplication of a righteous man availeth much in its working (James v. 16).—“Awake up righteously (1 Cor. xv. 34).—Guarded through faith unto a salvation (1 Pet. i. 5).—“Wandering in ... the holes of the earth (Heb. xi. 38—very queer places certainly to be “wandering” in).—She that is in Babylon, elect together with you, saluteth you” (1 Pet. v. 13).—“Therefore do these powers work in Him (Matth. xiv. 2).—“In danger of the hell of fire (v. 22).—Put out into the deep” (Luke v. 4).—“The tomb that Abraham bought for a price in silver (Acts vii. 16).

With reference to every one of these places, (and they are but samples of what is to be met with in every page,) we venture to assert that they are either less intelligible, or else more inaccurate, than the expressions which they are severally intended to supersede; while, in some instances, they are both. Will any one seriously contend that the hire of wrong-doing [pg 142] is better than the wages of unrighteousness (2 Pet. ii. 15)? or, will he venture to deny that, “Come and dine“so when they had dined,”—is a hundred times better than “Come and break your fast“so when they had broken their fast (Jo. xxi. 12, 15)?—expressions which are only introduced because the Revisionists were ashamed (as well they might be) to write “breakfast” and “breakfasted.” The seven had not been fasting.” Then, why introduce so incongruous a notion here,—any more than into S. Luke xi. 37, 38, and xiv. 12?

Has the reader any appetite for more specimens of “incorrectness” remedied and “obscurity” removed? Rather, as it seems, have both been largely imported into a Translation which was singularly intelligible before. Why darken Rom. vii. 1 and xi. 2 by introducing the interrogative particle, and then, by mistranslating it Or?—Also, why translate γένος race? (“a man of Cyprus by race,” “a man of Pontus by race,” “an Alexandrian by race,” Acts iv. 36: xviii. 2, 24).—If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body,” say the Revisionists: “O death, where is thy victory? O death where is thy sting?” (Could they not let even 1 Cor. xv. 44 and 55 alone?)—Why alter “For the bread of God is He,” into “For the bread of God is that which cometh down from Heaven”? (Jo. vi. 33).—As long as I am in the world,” was surely better than When I am in the world, I am the light of the world” (ix. 5).—Is He went forth out of their hand” supposed to be an improvement upon He escaped out of their hand”? (x. 39): and is “They loved the glory of men more than the glory of GOD” an improvement upon “the praise? (xii. 43).—“Judas saith unto Him, Lord, what is come to pass that Thou wilt manifest Thyself to us”? Is that supposed to be an improvement upon xiv. 22?—How is If then an improvement on “Forasmuch then” in Acts xi. 17?—or how is this endurable in Rom. vii. 15,—“For that which I do, I [pg 143] know not: for not what I would, that do I practise:”—or this, in xvi. 25, “The mystery which hath been kept in silence through times eternal, but now is manifested,” &c.—“Thou therefore, my child,”—addressing the Bishop of Ephesus (2 Tim. ii. 1): and “Titus, my true child,”—addressing the Bishop of Crete (Tit. i. 4).

Are the following deemed improvements? “Every one that doeth sin doeth also lawlessness: and sin is lawlessness (1 Jo. iii. 4): “I will move thy candlestick out of its place” (Rev. ii. 5):—“a glassy sea” (iv. 6):—“a great voice” (v. 12):—“Verily, not of Angels doth He take hold, but He taketh hold of the seed of Abraham:”“He took hold of the blind man by the hand:”“They took hold of him and brought him unto the Areopagus” (Heb. ii. 16: S. Mk. viii. 23: Acts xvii. 19):—“wherefore God is not ashamed of them, to be called their God (Acts xi. 16):—Counted it not a prize to be on an equality with God (Phil. ii. 6).—Why are we to substitute court for “palace” in Matth. xxvi. 3 and Lu. xi. 21? (Consider Matth. xii. 29 and Mk. iii. 27).—“Women received their dead by a resurrection (Heb. xi. 35):—“If ye forgive not every one his brother from their hearts (Matth. xviii. 35):—“If because of meat thy brother is grieved, thou walkest no longer in love (Rom. xiv. 15):—“which God, who cannot lie, promised before times eternal; but in his own seasons manifested his word in the message (Tit. i. 2, 3):—“Your pleasures [and why not ‘lusts’?] that war in your members” (James iv. 1):—“Behold how much wood is kindled by how small a fire!” (iii. 5).—Are these really supposed to be less “obscure” than the passages they are intended to supersede?

(a) Not a few of the mistaken renderings of the Revisionists can only be established by an amount of illustration which is at once inconvenient to the Reviewer and unwelcome probably [pg 144] to the general Reader. Thus, we take leave to point out that,—“And coming up at that very hour” (in Lu. ii. 38),—as well as “she came up to Him” (in Lu. x. 40), are inexact renderings of the original. The verb ἐφιστάναι, which etymologically signifies “to stand upon,” or “over,” or “by,”—(but which retains its literal signification on only four out of the eighteen occasions478 when the word occurs in the Gospels and Acts,)—is found almost invariably to denote the coming suddenly upon a person. Hence, it is observed to be used five times to denote the sudden appearance of friendly visitants from the unseen world:479 and seven times, the sudden hostile approach of what is formidable.480 On the two remaining occasions, which are those before us,—(namely, the sudden coming of Anna into the Temple481 and of Martha into the presence of our Lord,482)—coming suddenly in would probably represent S. Luke's ἐπιστᾶσα exactly. And yet, one would hesitate to import the word “suddenly” into the narrative. So that coming in would after all have to stand in the text, although the attentive student of Scripture would enjoy the knowledge that something more is implied. In other words,—the Revisionists would have done better if they had left both places alone.... These are many words; yet is it impossible to explain such matters at once satisfactorily and briefly.

(b) But more painful by far it is to discover that a morbid striving after etymological accuracy,—added to a [pg 145] calamitous preference for a depraved Text,—has proved the ruin of one of the most affecting scenes in S. John's Gospel. “Simon Peter beckoneth to him, and saith unto him, Tell us who it is of whom He speaketh [a fabulous statement evidently; for Peter beckoned, because he might not speak]. “He leaning back, as he was,”—[a very bad rendering of οὕτως, by the way; and sure to recal inopportunely the rendering of ὡς ἦν in S. Mark iv. 36, instead of suggesting (as it obviously ought) the original of S. John iv. 6:]—“on Jesus' breast, saith unto Him, Lord who is it?” (S. John xiii. 24-5). Now, S. John's word concerning himself in this place is certainly ἐπιπεσών. He just sank—let his head fall—on his Master's breast, and whispered his question. For this, a few corrupt copies substitute ἀναπεσών. But ἀναπεσών never means leaning back.” It is descriptive of the posture of one reclining at a meal (S. Jo. xiii. 12). Accordingly, it is 10 times rendered by the Revisionists to sit down.” Why, in this place, and in chapter xxi. 20, a new meaning is thrust upon the word, it is for the Revisionists to explain. But they must explain the matter a vast deal better than Bp. Lightfoot has done in his interesting little work on Revision (pp. 72-3), or they will fail to persuade any,—except one another.

(c) Thus it happens that we never spend half-an-hour over the unfortunate production before us without exclaiming (with one in the Gospel), The old is better.” Changes of any sort are unwelcome in such a book as the Bible; but the discovery that changes have been made for the worse, offends greatly. To take instances at random:—'Ὁ πλεῖστος ὄχλος (in Matth. xxi. 8) is rightly rendered in our A. V. “a very great multitude.”483 Why then has it been altered by the R. V. into [pg 146] the most part of the multitude”?—Ὁ πολὺς ὄχλος (Mk. xii. 37), in like manner, is rightly rendered the common people,” and ought not to have been glossed in the margin the great multitude.”—In the R. V. of Acts x. 15, we find Make thou not common,” introduced as an improvement on, That call not thou common.” But “the old is better:” for, besides its idiomatic and helpful That,”—the old alone states the case truly. Peter did not make,” he only called,” something “common.”“All the male children,” as a translation of πάντας τοὺς παῖδας (in Matth. ii. 16) is an unauthorized statement. There is no reason for supposing that the female infants of Bethlehem were spared in the general massacre: and the Greek certainly conveys no such information.—“When he came into the house, Jesus spake first to him”—is really an incorrect rendering of Matth. xvii. 25: at least, it imports into the narrative a notion which is not found in the Greek, and does not exhibit faithfully what the Evangelist actually says. Anticipated,” in modern English,—prevented,” in ancient phraseology,—was beforehand with him in language neither new nor old,—conveys the sense of the original exactly.—In S. Lu. vi. 35, “Love your enemies, ... and lend, never despairing,” is simply a mistaken translation of ἀπελπίζοντες, as the context sufficiently proves. The old rendering is the true one.484 And so, learnedly, the Vulgate,—nihil inde sperantes. (Consider the use of ἀποβλέπειν [Heb. xi. 26]: ἀφορᾶν [Phil. ii. 23: Heb. xii. 2]: abutor, as used by Jerome for utor, &c.)—“Go with them making no distinction is not the meaning of Acts xi. 12: which, however, was correctly translated before, viz. “nothing doubting.”—The mischievous change (save in place of “but”) in Gal. ii. 16 has been ably and faithfully exposed by Bp. Ollivant. In the words of the [pg 147] learned and pious Bp. of Lincoln, “it is illogical and erroneous, and contradicts the whole drift of S. Paul's Argument in that Epistle, and in the Epistle to the Romans.”

(d) We should be dealing insincerely with our Readers were we to conceal our grave dissatisfaction at not a few of the novel expressions which the Revisionists have sought to introduce into the English New Testament. That the malefactors between whom “the Lord of glory” was crucified were not ordinary thieves is obvious; yet would it have been wiser, we think, to leave the old designation undisturbed. We shall never learn to call them robbers.”“The king sent forth a soldier of his guard is a gloss—not a translation of S. Mark vi. 27. An executioner surely is far preferable as the equivalent for σπεκουλάτωρ!485Assassins (as the rendering of σικάριοι) is an objectionable substitute for “murderers.” A word which “belongs probably to a romantic chapter in the history of the Crusades”486 has no business in the N. T.—And what did these learned men suppose they should gain by substituting the twin brothers for Castor and Pollux in Acts xxviii. 11? The Greek (Διόσκουροι) is neither the one nor the other.—In the same spirit, instead of, “they that received tribute-money (in S. Matth. xvii. 24), we are now presented with “they that received the half-shekel:” and in verse 27,—instead of “when thou hast opened his mouth, thou shalt find a piece of money,” we are favoured with “thou shalt find a shekel.” But why the change has been made, we fail to see. The margin is still obliged to explain that not one of these four words is found in the original: the Greek in the former place being τὰ δίδραχμα,—in the latter, στατήρ.—Flute-players [pg 148] (for “minstrels”) in S. Matthew ix. 23, is a mistake. An αὐλητής played the pipe (αὐλός, 1 Cor. xiv. 7),—hence “pipers” in Rev. xviii. 22; (where by the way μουσικοί [“musicians”] is perversely and less accurately rendered minstrels).—Once more. Undressed cloth” (Mk. ii. 21), because it is an expression popularly understood only in certain districts of England, and a vox artis, ought not to have been introduced into the Gospels. New is preferable.—Wine-skins (Mtt. ix. 17: Mk. ii. 22: Lu. v. 37) is a term unintelligible to the generality; as the Revisionists confess, for they explain it by a note,—“That is, skins used as bottles.” What else is this but substituting a new difficulty for an old one?—Silver,” now for the first time thrust into Acts viii. 20, is unreasonable. Like “argent” in French, ἀργύριον as much means “money,” here as in S. Matthew xxv. 18, 27, &c.—In S. James ii. 19, we should like to know what is gained by the introduction of the shuddering devils.—To take an example from a different class of words,—Who will say that “Thou mindest not the things of God is a better rendering of οὐ φρονεῖς, than the old “Thou savourest not,”—which at least had no ambiguity about it?... A friend points out that Dr. Field (a “master in Israel”) has examined 104 of the changes made in the Revised Version; and finds 8 questionable: 13 unnecessary: 19 faulty (i.e. cases in which the A. V. required amendment, but which the R. V. has not succeeded in amending): 64 changes for the worse.487... This is surely a terrible indictment for such an one as Dr. Field to bring against the Revisers,—who were directed only to correct plain and clear errors.”

(e) We really fail to understand how it has come to pass that, notwithstanding the amount of scholarship which [pg 149] sometimes sat in the Jerusalem Chamber, so many novelties are found in the present Revision which betoken a want of familiarity with the refinements of the Greek language on the one hand; and (what is even more inexcusable) only a slender acquaintance with the resources and proprieties of English speech, on the other. A fair average instance of this occurs in Acts xxi. 37, where (instead of Canst thou speak Greek?”) Ἑλληνιστὶ γινώσκεις? is rendered Dost thou know Greek?” That γινώσκειν means “to know” (and not “to speak”) is undeniable: and yet, in the account of all, except the driest and stupidest of pedagogues, Ἑλληνιστὶ γινώσκεις; must be translated “Canst thou speak Greek?” For (as every schoolboy is aware) Ἑλληνιστί is an adverb, and signifies in Greek fashion:” so that something has to be supplied: and the full expression, if it must needs be given, would be, “Dost thou know [how to talk] in Greek?” But then, this condensation of phrase proves to be the established idiom of the language:488 so that the rejection of the learned rendering of Tyndale, Cranmer, the Geneva, the Rheims, and the Translators of 1611 (Canst thou speak Greek?”)—the rejection of this, at the end of 270 years, in favour of Dost thou know Greek?” really betrays ignorance. It is worse than bad Taste. It is a stupid and deliberate blunder.

(f) The substitution of they weighed unto him (in place of they covenanted with him for) “thirty pieces of silver” (S. Matth. xxvi. 15) is another of those plausible mistakes, into which a little learning (proverbially “a dangerous thing”) is for ever conducting its unfortunate possessor; but from which it was to have been expected that the undoubted [pg 150] attainments of some who frequented the Jerusalem Chamber would have effectually preserved the Revisionists. That ἔστησαν is intended to recal Zech. xi. 12, is obvious; as well as that there it refers to the ancient practice of weighing uncoined money. It does not, however, by any means follow, that it was customary to weigh shekels in the days of the Gospel. Coined money, in fact, was never weighed, but always counted; and these were shekels, i.e. didrachms (Matth. xvii. 24). The truth (it lies on the surface) is, that there exists a happy ambiguity about the word ἔστησαν, of which the Evangelist has not been slow to avail himself. In the particular case before us, it is expressly recorded that in the first instance money did not pass,—only a bargain was made, and a certain sum promised. S. Mark's record is that the chief priests were glad at the proposal of Judas, and promised to give him money” (xiv. 11): S. Luke's, that they covenanted to do so (xxii. 5, 6). And with this, the statement of the first Evangelist is found to be in strictest agreement. The chief Priests “set” or “appointed”489 him a certain sum. The perfectly accurate rendering of S. Matth. xxvi. 15, therefore, exhibited by our Authorized Version, has been set aside to make way for a misrepresentation of the Evangelist's meaning. “In the judgment of the most competent scholars,” was “such change necessary?

(g) We respectfully think that it would have been more becoming in such a company as that which assembled in the Jerusalem Chamber, as well as more consistent with their Instructions, if in doubtful cases they had abstained from touching the Authorized Version, but had recorded their own conjectural emendations in the margin. How rash and infelicitous, [pg 151] for example, is the following rendering of the famous words in Acts xxvi. 28, 29, which we find thrust upon us without apology or explanation; without, in fact, any marginal note at all:—“And Agrippa said unto Paul, With but little persuasion thou wouldest fain make me a Christian. And Paul said, I would to God, that whether with little or with much,” &c. Now this is indefensible. For, in the first place, to get any such meaning out of the words, our Revisionists have been obliged to substitute the fabricated ποιῆσαι (the peculiar property of א a b and a few cursives) for γενέσθαι in ver. 28. Moreover, even so, the words do not yield the required sense. We venture to point out, that this is precisely one of the occasions where the opinion of a first-rate Greek Father is of paramount importance. The moderns confess themselves unable to discover a single instance of the phrase ἐν ὀλίγῳ in the sense of within a little.” Cyril of Jerusalem (a.d. 350) and Chrysostom (a.d. 400), on the contrary, evidently considered that here the expression can mean nothing else; and they were competent judges, seeing that Greek was their native language: far better judges (be it remarked in passing) on a point of this kind than the whole body of Revisionists put together. “Such an amount of victorious grace and wisdom did Paul derive from the Holy Spirit (says Cyril), “that even King Agrippa at last exclaimed,”490 &c. From which it is evident that Cyril regarded Agrippa's words as an avowal that he was well-nigh overcome by the Apostle's argument. And so Chrysostom,491 who says plainly that ἐν ὀλίγῳ means “within a little,”492 and assumes that “within a little” S. Paul had [pg 152] persuaded his judge.493 He even puts παρ᾽ ὀλίγον into Agrippa's mouth.494 So also, in effect, Theodoret.495 From all which it is reasonable, in the absence of any evidence to the contrary, to infer that our A. V. reflects faithfully what was the Church's traditionary interpretation of Acts xxvi. 28 in the first half of the fourth century. Let it only be added that a better judge of such matters than any who frequented the Jerusalem Chamber—the late President of Magdalen, Dr. Routh,—writes: Vertendum esse sequentia suadent, Me fere Christianum fieri suades. Interp. Vulgata habet, In modico suades me Christianum fieri.496 Yes, the Apostle's rejoinder fixes the meaning of what Agrippa had said before.—And this shall suffice. We pass on, only repeating our devout wish that what the Revisionists failed to understand, or were unable materially and certainly to improve, they would have been so obliging as to let alone. In the present instance the A. V. is probably right; the R. V., probably wrong. No one, at all events, can pretend that the rendering with which we are all familiar is a plain and clear error.” And confessedly, unless it was, it should have been left unmolested. But to proceed.

(4) and (5) There can be no question as to the absolute duty of rendering identical expressions in strictly parallel places of the Gospels by strictly identical language. So far we are wholly at one with the Revisionists. But “alterations [supposed to be] rendered necessary by consequence (Preface, iii. 2.), are quite a different matter: and we venture to think that it is precisely in their pursuit of a mechanical uniformity of rendering, that our Revisionists have most often as well as most grievously lost their way. We differ from them in fact in limine. “When a particular word” (say they) “is found to [pg 153] recur with characteristic frequency in any one of the Sacred Writers, it is obviously desirable to adopt for it some uniform rendering” (iii. 2). “Desirable”! Yes, but in what sense? It is much to be desired, no doubt, that the English language always contained the exact counterparts of Greek words: and of course, if it did, it would be in the highest degree “desirable” that a Translator should always employ those words and no other. But then it happens unfortunately that precisely equivalent words do not exist. Τέκνον, nine times out of ten signifies nothing else but child.” On the tenth occasion, however, (e.g. where Abraham is addressing the rich man in Hades,) it would be absurd so to render it. We translate Son.” We are in fact without choice.—Take another ordinary Greek term, σπλάγχνα, which occurs 11 times in the N. T., and which the A. V. uniformly renders “bowels.” Well, and “bowels” confessedly σπλάγχνα are. Yet have our Revisionists felt themselves under the “necessity” of rendering the word heart,” in Col. iii. 12,—very heart,” in Philemon, ver. 12,—“affections” in 2 Cor. vi. 12,—inward affection,” in vii. 15,—tender mercies in Phil. i. 8,—compassion in 1 Jo. iii. 17,—bowels only in Acts i. 18.—These learned men, however, put forward in illustration of their own principle of translation, the word εὐθέως,—which occurs about 80 times in the N. T.: nearly half the instances being found in S. Mark's Gospel. We accept their challenge; and assert that it is tasteless barbarism to seek to impose upon εὐθέως,—no matter what the context in which it stands,—the sense of straightway,”—only because εὐθύς, the adjective, generally (not always) means “straight.” Where a miracle of healing is described (as in S. Matth. viii. 3: xx. 34. S. Lu. v. 13), since the benefit was no doubt instantaneous, it is surely the mere instinct of “faithfulness” to translate εὐθέως immediately.” So, in respect of the sudden act which saved Peter from sinking (S. Matth. xiv. 31); and that punctual cock-crow [pg 154] (xxvi. 74), which (S. Luke says) did not so much follow, as accompany his denial (xxii. 60). But surely not so, when the growth of a seed is the thing spoken of (Matth. xiii. 5)! Acts again, which must needs have occupied some little time in the doing, reasonably suggest some such rendering as forthwith or straightway,”—(e.g. S. Matth. xiv. 22: xxi. 2: and S. John vi. 21): while, in 3 John ver. 14, the meaning (as the Revisionists confess) can only be shortly.”... So plain a matter really ought not to require so many words. We repeat, that the Revisionists set out with a mistaken Principle. They clearly do not understand their Trade.

They invite our attention to their rendering of certain of the Greek Tenses, and of the definite Article. We regret to discover that, in both respects, their work is disfigured throughout by changes which convict a majority of their body alike of an imperfect acquaintance with the genius of the Greek language, and of scarcely a moderate appreciation of the idiomatic proprieties of their own. Such a charge must of necessity, when it has been substantiated, press heavily upon such a work as the present; for it is not as when a solitary error has been detected, which may be rectified. A vicious system of rendering Tenses, and representing the Greek Article, is sure to crop up in every part of the undertaking, and must occasionally be attended by consequences of a serious nature.

1. Now, that we may not be misunderstood, we admit at once that, in teaching boys how to turn Greek into English, we insist that every tense shall be marked by its own appropriate sign. There is no telling how helpful it will prove in the end, that every word shall at first have been rendered with painful accuracy. Let the Article be [mis-]represented—the Prepositions caricatured—the Particles magnified,—let [pg 155] the very order of the words at first, (however impossible,) be religiously retained. Merciless accuracy having been in this way acquired, a youth has to be untaught these servile habits. He has to be reminded of the requirements of the English idiom, and speedily becomes aware that the idiomatic rendering of a Greek author into English, is a higher achievement by far, than his former slavish endeavour always to render the same word and tense in the same slavish way.

2. But what supremely annoys us in the work just now under review is, that the schoolboy method of translation already noticed is therein exhibited in constant operation throughout. It becomes oppressive. We are never permitted to believe that we are in the company of Scholars who are altogether masters of their own language. Their solicitude ever seems to be twofold:—(1) To exhibit a singular indifference to the proprieties of English speech, while they maintain a servile adherence (etymological or idiomatic, as the case may be) to the Greek:—(2) Right or wrong, to part company from William Tyndale and the giants who gave us our “Authorized Version.”

Take a few illustrations of what precedes from the second chapter of S. Matthew's Gospel:—

(1.) Thus, in ver. 2, the correct English rendering we have seen is made to give place to the incorrect we saw his star in the east.”—In ver. 9, the idiomatic when they had heard the king, they departed,” is rejected for the unidiomatic “And they, having heard the king, went their way.”—In ver. 15, we are treated to “that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying, Out of Egypt did I call my son.” And yet who sees not, that in both instances the old rendering is better? Important [pg 156] as it may be, in the lecture-room, to insist on what is implied by τὸ ῥηθὲν ὙΠῸ τοῦ κυρίου ΔΙᾺ τοῦ προφήτου, it is simply preposterous to come abroad with such refinements. It is to stultify oneself and to render one's author unintelligible. Moreover, the attempt to be so wondrous literal is safe to break down at the end of a few verses. Thus, if διά is through in verse 15,—why not in verse 17 and in verse 23?

(2.) Note how infelicitously, in S. Matth. ii. 1, “there came wise men from the east” is changed into wise men from the east came.”—In ver. 4, the accurate, “And when [Herod] had gathered together” (συναγαγών) &c., is displaced for the inaccurate, “And gathering together &c.—In ver. 6, we are presented with the unintelligible, “And thou Bethlehem, land of Judah:” while in ver. 7, “Then Herod privily called the wise men, and learned of them carefully,” is improperly put in the place of “Then Herod, when he had privily called the wise men, enquired of them diligently” (ἠκρίβωσε παρ᾽ αὐτῶν).—In ver. 11, the familiar “And when they were come into the house, they saw” &c., is needlessly changed into “They came into the house, and saw:” while “and when they had opened (ἀνοίξαντες) their treasures,” is also needlessly altered into “and opening their treasures.”—In ver. 12, the R. V. is careful to print of God in italics, where italics are not necessary: seeing that χρηματισθέντες implies “being warned of God (as the translators of 1611 were well aware497): whereas in countless other places the same Revisionists reject the use of italics where italics are absolutely required.—Their “until I tell thee (in ver. 13) is a most unworthy substitute for “until I bring thee word.”—And will they pretend that they have improved the rendering of the [pg 157] concluding words of the chapter? If Ναζωραῖος κληθήσεται does not mean “He shall be called a Nazarene,” what in the world does it mean? The ὅτι of quotation they elsewhere omit. Then why, here,—That it might be fulfilled ... that?—Surely, every one of these is an alteration made for alteration's sake, and in every instance for the worse.

We began by surveying the Greek of the first chapter of S. Matthew's Gospel. We have now surveyed the English of the second chapter. What does the Reader think of the result?

IV. Next, the Revisionists invite attention to certain points of detail: and first, to their rendering of the Tenses of the Verb. They begin with the Greek Aorist,—(in their account) “perhaps the most important” detail of all:—

We have not attempted to violate the idiom of our language by forms of expression which it would not bear. But we have often ventured to represent the Greek aorist by the English preterite, even when the reader may find some passing difficulty in such a rendering, because we have felt convinced that the true meaning of the original was obscured by the presence of the familiar auxiliary. A remarkable illustration may be found in the seventeenth chapter of S. John's Gospel.Preface, iii. 2,—(latter part).

(a) We turn to the place indicated, and are constrained to assure these well-intentioned men, that the phenomenon we there witness is absolutely fatal to their pretensions as Revisers of our Authorized Version. Were it only “some passing difficulty” which their method occasions us, we might have hoped that time would enable us to overcome it. But since it is the genius of the English language to which we find they have offered violence; the fixed and universally-understood idiom of our native tongue which they have systematically set at defiance; the matter is absolutely without remedy. The difference between the A. V. and the R. V. seems to ourselves to be simply this,—that [pg 158] the renderings in the former are the idiomatic English representations of certain well-understood Greek tenses: while the proposed substitutes are nothing else but the pedantic efforts of mere grammarians to reproduce in another language idioms which it abhors. But the Reader shall judge for himself: for this at least is a point on which every educated Englishman is fully competent to pass sentence.

When our Divine Lord, at the close of His Ministry,—(He had in fact reached the very last night of His earthly life, and it wanted but a few hours of His Passion,)—when He, at such a moment, addressing the Eternal Father, says, ἐγώ σε ἐδόξασα ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς; τὸ ἔργον ἐτελείωσα ... ἐφανέρωσά σου τὸ ὄνομα τοῖς ἀνθρώποις, &c. [Jo. xvii. 4, 6], there can be no doubt whatever that, had He pronounced those words in English, He would have said (with our A. V.) “I have glorified Thee on the earth: I have finished the work:” “I have manifested Thy Name.” The pedantry which (on the plea that the Evangelist employs the aorist, not the perfect tense,) would twist all this into the indefinite past,—“I glorified” ... “I finished” ... “I manifested,”—we pronounce altogether insufferable. We absolutely refuse it a hearing. Presently (in ver. 14) He says,—“I have given them Thy word; and the world hath hated them.” And in ver. 25,—“O righteous Father, the world hath not known Thee; but I have known Thee, and these have known that Thou hast sent Me.” Who would consent to substitute for these expressions,—“the world hated them:” and “the world knew Thee not, but I knew Thee; and these knew that Thou didst send Me”?—Or turn to another Gospel. Which is better,—“Some one hath touched Me: for I perceive that virtue is gone out of Me,” (S. Lu. viii. 46):—or,—“Some one did touch Me: for I perceived that power had gone forth from Me”?

[pg 159]

When the reference is to an act so extremely recent, who is not aware that the second of these renderings is abhorrent to the genius of the English language? As for ἔγνων, it is (like novi in Latin) present in sense though past in form,—here as in S. Lu. xvi. 3.—But turn to yet another Gospel. Which is better in S. Matth. xvi. 7:—we took no bread,” or “It is because we have taken no bread”?—Again. When Simon Peter (in reply to the command that he should thrust out into deep water and let down his net for a draught,) is heard to exclaim,—“Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing: nevertheless at Thy word I will let down the net” (Lu. v. 5),—who would tolerate the proposal to put in the place of it,—“Master, we toiled all night, and took nothing: but at Thy word,” &c. It is not too much to declare that the idiom of the English language refuses peremptorily to submit to such handling. Quite in vain is it to encounter us with reminder that κοπιάσαντες and ἐλάβομεν are aorists. The answer is,—We know it: but we deny that it follows that the words are to be rendered “we toiled all night, and took nothing.” There are laws of English Idiom as well as laws of Greek Grammar: and when these clash in what is meant to be a translation into English out of Greek, the latter must perforce give way to the former,—or we make ourselves ridiculous, and misrepresent what we propose to translate.

All this is so undeniable that it ought not to require to be insisted upon. But in fact our Revisionists by their occasional practice show that they fully admit the Principle we are contending for. Thus, ἧραν (in S. Jo. xx. 2 and 13) is by them translated they have taken:”—ἱνατί με ἐγκατέλιπες; (S. Matt. xxvii. 46) “Why hast Thou forsaken Me?”498:—ἔδειξα [pg 160] (S. Jo. x. 32) have I showed:”—ἀπέστειλε (vi. 29) He hath sent:”—ἠτιμάσατε (James ii. 6) ye have dishonoured:”—ἐκαθάρισε (Acts x. 15) hath cleansed:”—ἔστησεν (xvii. 31) “He hath appointed.” But indeed instances abound everywhere. In fact, the requirements of the case are often observed to force them to be idiomatic. Τί ἐποίησας; (in Jo. xviii. 35), they rightly render “What hast thou done?”:—and ἔγραψα (in 1 Jo. ii. 14, 21), “I have written;”—and ἤκουσα (in Acts ix. 13), “I have heard.”—On the other hand, by translating οὐκ εἴασεν (in Acts xxviii. 4), hath not suffered,” they may be thought to have overshot the mark. They seem to have overlooked the fact that, when once S. Paul had been bitten by the viper, “the barbarians” looked upon him as a dead man; and therefore discoursed about what Justice did not suffer,” as about an entirely past transaction.

But now, Who sees not that the admission, once and again deliberately made, that sometimes it is not only lawful, but even necessary, to accommodate the Greek aorist (when translated into English) with the sign of the perfect,—reduces the whole matter (of the signs of the tenses) to a mere question of Taste? In view of such instances as the foregoing, where severe logical necessity has compelled the Revisionists to abandon their position and fly, it is plain that their contention is at an end,—so far as right and wrong are concerned. They virtually admit that they have been all along unjustly forcing on an independent language an alien yoke.499 Henceforth, it simply becomes a question to be repeated, as every fresh emergency arises,—Which then is the more idiomatic of these two English renderings?... Conversely, twice at least (Heb. xi. 17 and 28), the Revisionists [pg 161] have represented the Greek perfect by the English indefinite preterite.

(b) Besides this offensive pedantry in respect of the Aorist, we are often annoyed by an unidiomatic rendering of the Imperfect. True enough it is that “the servants and the officers were standing ... and were warming themselves:” Peter also was standing with them and was warming himself” (S. Jo. xviii. 18). But we do not so express ourselves in English, unless we are about to add something which shall account for our particularity and precision. Any one, for example, desirous of stating what had been for years his daily practice, would say—I left my house.” Only when he wanted to explain that, on leaving it for the 1000th time, he met a friend coming up the steps to pay him a visit, would an Englishman think of saying, I was leaving the house.” A Greek writer, on the other hand, would not trust this to the imperfect. He would use the present participle in the dative case, (To me, leaving my house,”500 &c.). One is astonished to have to explain such things.... “If therefore thou art offering thy gift at the altar” (Matt. v. 23), may seem to some a clever translation. To ourselves, it reads like a senseless exaggeration of the original.501 It sounds (and is) as unnatural as to say (in S. Lu. ii. 33) “And His father [a depravation of the text] and His mother were marvelling at the things which were spoken concerning Him:”—or (in Heb. xi. 17) “yea, he that had received the promises was offering up his only-begotten son:”—or, of the cripple at Lystra (Acts xiv. 9), “the same heard Paul speaking.”

(c) On the other hand, there are occasions confessedly when the Greek Aorist absolutely demands to be rendered [pg 162] into English by the sign of the Pluperfect. An instance meets us while we write: ὡς δὲ ἐπαύσατο λαλῶν (S. Lu. v. 4),—where our Revisionists are found to retain the idiomatic rendering of our Authorized Version,—“When He had left speaking.” Of what possible avail could it be, on such an occasion, to insist that, because ἐπαύσατο is not in the pluperfect tense, it may not be accommodated with the sign of the pluperfect when it is being translated into English?—The R. V. has shown less consideration in S. Jo. xviii. 24,—where “Now Annas had sent Him bound unto Caiaphas the high priest,” is right, and wanted no revision.—Such places as Matth. xxvii. 60, Jo. xxi. 15, Acts xii. 17, and Heb. iv. 8, on the other hand, simply defy the Revisionists. For perforce Joseph had hewn out” (ἐλατόμησε) the new tomb which became our Lord's: and the seven Apostles, confessedly, had dined (ἠρίστησαν): and S. Peter, of course, “declared unto them how the Lord had brought him out of the prison” (ἐξήγαγεν): and it is impossible to substitute anything for “If Jesus [Joshua] had given them rest” (κατέπαυσεν).—Then of course there are occasions, (not a few,) where the Aorist (often an indefinite present in Greek) claims to be Englished by the sign of the present tense: as where S. John says (Rev. xix. 6), “The Lord God Omnipotent reigneth” (ἐβασίλευσε). There is no striving against such instances. They insist on being rendered according to the genius of the language into which it is proposed to render them:—as when ἔκειτο (in S. Jo. xx. 12) exacts for its rendering had lain.”

(d) It shall only be pointed out here in addition, for the student's benefit, that there is one highly interesting place (viz. S. Matth. xxviii. 2), which in every age has misled Critics and Divines (as Origen and Eusebius); Poets (as Rogers); Painters (as West);—yes, and will continue to mislead readers for many a year to come:—and all because men [pg 163] have failed to perceive that the aorist is used there for the pluperfect. Translate,—“There had been a great earthquake:” [and so (1611-1881) our margin,—until in short “the Revisionists” interfered:] “for the Angel of the Lord had descended from heaven, and come and rolled away (ἀπεκύλισε) the stone from the door, and sat upon it.” Strange, that for 1800 years Commentators should have failed to perceive that the Evangelist is describing what terrified the keepers.” The women saw no Angel sitting upon the stone!—though Origen,502—Dionysius of Alexandria,503—Eusebius,504—ps.-Gregory Naz.,505—Cyril Alex.,506—Hesychius,507—and so many others—have taken it for granted that they did.

(e) Then further, (to dismiss the subject and pass on,)—There are occasions where the Greek perfect exacts the sign of the present at the hands of the English translator: as when Martha says,—“Yea Lord, I believe that Thou art the Christ (S. Jo. xi. 27).508 What else but the veriest pedantry is it to thrust in there I have believed,” as the English equivalent for πεπίστευκα?—Just as intolerable is the officiousness which would thrust into the Lord's prayer (Matt. vi. 12), “as we also have forgiven (ἀφήκαμεν) our debtors.”509—On the other hand, there are Greek presents (whatever the Revisionists may think) which are just as peremptory in requiring the sign of the future, at the hands of the idiomatic translator into English. Three such cases are found in S. Jo. xvi. 16, 17, 19. Surely, the future is inherent in the present ἔρχομαι! In Jo. xiv. 18 (and many similar places), who can endure, “I will not leave you desolate: I come unto you?

[pg 164]

(f) But instances abound. How does it happen that the inaccurate rendering of ἐκκόπτεται—ἐκβάλλεται—has been retained in S. Matth. iii. 10, S. Lu. iii. 9?

V. Next, concerning the definite Article; in the case of which, (say the Revisionists,)

many changes have been made. We have been careful to observe the use of the Article wherever it seemed to be idiomatically possible: where it did not seem to be possible, we have yielded to necessity.—(Preface, iii. 2,—ad fin.)

In reply, instead of offering counter-statements of our own we content ourselves with submitting a few specimens to the Reader's judgment; and invite him to decide between the Reviewer and the Reviewed ... The sower went forth to sow” (Matth. xiii. 3).—“It is greater than the herbs” (ver. 32).—“Let him be to thee as the Gentile and the publican” (xviii. 17).—“The unclean spirit, when he is gone out of the man” (xii. 43).—“Did I not choose you the twelve?” (Jo. vi. 70).—“If I then, the Lord and the master” (xiii. 14).—“For the joy that a man is born into the world” (xvi. 21).—“But as touching Apollos the brother” (1 Cor. xvi. 12).—The Bishop must be blameless ... able to exhort in the sound doctrine” (Titus i. 7, 9).—The lust when it hath conceived, beareth sin: and the sin, when it is full grown” &c. (James i. 15).—“Doth the fountain send forth from the same opening sweet water and bitter?” (iii. 11).—“Speak thou the things which befit the sound doctrine” (Titus ii. 1).—“The time will come when they will not endure the sound doctrine” (2 Tim. iv. 3).—“We had the fathers of our flesh to chasten us” (Heb. xii. 9).—“Follow after peace with all men, and the sanctification” (ver. 14).—“Who is the liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ?” (1 Jo. ii. 22).—“Not with the water only, but with the water and with the blood” (v. 6).—“He that hath the Son, hath the life: he that hath not the Son of God hath not the life” (ver. 12).

[pg 165]

To rejoin, as if it were a sufficient answer, that the definite Article is found in all these places in the original Greek,—is preposterous. In French also we say “Telle est la vie:” but, in translating from the French, we do not therefore say “Such is the life.” May we, without offence, suggest the study of Middleton On the Doctrine of the Greek Article to those members of the Revisionists' body who have favoured us with the foregoing crop of mistaken renderings?

So, in respect of the indefinite article, we are presented with,—An eternal” (for the everlasting”) “gospel to proclaim” (Rev. xiv. 6):—and “one like unto a son of man,” for “one like unto the Son of Man” in ver. 14.—Why a Saviour in Phil. iii. 20? There is but one! (Acts iv. 12).—On the other hand, Κρανίον is rendered The skull” in S. Lu. xxiii. 33. It is hard to see why.—These instances taken at random must suffice. They might be multiplied to any extent. If the Reader considers that the idiomatic use of the English Article is understood by the authors of these specimen cases, we shall be surprised, and sorry—for him.

VI. The Revisionists announce that they “have been particularly careful” as to the Pronouns [iii. 2 ad fin.] We recal with regret that this is also a particular wherein we have been specially annoyed and offended. Annoyed—at their practice of repeating the nominative (e.g. in Mk. i. 13: Jo. xx. 12) to an extent unknown, abhorrent even, to our language, except indeed when a fresh substantive statement is made: offended—at their license of translation, when it suits them to be licentious.—Thus, (as the Bp. of S. Andrews has well pointed out,) it is He that is an incorrect translation of αὐτός in S. Matth. i. 21,—a famous passage. Even worse, because it is unfair, is He who as the rendering of ὅς in 1 Tim. iii. 16,—another famous passage, which we have discussed elsewhere.510

[pg 166]

VII. 'In the case of the Particles' (say the Revisionists),

we have been able to maintain a reasonable amount of consistency. The Particles in the Greek Testament are, as is well known, comparatively few, and they are commonly used with precision. It has therefore been the more necessary here to preserve a general uniformity of rendering.—(iii. 2 ad fin.)

Such an announcement, we submit, is calculated to occasion nothing so much as uneasiness and astonishment. Of all the parts of speech, the Greek Particles,—(especially throughout the period when the Language was in its decadence,)—are the least capable of being drilled into “a general uniformity of rendering;” and he who tries the experiment ought to be the first to be aware of the fact. The refinement and delicacy which they impart to a narrative or a sentiment, are not to be told. But then, from the very nature of the case, uniformity of rendering is precisely the thing they will not submit to. They take their colour from their context: often mean two quite different things in the course of two successive verses: sometimes are best rendered by a long and formidable word;511 sometimes cannot (without a certain amount of impropriety or inconvenience) be rendered at all.512 Let us illustrate what we have been saying by actual appeals to Scripture.

(1) And first, we will derive our proofs from the use which the sacred Writers make of the particle of most [pg 167] frequent recurrence—δέ. It is said to be employed in the N. T. 3115 times. As for its meaning, we have the unimpeachable authority of the Revisionists themselves for saying that it may be represented by any of the following words:—“but,”“and,”513“yea,”514“what,”515“now,”516“and that”,517“howbeit,”518“even,”519“therefore,”520“I say,”521“also,”522“yet,”523“for.”524 To which 12 renderings, King James's translators (mostly following Tyndale) are observed to add at least these other 12:—“wherefore,”525“so,”526“moreover,”527“yea and,”528“furthermore,”529“nevertheless,”530“notwithstanding,”531“yet but,”532“truly,”533“or,”534“as for,”535“then,”536“and yet.”537 It shall suffice to add that, by the pitiful substitution of “but” or “and” on most of the foregoing occasions, the freshness and freedom of almost every passage has been made to disappear: the plain fact being that the men of 1611—above all, that William Tyndale 77 years before them—produced a work of real genius; seizing with generous warmth the meaning and intention of the sacred Writers, and perpetually varying the phrase, as they felt, or fancied that Evangelists and Apostles would have varied it, had they had to express themselves in English: whereas the men of 1881 have fulfilled their task in what can only be described as a spirit of servile pedantry. The Grammarian (pure and simple) crops up everywhere. We seem never to rise above the atmosphere of the lecture-room,—the startling fact that μέν means “indeed,” and δέ “but.”

[pg 168]

We subjoin a single specimen of the countless changes introduced in the rendering of Particles, and then hasten on. In 1 Cor. xii. 20, for three centuries and a half, Englishmen have been contented to read (with William Tyndale), “But now are they many members, yet but one body.” Our Revisionists, (overcome by the knowledge that δέ means “but,” and yielding to the supposed “necessity for preserving a general uniformity of rendering,”) substitute,—But now they are many members, but one body.” Comment ought to be superfluous. We neither overlook the fact that δέ occurs here twice, nor deny that it is fairly represented by “but” in the first instance. We assert nevertheless that, on the second occasion, yet but ought to have been let alone. And this is a fair sample of the changes which have been effected many times in every page. To proceed however.

(2) The interrogative particle ἤ occurs at the beginning of a sentence at least 8 or 10 times in the N. T.; first, in S. Matth. vii. 9. It is often scarcely translateable,—being apparently invested with with no more emphasis than belongs to our colloquial interrogative Eh? But sometimes it would evidently bear to be represented by “Pray,”538—being at least equivalent to φέρε in Greek or age in Latin. Once only (viz. in 1 Cor. xiv. 36) does this interrogative particle so eloquently plead for recognition in the text, that both our A. V. and the R. V. have rendered it “What?”—by which word, by the way, it might very fairly have been represented in S. Matth. xxvi. 53 and Rom. vi. 3: vii. 1. In five of the places where the particle occurs. King James's Translators are observed to have give it up in despair.539 But what is to be thought of the adventurous dulness which (with the single exception already indicated) has invariably rendered ἤ by [pg 169] the conjunction or? The blunder is the more inexcusable, because the intrusion of such an irrelevant conjunction into places where it is without either use or meaning cannot have failed to attract the notice of every member of the Revising body.

(3) At the risk of being wearisome, we must add a few words.—Καί, though no particle but a conjunction, may for our present purpose be reasonably spoken of under the same head; being diversely rendered “and,”“and yet,”540“then,”541“or,”542“neither,”543“though,”544“so,”545“but,”546“for,”547“that,”548—in conformity with what may be called the genius of the English language. The last six of these renderings, however, our Revisionists disallow; everywhere thrusting out the word which the argument seems rather to require, and with mechanical precision thrusting into its place every time the (perfectly safe, but often palpably inappropriate) word, “and.” With what amount of benefit this has been effected, one or two samples will sufficiently illustrate:—

(a) The Revisionists inform us that when “the high priest Ananias commanded them that stood by him to smite him on the mouth,”—S. Paul exclaimed, God shall smite thee, thou whited wall: and sittest thou to judge me after the law, and commandest me to be smitten contrary to the law?”549... Do these learned men really imagine that they have improved upon the A. V. by their officiousness in altering for into and?

(b) The same Apostle, having ended his argument to the Hebrews, remarks,—So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief” (Heb. iii. 19): for which, our Revisionists [pg 170] again substitute “And.” Begin the sentence with and,” (instead of “So,”) and, in compensation for what you have clearly lost, what have you gained?... Once more:—

(c) Consider what S. Paul writes concerning Apollos (in 1 Cor. xvi. 12), and then say what possible advantage is obtained by writing and (instead of but) “his will was not at all to come at this time”.... Yet once more; and on this occasion, scholarship is to some extent involved:—

(d) When S. James (i. 11) says ἀνέτειλε γὰρ ὁ ἥλιος ... καὶ ἐξήρανε τὸν χόρτον,—who knows not that what his language strictly means in idiomatic English, is,—No sooner does the sun arise,” than it withereth the grass”? And so in effect our Translators of 1611. What possible improvement on this can it be to substitute, “For the sun ariseth ... and withereth the grass”?—Only once more:—

(e) Though καί undeniably means “and,” and πῶς, “how,”who knows not that καὶ πῶς means How then? And yet, (as if a stupid little boy had been at work,) in two places,—(namely, in S. Mark iv. 13 and S. Luke xx. 44,)—and how is found mercilessly thrust in, to the great detriment of the discourse; while in other two,—(namely, in S. John xiv. 5 and 9,)—the text itself has been mercilessly deprived of its characteristic καί by the Revisionists.—Let this suffice. One might fill many quires of paper with such instances of tasteless, senseless, vexatious, and most unscholarlike innovation.

VIII. “Many changes” (we are informed) “have been introduced in the rendering of the Prepositions.” [Preface, iii. 2, ad fin.]:—and we are speedily reminded of the truth of the statement, for (as was shown above [pp. 155-6]) the second chapter of S. Matthew's Gospel exhibits the Revisionists “all a-field” in respect of διά. “We have rarely made any change” (they add) “where the true meaning of the original would be apparent to a Reader of ordinary intelligence.” It [pg 171] would of course ill become such an one as the present Reviewer to lay claim to the foregoing flattering designation: but really, when he now for the first time reads (in Acts ix. 25) that the disciples of Damascus let S. Paul down through the wall,” he must be pardoned for regretting the absence of a marginal reference to the history of Pyramus and Thisbe in order to suggest how the operation was effected: for, as it stands, the R. V. is to him simply unintelligible. Inasmuch as the basket (σπυρίς) in which the Apostle effected his escape was of considerable size, do but think what an extravagantly large hole it must have been to enable them both to get through!... But let us look further.

Was it then in order to bring Scripture within the captus of “a Reader of ordinary intelligence” that the Revisers have introduced no less than thirty changes into eight-and-thirty words of S. Peter's 2nd Epistle? Particular attention is invited to the following interesting specimen of Revision.” It is the only one we shall offer of the many contrasts we had marked for insertion. We venture also to enquire, whether the Revisers will consent to abide by it as a specimen of their skill in dealing with the Preposition ἐν?

A. V.R. V.
“And beside all this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; and to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; and to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.”—[2 Pet. i. 5-7.] “Yea (1), and for (2) this very (3) cause (4) adding (5) on (6) your part (7) all diligence, in (8) your faith supply (9) virtue; and in (10) your (11) virtue knowledge; and in (12) your (13) knowledge temperance; and in (14) your (15) temperance patience; and in (16) your (17) patience godliness; and in (18) your (19) godliness love (20) of (21) the (22) brethren (23); and in (24) your (25) love (26) of (27) the (28) brethren (29) love (30).”
[pg 172]

The foregoing strikes us as a singular illustration of the Revisionists' statement (Preface, iii. 2),—“We made no change if the meaning was fairly expressed by the word or phrase that was before us in the Authorized Version.” To ourselves it appears that every one of those 30 changes is a change for the worse; and that one of the most exquisite passages in the N. T. has been hopelessly spoiled,—rendered in fact well-nigh unintelligible,—by the pedantic officiousness of the Revisers. Were they—(if the question be allowable)—bent on removing none but plain and clear errors,” when they substituted those 30 words? Was it in token of their stern resolve “to introduce into the Text as few alterations as possible,” that they spared the eight words which remain out of the eight-and-thirty?

As for their wooden rendering of ἐν, it ought to suffice to refer them to S. Mk. i. 23, S. Lu. xiv. 31, to prove that sometimes ἐν can only be rendered with:—and to S. Luke vii. 17, to show them that ἐν sometimes means throughout:—and to Col. i. 16, and Heb. i. 1, 2, in proof that sometimes it means by.”—On the other hand, their suggestion that ἐν may be rendered by in S. Luke i. 51, convicts them of not being aware that “the proud-in-the-imagination-of-their-hearts” is a phrase—in which perforce by has no business whatever. One is surprised to have to teach professed Critics and Scholars an elementary fact like this.

In brief, these learned men are respectfully assured that there is not one of the “Parts of Speech” which will consent to be handled after the inhumane fashion which seems to be to themselves congenial. Whatever they may think of the matter, it is nothing else but absurd to speak of an Angel “casting his sickle into the earth (Rev. xiv. 19).—As for his “pouring out his bowl upon the air (xvi. 17),—we really fail to understand the nature of the operation.—And pray, [pg 173] What is supposed to be the meaning of “the things upon the heavens—in Ephesians i. 10?

Returning to the preposition διά followed by the genitive,—(in respect of which the Revisionists challenge Criticism by complaining in their Preface [iii. 3 ad fin.] that in the A. V. “ideas of instrumentality or of mediate agency, distinctly marked in the original, have been confused or obscured in the Translation,”)—we have to point out:—

(1st) That these distinguished individuals seem not to be aware that the proprieties of English speech forbid the use of through (as a substitute for by) in certain expressions where instrumentality is concerned. Thus, “the Son of man” was not betrayed through Judas, but by him (Matt. xxvi. 24: Luke xxii. 22).—Still less is it allowable to say that a prophecy was “spoken,” nay written,” through the Prophet” (Matth. i. 22 and margin of ii. 5). “Who spake by the Prophets,” is even an article of the Faith.

And (2ndly),—That these scholars have in consequence adopted a see-saw method of rendering διά,—sometimes in one way, sometimes in the other. First, they give us “wonders and signs done by the Apostles” (Acts ii. 43; but in the margin, “Or, through): presently, “a notable miracle hath been wrought through them” (iv. 16: and this time, the margin withholds the alternative, “Or, by). Is then “the true meaning” of by,” in the former place, “apparent to a Reader of ordinary intelligence”? but so obscure in the latter as to render necessary the alteration to through? Or (sit venia verbo),—Was it a mere “toss-up” with the Revisionists what is the proper rendering of διά?

(3rdly), In an earlier place (ii. 22), we read of “miracles, wonders, and signs” which God did by Jesus of Nazareth. Was it reverence, which, on that occasion, forbad the use of [pg 174] through—even in the margin? We hope so: but the preposition is still the same—διά not ὑπό.

Lastly (4thly),—The doctrine that Creation is the work of the Divine Word, all Scripture attests. “All things were made by Him” (S. Jo. i. 3):—“the world was made by Him” (ver. 10).—Why then, in Col. i. 16, where the same statement is repeated,—(“all things were created by Him and for Him,”)—do we find through substituted for by? And why is the same offence repeated in 1 Cor. vii. 6,—(where we ought to read,—“one God, the Father, of whom are all things ... and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things”)?—Why, especially, in Heb. i. 2, in place of by whom also [viz. by the Son] He made the worlds,” do we find substituted through whom”?... And why add to this glaring inconsistency the wretched vacillation of giving us the choice of through (in place of by) in the margin of S. John i. 3 and 10, and not even offering us the alternative of by (in place of through) in any of the other places,—although the preposition is διά on every occasion?

And thus much for the Revisers' handling of the Prepositions. We shall have said all that we can find room for, when we have further directed attention to the uncritical and unscholarlike Note with which they have disfigured the margin of S. Mark i. 9. We are there informed that, according to the Greek, our Saviour “was baptized into the Jordan,”—an unintelligible statement to English readers, as well as a misleading one. Especially on their guard should the Revisers have been hereabouts,—seeing that, in a place of vital importance on the opposite side of the open page (viz. in S. Matth. xxviii. 19), they had already substituted into for in.” This latter alteration, one of the Revisers (Dr. Vance Smith) rejoices over, because it obliterates (in his account) the evidence for Trinitarian doctrine. That the [pg 175] Revisionists, as a body, intended nothing less,—who can doubt? But then, if they really deemed it necessary to append a note to S. Mark i. 9 in order to explain to the public that the preposition εἰς signifies into rather than in,”—why did they not at least go on to record the elementary fact that εἰς has here (what grammarians call) a “pregnant signification”? that it implies—(every schoolboy knows it!)—and that it is used in order to imply—that the Holy One went down into,” and so, was baptized in the Jordan?550... But why, in the name of common sense, did not the Revisionists let the Preposition alone?

IX. The Margin of the Revision is the last point to which our attention is invited, and in the following terms:—

The subject of the Marginal Notes deserves special attention. They represent the results of a large amount of careful and elaborate discussion, and will, perhaps, by their very presence, indicate to some extent the intricacy of many of the questions that have almost daily come before us for decision. These Notes fall into four main groups:—First, Notes specifying such differences of reading as were judged to be of sufficient importance to require a particular notice;—Secondly, Notes indicating the exact rendering of words to which, for the sake of English idiom, we were obliged to give a less exact rendering in the text;—Thirdly, Notes, very few in number, affording some explanation which the original appeared to require;—Fourthly, Alternative Renderings in difficult or debateable passages. The Notes of this last group are numerous, and largely in excess of those which were admitted by our predecessors. In the 270 years that have passed away since their labours were concluded, the Sacred Text has been minutely examined, discussed in every detail, and analysed with a grammatical precision unknown in the days of the last Revision. There has thus been accumulated [pg 176] a large amount of materials that have prepared the way for different renderings, which necessarily came under discussion.—(Preface, iii. 4.)

When a body of distinguished Scholars bespeak attention to a certain part of their work in such terms as these, it is painful for a Critic to be obliged to declare that he has surveyed this department of their undertaking with even less satisfaction than any other. So long, however, as he assigns the grounds of his dissatisfaction, the Reviewed cannot complain. The Reviewer puts himself into their power. If he is mistaken in his censure, his credit is gone. Let us take the groups in order:—

(1) Having already stated our objections against the many Notes which specify Textual errors which the Revisionists declined to adopt,—we shall here furnish only two instances of the mischief we deplore:—

(a) Against the words, “And while they abode in Galilee” (S. Matthew xvii. 22), we find it stated,—“Some ancient authorities read were gathering themselves together.” The plain English of which queer piece of information is that א and b exhibit in this place an impossible and untranslatable Reading,—the substitution of which for ἀναστρεφομένων δὲ ἀυτῶν can only have proceeded from some Western critic, who was sufficiently unacquainted with the Greek language to suppose that ΣΥΝ-στρεφομένων δὲ αὐτῶν, might possibly be the exact equivalent for Con-versantibus autem illis. This is not the place for discussing a kind of hallucination which prevailed largely in the earliest age, especially in regions where Greek was habitually read through Latin spectacles. (Thus it was, obviously, that the preposterous substitution of Euraquilo for “Euroclydon,” in Acts xxvii. 14, took its rise.) Such blunders would be laughable if encountered anywhere except on holy ground. Apart, however, from the lamentable lack [pg 177] of critical judgment which a marginal note like the present displays, what is to be thought of the scholarship which elicits While they were gathering themselves together out of συστρεφομένων δὲ αὐτῶν? Are we to suppose that the clue to the Revisers' rendering is to be found in (συστρέψαντος) Acts xxviii. 3? We should be sorry to think it. They are assured that the source of the Textual blunder which they mistranslate is to be found, instead, in Baruch iii. 38.551

(b) For what conceivable reason is the world now informed that, instead of Melita,—“some ancient authorities read Melitene,” in Acts xxviii. 1? Is every pitiful blunder of cod. b to live on in the margin of every Englishman's copy of the New Testament, for ever? Why, all other MSS.—the Syriac and the Latin versions,—Pamphilus of Cæsarea552 (a.d. 294), the friend of Eusebius,—Cyril of Jerusalem,553—Chrysostom,554—John Damascene,555—all the Fathers in short who quote the place;—the coins, the ancient geographers;—all read Μελίτη; which has also been acquiesced in by every critical Editor of the N. T.—(excepting always Drs. Westcott and Hort), from the invention of Printing till now. But because these two misguided men, without apology, explanation, note or comment of any kind, have adopted Melitene into their text, is the Church of England to be dragged through the mire also, and made ridiculous in the eyes of Christendom? This blunder moreover is “gross as a mountain, open, palpable.” One glance at the place, written in uncials, explains how it arose:—ΜελιτηΗΝΗσοσκαλειται. Some stupid scribe (as the reader sees) has connected the first syllable of νῆσος with the last syllable of Μελίτη.556 That [pg 178] is all! The blunder—(for a blunder it most certainly is)—belongs to the age and country in which Melitene was by far the more familiar word, being the name of the metropolitan see of Armenia;557 mention of which crops up in the Concilia repeatedly.558

(2) and (4) The second and the fourth group may be considered together. The former comprises those words of which the less exact rendering finds place in the Text:—the latter, Alternative renderings in difficult and debateable passages.”

We presume that here our attention is specially invited to such notes as the following. Against 1 Cor. xv. 34,—Awake out of drunkenness righteously:—against S. John i. 14,—an only begotten from a father:—against 1 Pet. iii. 20,—into which few, that is, eight souls, were brought safely through water:—against 2 Pet. iii. 7,—stored with fire:—against S. John xviii. 37,—Thou sayest it, because I am a king:—against Ephes. iii. 21,—All the generations of the age of the ages:—against Jude ver. 14,—His holy myriads:—against Heb. xii. 18,—a palpable and kindled fire:—against Lu. xv. 31,—Child, thou art ever with me”:—against Matth. xxi. 28,—Child, go work to-day in my vineyard”:—against xxiv. 3,—“What shall be the sign of Thy presence, and of the consummation of the age?”—against Tit. i. 2,—before times eternal: against Mk. iv. 29,—“When the fruit alloweth [and why not yieldeth itself’?], straightway he sendeth forth the sickle”:—against Ephes. iv. 17,—through every joint of the supply:—against ver. 29,—the building up of the need:—against Lu. ii. 29,—Master, now lettest thou Thy bondservant depart in peace”:—against Acts iv. 24,—“O Master, thou that didst make the heaven and the earth”:—against [pg 179] Lu. i. 78,—“Because of the heart of mercy of our God.” Concerning all such renderings we will but say, that although they are unquestionably better in the Margin than in the Text; it also admits no manner of doubt that they would have been best of all in neither. Were the Revisionists serious when they suggested as the more “exact” rendering of 2 Pet. i. 20,—“No prophecy of Scripture is of special interpretation”? And what did they mean (1 Pet. ii. 2) by the spiritual milk which is without guile?

Not a few marginal glosses might have been dispensed with. Thus, against διδάσκαλος, upwards of 50 times stands the Annotation, “Or, teacher.”—Ἄρτος, (another word of perpetual recurrence,) is every time explained to mean a loaf.” But is this reasonable? seeing that φαγεῖν ἄρτον (Luke xiv. 1) can mean nothing else but “to eat bread: not to mention the petition for daily bread in the Lord's prayer. These learned men, however, do not spare us even when mention is made of “taking the children's bread and casting it to the dogs” (Mk. vii. 27): while in the enquiry,—“If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father” (Lu. xi. 11), loaf is actually thrust into the text.—We cannot understand why such marked favour has been shown to similar easy words. Δοῦλος, occurring upwards of 100 times in the New Testament, is invariably honoured (sometimes [as in Jo. xv. 15] twice in the course of the same verse) with 2 lines to itself, to explain that in Greek it is bondservant.”—About 60 times, δαιμόνιον is explained in the margin to be demon in the Greek.—It has been deemed necessary 15 times to devote three lines to explain the value of “a penny.”—Whenever τέκνον is rendered Son,” we are molested with a marginal annotation, to the effect that the Greek word means child.” Had the Revisionists been consistent, the margins would not nearly have sufficed for the many interesting details of this [pg 180] nature with which their knowledge of Greek would have furnished them.

May we be allowed to suggest, that it would have been better worth while to explain to the unlearned that ἀρχαι in S. Peter's vision (Acts x. 11; xi. 5) in strictness means not “corners,” but beginnings [cf. Gen. ii. 10]:—that τὴν πρώτην (in Lu. xv. 22) is literally the first [cf. Gen. iii. 7] (not “the best”) “robe”:—that ἀληθινός (e.g. in Lu. xvi. 11: Jo. i. 9: vi. 32; and especially in xv. 1 and Heb. viii. 2 and ix. 24) means very or real,” rather than “true”?—And when two different words are employed in Greek (as in S. Jo. xxi. 15, 16, 17:—S. Mk. vii. 33, 35, &c. &c.), would it not have been as well to try to represent them in English? For want of such assistance, no unlearned reader of S. Matth. iv. 18, 20, 21: S. Mk. i. 16, 18, 19: S. Lu. v. 2,—will ever be able to understand the precise circumstances under which the first four Apostles left their nets.”

(3) The third group consists of Explanatory Notes required by the obscurity of the original. Such must be the annotation against S. Luke i. 15 (explanatory of “strong drink”),—“Gr. sikera.” And yet, the word (σίκερα) happens to be not Greek, but Hebrew.—On the other hand, such must be the annotation against μωρέ, in S. Matth. v. 22:—“Or, Moreh, a Hebrew expression of condemnation;” which statement is incorrect. The word proves to be not Hebrew, but Greek.—And this, against “Maran atha” in 1 Cor. xvi. 22,—“That is, Our Lord cometh:” which also proves to be a mistake. The phrase means Our Lord is come,”—which represents a widely different notion.559—Surely a room-full of learned men, volunteering to put the N. T. to-rights, ought to have made more [pg 181] sure of their elementary facts before they ventured to compromise the Church of England after this fashion!—Against the husks which the swine did eat” (Lu. xv. 16), we find, “Gr. the pods of the carob tree,”—which is really not true. The Greek word is κεράτια,—which only signifies “the pods of the carob tree,” as “French beans” signifies “the pods of the Phaseolus vulgaris.”—By the way, it is quite certain that μύλος ὀνικός [in Matth. xviii. 6 and Lu. xvii. 2 (not Mk. xi. 42)] signifies a mill-stone turned by an ass? Hilary certainly thought so: but is that thing at all likely? What if it should appear that μύλος ὀνικός merely denotes the upper mill-stone (λίθος μυλικός, as S. Mark calls it,—the stone that grinds), and which we know was called ὄνος by the ancients?560—Why is “the brook Cedron” (Jo. xviii. 1) first spelt “Kidron,” and then explained to mean ravine of the cedars? which Kidron no more means that Kishon means of the ivies,”—(though the Septuagintal usage [Judges iv. 13: Ps. lxxxiii. 9] shows that τῶν κισσῶν was in its common Hellenistic designation). As for calling the Kidron a ravine,” you might as well call “Mercury” in “Tom quad” a lake.” “Infelictious” is the mildest epithet we can bestow upon marginal annotations crude, questionable,—even inaccurate as these.

Then further, “Simon, the son of Jona (in S. John i. 42 and xxi. 15), is for the first time introduced to our notice by the Revisionists as “the son of John:” with an officious marginal annotation that in Greek the name is written Ioanes.” But is it fair in the Revisers (we modestly ask) to thrust in this way the bêtises of their favourite codex b upon us? In no codex in the world except the Vatican codex b, is “Ioannes” spelt Ioanes in this place. Besides, the name of Simon Peter's father was not “John” at all, but Jona,”—as appears from S. Matth. xvi. 17, and the present [pg 182] two places in S. John's Gospel; where the evidence against “Ioannes” is overwhelming. This is in fact the handy-work of Dr. Hort. But surely the office of marginal notes ought to be to assist, not to mislead plain readers: honestly, to state facts,—not, by a side-wind, to commit the Church of England to a new (and absurd) Textual theory! The actual Truth, we insist, should be stated in the margin, whenever unnecessary information is gratuitously thrust upon unlearned and unsuspicious readers.... Thus, we avow that we are offended at reading (against S. John i. 18)—“Many very ancient authorities read God only begotten ”: whereas the “authorities” alluded to read μονογενὴς Θεός,—(whether with or without the article [ὁ] prefixed,)—which (as the Revisionists are perfectly well aware) means the only-begotten God,” and no other thing. Why then did they not say so? Because (we answer)—they were ashamed of the expression. But to proceed.—The information is volunteered (against Matth. xxvi. 36 and Mk. xiv. 32) that χωρίον means an enclosed piece of ground,”—which is not true. The statement seems to have proceeded from the individual who translated ἄμφοδον (in Mk. xi. 4) the open street:” whereas the word merely denotes the “highway,”—literally the thoroughfare.”

A very little real familiarity with the Septuagint would have secured these Revisers against the perpetual exposure which they make of themselves in their marginal Notes.—(a) Πάσας τὰς ἡμέρας, for instance, is quite an ordinary expression for “always,” and therefore should not be exhibited (in the margin of S. Matth. xxviii. 20) as a curiosity,—“Gr. all the days.”—So (b) with respect to the word αἰών, which seems to have greatly exercised the Revisionists. What need, every time it occurs, to explain that εἰς τοὺς αἰῶνας τῶν αἰώνων means literally unto the ages of the ages? Surely (as in Ps. xlv. 6, quoted Heb. i. 8,) the established rendering [pg 183] (“for ever and ever”) is plain enough and needs no gloss!—Again, (c) the numeral εἰς, representing the Hebrew substitute for the indefinite article, prevails throughout the Septuagint. Examples of its use occur in the N. T. in S. Matth. viii. 19 and ix. 18;-xxvi. 69 (μία παιδίσκη), Mk. xii. 42: and in Rev. viii. 13: ix. 13: xviii. 21 and xix. 17;—where one scribe,” one ruler,” one widow,” one eagle,” one voice,” one angel,” are really nothing else but mistranslations. True, that εἶς is found in the original Greek: but what then? Because une means one,” will it be pretended that Tu es une bête would be properly rendered Thou art one beast?

(d) Far more serious is the substitution of “having a great priest over the house of God (Heb. x. 21), for “having an high priest:” inasmuch as this obscures “the pointed reference to our Lord as the antitype of the Jewish high priest,”—who (except in Lev. iv. 3) is designated, not ἀρχιερεύς, but either ὁ ἱερεὺς ὁ μέγας, or else ὁ ἱερεύς only,—as in Acts v. 24561.... And (e) why are we presented with “For no word from God shall be void of power (in S. Luke i. 37)? Seeing that the Greek of that place has been fashioned on the Septuagintal rendering of Gen. xviii. 14 (Is anything too hard for the Lord?562), we venture to think that the A. V. (for with God nothing shall be impossible563) ought to have been let alone. It cannot be mended. One is surprised to discover that among so many respectable Divines there seems not to have been one sufficiently familiar with the Septuagint to preserve his brethren from perpetually falling into such mistakes as the foregoing. We really had no idea that the Hellenistic [pg 184] scholarship of those who represented the Church and the Sects in the Jerusalem Chamber, was so inconsiderable.

Two or three of the foregoing examples refer to matters of a recondite nature. Not so the majority of the Annotations which belong to this third group; which we have examined with real astonishment—and in fact have remarked upon already. Shall we be thought hard to please if we avow that we rather desiderate “Explanatory Notes” on matters which really do call for explanation? as, to be reminded of what kind was the “net” (ἀμφίβληστρον) mentioned in Matth. iv. 18 (not 20), and Mk. i. 16 (not 18):—to see it explained (against Matth. ii. 23) that netser (the root of “Nazareth”) denotes “Branch:”—and against Matth. iii. 5; Lu. iii. 3, that ἡ περίχωρος τοῦ Ἰορδάνου, signifies “the depressed valley of the Jordan,” as the usage of the LXX. proves.564 We should have been glad to see, against S. Lu. ix. 31,—“Gr. Exodus.”—At least in the margin, we might have been told that Olivet is the true rendering of Lu. xix. 29 and xxi. 37: (or were the Revisionists not aware of the fact? They are respectfully referred to the Bp. of Lincoln's note on the place last quoted.)—Nay, why not tell us (against Matth. i. 21) that Jesus means [not Saviour,” but] Jehovah is Salvation?

But above all, surely so many learned men ought to have spared us the absurd Annotation set against ointment of spikenard (νάρδου πιστικῆς,) in S. Mark xiv. 3 and in S. John xii. 3. Their marginal Note is as follows:—

Gr. pistic nard, pistic being perhaps a local name. Others take it to mean genuine; others liquid.

Can Scholars require to be told that liquid is an impossible [pg 185] sense of πιστική in this place? The epithet so interpreted must be derived (like πιστός [Prom. V. v. 489]) from πίνω, and would mean drinkable: but since ointment cannot be drunk, it is certain that we must seek the etymology of the word elsewhere. And why should the weak ancient conjecture be retained that it is “perhaps a local name”? Do Divines require to have it explained to them that the one “locality” which effectually fixes the word's meaning, is its place in the everlasting Gospel?... Be silent on such lofty matters if you will, by all means; but “who are these that darken counsel by words without knowledge?” S. Mark and S. John (whose narratives by the way never touch exclusively except in this place565) are observed here to employ an ordinary word with lofty spiritual purpose. The pure faith (πίστις) in which that offering of the ointment was made, determines the choice of an unusual epithet (πιστικός) which shall signify “faithful” rather than “genuine,”—shall suggest a moral rather than a commercial quality: just as, presently, Mary's “breaking” the box (συντρίψασα) is designated by a word which has reference to a broken heart.566 She contrited it, S. Mark says; and S. John adds a statement which implies that the Church has been rendered fragrant by her act for ever.567 (We trust to be forgiven for having said a little more than the occasion absolutely requires.)

(5) Under which of the four previous “groups” certain Annotations which disfigure the margin of the first chapter of [pg 186] S. Matthew's Gospel, should fall,—we know not. Let them be briefly considered by themselves.

So dull of comprehension are we, that we fail to see on what principle it is stated that—“Ram,” “Asa,” “Amon,” “Shealtiel,” are in Greek (“Gr.”) Aram,” Asaph,” Amos,” Salathiel.” For (1),—Surely it was just as needful (or just as needless) to explain that “Perez,” “Zarah,” “Hezron,” “Nahson,” are in Greek Phares,” Zara,” Esrom,” Naasson.”—But (2), Through what “necessity” are the names, which we have been hitherto contented to read as the Evangelist wrote them, now exhibited on the first page of the Gospel in any other way?568—(3) Assuming, however, the O. T. spelling is to be adopted, then let us have it explained to us why “Jeconiah” in ver. 11 is not written “Jehoiakim”? (As for “Jeconiah” in ver. 12,—it was for the Revisionists to settle whether they would call him “Jehoiachin,” “Jeconiah,” or “Coniah.” [By the way,—Is it lawful to suppose that they did not know that “Jechonias” here represents two different persons?])—On the other hand, (4) Amos probably,—Asaph certainly,—are corrupt exhibitions of “Amon” and “Asa:” and, if noticed at all, should have been introduced to the reader's notice with the customary formula, “some ancient authorities,” &c.—To proceed—(5), Why substitute “Immanuel” (for “Emmanuel”) in ver. 23,—only to have to state in the margin that S. Matthew writes it Emmanuel? By strict parity of reasoning, against “Naphtali” (in ch. iv. 13, 15), the Revisionists ought to have written “Gr. Nephthaleim.”—And (6), If this is to be the rule, then why are we not told that [pg 187] “Mary is in ‘Gr. Mariam ”? and why is not Zacharias written Zachariah?... But (to conclude),—What is the object of all this officiousness? and (its unavoidable adjunct) all this inconsistency? Has the spelling of the 42 names been revolutionized, in order to sever with the Past and to make “a fresh departure”? Or were the four marginal notes added only for the sake of obtaining, by a side-wind, the (apparent) sanction of the Church to the preposterous notion that “Asa” was written Asaph by the Evangelist—in conformity with six MSS. of bad character, but in defiance of History, documentary Evidence, and internal Probability? Canon Cook [pp. 23-24] has some important remarks on this.

X. We must needs advert again to the ominous admission made in the Revisionists' Preface (iii. 2 init.), that to some extent they recognized the duty of a rigid adherence to the rule of translating, as far as possible, the same Greek word by the same English word.” This mistaken principle of theirs lies at the root of so much of the mischief which has befallen the Authorized Version, that it calls for fuller consideration at our hands than it has hitherto (viz. at pp. 138 and 152) received.

The “Translators” of 1611, towards the close of their long and quaint Address “to the Reader,” offer the following statement concerning what had been their own practice:—“We have not tied ourselves (say they) to an uniformity of phrasing, or to an identity of words, as some peradventure would wish that we had done.” On this, they presently enlarge. We have been “especially careful,” have even “made a conscience,” “not to vary from the sense of that which we had translated before, if the word signified the same thing in both places.” But then, (as they shrewdly point out in passing,) there be some words that be not of the [pg 188] same sense everywhere.” And had this been the sum of their avowal, no one with a spark of Taste, or with the least appreciation of what constitutes real Scholarship, would have been found to differ from them. Nay, even when they go on to explain that they have not thought it desirable to insist on invariably expressing “the same notion” by employing “the same particular word;”—(which they illustrate by instancing terms which, in their account, may with advantage be diversely rendered in different places;)—we are still disposed to avow ourselves of their mind. “If” (say they,) “we translate the Hebrew or Greek word once purpose, never to call it intent; if one where journeying, never travelling; if one where think, never suppose; if one where pain, never ache; if one where joy, never gladness;—thus to mince the matter, we thought to savour more of curiosity than of wisdom.” And yet it is plain that a different principle is here indicated from that which went before. The remark “that niceness in words was always counted the next step to trifling,” suggests that, in the Translators' opinion, it matters little which word, in the several pairs of words they instance, is employed; and that, for their own parts, they rather rejoice in the ease and freedom which an ample vocabulary supplies to a Translator of Holy Scripture. Here also however, as already hinted, we are disposed to go along with them. Rhythm, subtle associations of thought, proprieties of diction which are rather to be felt than analysed,—any of such causes may reasonably determine a Translator to reject “purpose,” “journey,” “think,” “pain,” “joy,”—in favour of “intent,” “travel,” “suppose,” “ache,” “gladness.”

But then it speedily becomes evident that, at the bottom of all this, there existed in the minds of the Revisionists of 1611 a profound (shall we not rather say a prophetic?) consciousness, that the fate of the English [pg 189] Language itself was bound up with the fate of their Translation. Hence their reluctance to incur the responsibility of tying themselves “to an uniformity of phrasing, or to an identity of words.” We should be liable to censure (such is their plain avowal), “if we should say, as it were, unto certain words, Stand up higher, have a place in the Bible always; and to others of like quality, Get you hence, be banished for ever.” But this, to say the least, is to introduce a distinct and a somewhat novel consideration. We would not be thought to deny that there is some—perhaps a great deal—of truth in it: but by this time we seem to have entirely shifted our ground. And we more than suspect that, if a jury of English scholars of the highest mark could be impanelled to declare their mind on the subject thus submitted to their judgment, there would be practical unanimity among them in declaring, that these learned men,—with whom all would avow hearty sympathy, and whose taste and skill all would eagerly acknowledge,—have occasionally pushed the license they enunciate so vigorously, a little—perhaps a great deal—too far. For ourselves, we are glad to be able to subscribe cordially to the sentiment on this head expressed by the author of the Preface of 1881:

They seem—(he says, speaking of the Revisionists of 1611)—to have been guided by the feeling that their Version would secure for the words they used a lasting place in the language; and they express a fear lest they should be charged (by scoffers) with some unequal dealing towards a great number of good English words, which, without this liberty on their part, would not have a place in the pages of the English Bible. Still it cannot be doubted that their studied avoidance of uniformity in the rendering of the same words, even when occurring in the same context, is one of the blemishes in their work.Preface, (i. 2).

Yes, it cannot be doubted. When S. Paul, in a long and familiar passage (2 Cor. i. 3-7), is observed studiously to [pg 190] linger over the same word (παράκλησις namely, which is generally rendered comfort);—to harp upon it;—to reproduce it ten times in the course of those five verses;—it seems unreasonable that a Translator, as if in defiance of the Apostle, should on four occasions (viz. when the word comes back for the 6th, 7th, 9th, and 10th times), for comfort substitute consolation.” And this one example may serve as well as a hundred. It would really seem as if the Revisionists of 1611 had considered it a graceful achievement to vary the English phrase even on occasions where a marked identity of expression characterizes the original Greek. When we find them turning “goodly apparel,” (in S. James ii. 2,) into “gay clothing,” (in ver. 3,)—we can but conjecture that they conceived themselves at liberty to act exactly as S. James himself would (possibly) have acted had he been writing English.

But if the learned men who gave us our A. V. may be thought to have erred on the side of excess, there can be no doubt whatever, (at least among competent judges,) that our Revisionists have sinned far more grievously and with greater injury to the Deposit, by their slavish proclivity to the opposite form of error. We must needs speak out plainly: for the question before us is not, What defects are discoverable in our Authorized Version?—but, What amount of gain would be likely to accrue to the Church if the present Revision were accepted as a substitute? And we assert without hesitation, that the amount of certain loss would so largely outweigh the amount of possible gain, that the proposal may not be seriously entertained for a moment. As well on grounds of Scholarship and Taste, as of Textual Criticism (as explained at large in our former Article), the work before us is immensely inferior. To speak plainly, it is an utter failure.

[pg 191]

XI. For the respected Authors of it practically deny the truth of the principle enunciated by their predecessors of 1611, viz. that there be some words that be not of the same sense everywhere.” On such a fundamental truism we are ashamed to enlarge: but it becomes necessary that we should do so. We proceed to illustrate, by two familiar instances,—the first which come to hand,—the mischievous result which is inevitable to an enforced uniformity of rendering.

(a) The verb αἰτεῖν confessedly means “to ask.” And perhaps no better general English equivalent could be suggested for it. But then, in a certain context, “ask” would be an inadequate rendering: in another, it would be improper: in a third, it would be simply intolerable. Of all this, the great Scholars of 1611 showed themselves profoundly conscious. Accordingly, when this same verb (in the middle voice) is employed to describe how the clamorous rabble, besieging Pilate, claimed their accustomed privilege, (viz. to have the prisoner of their choice released unto them,) those ancient men, with a fine instinct, retain Tyndale's rendering desired569 in S. Mark (xv. 8),—and his required in S. Luke (xxiii. 23).—When, however, the humble entreaty, which Joseph of Arimathea addressed to the same Pilate (viz. that he might be allowed to take away the Body of Jesus), is in question, then the same Scholars (following Tyndale and Cranmer), with the same propriety exhibit begged.”—King David, inasmuch as he only desired to find a habitation for the God of Jacob,” of course may not be said to have asked to do so; and yet S. Stephen (Acts vii. 46) does not hesitate to employ the verb ᾐτήσατο.—So again, when they of Tyre and Sidon approached Herod whom they had offended: they [pg 192] did but desire peace.570—S. Paul, in like manner, addressing the Ephesians: “I desire that ye faint not at my tribulations for you.”571

But our Revisionists,—possessed with the single idea that αἰτεῖν means “to ask and αἰτεῖσθαι “to ask for,”—have proceeded mechanically to inflict that rendering on every one of the foregoing passages. In defiance of propriety,—of reason,—even (in David's case) of historical truth,572—they have thrust in asked everywhere. At last, however, they are encountered by two places which absolutely refuse to submit to such iron bondage. The terror-stricken jailer of Philippi, when he “asked” for lights, must needs have done so after a truly imperious fashion. Accordingly, the called for573 of Tyndale and all subsequent translators, is pro hâc vice allowed by our Revisionists to stand. And to conclude,—When S. Paul, speaking of his supplications on behalf of the Christians at Colosse, uses this same verb (αἰτούμενοι) in a context where to ask would be intolerable, our Revisionists render the word to make request;”574—though they might just as well have let alone the rendering of all their predecessors,—viz. to desire.”

These are many words, but we know not how to make them fewer. Let this one example, (only because it is the first which presented itself,) stand for a thousand others. Apart from the grievous lack of Taste (not to say of Scholarship) which such a method betrays,—who sees not that the only excuse which could have been invented for it has [pg 193] disappeared by the time we reach the end of our investigation? If αἰτέω, αἰτοῦμαι had been invariably translated “ask,” “ask for,” it might at least have been pretended that “the English Reader is in this way put entirely on a level with the Greek Scholar;”—though it would have been a vain pretence, as all must admit who understand the power of language. Once make it apparent that just in a single place, perhaps in two, the Translator found himself forced to break through his rigid uniformity of rendering,—and what remains but an uneasy suspicion that then there must have been a strain put on the Evangelists' meaning in a vast proportion of the other seventy places where αἰτεῖν occurs? An unlearned reader's confidence in his guide vanishes; and he finds that he has had not a few deflections from the Authorized Version thrust upon him, of which he reasonably questions alike the taste and the necessity,—e.g. at S. Matth. xx. 20.

(b) But take a more interesting example. In S. Mark i. 18, the A. V. has, “and straightway they forsook (which the Revisionists alter into left) “their nets.” Why? Because in verse 20, the same word ἀφέντες will recur; and because the Revisionists propose to let the statement (“they left their father Zebedee”) stand. They “level up” accordingly; and plume themselves on their consistency.

We venture to point out, however, that the verb ἀφιέναι is one of a large family of verbs which,—always retaining their own essential signification,—yet depend for their English rendering entirely on the context in which they occur. Thus, ἀφιέναι is rightly rendered to suffer,” in S. Matth. iii. 15;—to leave,” in iv. 11;—to let have,” in v. 40;—to forgive,” in vi. 12, 14, 15;—to let,” in vii. 4;—to yield up,” in xxvii. 50;—to let go,” in S. Mark xi. 6;—to let alone,” in xiv. 6. Here then, by the admission of the Revisionists, [pg 194] are eight diversities of meaning in the same word. But they make the admission grudgingly; and, in order to render ἀφιέναι as often as possible leave,” they do violence to many a place of Scripture where some other word would have been more appropriate. Thus laying aside might have stood in S. Mark vii. 8. Suffered (or “let”) was preferable in S. Luke xii. 39. And, (to return to the place from which we started,) in S. Mark i. 18, “forsook” was better than “left.” And why? Because men leave their father,” (as the Collect for S. James's Day bears witness); but forsake all covetous desires” (as the Collect for S. Matthew's Day aptly attests). For which reason,—“And they all forsook Him” was infinitely preferable to “and they all left Him, and fled,” in S. Mark xiv. 50. We insist that a vast deal more is lost by this perpetual disregard of the idiomatic proprieties of the English language, than is gained by a pedantic striving after uniformity of rendering, only because the Greek word happens to be the same.

For it is sure sometimes to happen that what seems mere licentiousness proves on closer inspection to be unobtrusive Scholarship of the best kind. An illustration presents itself in connection with the word just now before us. It is found to have been our Saviour's practice to send away the multitude whom He had been feeding or teaching, in some formal manner,—whether with an act of solemn benediction, or words of commendatory prayer, or both. Accordingly, on the memorable occasion when, at the close of a long day of superhuman exertion, His bodily powers succumbed, and the Disciples were fain to take Him “as He was” in the ship, and at once He “fell asleep;”—on that solitary occasion, the Disciples are related to have sent away the multitudes,”i.e. to have formally dismissed them on His behalf, as they had often seen their Master do. The [pg 195] word employed to designate this practice on two memorable occasions is ἀπολύειν:575 on the other two, ἀφιέναι.576 This proves to have been perfectly well understood as well by the learned authors of the Latin Version of the N. T., as by the scholars who translated the Gospels into the vernacular of Palestine. It has been reserved for the boasted learning of the XIXth century to misunderstand this little circumstance entirely. The R. V. renders S. Matth. xiii. 36,—not “Then Jesus sent the multitude away (dimissis turbis in every Latin copy,) but—“Then He left the multitudes.” Also S. Mark iv. 36,—not “And when they had sent away the multitude,” (which the Latin always renders et dimittentes turbam,”) but—“And leaving the multitude.” Would it be altogether creditable, we respectfully ask, if at the end of 1800 years the Church of England were to put forth with authority such specimens of “Revision” as these?

(c) We will trouble our Readers with yet another illustration of the principle for which we are contending.—We are soon made conscious that there has been a fidgetty anxiety on the part of the Revisionists, everywhere to substitute maid for damsel as the rendering of παιδίσκη. It offends us. “A damsel named Rhoda,”577—and the “damsel possessed with a spirit of divination,”578—might (we think) have been let alone. But out of curiosity we look further, to see what these gentlemen will do when they come to S. Luke xii. 45. Here, because παῖδας has been (properly) rendered “menservants,” παιδίσκας, they (not unreasonably) render maid-servants,”—whereby they break their rule. The crucial [pg 196] place is behind. What will they do with the Divine “Allegory” in Galatians, (iv. 21 to 31,)—where all turns on the contrast579 between the παιδίσκη and the ἐλευθέρα,—the fact that Hagar was a bondmaid whereas Sarah was a free woman? “Maid” clearly could not stand here. “Maid-servant” would be intolerable. What is to be done? The Revisionists adopt a third variety of reading,—thus surrendering their principle entirely. And what reader with a spark of taste, (we confidently ask the question,) does not resent their substitution of handmaid for “bondmaid” throughout these verses? Who will deny that the mention of bondage in verses 24 and 25 claims, at the hands of an intelligent English translator, that he shall avail himself of the admirable and helpful equivalent for παιδίσκη which, as it happens, the English language possesses? More than that. Who—(except one who is himself “in bondage—with his children”)—who does not respond gratefully to the exquisite taste and tact with which bondmaid itself has been exchanged for bondwoman by our translators of 1611, in verses 23, 30 and 31?... Verily, those men understood their craft! “There were giants in those days.” As little would they submit to be bound by the new cords of the Philistines as by their green withes. Upon occasion, they could shake themselves free from either. And why? For the selfsame reason: viz. because the Spirit of their God was mightily upon them.

Our contention, so far, has been but this,—that it does not by any means follow that identical Greek words and expressions, wherever occurring, are to be rendered by identical words and expressions in English. We desire to pass on to something of more importance.

[pg 197]

Let it not be supposed that we make light of the difficulties which our Revisionists have had to encounter; or are wanting in generous appreciation of the conscientious toil of many men for many years; or that we overlook the perils of the enterprise in which they have seen fit to adventure their reputation. If ever a severe expression escapes us, it is because our Revisionists themselves seem to have so very imperfectly realized the responsibility of their undertaking, and the peculiar difficulties by which it is unavoidably beset. The truth is,—as all who have given real thought to the subject must be aware,—the phenomena of Language are among the most subtle and delicate imaginable: the problem of Translation, one of the most manysided and difficult that can be named. And if this holds universally, in how much greater a degree when the book to be translated is the Bible! Here, anything like a mechanical levelling up of terms, every attempt to impose a pre-arranged system of uniform rendering on words,—every one of which has a history and (so to speak) a will of its own,—is inevitably destined to result in discomfiture and disappointment. But what makes this so very serious a matter is that, because Holy Scripture is the Book experimented upon, the loftiest interests that can be named become imperilled; and it will constantly happen that what is not perhaps in itself a very serious mistake may yet inflict irreparable injury. We subjoin an humble illustration of our meaning—the rather, because it will afford us an opportunity for penetrating a little deeper into the proprieties of Scriptural Translation:—

(d) The place of our Lord's Burial, which is mentioned upwards of 30 times in the Gospels, is styled in the original, μνημεῖον. This appellation is applied to it three times by S. Matthew;—six times by S. Mark;—eight times by [pg 198] S. Luke;580—eleven times by S. John. Only on four occasions, in close succession, does the first Evangelist call it by another name, viz. τάφος.581 King James's translators (following Tyndale and Cranmer) decline to notice this diversity, and uniformly style it the sepulchre.” So long as it belonged to Joseph of Arimathea, they call it a “tomb” (Matth. xxvii. 60): when once it has been appropriated by “the Lord of Glory,” in the same verse they give it a different English appellation. But our Revisionists of 1881, as if bent on “making a fresh departure,” everywhere substitute tomb for “sepulchre” as the rendering of μνημεῖον.

Does any one ask,—And why should they not? We answer, Because, in connection with the Sepulchre of our Lord, there has grown up such an ample literature and such a famous history, that we are no longer able to sever ourselves from those environments of the problem, even if we desired to do so. In all such cases as the present, we have to balance the Loss against the Gain. Quite idle is it for the pedant of 1881 to insist that τάφος and μνημεῖον are two different words. We do not dispute the fact. (Then, if he must, let him represent τάφος in some other way.) It remains true, notwithstanding, that the receptacle of our Saviour's Body after His dissolution will have to be spoken of as the Holy Sepulchre till the end of time; and it is altogether to be desired that its familiar designation should be suffered to survive unmolested on the eternal page, in consequence. There are, after all, mightier laws in the Universe than those of grammar. In the quaint language of our Translators of 1611: “For is the Kingdom of God become words or syllables? Why should we be in bondage to them [pg 199] if we may be free?”... As for considerations of etymological propriety, the nearest English equivalent for μνημεῖον (be it remembered) is not “tomb,” but monument.”

(e) Our Revisionists seem not to be aware that 270 years of undisturbed possession have given to certain words rights to which they could not else have pretended, but of which it is impossible any more to dispossess them. It savours of folly as well as of pedantry even to make the attempt. Διδαχή occurs 30,—διδασκαλία 21 times,—in the N. T. Etymologically, both words alike mean teaching;” and are therefore indifferently rendered doctrina in the Vulgate,582—for which reason, doctrine represents both words indifferently in our A. V.583 But the Revisers have well-nigh extirpated doctrine from the N. T.: (1st), By making teaching,” the rendering of διδαχή,584—(reserving doctrine for διδασκαλία585): and (2ndly), By 6 times substituting teaching (once, learning) for doctrine,” in places where διδασκαλία occurs.586 This is to be lamented every way. The word cannot be spared so often. The teachings of our Lord and of His Apostles were the “doctrines” of Christianity. When S. Paul speaks of “the doctrine of baptisms” (Heb. vi. 2), it is simply incomprehensible to us why “the teaching of baptisms” should be deemed a preferable expression. And if the warning against being “carried about with every wind of doctrine,” may stand in Ephes. iv. 14, why may it not be left standing in Heb. xiii. 9?

[pg 200]

(f) In the same spirit, we can but wonder at the extravagant bad taste which, at the end of 500 years, has ventured to substitute bowls for “vials” in the Book of Revelation.587 As a matter of fact, we venture to point out that φιάλη no more means a bowl than “saucer” means “a cup.” But, waiving this, we are confident that our Revisers would have shown more wisdom if they had let alone a word which, having no English equivalent, has passed into the sacred vocabulary of the language, and has acquired a conventional signification which will cleave to it for ever. Vials of wrath are understood to signify the outpouring of God's wrathful visitations on mankind: whereas “bowls” really conveys no meaning at all, except a mean and unworthy, not to say an inconveniently ambiguous one. What must be the impression made on persons of very humble station,—labouring-men,—when they hear of “the seven Angels that had the seven bowls? (Rev. xvii. 1.) The φιάλη,—if we must needs talk like Antiquaries—is a circular, almost flat and very shallow vessel,—of which the contents can be discharged in an instant. It was used in pouring out libations. There is, at that back of it, in the centre, a hollow for the first joint of the forefinger to rest in. Patera the Latins called it. Specimens are to be seen in abundance.

The same Revisionists have also fallen foul of the “alabaster box of ointment.”—for which they have substituted “an alabaster cruse of ointment.”588 But what is a “cruse”? Their marginal note says, “Or, a flask:’ ” but once more, what is “a flask”? Certainly, the receptacles to which that name is now commonly applied, (e.g. a powder-flask, a Florence flask, a flask of wine, &c.) bear no resemblance whatever to the vase called ἀλάβαστρον. The probability is [pg 201] that the receptacle for the precious ointment with which the sister of Lazarus provided herself, was likest of all to a small medicine-bottle (lecythus the ancients called it), made however of alabaster. Specimens of it abound. But why not let such words alone? The same Critics have had the good sense to leave standing “the bag,” for what was confessedly a box589 (S. John xii. 6: xiii. 29); and “your purses” for what in the Greek is unmistakably “your girdles590 (S. Matth. x. 9). We can but repeat that possession for five centuries conveys rights which it is always useless, and sometimes dangerous, to dispute. “Vials” will certainly have to be put back into the Apocalypse.

(g) Having said so much about the proposed rendering of such unpromising vocables as μνημεῖον—διδαχή—φιάλη, it is time to invite the Reader's attention to the calamitous fate which has befallen certain other words of infinitely greater importance.

And first for Ἀγάπη—a substantive noun unknown to the heathen, even as the sentiment which the word expresses proves to be a grace of purely Christian growth. What else but a real calamity would be the sentence of perpetual banishment passed by our Revisionists on “that most excellent gift, the gift of Charity,” and the general substitution of “Love” in its place? Do not these learned men perceive that “Love” is not an equivalent term? Can they require to be told that, because of S. Paul's exquisite and life-like portrait of Charity,” and the use which has been made of the word in sacred literature in consequence, it has come to pass that the word Charity connotes many ideas to which the word “Love” is an entire stranger? that “Love,” on the contrary, has come to connote many unworthy notions which in Charity find no place at all? And if this be [pg 202] so, how can our Revisionists expect that we shall endure the loss of the name of the very choicest of the Christian graces,—and which, if it is nowhere to be found in Scripture, will presently come to be only traditionally known among mankind, and will in the end cease to be a term clearly understood? Have the Revisionists of 1881 considered how firmly this word Charity has established itself in the phraseology of the Church,—ancient, mediæval, modern,—as well as in our Book of Common Prayer? how thoroughly it has vindicated for itself the right of citizenship in the English language? how it has entered into our common vocabulary, and become one of the best understood of “household words”? Of what can they have been thinking when they deliberately obliterated from the thirteenth chapter of S. Paul's 1st Epistle to the Corinthians the ninefold recurrence of the name of “that most excellent gift, the gift of Charity?

(h) With equal displeasure, but with even sadder feelings, we recognize in the present Revision a resolute elimination of Miracles from the N. T.—Not so, (we shall be eagerly reminded,) but only of their Name. True, but the two perforce go together, as every thoughtful man knows. At all events, the getting rid of the Name,—(except in the few instances which are enumerated below,)—will in the account of millions be regarded as the getting rid of the thing. And in the esteem of all, learned and unlearned alike, the systematic obliteration of the signifying word from the pages of that Book to which we refer exclusively for our knowledge of the remarkable thing signified,—cannot but be looked upon as a memorable and momentous circumstance. Some, it may be, will be chiefly struck by the foolishness of the proceeding: for at the end of centuries of familiarity with such a word, we are no longer able to part company with it, even if we were inclined. The term [pg 203] has struck root firmly in our Literature: has established itself in the terminology of Divines: has grown into our common speech. But further, even were it possible to get rid of the words “Miracle” and “Miraculous,” what else but abiding inconvenience would be the result? for we must still desire to speak about the things; and it is a truism to remark that there are no other words in the language which connote the same ideas. What therefore has been gained by substituting sign for miracle on some 19 or 20 occasions—(“this beginning of his signs did Jesus,”“this is again the second sign that Jesus did”)—we really fail to see.

That the word in the original is σημεῖον, and that σημεῖον means “a sign,” we are aware. But what then? Because ἄγγελος, in strictness, means “a messenger,”—γραφή, “a writing,”—ὑποκριτής, “an actor,”—ἐκκλησία, “an assembly,”—εὐαγγέλιον, “good tidings,”—ἐπίσκοπος, “an overseer,”—βαπτιστής, “one that dips,”—παράδεισος, “a garden,”—μαθητής, “a learner,”—χἁρις, “favour:”—are we to forego the established English equivalents for these words, and never more to hear of “grace,” “disciple,” “Paradise,” “Baptist,” “Bishop,” “Gospel,” “Church,” “hypocrite,” “Scripture,” “Angel”? Is it then desired to revolutionize our sacred terminology? or at all events to sever with the Past, and to translate the Scriptures into English on etymological principles? We are amazed that the first proposal to resort to such a preposterous method was not instantly scouted by a large majority of those who frequented the Jerusalem Chamber.

The words under consideration are not only not equivalent, but they are quite dissimilar. All signs are not Miracles,”591 though all Miracles are undeniably signs.” [pg 204] Would not a marginal annotation concerning the original word, as at S. Luke xxiii. 8, have sufficed? And why was the term Miracle as the rendering of σημεῖον592 spared only on that occasion in the Gospels; and only in connection with S. Peter's miracle of healing the impotent man, in the Acts?593 We ask the question not caring for an answer. We are merely bent on submitting to our Readers, whether,—especially in an age like the present of wide-spread unbelief in the Miraculous,—it was a judicious proceeding in our Revisionists almost everywhere to substitute “Sign” for “Miracle” as the rendering of σημεῖον.

(i) Every bit as offensive, in its way, is a marginal note respecting the Third Person in the Trinity, which does duty at S. Matth. i. 18: S. Mark i. 8: S. Luke i. 15: Acts i. 2: Rom. v. 5: Heb. ii. 4. As a rule, in short, against every fresh first mention of “the Holy Ghost,” five lines are punctually devoted to the remark,—Or, Holy Spirit: and so throughout this book.” Now, as Canon Cook very fairly puts the case,—

Does this imply that the marginists object to the word Ghost? If so, it must be asked, On what grounds? Certainly not as an archaism. The word is in every Churchman's mouth continually. For the sake of consistency? But Dr. Vance Smith complains bitterly of the inconsistency of his colleagues in reference to this very question,—see his Texts and Margins, pp. 7, 8, 45. I would not suggest a doctrinal bias: but to prove that it had no influence, a strong, if not unanimous, declaration on the part of the Revisers is called for. Dr. Vance Smith alleges this notice as one of the clearest proofs [pg 205] that the Revisers ought in consistency to discard the word as a poor and almost obsolete equivalent for Spirit. ”594

But in fact when one of the Revisionists openly claims, on behalf of the Revision, that “in the most substantial sense,” (whatever that may happen to mean,) it is “contrary to fact” “that the doctrines of popular Theology remain unaffected, untouched by the results of the Revision,”595—Charity itself is constrained to use language which by a certain school will be deemed uncharitable. If doctrinal prepossession had no share in the production under review,—why is no protest publicly put forth against such language as the foregoing, when employed by a conspicuous Member of the Revisionist body?

(j) In a similar spirit to that which dictated our remarks on the attempted elimination of Miracles from the N. T. of the future,—we altogether disapprove of the attempt to introduce “is Epileptic,” as the rendering of σεληνιάζεται, in S. Matth. xvii. 15. The miracle performed on the lunatic child may never more come abroad under a different name. In a matter like this, 500 years of occupation, (or rather 1700, for lunaticus is the reading of all the Latin copies,) constitute a title which may not be disputed. Epileptic is a sorry gloss—not a translation. Even were it demonstrable that Epilepsy exclusively exhibits every feature related in connection with the present case;596 and that sufferers from Epilepsy are specially affected by the moon's changes, (neither of which things are certainly true): even so, the Revisionists would be wholly unwarranted in doing violence to the Evangelist's language, in order to bring into prominence [pg 206] their own private opinion that what is called Lunacy here (and in ch. iv. 24) is to be identified with the ordinary malady called “Epilepsy.” This was confessedly an extraordinary case of demoniacal possession597 besides. The Revisionists have in fact gone out of their way in order to introduce us to a set of difficulties with which before we had no acquaintance. And after all, the English reader desires to know—not, by any means, what two-thirds of the Revisionists conjecture was the matter with the child, but—what the child's Father actually said was the matter with him. Now, the Father undeniably did not say that the child was “Epileptic,” but that he was Lunatic.” The man employed a term which (singular to relate) has its own precise English equivalent;—a term which embodies to this hour (as it did anciently) the popular belief that the moon influences certain forms of disease. With the advance of Science, civilized nations surrender such Beliefs; but they do not therefore revolutionize their Terminology. “The advance of Science,” however, has nothing whatever to do with the Translation of the word before us. The Author of this particular rendering (begging his pardon) is open to a process de lunatico inquirendo for having imagined the contrary.

(k) The foregoing instances suggest the remark, that the Ecclesiastical Historian of future years will point with concern [pg 207] to the sad evidences that the Church had fallen on evil days when the present Revision was undertaken. With fatal fidelity does it, every here and there, reflect the sickly hues of “modern Thought,” which is too often but another name for the latest phase of Unfaithfulness. Thus, in view of the present controversy about the Eternity of Future Punishment, which has brought into prominence a supposed distinction between the import of the epithets eternal and everlasting,”—how painful is it to discover that the latter epithet, (which is the one objected to by the unbelieving school,) has been by our Revisionists diligently excluded598 every time it occurs as the translation of αἰώνιος, in favour of the more palatable epithel “eternal”! King James's Translators showed themselves impartial to a fault. As if to mark that, in their account, the words are of identical import, they even introduced both words into the same verse599 of Scripture. Is it fair that such a body of men as the Revisionists of 1881, claiming the sanction of the Convocation of the Southern Province, should, in a matter like the present, throw all their weight into the scale of Misbelief? They were authorized only to remove “plain and clear errors.” They were instructed to introduce “as few changes as possible.” Why have they needlessly gone out of their way, on the contrary, indirectly to show their sympathy with those who deny what has been the Church's teaching for 1800 years? Our Creeds, Te Deum, Litany, Offices, Articles,—our whole Prayer Book, breathes a different spirit and speaks a different language.... Have our Revisionists persuaded the Old Testament company to follow their example? It will be calamitous if they have. There will be serious [pg 208] discrepancy of teaching between the Old and the New Testament if they have not.

(l) What means also the fidgetty anxiety manifested throughout these pages to explain away, or at least to evacuate, expressions which have to do with Eternity? Why, for example, is “the world (αἰών) to come,” invariably glossed “the age to come”? and εἰς τοὺς αἰῶνας so persistently explained in the margin to mean, unto the ages? (See the margin of Rom. ix. 5. Are we to read God blessed unto the ages?) Also εἰς τοὺς αἰῶνας τῶν αἰώνων, unto the ages of the ages? Surely we, whose language furnishes expressions of precisely similar character (viz. “for ever,” and “for ever and ever”), might dispense with information hazy and unprofitable as this!

(m) Again. At a period of prevailing unbelief in the Inspiration of Scripture, nothing but real necessity could warrant any meddling with such a testimony on the subject as is found in 2 Tim. iii. 16. We have hitherto been taught to believe that All Scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable,” &c. The ancients600 clearly so understood S. Paul's words: and so do the most learned and thoughtful of the moderns. Πᾶσα γραφή, even if it be interpreted “every Scripture,” can only mean every portion of those ἱερὰ γράμματα of which the Apostle had been speaking in the previous verse; and therefore must needs signify the whole of Scripture.601 So that the expression all Scripture [pg 209] expresses S. Paul's meaning exactly, and should not have been disturbed.

But—“It is very difficult” (so at least thinks the Right Rev. Chairman of the Revisers) “to decide whether θεόπνευστος is a part of the predicate, καί being the simple copula; or whether it is a part of the subject. Lexicography and grammar contribute but little to a decision.” Not so thought Bishop Middleton. “I do not recollect” (he says) “any passage in the N. T. in which two Adjectives, apparently connected by the copulative, were intended by the writer to be so unnaturally disjoined. He who can produce such an instance, will do much towards establishing the plausibility of a translation, which otherwise must appear, to say the least of it, to be forced and improbable.”—And yet it is proposed to thrust this “forced and improbable” translation on the acceptance of all English-speaking people, wherever found, on the plea of necessity! Our Revisionists translate, “Every Scripture inspired of God is also profitable,” &c.,—which of course may be plausibly declared to imply that a distinction is drawn by the Apostle himself between inspired and uninspired Scripture. And pray, (we should be presently asked,) is not many a Scripture (or writing) “profitable for teaching,” &c. which is not commonly held to be “inspired of God?... But in fact the proposed rendering is inadmissible, being without logical coherence and consistency. The utmost that could be pretended would be that S. Paul's assertion is that “every portion of Scripture being inspired (i.e. inasmuch as it is—because it is—inspired); “is also profitable,” &c. Else there would be no meaning in the καί. But, in the name of common sense, if this be so, why have the blessed words been meddled with?

(n) All are unhappily familiar with the avidity with which the disciples of a certain School fasten upon a mysterious [pg 210] expression in S. Mark's Gospel (xiii. 32), which seems to predicate concerning the Eternal Son, limitation in respect of Knowledge. This is not the place for vindicating the Catholic Doctrine of the Son's “equality with the Father as touching His Godhead;” or for explaining that, in consequence, all things that the Father hath, (the knowledge of “that Day and Hour” included,) the Son hath likewise.602 But this is the place for calling attention to the deplorable circumstance that the clause neither the Son,” which has an indisputable right to its place in S. Mark's Gospel, has on insufficient authority by our Revisionists been thrust into S. Matth. xxvi. 36, where it has no business whatever, and from which the word “only” effectually excludes it.603 We call attention to this circumstance with sincere sorrow: but it is sorrow largely mixed with indignation. What else but the betrayal of a sacred trust is it when Divines appointed to correct manifest errors in the English of the N. T. go out of their way to introduce an error like this into the Greek Text which Catholic Antiquity would have repudiated with indignation, and for which certainly the plea of “necessity” cannot be pretended?

(o) A marginal annotation set over against Romans ix. 5 is the last thing of this kind to which we shall invite attention. S. Paul declares it to be Israel's highest boast and glory that of them, “as concerning the flesh [came] Christ, [pg 211] who is over all [things], God blessed for ever! Amen.” A grander or more unequivocal testimony to our Lord's eternal Godhead is nowhere to be found in Scripture. Accordingly, these words have been as confidently appealed to by faithful Doctors of the Church in every age, as they have been unsparingly assailed by unbelievers. The dishonest shifts by which the latter seek to evacuate the record which they are powerless to refute or deny, are paraded by our ill-starred Revisionists in the following terms:—

Some modern Interpreters place a full stop after flesh, and translate, He who is God over all be (is) blessed for ever: or, He who is over all is God, blessed for ever. Others punctuate, flesh, who is over all. God be (is) blessed for ever.

Now this is a matter,—let it be clearly observed,—which, (as Dr. Hort is aware,) “belongs to Interpretation,—and not to Textual Criticism.”604 What business then has it in these pages at all? Is it then the function of Divines appointed to revise the Authorized Version, to give information to the 90 millions of English-speaking Christians scattered throughout the world as to the unfaithfulness of some modern Interpreters?605 We have hitherto supposed that it was Ancient authorities” exclusively,—(whether “a few,” or “some,” or “many,”)—to which we are invited to submit our judgment. How does it come to pass that the Socinian gloss on this grand text (Rom. ix. 5) has been brought into such extraordinary prominence? Did our Revisionists consider that their marginal note would travel to earth's remotest verge,—give universal currency to the view of “some modern Interpreters,”—and in the end “tell it out among the heathen” also? We refer to Manuscripts,—Versions,—Fathers: and what do we find? (1) It is demonstrable that the oldest [pg 212] Codices, besides the whole body of the cursives, know nothing about the method of “some modern Interpreters.”606—(2) “There is absolutely not a shadow, not a tittle of evidence, in any of the ancient Versions, to warrant what they do.”607—(3) How then, about the old Fathers? for the sentiments of our best modern Divines, as Pearson and Bull, we know by heart. We find that the expression who is over all [things], God blessed for ever is expressly acknowledged to refer to our Saviour by the following 60 illustrious names:—

Irenæus,608—Hippolytus in 3 places,609—Origen,610—Malchion, in the name of six of the Bishops at the Council of Antioch, a.d. 269,611—ps.-Dionysius Alex., twice,612—the Constt. App.,613—Athanasius in 6 places,614—Basil in 2 places,615—Didymus in 5 places,616—Greg. Nyssen. in 5 places,617—Epiphanius in 5 places,618—Theodoras Mops.,619—Methodius,620—Eustathius,621—Eulogius, twice,622—Cæsarius, 3 times,623—Theophilus Alex., twice,624—Nestorius,625—Theodotus of Ancyra,626—Proclus, twice,627—Severianus Bp. of Gabala,628—Chrysostom, 8 times,629—Cyril [pg 213] Alex., 15 times,630—Paulus Bp. of Emesa,631—Theodoret, 12 times,632—Gennadius, Abp. of C. P.,633—Severus, Abp. of Antioch,634—Amphilochius,635—Gelasius Cyz.,636—Anastasius Ant.,637—Leontius Byz., 3 times,638—Maximus,639—J. Damascene, 3 times.640 Besides of the Latins, Tertullian, twice,641—Cyprian,642—Novatian, twice,643—Ambrose, 5 times,644—Palladius the Arian at the Council of Aquileia,645—Hilary, 7 times,646—Jerome, twice,647—Augustine, about 30 times,—Victorinus,648—the Breviarium, twice,649—Marius Mercator,650—Cassian, twice,651—Alcimus Avit.,652—Fulgentius, twice,653—Leo, Bp. of Rome, twice,654—Ferrandus, twice,655—Facundus:656—to whom must be added 6 ancient writers, of whom 3657 have been mistaken for Athanasius,—and 3658 for Chrysostom. All these see in Rom. ix. 5, a glorious assertion of the eternal Godhead of Christ.

Against such an overwhelming torrent of Patristic testimony,—for we have enumerated upwards of sixty ancient Fathers—it will not surely be pretended that the Socinian interpretation, to which our Revisionists give such prominence, [pg 214] can stand. But why has it been introduced at all? We shall have every Christian reader with us in our contention, that such perverse imaginations of “modern Interpreters” are not entitled to a place in the margin of the N. T. For our Revisionists to have even given them currency, and thereby a species of sanction, constitutes in our view a very grave offence.659 A public retraction and a very humble Apology we claim at their hands. Indifferent Scholarship, and mistaken views of Textual Criticism, are at least venial matters. But a Socinian gloss gratuitously thrust into the margin of every Englishman's N. T. admits of no excuse—is not to be tolerated on any terms. It would by itself, in our account, have been sufficient to determine the fate of the present Revision.

XII. Are we to regard it as a kind of set-off against all that goes before, that in an age when the personality of Satan is freely called in question, the evil one has been actually thrust into the Lord's Prayer? A more injudicious and unwarrantable innovation it would be impossible to indicate in any part of the present unhappy volume. The case has been argued out with much learning and ability by two eminent Divines, Bp. Lightfoot and Canon Cook. The Canon remains master of the field. That the change ought never to have been made is demonstrable. The grounds of this assertion are soon stated. To begin, (1) It is admitted on all hands that it must for ever remain a matter of opinion only whether in the expression ἀπὸ τοῦ πονηροῦ, the nominative case is τὸ πονηρόν (as in S. Matth. v. 37, 39: Rom. xii. 9), or ὁ πονηρός (as in S. Matth. xiii. 19, 38: Eph. vi. [pg 215] 16),—either of which yields a good sense. But then—(2) The Church of England in her formularies having emphatically declared that, for her part, she adheres to the former alternative, it was in a very high degree unbecoming for the Revisionists to pretend to the enjoyment of certain knowledge that the Church of England in so doing was mistaken: and unless “from evil” be a clear and plain error,” the Revisionists were bound to let it alone. Next—(3), It can never be right to impose the narrower interpretation on words which have always been understood to bear the larger sense: especially when (as in the present instance) the larger meaning distinctly includes and covers the lesser: witness the paraphrase in our Church Catechism,—“and that He will keep us (a) from all sin and wickedness, and (b) from our ghostly enemy, and (c) from everlasting death.”—(4) But indeed Catholic Tradition claims to be heard in this behalf. Every Christian at his Baptism renounces not only “the Devil,” but also all his works, the vain pomp and glory of the world, with all covetous desires of the same, and the carnal desires of the flesh.”660 And at this point—(5), The voice of an inspired Apostle interposes in attestation that this is indeed the true acceptation of the last petition in the Lord's Prayer: for when S. Paul says—“the Lord will deliver me from every evil work and will preserve me unto His heavenly kingdom; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen,”661—what else is he referring to but to the words just [pg 216] now under consideration? He explains that in the Lord's Prayer it is from every evil work that we pray to be “delivered.” (Note also, that he retains the Doxology.) Compare the places:—



Then further—(6), What more unlikely than that our Lord would end with giving such prominence to that rebel Angel whom by dying He is declared to have “destroyed”? (Heb. ii. 14: 1 John iii. 8.) For, take away the Doxology (as our Revisionists propose), and we shall begin the Lord's Prayer with Our Father,” and literally end it with—the Devil!—But above all,—(7) Let it never be forgotten that this is the pattern Prayer, a portion of every Christian child's daily utterance,—the most sacred of all our formularies, and by far the most often repeated,—into which it is attempted in this way to introduce a startling novelty. Lastly—(8), When it is called to mind that nothing short of necessity has warranted the Revisionists in introducing a single change into the A. V.,—clear and plain errors—and that no such plea can be feigned on the present occasion, the liberty which they have taken in this place must be admitted to be absolutely without excuse.... Such at least are the grounds on which, for our own part, we refuse to entertain the proposed introduction of the Devil into the Lord's Prayer. From the position we have taken up, it will be found utterly impossible to dislodge us.

XIII. It is often urged on behalf of the Revisionists that over not a few dark places of S. Paul's Epistles their labours have thrown important light. Let it not be supposed [pg 217] that we deny this. Many a Scriptural difficulty vanishes the instant a place is accurately translated: a far greater number, when the rendering is idiomatic. It would be strange indeed if, at the end of ten years, the combined labours of upwards of twenty Scholars, whose raison d'être as Revisionists was to do this very thing, had not resulted in the removal of many an obscurity in the A. V. of Gospels and Epistles alike. What offends us is the discovery that, for every obscurity which has been removed, at least half a dozen others have been introduced: in other words, that the result of this Revision has been the planting in of a fresh crop of difficulties, before undreamed of; so that a perpetual wrestling with these is what hereafter awaits the diligent student of the New Testament.

We speak not now of passages which have been merely altered for the worse: as when, (in S. James i. 17, 18,) we are invited to read,—“Every good gift and every perfect boon is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom can be no variation, neither shadow that is cast by turning. Of his own will he brought us forth.” Grievous as such blemishes are, it is seen at a glance that they must be set down to nothing worse than tasteless assiduity. What we complain of is that, misled by a depraved Text, our Revisers have often made nonsense of what before was perfectly clear: and have not only thrust many of our Lord's precious utterances out of sight, (e.g. Matt. xvii. 21: Mark x. 21 and xi. 26: Luke ix. 55, 56); but have attributed to Him absurd sayings which He certainly never uttered, (e.g. Matt. xix. 17); or else, given such a twist to what He actually said, that His blessed words are no longer recognizable, (as in S. Matt. xi. 23: S. Mark ix. 23: xi. 3). Take a sample:—

(1.) The Church has always understood her Lord to say,—Father, I will that they also, whom Thou hast given Me, [pg 218] be with Me where I am; that they may behold My glory.”662 We reject with downright indignation the proposal henceforth to read instead,—Father, that which Thou hast given Me I will that, where I am, they also may be with Me,” &c. We suspect a misprint. The passage reads like nonsense. Yes, and nonsense it is,—in Greek as well as in English: (ὅ has been written for οὕς—one of the countless bêtises for which א b d are exclusively responsible; and which the weak superstition of these last days is for erecting into a new Revelation). We appeal to the old Latin and to the Vulgate,—to the better Egyptian and to all the Syriac versions: to every known Lectionary: to Clemens Alex.,663—to Eusebius,664—to Nonnus,665—to Basil,666—to Chrysostom,667—to Cyril,668—to Cælestinus,669—to Theodoret:670 not to mention Cyprian,671—Ambrose,672—Hilary,673 &c.:674 and above all, 16 uncials, beginning with a and c,—and the whole body of the cursives. So many words ought not to be required. If men prefer their “mumpsimus” to our “sumpsimus,” let them by all means have it: but pray let them keep their rubbish to themselves,—and at least leave our Saviour's words alone.

(2.) We shall be told that the foregoing is an outrageous instance. It is. Then take a few milder cases. They abound, turn whichever way we will. Thus, we are invited to believe that S. Luke relates concerning our Saviour that He was led by the Spirit in the wilderness during forty days (iv. 1). We stare at this new revelation, and refer to the familiar Greek. It proves to be the Greek of all the copies in the [pg 219] world but four; the Greek which supplied the Latin, the Syrian, the Coptic Churches, with the text of their respective Versions; the Greek which was familiar to Origen,675—to Eusebius,676—to Basil,677—to Didymus,678—to Theodoret,679—to Maximus,680—and to two other ancient writers, one of whom has been mistaken for Chrysostom,681 the other for Basil.682 It is therefore quite above suspicion. And it informs us that Jesus “was led by the Spirit into the wilderness;” and there was forty days tempted of the Devil.” What then has happened to obscure so plain a statement? Nothing more serious than that—(1) Four copies of bad character (א b d l) exhibit “in” instead of “into:” and that—(2) Our Revisionists have been persuaded to believe that therefore S. Luke must needs have done the same. Accordingly they invite us to share their conviction that it was the leading about of our Lord, (and not His Temptation,) which lasted for 40 days. And this sorry misconception is to be thrust upon the 90 millions of English-speaking Christians throughout the world,—under the plea of “necessity”!... But let us turn to a more interesting specimen of the mischievous consequences which would ensue from the acceptance of the present so-called “Revision.”

(3.) What is to be thought of this, as a substitute for the familiar language of 2 Cor. xii. 7?—And by reason of the exceeding greatness of the revelations—wherefore, that I should not be exalted overmuch, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh.” The word “wherefore” (διό), which occasions all the difficulty—(breaking the back of the sentence and necessitating the hypothesis of a change of construction)—is due solely to the influence of א a bb. The ordinary Text is recognized [pg 220] by almost every other copy; by the Latin,—Syriac,—Gothic,—Armenian Versions;—as well as by Irenæus,683—Origen,684—Macarius,685—Athanasius,686—Chrysostom,687—Theodoret,688—John Damascene.689 Even Tischendorf here makes a stand and refuses to follow his accustomed guides.690 In plain terms, the text of 2 Cor. xii. 7 is beyond the reach of suspicion. Scarcely intelligible is the infatuation of which our Revisers have been the dupes.—Quousque tandem?

(4.) Now this is the method of the Revising body throughout: viz. so seriously to maim the Text of many a familiar passage of Holy Writ as effectually to mar it. Even where they remedy an inaccuracy in the rendering of the A. V., they often inflict a more grievous injury than mistranslation on the inspired Text. An instance occurs at S. John x. 14, where the good Shepherd says,—“I know Mine own and am known of Mine, even as the Father knoweth Me and I know the Father.” By thrusting in here the Manichæan depravation (and Mine own know Me), our Revisionists have obliterated the exquisite diversity of expression in the original,—which implies that whereas the knowledge which subsists between the Father and the Son is identical on either side, not such is the knowledge which subsists between the creature and the Creator. The refinement in question has been faithfully retained all down the ages by every copy in existence except four of bad character,—א b d l. It is witnessed to by the Syriac,—by Macarius,691—Gregory Naz.,692—Chrysostom,693—Cyril Alex.,694—Theodoret,695—Maximus.696

[pg 221]

But why go on? Does any one in his sober senses suppose that if S. John had written Mine own know Me,” 996 manuscripts out of 1000, at the end of 1800 years, would be found to exhibit I am known of Mine?

(5.) The foregoing instances must suffice. A brief enumeration of many more has been given already, at pp. 144(b)-152.

Now, in view of the phenomenon just discovered to us,—(viz. for one crop of deformities weeded out, an infinitely larger crop of far grosser deformities as industriously planted in,)—we confess to a feeling of distress and annoyance which altogether indisposes us to accord to the Revisionists that language of congratulation with which it would have been so agreeable to receive their well-meant endeavours. The serious question at once arises,—Is it to be thought that upon the whole we are gainers, or losers, by the Revised Version? And there seems to be no certain way of resolving this doubt, but by opening a “Profit and Loss account” with the Revisers,—crediting them with every item of gain, and debiting them with every item of loss. But then,—(and we ask the question with sanguine simplicity,)—Why should it not be all gain and no loss, when, at the end of 270 years, a confessedly noble work, a truly unique specimen of genius, taste and learning, is submitted to a body of Scholars, equipped with every external advantage, only in order that they may improve upon it—if they are able? These learned individuals have had upwards of ten years wherein to do their work. They have enjoyed the benefit of the tentative labours of a host of predecessors,—some for their warning, some for their help and guidance. They have all along had before their eyes the solemn injunction that, whatever they were not able certainly to improve, they were to be supremely careful to let alone. [pg 222] They were warned at the outset against any but necessary changes. Their sole business was to remove plain and clear errors.” They had pledged themselves to introduce as few alterations as possible.” Why then, we again ask,—Why should not every single innovation which they introduced into the grand old exemplar before them, prove to be a manifest, an undeniable change for the better?697

XIV. The more we ponder over this unfortunate production, the more cordially do we regret that it was ever undertaken. Verily, the Northern Convocation displayed a far-sighted wisdom when it pronounced against the project from the first. We are constrained to declare that could we have conceived it possible that the persons originally appointed by the Southern Province would have co-opted into their body persons capable of executing their work with such extravagant licentiousness as well as such conspicuous bad taste, we should never have entertained one hopeful thought on the subject. For indeed every characteristic feature of the work of the Revisionists offends us,—as well [pg 223] in respect of what they have left undone, as of what they have been the first to venture to do:—

(a) Charged “to introduce as few alterations as possible into the Text of the Authorized Version,” they have on the contrary evidently acted throughout on the principle of making as many changes in it as they conveniently could.

(b) Directed “to limit, as far as possible, the expression of such alterations to the language of the Authorized and earlier English Versions,”—they have introduced such terms as “assassin,” “apparition,” “boon,” “disparagement,” “divinity,” “effulgence,” “epileptic,” “fickleness,” “gratulation,” “irksome,” “interpose,” “pitiable,” “sluggish,” “stupor,” “surpass,” “tranquil:” such compounds as “self-control,” “world-ruler:” such phrases as draw up a narrative:” the impulse of the steersman:” in lack of daily food:” exercising oversight.” These are but a very few samples of the offence committed by our Revisionists, of which we complain.

(c) Whereas they were required “to revise the Headings of the Chapters,” they have not even retained them. We demand at least to have our excellent “Headings” back.

(d) And what has become of our time-honoured “Marginal References,”the very best Commentary on the Bible, as we believe,—certainly the very best help for the right understanding of Scripture,—which the wit of man hath ever yet devised? The “Marginal References” would be lost to the Church for ever, if the work of the Revisionists were allowed to stand: the space required for their insertion having been completely swallowed up by the senseless, and worse than senseless, Textual Annotations which at present infest the margin of every sacred page. We are beyond measure amazed that the Revisionists have even deprived the reader of the essential aid of references to the places of the Old Testament which are quoted in the New.

(e) Let the remark be added in passing, that we greatly [pg 224] dislike the affectation of printing certain quotations from the Old Testament after the strange method adopted by our Revisers from Drs. Westcott and Hort.

(f) The further external assimilation of the Sacred Volume to an ordinary book by getting rid of the division into Verses, we also hold to be a great mistake. In the Greek, by all means let the verses be merely noted in the margin: but, for more than one weighty reason, in the English Bible let the established and peculiar method of printing the Word of God, tide what tide, be scrupulously retained.

(g) But incomparably the gravest offence is behind. By far the most serious of all is that Error to the consideration of which we devoted our former Article. The New Greek Text which, in defiance of their Instructions,698 our Revisionists have constructed, has been proved to be utterly undeserving of confidence. Built up on a fallacy which since [pg 225] 1831 has been dominant in Germany, and which has lately found but too much favour among ourselves, it is in the main a reproduction of the recent labours of Doctors Westcott and Hort. But we have already recorded our conviction, that the results at which those eminent Scholars have arrived are wholly inadmissible. It follows that, in our account, the “New English Version,” has been all along a foredoomed thing. If the “New Greek Text” be indeed a tissue of fabricated Readings, the translation of these into English must needs prove lost labour. It is superfluous to enquire into the merits of the English rendering of words which Evangelists and Apostles demonstrably never wrote.

(h) Even this, however, is not nearly all. As Translators, full two-thirds of the Revisionists have shown themselves singularly deficient,—alike in their critical acquaintance with the language out of which they had to translate, and in their familiarity with the idiomatic requirements of their own tongue. They had a noble Version before them, which they have contrived to spoil in every part. Its dignified simplicity and essential faithfulness, its manly grace and its delightful rhythm, they have shown themselves alike unable to imitate and unwilling to retain. Their queer uncouth phraseology and their jerky sentences:—their pedantic obscurity and their stiff, constrained manner:—their fidgetty affectation of accuracy,—and their habitual achievement of English which fails to exhibit the spirit of the original Greek;—are sorry substitutes for the living freshness, and elastic freedom, and habitual fidelity of the grand old Version which we inherited from our Fathers, and which has sustained the spiritual life of the Church of England, and of all English-speaking Christians, for 350 years. Linked with all our holiest, happiest memories, and bound up with all our purest aspirations: part and parcel of [pg 226] whatever there is of good about us: fraught with men's hopes of a blessed Eternity and many a bright vision of the never-ending Life;—the Authorized Version, wherever it was possible, should have been jealously retained. But on the contrary. Every familiar cadence has been dislocated: the congenial flow of almost every verse of Scripture has been hopelessly marred: so many of those little connecting words, which give life and continuity to a narrative, have been vexatiously displaced, that a perpetual sense of annoyance is created. The countless minute alterations which have been needlessly introduced into every familiar page prove at last as tormenting as a swarm of flies to the weary traveller on a summer's day.699 To speak plainly, the book has been made unreadable.

But in fact the distinguished Chairman of the New Testament Company (Bishop Ellicott,) has delivered himself on this subject in language which leaves nothing to be desired, and which we willingly make our own. “No Revision” (he says) “in the present day could hope to meet with an hour's acceptance if it failed to preserve the tone, rhythm, and diction of the present Authorized Version.”700—What else is this but a vaticination,—of which the uninspired Author, by his own act and deed, has ensured the punctual fulfilment?

We lay the Revisers' volume down convinced that the case of their work is simply hopeless. Non ego paucis offendar maculis. Had the blemishes been capable of being reckoned up, it might have been worth while to try to remedy some of them. But when, instead of being disfigured [pg 227] by a few weeds scattered here and there, the whole field proves to be sown over in every direction with thorns and briars; above all when, deep beneath the surface, roots of bitterness to be counted by thousands, are found to have been silently planted in, which are sure to produce poisonous fruit after many days:—under such circumstances only one course can be prescribed. Let the entire area be ploughed up,—ploughed deep; and let the ground be left for a decent space of time without cultivation. It is idle—worse than idle—to dream of revising, with a view to retaining, this Revision. Another generation of students must be suffered to arise. Time must be given for Passion and Prejudice to cool effectually down. Partizanship, (which at present prevails to an extraordinary extent, but which is wondrously out of place in this department of Sacred Learning,)—Partizanship must be completely outlived,—before the Church can venture, with the remotest prospect of a successful issue, to organize another attempt at revising the Authorized Version of the New Testament Scriptures.

Yes, and in the meantime—(let it in all faithfulness be added)—the Science of Textual Criticism will have to be prosecuted, for the first time, in a scholarlike manner. Fundamental Principles,—sufficiently axiomatic to ensure general acceptance,—will have to be laid down for men's guidance. The time has quite gone by for vaunting the now established Principles of Textual Criticism,”701—as if they had an actual existence. Let us be shown, instead, which those Principles be. As for the weak superstition of these last days, which—without proof of any kind—would erect two IVth-century Copies of the New Testament, (demonstrably derived from one and the same utterly depraved archetype,) [pg 228] into an authority from which there shall be no appeal,—it cannot be too soon or too unconditionally abandoned. And, perhaps beyond all things, men must be invited to disabuse their minds of the singular imagination that it is in their power, when addressing themselves to that most difficult and delicate of problems,—the improvement of the Traditional Text,—“solvere ambulando.”702 They are assured that they may not take to Textual Criticism as ducks take to the water. They will be drowned inevitably if they are so ill-advised as to make the attempt.

Then further, those who would interpret the New Testament Scriptures, are reminded that a thorough acquaintance with the Septuagintal Version of the Old Testament is one indispensable condition of success.703 And finally, the Revisionists of the future (if they desire that their labours should be crowned), will find it their wisdom to practise a severe self-denial; to confine themselves to the correction of plain and clear errors;” and in fact to “introduce into the Text as few alterations as possible.”

On a review of all that has happened, from first to last, we can but feel greatly concerned: greatly surprised: most of all, disappointed. We had expected a vastly different result. It is partly (not quite) accounted for, by the rare attendance in the Jerusalem Chamber of some of the names on which we had chiefly relied. Bishop Moberly (of Salisbury) was [pg 229] present on only 121 occasions: Bishop Wordsworth (of S. Andrews) on only 109: Archbishop Trench (of Dublin) on only 63: Bishop Wilberforce on only one. The Archbishop, in his Charge, adverts to “the not unfrequent sacrifice of grace and ease to the rigorous requirements of a literal accuracy;” and regards them “as pushed to a faulty excess” (p. 22). Eleven years before the scheme for the present “Revision” had been matured, the same distinguished and judicious Prelate, (then Dean of Westminster,) persuaded as he was that a Revision ought to come, and convinced that in time it would come, deprecated its being attempted yet. His words were,—“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 to be feared, be wanting alike.”704 Archbishop Trench, with wise after-thought, in a second edition, explained himself to mean that special Hellenistic Greek, here required.”

The Bp. of S. Andrews has long since, in the fullest manner, cleared himself from the suspicion of complicity in the errors of the work before us,—as well in respect of the “New Greek Text” as of the “New English Version.” In the Charge which he delivered at his Diocesan Synod, (22nd Sept. 1880,) he openly stated that two years before the work was finally completed, he had felt obliged to address a printed circular to each member of the Company, in which he strongly remonstrated against the excess to which changes had been carried; and that the remonstrance had been, for the most part, unheeded. Had this been otherwise, there is good reason to believe that the reception which the Revision has met with would have been far less unfavourable, and that many a controversy which it has stirred up, would have been avoided. We have been assured that the [pg 230] Bp. of S. Andrews would have actually resigned his place in the Company at that time, if he had not been led to expect that some opportunity would have been taken by the Minority, when the work was finished, to express their formal dissent from the course which had been followed, and many of the conclusions which had been adopted.

Were certain other excellent personages, (Scholars and Divines of the best type) who were often present, disposed at this late hour to come forward, they too would doubtless tell us that they heartily regretted what was done, but were powerless to prevent it. It is no secret that Dr. Lee,—the learned Archdeacon of Dublin,—(one of the few really competent members of the Revising body,)—found himself perpetually in the minority.

The same is to be recorded concerning Dr. Roberts, whose work on the Gospels (published in 1864) shows that he is not by any means so entirely a novice in the mysteries of Textual Criticism as certain of his colleagues.—One famous Scholar and excellent Divine,—a Dean whom we forbear to name,—with the modesty of real learning, often withheld what (had he given it) would have been an adverse vote.—Another learned and accomplished Dean (Dr. Merivale), after attending 19 meetings of the Revising body, withdrew in disgust from them entirely. He disapproved the method of his colleagues, and was determined to incur no share of responsibility for the probable result of their deliberations.—By the way,—What about a certain solemn Protest, by means of which the Minority had resolved liberare animas suas concerning the open disregard shown by the Majority for the conditions under which they had been entrusted with the work of Revision, but which was withheld at the last moment? Inasmuch as their reasons for the course they eventually adopted seemed sufficient to those high-minded and [pg 231] honourable men, we forbear to challenge it. Nothing however shall deter us from plainly avowing our own opinion that human regards scarcely deserve a hearing when God's Truth is imperilled. And that the Truth of God's Word in countless instances has been ignorantly sacrificed by a majority of the Revisionists—(out of deference to a worthless Theory, newly invented and passionately advocated by two of their body),—has been already demonstrated; as far, that is, as demonstration is possible in this subject matter.

As for Prebendary Scrivener,—the only really competent Textual Critic of the whole party,—it is well known that he found himself perpetually outvoted by two-thirds of those present. We look forward to the forthcoming new edition of his Plain Introduction, in the confident belief that he will there make it abundantly plain that he is in no degree responsible for the monstrous Text which it became his painful duty to conduct through the Press on behalf of the entire body, of which he continued to the last to be a member. It is no secret that, throughout, Dr. Scrivener pleaded in vain for the general view we have ourselves advocated in this and the preceding Article.

All alike may at least enjoy the real satisfaction of knowing that, besides having stimulated, to an extraordinary extent, public attention to the contents of the Book of Life, they have been instrumental in awakening a living interest in one important but neglected department of Sacred Science, which will not easily be again put to sleep. It may reasonably prove a solace to them to reflect that they have besides, although perhaps in ways they did not anticipate, rendered excellent service to mankind. A monument they have certainly erected to themselves,—though neither of their Taste nor yet of their Learning. Their well-meant endeavours have provided an admirable text-book for [pg 232] Teachers of Divinity,—who will henceforth instruct their pupils to beware of the Textual errors of the Revisionists of 1881, as well as of their tasteless, injudicious, and unsatisfactory essays in Translation. This work of theirs will discharge the office of a warning beacon to as many as shall hereafter embark on the same perilous enterprise with themselves. It will convince men of the danger of pursuing the same ill-omened course: trusting to the same unskilful guidance: venturing too near the same wreck-strewn shore.

Its effect will be to open men's eyes, as nothing else could possibly have done, to the dangers which beset the Revision of Scripture. It will teach faithful hearts to cling the closer to the priceless treasure which was bequeathed to them by the piety and wisdom of their fathers. It will dispel for ever the dream of those who have secretly imagined that a more exact Version, undertaken with the boasted helps of this nineteenth century of ours, would bring to light something which has been hitherto unfairly kept concealed or else misrepresented. Not the least service which the Revisionists have rendered has been the proof their work affords, how very seldom our Authorized Version is materially wrong: how faithful and trustworthy, on the contrary, it is throughout. Let it be also candidly admitted that, even where (in our judgment) the Revisionists have erred, they have never had the misfortune seriously to obscure a single feature of Divine Truth; nor have they in any quarter (as we hope) inflicted wounds which will be attended with worse results than to leave a hideous scar behind them. It is but fair to add that their work bears marks of an amount of conscientious (though misdirected) labour, which those only can fully appreciate who have made the same province of study to some extent their own.

[pg 234]

Article III. Westcott And Hort's New Textual Theory.

In the determination of disputed readings, these Critics avail themselves of so small a portion of existing materials, or allow so little weight to others, that the Student who follows them has positively less ground for his convictions than former Scholars had at any period in the history of modern Criticism.Canon Cook, p. 16.

We have no right, doubtless, to assume that our Principles are infallible: but we have a right to claim that any one who rejects them ... should confute the Arguments and rebut the Evidence on which the opposite conclusion has been founded. Strong expressions of Individual Opinion are not Arguments.Bp. Ellicott's Pamphlet, (1882,) p. 40.

Our method involves vast research, unwearied patience.... It will therefore find but little favour with those who adopt the easy method ... of using some favourite Manuscript, or some supposed power of divining the Original Text.Bp. Ellicott, Ibid. p. 19.

Non enim sumus sicut plurimi, adulterantes (καπηλεύοντες) verbum Dei.—2 Cor. ii. 17.

[pg 235]

Who is this that darkeneth counsel by words without knowledge?Job xxxviii. 2.

Can the blind lead the blind? shall they not both fall into the ditch?S. Luke vi. 39.

Proposing to ourselves (May 17th, 1881) to enquire into the merits of the recent Revision of the Authorized Version of the New Testament Scriptures, we speedily became aware that an entirely different problem awaited us and demanded preliminary investigation. We made the distressing discovery, that the underlying Greek Text had been completely refashioned throughout. It was accordingly not so much a Revised English Version as a New Greek Text,” which was challenging public acceptance. Premature therefore,—not to say preposterous,—would have been any enquiry into the degree of ability with which the original Greek had been rendered into English by our Revisionists, until we had first satisfied ourselves that it was still “the original Greek” with which we had to deal: or whether it had been the supreme infelicity of a body of Scholars claiming to act by the authority of the sacred Synod of Canterbury, to put themselves into the hands of some ingenious theory-monger, and to become the dupes of any of the strange delusions which [pg 236] are found unhappily still to prevail in certain quarters, on the subject of Textual Criticism.

The correction of known Textual errors of course we eagerly expected: and on every occasion when the Traditional Text was altered, we as confidently depended on finding a record of the circumstance inserted with religious fidelity into the margin,—as agreed upon by the Revisionists at the outset. In both of these expectations however we found ourselves sadly disappointed. The Revisionists have not corrected the “known Textual errors.” On the other hand, besides silently adopting most of those wretched fabrications which are just now in favour with the German school, they have encumbered their margin with those other Readings which, after due examination, they had themselves deliberately rejected. For why? Because, in their collective judgment, “for the present, it would not be safe to accept one Reading to the absolute exclusion of others.”705 A fatal admission truly! What are found in the margin are therefore alternative Readings,”—in the opinion of these self-constituted representatives of the Church and of the Sects.

It becomes evident that, by this ill-advised proceeding, our Revisionists would convert every Englishman's copy of the New Testament into a one-sided Introduction to the Critical difficulties of the Greek Text; a labyrinth, out of which they have not been at the pains to supply him with a single hint as to how he may find his way. On the contrary. By candidly avowing that they find themselves enveloped in the same Stygian darkness with the ordinary English Reader, they give him to understand that [pg 237] there is absolutely no escape from the difficulty. What else must be the result of all this but general uncertainty, confusion, distress? A hazy mistrust of all Scripture has been insinuated into the hearts and minds of countless millions, who in this way have been forced to become doubters,—yes, doubters in the Truth of Revelation itself. One recals sorrowfully the terrible woe denounced by the Author of Scripture on those who minister occasions of falling to others:—“It must needs be that offences come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh!”

For ourselves, shocked and offended at the unfaithfulness which could so deal with the sacred Deposit, we made it our business to expose, somewhat in detail, what had been the method of our Revisionists. In our October number706 we demonstrated, (as far as was possible within such narrow limits,) the utterly untrustworthy character of not a few of the results at which, after ten years of careful study, these distinguished Scholars proclaim to the civilized world that they have deliberately arrived. In our January number707 also, we found it impossible to avoid extending our enumeration of Textual errors and multiplying our proofs, while we were making it our business to show that, even had their Text been faultless, their Translation must needs be rejected as intolerable, on grounds of defective Scholarship and egregious bad Taste. The popular verdict has in the meantime been pronounced unmistakably. It is already admitted on all hands that the Revision has been a prodigious blunder. How it came about that, with such a first-rate textual Critic among them as Prebendary Scrivener,708 the Revisers of 1881 [pg 238] should have deliberately gone back to those vile fabrications from which the good Providence of God preserved Erasmus and Stunica,—Stephens and Beza and the Elzevirs,—three centuries ago:—how it happened that, with so many splendid Scholars sitting round their table, they should have produced a Translation which, for the most part, reads like a first-rate school-boy's crib,—tasteless, unlovely, harsh, unidiomatic;—servile without being really faithful,—pedantic without being really learned;—an unreadable Translation, in short; the result of a vast amount of labour indeed, but of wondrous little skill:—how all this has come about, it were utterly useless at this time of day to enquire.

[pg 239]

Unable to disprove the correctness of our Criticism on the Revised Greek Text, even in a single instance, certain partizans of the Revision,—singular to relate,—have been ever since industriously promulgating the notion, that the Reviewer's great misfortune and fatal disadvantage all along has been, that he wrote his first Article before the publication of Drs. Westcott and Hort's Critical Introduction.” Had he but been so happy as to have been made aware by those eminent Scholars of the critical principles which have guided them in the construction of their Text, how differently must he have expressed himself throughout, and to what widely different conclusions must he have inevitably arrived! This is what has been once and again either openly declared, or else privately intimated, in many quarters. Some, in the warmth of their partizanship, have been so ill-advised as to insinuate that it argues either a deficiency of moral courage, or else of intellectual perception, in the Reviewer, that he has not long since grappled definitely with the Theory of Drs. Westcott and Hort,—and either published an Answer to it, or else frankly admitted that he finds it unanswerable.

(a) All of which strikes us as queer in a high degree. First, because as a matter of fact we were careful to make it plain that the Introduction in question had duly reached us before the first sheet of our earlier Article had left our hands. To be brief,—we made it our business to procure a copy and read it through, the instant we heard of its publication: and on our fourteenth page (see above, pp. 26-8) we endeavoured to compress into a long foot-note some account of a Theory which (we take leave to say) can appear formidable only to one who either lacks the patience to study it, or else the knowledge requisite to understand it. We found that, from a diligent perusal of the Preface prefixed to the “limited and private issue” of 1870, we had formed a perfectly correct [pg 240] estimate of the contents of the Introduction; and had already characterized it with entire accuracy at pp. 24 to 29 of our first Article. Drs. Westcott and Hort's New Testament in the original Greek was discovered to “partake inconveniently of the nature of a work of the Imagination,”—as we had anticipated. We became easily convinced that “those accomplished Scholars had succeeded in producing a Text vastly more remote from the inspired autographs of the Evangelists and Apostles of our Lord, than any which has appeared since the invention of Printing.”

(b) But the queerest circumstance is behind. How is it supposed that any amount of study of the last new Theory of Textual Revision can seriously affect a Reviewer's estimate of the evidential value of the historical facts on which he relies for his proof that a certain exhibition of the Greek Text is untrustworthy? The onus probandi rests clearly not with him, but with those who call those proofs of his in question. More of this, however, by and by. We are impatient to get on.

(c) And then, lastly,—What have we to do with the Theory of Drs. Westcott and Hort? or indeed with the Theory of any other person who can be named? We have been examining the new Greek Text of the Revisionists. We have condemned, after furnishing detailed proof, the results at which—by whatever means—that distinguished body of Scholars has arrived. Surely it is competent to us to upset their conclusion, without being constrained also to investigate in detail the illicit logical processes by which two of their number in a separate publication have arrived at far graver results, and often even stand hopelessly apart, the one from the other! We say it in no boastful spirit, but we have an undoubted right to assume, that unless the Revisionists are able by a [pg 241] stronger array of authorities to set aside the evidence we have already brought forward, the calamitous destiny of their “Revision,” so far as the New Testament is concerned, is simply a thing inevitable.

Let it not be imagined, however, from what goes before, that we desire to shirk the proposed encounter with the advocates of this last new Text, or that we entertain the slightest intention of doing so. We willingly accept the assurance, that it is only because Drs. Westcott and Hort are virtually responsible for the Revisers' Greek Text, that it is so imperiously demanded by the Revisers and their partizans, that the Theory of the two Cambridge Professors may be critically examined. We can sympathize also with the secret distress of certain of the body, who now, when it is all too late to remedy the mischief, begin to suspect that they have been led away by the hardihood of self-assertion;—overpowered by the facundia præceps of one who is at least a thorough believer in his own self-evolved opinions;—imposed upon by the seemingly consentient pages of Tischendorf and Tregelles, Westcott and Hort.—Without further preface we begin.

It is presumed that we shall be rendering acceptable service in certain quarters if,—before investigating the particular Theory which has been proposed for consideration,—we endeavour to give the unlearned English Reader some general notion, (it must perforce be a very imperfect one,) of the nature of the controversy to which the Theory now to be considered belongs, and out of which it has sprung. Claiming to be an attempt to determine the Truth of Scripture on scientific principles, the work before us may be regarded as the latest outcome of that violent recoil from the Traditional Greek Text,—that strange impatience of its authority, or [pg 242] rather denial that it possesses any authority at all,—which began with Lachmann just 50 years ago (viz. in 1831), and has prevailed ever since; its most conspicuous promoters being Tregelles (1857-72) and Tischendorf (1865-72).

The true nature of the Principles which respectively animate the two parties in this controversy is at this time as much as ever,—perhaps more than ever,—popularly misunderstood. The common view of the contention in which they are engaged, is certainly the reverse of complimentary to the school of which Dr. Scrivener is the most accomplished living exponent. We hear it confidently asserted that the contention is nothing else but an irrational endeavour on the one part to set up the many modern against the few ancient Witnesses;—the later cursive copies against the “old Uncials;”—inveterate traditional Error against undoubted primitive Truth. The disciples of the new popular school, on the contrary, are represented as relying exclusively on Antiquity. We respectfully assure as many as require the assurance, that the actual contention is of an entirely different nature. But, before we offer a single word in the way of explanation, let the position of our assailants at least be correctly ascertained and clearly established. We have already been constrained to some extent to go over this ground: but we will not repeat ourselves. The Reader is referred back, in the meantime, to pp. 21-24.

Lachmann's ruling principle then, was exclusive reliance on a very few ancient authorities—because they are “ancient.” He constructed his Text on three or four,—not unfrequently on one or two,—Greek codices. Of the Greek Fathers, he relied on Origen. Of the oldest Versions, he cared only for the Latin. To the Syriac (concerning which, see above, p. 9), he paid no attention. We venture to think his method [pg 243] irrational. But this is really a point on which the thoughtful reader is competent to judge for himself. He is invited to read the note at foot of the page.709

Tregelles adopted the same strange method. He resorted to a very few out of the entire mass of “ancient Authorities” for the construction of his Text. His proceeding is exactly that of a man, who—in order that he may the better explore a comparatively unknown region—begins by putting out both his eyes; and resolutely refuses the help of the natives to show him the way. Why he rejected the testimony of every Father of the IVth century, except Eusebius,—it were unprofitable to enquire.

Tischendorf, the last and by far the ablest Critic of the three, knew better than to reject eighty-nine ninetieths of the extant witnesses. He had recourse to the ingenious expedient of adducing all the available evidence, but adopting just as little of it as he chose: and he chose to adopt those readings only, which are vouched for by the same little band of authorities whose partial testimony had already proved fatal to the decrees of Lachmann and Tregelles. Happy in having discovered (in 1859) an uncial codex (א) second in antiquity only to the oldest before known (b), and strongly [pg 244] resembling that famous IVth-century codex in the character of its contents, he suffered his judgment to be overpowered by the circumstance. He at once (1865-72) remodelled his 7th edition (1856-9) in 3505 places,—“to the scandal of the science of Comparative Criticism, as well as to his own grave discredit for discernment and consistency.”710 And yet he knew concerning Cod. א, that at least ten different Revisers from the Vth century downwards had laboured to remedy the scandalously corrupt condition of a text which, “as it proceeded from the first scribe,” even Tregelles describes as very rough.”711 But in fact the infatuation which prevails to this hour in this department of sacred Science can only be spoken of as incredible. Enough has been said to show—(the only point we are bent on establishing)—that the one distinctive tenet of the three most famous Critics since 1831 has been a superstitious reverence for whatever is found in the same little handful of early,—but not the earliest,—nor yet of necessity the purest,—documents.

Against this arbitrary method of theirs we solemnly, stiffly remonstrate. “Strange,” we venture to exclaim, (addressing the living representatives of the school of Lachmann, and Tregelles, and Tischendorf):—“Strange, that you should not perceive that you are the dupes of a fallacy which is even transparent. You talk of ‘Antiquity.’ But you must know very well that you actually mean something different. You fasten upon three, or perhaps four,—on two, or perhaps three,—on one, or perhaps two,—documents of the IVth or Vth century. But then, confessedly, these are one, two, three, or four specimens only of Antiquity,—not ‘Antiquity’ itself. And what if they should even prove to be unfair samples of Antiquity? Thus, you are observed always to [pg 245] quote cod. b or at least cod. א. Pray, why may not the Truth reside instead with a, or c, or d?—You quote the old Latin or the Coptic. Why may not the Peschito or the Sahidic be right rather?—You quote either Origen or else Eusebius,—but why not Didymus and Athanasius, Epiphanius and Basil, Chrysostom and Theodoret, the Gregories and the Cyrils?... It will appear therefore that we are every bit as strongly convinced as you can be of the paramount claims of ‘Antiquity:’ but that, eschewing prejudice and partiality, we differ from you only in this, viz. that we absolutely refuse to bow down before the particular specimens of Antiquity which you have arbitrarily selected as the objects of your superstition. You are illogical enough to propose to include within your list of ‘ancient Authorities,’ codd. 1, 33 and 69,—which are severally MSS. of the Xth, XIth, and XIVth centuries. And why? Only because the Text of those 3 copies is observed to bear a sinister resemblance to that of codex b. But then why, in the name of common sense, do you not show corresponding favour to the remaining 997 cursive Copies of the N. T.,—seeing that these are observed to bear the same general resemblance to codex a?... You are for ever talking about ‘old Readings.’ Have you not yet discovered that all ‘Readings’ are old?”

The last contribution to this department of sacred Science is a critical edition of the New Testament by Drs. Westcott and Hort. About this, we proceed to offer a few remarks.

I. The first thing here which unfavourably arrests attention is the circumstance that this proves to be the only Critical Edition of the New Testament since the days of Mill, which does not even pretend to contribute something to our previous critical knowledge of the subject. Mill it was (1707) who gave us the great bulk of our various Readings; [pg 246] which Bengel (1734) slightly, and Wetstein (1751-2) very considerably, enlarged.—The accurate Matthæi (1782-8) acquainted us with the contents of about 100 codices more; and was followed by Griesbach (1796-1806) with important additional materials.—Birch had in the meantime (1788) culled from the principal libraries of Europe a large assortment of new Readings: while truly marvellous was the accession of evidence which Scholz brought to light in 1830.—And though Lachmann (1842-50) did wondrous little in this department, he yet furnished the critical authority (such as it is) for his own unsatisfactory Text.—Tregelles (1857-72), by his exact collations of MSS. and examination of the earliest Fathers, has laid the Church under an abiding obligation: and what is to be said of Tischendorf (1856-72), who has contributed more to our knowledge than any other editor of the N. T. since the days of Mill?—Dr. Scrivener, though he has not independently edited the original Text, is clearly to be reckoned among those who have, by reason of his large, important, and accurate contributions to our knowledge of ancient documents. Transfer his collections of various Readings to the foot of the page of a copy of the commonly Received Text,—and Scrivener's New Testament712 might stand between the editions of Mill and of Wetstein. Let the truth be told. C. F. Matthæi and he are the only two Scholars who have collated any considerable number of sacred Codices with the needful amount of accuracy.713

[pg 247]

Now, we trust we shall be forgiven if, at the close of the preceding enumeration, we confess to something like displeasure at the oracular tone assumed by Drs. Westcott and Hort in dealing with the Text of Scripture, though they admit (page 90) that they “rely for documentary evidence on the stores accumulated by their predecessors.” Confident as those distinguished Professors may reasonably feel of their ability to dispense with the ordinary appliances of Textual Criticism; and proud (as they must naturally be) of a verifying faculty which (although they are able to give no account of it) yet enables them infallibly to discriminate between the false and the true, as well as to assign “a local habitation and a name” to every word,—inspired or uninspired,—which purports to belong to the N. T.:—they must not be offended with us if we freely assure them at the outset that we shall decline to accept a single argumentative assertion of theirs for which they fail to offer sufficient proof. Their wholly unsupported decrees, at the risk of being thought uncivil, we shall unceremoniously reject, as soon as we have allowed them a hearing.

This resolve bodes ill, we freely admit, to harmonious progress. But it is inevitable. For, to speak plainly, we never before met with such a singular tissue of magisterial statements, unsupported by a particle of rational evidence, as we meet with here. The abstruse gravity, the long-winded earnestness of the writer's manner, contrast whimsically with the utterly inconsequential character of his antecedents [pg 248] and his consequents throughout. Professor Hort—(for “the writing of the volume and the other accompaniments of the Text devolved” on him,714)—Dr. Hort seems to mistake his Opinions for facts,—his Assertions for arguments,—and a Reiteration of either for an accession of evidence. There is throughout the volume, apparently, a dread of Facts which is even extraordinary. An actual illustration of the learned Author's meaning,—a concrete case,—seems as if it were never forthcoming. At last it comes: but the phenomenon is straightway discovered to admit of at least two interpretations, and therefore never to prove the thing intended. In a person of high education,—in one accustomed to exact reasoning,—we should have supposed all this impossible.... But it is high time to unfold the Introduction at the first page, and to begin to read.

II. It opens (p. 1-11) with some unsatisfactory Remarks on “Transmission by Writing;” vague and inaccurate,—unsupported by one single Textual reference,—and labouring under the grave defect of leaving the most instructive phenomena of the problem wholly untouched. For, inasmuch as “Transmission by writing” involves two distinct classes of errors, (1st) Those which are the result of Accident,—and (2ndly) Those which are the result of Design,—it is to use a Reader badly not to take the earliest opportunity of explaining to him that what makes codd. b א d such utterly untrustworthy guides, (except when supported by a large amount of extraneous evidence,) is the circumstance that Design had evidently so much to do with a vast proportion of the peculiar errors in which they severally abound. In other words, each of those codices clearly exhibits a fabricated Text,—is the result of arbitrary and reckless Recension.

[pg 249]

Now, this is not a matter of opinion, but of fact. In S. Luke's Gospel alone (collated with the traditional Text) the transpositions in codex b amount to 228,—affecting 654 words: in codex d, to 464,—affecting 1401 words. Proceeding with our examination of the same Gospel according to S. Luke, we find that the words omitted in b are 757,—in d, 1552. The words substituted in b amount to 309,—in d, to 1006. The readings peculiar to b are 138, and affect 215 words;—those peculiar to d, are 1731, and affect 4090 words. Wondrous few of these can have been due to accidental causes. The Text of one or of both codices must needs be depraved. (As for א, it is so frequently found in accord with b, that out of consideration for our Readers, we omit the corresponding figures.)

We turn to codd. a and c—(executed, suppose, a hundred years after b, and a hundred years before d)—and the figures are found to be as follows:—

In a.In c.
The transpositions are7567
affecting199 words197
The words omitted are208175
The words substituted111115
The peculiar readings9087
affecting131 words127

Now, (as we had occasion to explain in a previous page,715) it is entirely to misunderstand the question, to object that the preceding Collation has been made with the Text of Stephanus open before us. Robert Etienne in the XVIth century was not the cause why cod. b in the IVth, and cod. d in the VIth, are so widely discordant from one another; a and c, so utterly at variance with both. The simplest [pg 250] explanation of the phenomena is the truest; namely, that b and d exhibit grossly depraved Texts;—a circumstance of which it is impossible that the ordinary Reader should be too soon or too often reminded. But to proceed.

III. Some remarks follow, on what is strangely styled “Transmission by printed Editions:” in the course of which Dr. Hort informs us that Lachmann's Text of 1831 was “the first founded on documentary authority.”716... On what then, pray, does the learned Professor imagine that the Texts of Erasmus (1516) and of Stunica (1522) were founded? His statement is incorrect. The actual difference between Lachmann's Text and those of the earlier Editors is, that his “documentary authority” is partial, narrow, self-contradictory; and is proved to be untrustworthy by a free appeal to Antiquity. Their documentary authority, derived from independent sources,—though partial and narrow as that on which Lachmann relied,—exhibits (under the good Providence of God,) a Traditional Text, the general purity of which is demonstrated by all the evidence which 350 years of subsequent research have succeeded in accumulating; and which is confessedly the Text of a.d. 375.

IV. We are favoured, in the third place, with the “History of this Edition:” in which the point that chiefly arrests attention is the explanation afforded of the many and serious occasions on which Dr. Westcott (“W.”) and Dr. Hort (“H.”), finding it impossible to agree, have set down their respective notions separately and subscribed them with their respective initial. We are reminded of what was wittily said concerning Richard Baxter: viz. that even if no one but himself existed in the Church, “Richard” would still be found to [pg 251] disagree with “Baxter,”—and “Baxter” with “Richard”.... We read with uneasiness that

no individual mind can ever act with perfect uniformity, or free itself completely from its own Idiosyncrasies; and that the danger of unconscious Caprice is inseparable from personal judgment.—(p. 17.)

All this reminds us painfully of certain statements made by the same Editors in 1870:—

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.—(pp. xviii., xix.)

May we be permitted without offence to point out (not for the first time) that “idiosyncrasies” and “unconscious caprice,” and the fancies of the “individual mind,” can be allowed no place whatever in a problem of such gravity and importance as the present? Once admit such elements, and we are safe to find ourselves in cloud-land to-morrow. A weaker foundation on which to build, is not to be named. And when we find that the learned Professors “venture to hope that the present Text has escaped some risks of this kind by being the production of two Editors of different habits of mind, working independently and to a great extent on different plans,”—we can but avow our conviction that the safeguard is altogether inadequate. When two men, devoted to the same pursuit, are in daily confidential intercourse on such a subject, the natural illusions of either have a marvellous tendency to communicate themselves. Their Reader's only protection is rigidly to insist on the production of Proof for everything which these authors say.

V. The dissertation on “Intrinsic” and “Transcriptional Probability” which follows (pp. 20-30),—being unsupported by one single instance or illustration,—we pass by. It ignores [pg 252] throughout the fact, that the most serious corruptions of MSS. are due, not to “Scribes” or “Copyists,” (of whom, by the way, we find perpetual mention every time we open the page;) but to the persons who employed them. So far from thinking with Dr. Hort that “the value of the evidence obtained from Transcriptional Probability is incontestable,”—for that, “without its aid, Textual Criticism could rarely obtain a high degree of security,” (p. 24,)—we venture to declare that inasmuch as one expert's notions of what is “transcriptionally probable” prove to be the diametrical reverse of another expert's notions, the supposed evidence to be derived from this source may, with advantage, be neglected altogether. Let the study of Documentary Evidence be allowed to take its place. Notions of “Probability” are the very pest of those departments of Science which admit of an appeal to Fact.

VI. A signal proof of the justice of our last remark is furnished by the plea which is straightway put in (pp. 30-1) for the superior necessity of attending to “the relative antecedent credibility of Witnesses.” In other words, “The comparative trustworthiness of documentary Authorities” is proposed as a far weightier consideration than “Intrinsic” and “Transcriptional Probability.” Accordingly we are assured (in capital letters) that “Knowledge of Documents should precede final judgment upon readings” (p. 31).

“Knowledge”! Yes, but how acquired? Suppose two rival documents,—cod. a and cod. b. May we be informed how you would proceed with respect to them?

Where one of the documents is found habitually to contain morally certain, or at least strongly preferred, Readings,—and the other habitually to contain their rejected rivals,—we [i.e. Dr. Hort] can have no doubt that the Text of the first has been [pg 253] transmitted in comparative purity; and that the Text of the second has suffered comparatively large corruption.—(p. 32.)

But can such words have been written seriously? Is it gravely pretended that Readings become morally certain,” because they are strongly preferred? Are we (in other words) seriously invited to admit that the strong preference of “the individual mind” is to be the ultimate standard of appeal? If so, though you (Dr. Hort) may have no doubt as to which is the purer manuscript,—see you not plainly that a man of different “idiosyncrasy” from yourself, may just as reasonably claim to “have no doubt”that you are mistaken?... One is reminded of a passage in p. 61: viz.—

If we find in any group of documents a succession of Readings exhibiting an exceptional purity of text, that is,—Readings which the fullest consideration of Internal Evidence pronounces to be right, in opposition to formidable arrays of Documentary Evidence; the cause must be that, as far at least as these Readings are concerned, some one exceptionally pure MS. was the common ancestor of all the members of the group.

But how does that appear? “The cause” may be the erroneous judgment of the Critic,—may it not?... Dr. Hort is for setting up what his own inner consciousness “pronounces to be right,” against “Documentary Evidence,” however multitudinous. He claims that his own verifying faculty shall be supreme,—shall settle every question. Can he be in earnest?

VII. We are next introduced to the subject of “Genealogical Evidence” (p. 39); and are made attentive: for we speedily find ourselves challenged to admit that a “total change in the bearing of the evidence” is “made by the introduction of the factor of Genealogy” (p. 43). Presuming that the meaning of the learned Writer must rather be that if we did but know the genealogy of MSS., we should be in a position to reason more confidently concerning their Texts,—we [pg 254] read on: and speedily come to a second axiom (which is again printed in capital letters), viz. that “All trustworthy restoration of corrupted Texts is founded on the study of their History” (p. 40). We really read and wonder. Are we then engaged in the “restoration of corrupted Texts”? If so,—which be they? We require—(1) To be shown the corrupted Texts referred to: and then—(2) To be convinced that “the study of their History—(as distinguished from an examination of the evidence for or against their Readings)—is a thing feasible.

A simple instance (says Dr. Hort) will show at once the practical bearing of the principle here laid down.—(p. 40.)

But (as usual) Dr. Hort produces no instance. He merely proceeds to “suppose” a case (§ 50), which he confesses (§ 53) does not exist. So that we are moving in a land of shadows. And this, he straightway follows up by the assertion that

it would be difficult to insist too strongly on the transformation of the superficial aspects of numerical authority effected by recognition of Genealogy.—(p. 43.)

Presently, he assures us that

a few documents are not, by reason of their mere paucity, appreciably less likely to be right than a multitude opposed to them. (p. 45.)

On this head, we take leave to entertain a somewhat different opinion. Apart from the character of the Witnesses, when 5 men say one thing, and 995 say the exact contradictory, we are apt to regard it even as axiomatic that, “by reason of their mere paucity,” the few “are appreciably far less likely to be right than the multitude opposed to them.” Dr. Hort seems to share our opinion; for he remarks,—

A presumption indeed remains that a majority of extant documents is more likely to represent a majority of ancestral documents, than vice versâ.
[pg 255]

Exactly so! We meant, and we mean that, and no other thing. But then, we venture to point out, that the learned Professor considerably understates the case: seeing that the vice versâ presumption is absolutely non-existent. On the other hand, apart from Proof to the contrary, we are disposed to maintain that “a majority of extant documents” in the proportion of 995 to 5,—and sometimes of 1999 to 1,—creates more than “a presumption.” It amounts to Proof of “a majority of ancestral documents”.

Not so thinks Dr. Hort. “This presumption,” (he seems to have persuaded himself,) may be disposed of by his mere assertion that it “is too minute to weigh against the smallest tangible evidence of other kinds” (Ibid.). As usual, however, he furnishes us with no evidence at all,—“tangible” or “intangible.” Can he wonder if we smile at his unsupported dictum, and pass on?... The argumentative import of his twenty weary pages on “Genealogical Evidence” (pp. 39-59), appears to be resolvable into the following barren truism: viz. That if, out of 10 copies of Scripture, 9 could be proved to have been executed from one and the same common original (p. 41), those 9 would cease to be regarded as 9 independent witnesses. But does the learned Critic really require to be told that we want no diagram of an imaginary case (p. 54) to convince us of that?

The one thing here which moves our astonishment, is, that Dr. Hort does not seem to reflect that therefore (indeed by his own showing) codices b and א, having been demonstrably “executed from one and the same common original,” are not to be reckoned as two independent witnesses to the Text of the New Testament, but as little more than one. (See p. 257.)

High time however is it to declare that, in strictness, all this talk about “Genealogical evidence,” when applied to [pg 256] Manuscripts, is—moonshine. The expression is metaphorical, and assumes that it has fared with MSS. as it fares with the successive generations of a family; and so, to a remarkable extent, no doubt, it has. But then, it happens, unfortunately, that we are unacquainted with one single instance of a known MS. copied from another known MS. And perforce all talk about “Genealogical evidence,” where no single step in the descent can be produced,—in other words, where no Genealogical evidence exists,—is absurd. The living inhabitants of a village, congregated in the churchyard where the bodies of their forgotten progenitors for 1000 years repose without memorials of any kind,—is a faint image of the relation which subsists between extant copies of the Gospels and the sources from which they were derived. That, in either case, there has been repeated mixture, is undeniable; but since the Parish-register is lost, and not a vestige of Tradition survives, it is idle to pretend to argue on that part of the subject. It may be reasonably assumed however that those 50 yeomen, bearing as many Saxon surnames, indicate as many remote ancestors of some sort. That they represent as many families, is at least a fact. Further we cannot go.

But the illustration is misleading, because inadequate. Assemble rather an Englishman, an Irishman, a Scot; a Frenchman, a German, a Spaniard; a Russian, a Pole, an Hungarian; an Italian, a Greek, a Turk. From Noah these 12 are all confessedly descended; but if they are silent, and you know nothing whatever about their antecedents,—your remarks about their respective “genealogies” must needs prove as barren—as Dr. Hort's about the “genealogies” of copies of Scripture. The factor of Genealogy,” in short, in this discussion, represents a mere phantom of the brain: is the name of an imagination—not of a fact.

[pg 257]

The nearest approximation to the phenomenon about which Dr. Hort writes so glibly, is supplied—(1) by Codd. f and g of S. Paul, which are found to be independent transcripts of the same venerable lost original:—(2) by Codd. 13, 69, 124 and 346, which were confessedly derived from one and the same queer archetype: and especially—(3) by Codd. b and א. These two famous manuscripts, because they are disfigured exclusively by the self-same mistakes, are convicted of being descended (and not very remotely) from the self-same very corrupt original. By consequence, the combined evidence of f and g is but that of a single codex. Evan. 13, 69, 124, 346, when they agree, would be conveniently designated by a symbol, or a single capital letter. Codd. b and א, as already hinted (p. 255), are not to be reckoned as two witnesses. Certainly, they have not nearly the Textual significancy and importance of B in conjunction with a, or of a in conjunction with c. At best, they do but equal 1-½ copies. Nothing of this kind however is what Drs. Westcott and Hort intend to convey,—or indeed seem to understand.

VIII. It is not until we reach p. 94, that these learned men favour us with a single actual appeal to Scripture. At p. 90, Dr. Hort,—who has hitherto been skirmishing over the ground, and leaving us to wonder what in the world it can be that he is driving at,—announces a chapter on the “Results of Genealogical evidence proper;” and proposes to “determine the Genealogical relations of the chief ancient Texts.” Impatient for argument, (at page 92,) we read as follows:—

The fundamental Text of late extant Greek MSS. generally is beyond all question identical with the dominant Antiochian or Græco-Syrian Text of the second half of the fourth century.

We request, in passing, that the foregoing statement may be carefully noted. The Traditional Greek Text of the New [pg 258] Testament,—the Textus Receptus, in short,—is, according to Dr. Hort, beyond all question the Text of the second half of the fourth century.” We shall gratefully avail ourselves of his candid admission, by and by.

Having thus assumed a “dominant Antiochian or Græco-Syrian text of the second half of the IVth century,” Dr. H. attempts, by an analysis of what he is pleased to call conflate Readings,” to prove the “posteriority of ‘Syrian’ to ‘Western’ and other ‘Neutral’ readings.”... Strange method of procedure! seeing that, of those second and third classes of readings, we have not as yet so much as heard the names. Let us however without more delay be shown those specimens of “Conflation” which, in Dr. Hort's judgment, supply “the clearest evidence” (p. 94) that “Syrian” are posterior alike to “Western” and to “Neutral readings.” Of these, after 30 years of laborious research, Dr. Westcott and he flatter themselves that they have succeeded in detecting eight.

IX. Now because, on the one hand, it would be unreasonable to fill up the space at our disposal with details which none but professed students will care to read;—and because, on the other, we cannot afford to pass by anything in these pages which pretends to be of the nature of proof;—we have consigned our account of Dr. Hort's 8 instances of Conflation (which prove to be less than 7) to the foot of the page.717

[pg 259]

And, after an attentive survey of the Textual phenomena connected with these 7 specimens, we are constrained to [pg 260] assert that the interpretation put upon them by Drs. Westcott and Hort, is purely arbitrary: a baseless imagination,—a [pg 261] dream and nothing more. Something has been attempted analogous to the familiar fallacy, in Divinity, of building a [pg 262] false and hitherto unheard-of doctrine on a few isolated places of Scripture, divorced from their context. The actual facts of the case shall be submitted to the judgement of learned and unlearned Readers alike: and we promise beforehand to abide by the unprejudiced verdict of either:—

(a) S. Mark's Gospel is found to contain in all 11,646 words: of which (collated with the Traditional Text) a omits 138: b, 762: א, 870: d, 900.—S. Luke contains 19,941 words: of which a omits 208: b, 757; א, 816: d, no less than 1552. (Let us not be told that the traditional Text is itself not altogether trustworthy. That is a matter entirely beside the question just now before the Reader,—as we have already, over and over again, had occasion to explain.718 Codices must needs all alike be compared with something,—must perforce all alike be referred to some one common standard: and we, for our part, are content to employ (as every Critic has been content before us) the traditional Text, as the most convenient standard that can be named. So employed, (viz. as a standard of comparison, not of excellence,) the commonly Received Text, more conveniently than any other, reveals—certainly does not occasion—different degrees of discrepancy. And now, to proceed.)

[pg 263]

(b) Dr. Hort has detected four instances in S. Mark's Gospel, only three in S. Luke's—seven in all—where Codices b א and d happen to concur in making an omission at the same place, but not of the same words. We shall probably be best understood if we produce an instance of the thing spoken of: and no fairer example can be imagined than the last of the eight, of which Dr. Hort says,—“This simple instance needs no explanation” (p. 104). Instead of αἰνοῦντες καὶ εὐλογοῦντες,—(which is the reading of every known copy of the Gospels except five,)—א b c l exhibit only εὐλογοῦντες: d, only αἰνοῦντες. (To speak quite accurately, א b c l omit αἰνοῦντες καί and are followed by Westcott and Hort: d omits καὶ εὐλογοῦντες, and is followed by Tischendorf. Lachmann declines to follow either. Tregelles doubts.)

(c) Now, upon this (and the six other instances, which however prove to be a vast deal less apt for their purpose than the present), these learned men have gratuitously built up the following extravagant and astonishing theory:—

(d) They assume,—(they do not attempt to prove: in fact they never prove anything:)—(1) That αἰνοῦντες καί—and καὶ εὐλογοῦντες—are respectively fragments of two independent Primitive Texts, which they arbitrarily designate as “Western” and “Neutral,” respectively:—(2) That the latter of the two, [only however because it is vouched for by b and א,] must needs exhibit what the Evangelist actually wrote: [though why it must, these learned men forget to explain:]—(3) That in the middle of the IIIrd and of the IVth century the two Texts referred to were with design and by authority welded together, and became (what the same irresponsible Critics are pleased to call) the “Syrian text.”—(4) That αἰνοῦντες καὶ εὐλογοῦντες, being thus shown [?] to be “a Syrian Conflation,” may be rejected at once. (Notes, p. 73.)

[pg 264]

X. But we demur to this weak imagination, (which only by courtesy can be called a Theory,”) on every ground, and are constrained to remonstrate with our would-be Guides at every step. They assume everything. They prove nothing. And the facts of the case lend them no favour at all. For first,—We only find εὐλογοῦντες standing alone, in two documents of the IVth century, in two of the Vth, and in one of the VIIIth: while, for αἰνοῦντες standing alone, the only Greek voucher producible is a notoriously corrupt copy of the VIth century. True, that here a few copies of the old Latin side with d: but then a few copies also side with the traditional Text: and Jerome is found to have adjudicated between their rival claims in favour of the latter. The probabilities of the case are in fact simply overwhelming; for, since d omits 1552 words out of 19,941 (i.e. about one word in 13), why may not καὶ εὐλογοῦντες be two of the words it omits,—in which case there has been no “Conflation”?

Nay, look into the matter a little more closely:—(for surely, before we put up with this queer illusion, it is our duty to look it very steadily in the face:)—and note, that in this last chapter of S. Luke's Gospel, which consists of 837 words, no less than 121 are omitted by cod. d. To state the case differently,—d is observed to leave out one word in seven in the very chapter of S. Luke which supplies the instance of “Conflation” under review. What possible significance therefore can be supposed to attach to its omission of the clause καὶ εὐλογοῦντες? And since, mutatis mutandis, the same remarks apply to the 6 remaining cases,—(for one, viz. the [7th], is clearly an oversight,)—will any Reader of ordinary fairness and intelligence be surprised to hear that we reject the assumed “Conflation” unconditionally, as a silly dream? It is founded entirely upon the omission of 21 (or at most 42) words out of a total of 31,587 from Codd. b א d. And [pg 265] yet it is demonstrable that out of that total, b omits 1519: א, 1686: d, 2452. The occasional coincidence in Omission of b + א and d, was in a manner inevitable, and is undeserving of notice. If,—(which is as likely as not,)—on six occasions, b + א and d have but omitted different words in the same sentence, then there has been no “Conflation”; and the (so-called) “Theory,” which was to have revolutionized the Text of the N. T., is discovered to rest absolutely upon nothing. It bursts, like a very thin bubble: floats away like a film of gossamer, and disappears from sight.

But further, as a matter of fact, at least five out of the eight instances cited,—viz. the [1st], [2nd], [5th], [6th], [7th],—fail to exhibit the alleged phenomena: conspicuously ought never to have been adduced. For, in the [1st], d merely abridges the sentence: in the [2nd], it paraphrases 11 words by 11; and in the [6th], it paraphrases 12 words by 9. In the [5th], b d merely abridge. The utmost residuum of fact which survives, is therefore as follows:—

[3rd]. In a sentence of 11 words, b א omit 4: d other 4.
[4th]. " " 9 words, b א omit 5: d other 5.
[8th]. " " 5 words, b א omit 2: d other 2.

But if this be “the clearest Evidence” (p. 94) producible for “the Theory of Conflation,”—then, the less said about the “Theory,” the better for the credit of its distinguished Inventors. How any rational Textual Theory is to be constructed out of the foregoing Omissions, we fail to divine. But indeed the whole matter is demonstrably a weak imagination,—a dream, and nothing more.

XI. In the meantime, Drs. Westcott and Hort, instead of realizing the insecurity of the ground under their feet, proceed gravely to build upon it, and to treat their hypothetical [pg 266] assumptions as well-ascertained facts. They imagine that they have already been led by “independent Evidence” to regard “the longer readings as conflate each from the two earlier readings:”—whereas, up to p. 105 (where the statement occurs), they have really failed to produce a single particle of evidence, direct or indirect, for their opinion. “We have found reason to believe” the Readings of א b l, (say they,) “to be the original Readings.”—But why, if this is the case, have they kept their “finding” so entirely to themselves?—No reason whatever have they assigned for their belief. The Reader is presently assured (p. 106) that it is certain that the Readings exhibited by the traditional Text in the eight supposed cases of “Conflation” are all posterior in date to the fragmentary readings exhibited by b and d. But, once more, What is the ground of this “certainty”?—Presently (viz. in p. 107), the Reader meets with the further assurance that

the proved actual use of [shorter] documents in the conflate Readings renders their use elsewhere a vera causa in the Newtonian sense.

But, once more,—Where and what is the “proof” referred to? May a plain man, sincerely in search of Truth,—after wasting many precious hours over these barren pages—be permitted to declare that he resents such solemn trifling? (He craves to be forgiven if he avows that Pickwickian—not “Newtonian”—was the epithet which solicited him, when he had to transcribe for the Printer the passage which immediately precedes.)

XII. Next come 8 pages (pp. 107-15) headed—“Posteriority of ‘Syrian’ to ‘Western’ and other (neutral and ‘Alexandrian’) Readings, shown by Ante-Nicene Patristic evidence.”

In which however we are really “shown” nothing of the sort. Bold Assertions abound, (as usual with this respected [pg 267] writer,) but Proof he never attempts any. Not a particle of “Evidence” is adduced.—Next come 5 pages headed,—“Posteriority of Syrian to Western, Alexandrian, and other (neutral) Readings, shown by Internal evidence of Syrian readings” (p. 115).

But again we are shown absolutely nothing: although we are treated to the assurance that we have been shown many wonders. Thus, “the Syrian conflate Readings have shown the Syrian text to be posterior to at least two ancient forms still extant” (p. 115): which is the very thing they have signally failed to do. Next,

Patristic evidence has shown that these two ancient Texts, and also a third, must have already existed early in the third century, and suggested very strong grounds for believing that in the middle of the century the Syrian Text had not yet been formed.

Whereas no single appeal has been made to the evidence supplied by one single ancient Father!—

Another step is gained by a close examination of all Readings distinctively Syrian.—(Ibid.)

And yet we are never told which the “Readings distinctively Syrian” are,—although they are henceforth referred to in every page. Neither are we instructed how to recognize them when we see them; which is unfortunate, since “it follows,”—(though we entirely fail to see from what,)—“that all distinctively Syrian Readings may be set aside at once as certainly originating after the middle of the third century.” (p. 117) ... Let us hear a little more on the subject:—

The same Facts—(though Dr. Hort has not hitherto favoured us with any)—lead to another conclusion of equal or even greater importance respecting non-distinctive Syrian Readings ... Since the Syrian Text is only a modified eclectic combination of earlier Texts independently attested,

(for it is in this confident style that these eminent Scholars [pg 268] handle the problem they undertook to solve, but as yet have failed even to touch),—

existing documents descended from it can attest nothing but itself.—(p. 118.)

Presently, we are informed that “it follows from what has been said above,”—(though how it follows, we fail to see,)—“that all Readings in which the Pre-Syrian texts concur, must be accepted at once as the Apostolic Readings:” and that “all distinctively Syrian Readings must be at once rejected.”—(p. 119.)

Trenchant decrees of this kind at last arrest attention. It becomes apparent that we have to do with a Writer who has discovered a summary way of dealing with the Text of Scripture, and who is prepared to impart his secret to any who care to accept—without questioning—his views. We look back to see where this accession of confidence began, and are reminded that at p. 108 Dr. Hort announced that for convenience he should henceforth speak of certain “groups of documents,” by the conventional names “Western”“Pre-Syrian”“Alexandrian”—and so forth. Accordingly, ever since, (sometimes eight or ten times in the course of a single page,719) we have encountered this arbitrary terminology: have been required to accept it as the expression of ascertained facts in Textual Science. Not till we find ourselves floundering in the deep mire, do we become fully aware of the absurdity of our position. Then at last, (and high time too!), we insist on knowing what on earth our Guide is about, and whither he is proposing to lead us?... More considerate to our Readers than he has been to us, we propose before going any further, (instead of mystifying the subject as Dr. Hort has done,) to state in a few plain words what [pg 269] the present Theory, divested of pedantry and circumlocution, proves to be; and what is Dr. Hort's actual contention.

XIII. The one great Fact, which especially troubles him and his joint Editor,720—(as well it may)—is The Traditional Greek Text of the New Testament Scriptures. Call this Text Erasmian or Complutensian,—the Text of Stephens, or of Beza, or of the Elzevirs,—call it the “Received,” or the Traditional Greek Text, or whatever other name you please;—the fact remains, that a Text has come down to us which is attested by a general consensus of ancient Copies, ancient Fathers, ancient Versions. This, at all events, is a point on which, (happily,) there exists entire conformity of opinion between Dr. Hort and ourselves. Our Readers cannot have yet forgotten his virtual admission that,—Beyond all question the Textus Receptus is the dominant Græco-Syrian Text of a.d. 350 to a.d. 400.721

Obtained from a variety of sources, this Text proves to be essentially the same in all. That it requires Revision in respect of many of its lesser details, is undeniable: but it is at least as certain that it is an excellent Text as it stands, and that the use of it will never lead critical students of Scripture seriously astray,—which is what no one will venture to predicate concerning any single Critical Edition of the N. T. which has been published since the days of Griesbach, by the disciples of Griesbach's school.

XIV. In marked contrast to the Text we speak of,—(which is identical with the Text of every extant Lectionary of the Greek Church, and may therefore reasonably claim to be spoken of as the Traditional Text,)—is that contained in a [pg 270] little handful of documents of which the most famous are codices b א, and the Coptic Version (as far as it is known), on the one hand,—cod. d and the old Latin copies, on the other. To magnify the merits of these, as helps and guides, and to ignore their many patent and scandalous defects and blemishes:—per fas et nefas to vindicate their paramount authority wherever it is in any way possible to do so; and when that is clearly impossible, then to treat their errors as the ancient Egyptians treated their cats, dogs, monkeys, and other vermin,—namely, to embalm them, and pay them Divine honours:—such for the last 50 years has been the practice of the dominant school of Textual Criticism among ourselves. The natural and even necessary correlative of this, has been the disparagement of the merits of the commonly Received Text: which has come to be spoken of, (we know not why,) as contemptuously, almost as bitterly, as if it had been at last ascertained to be untrustworthy in every respect: a thing undeserving alike of a place and of a name among the monuments of the Past. Even to have “used the Received Text as a basis for correction (p. 184) is stigmatized by Dr. Hort as one “great cause” why Griesbach went astray.

XV. Drs. Westcott and Hort have in fact outstripped their predecessors in this singular race. Their absolute contempt for the Traditional Text,—their superstitious veneration for a few ancient documents; (which documents however they freely confess are not more ancient than the “Traditional Text” which they despise;)—knows no bounds. But the thing just now to be attended to is the argumentative process whereby they seek to justify their preference.—Lachmann avowedly took his stand on a very few of the oldest known documents: and though Tregelles slightly enlarged the area of his predecessor's observations, his method was practically identical with that of Lachmann.—Tischendorf, appealing to every [pg 271] known authority, invariably shows himself regardless of the evidence he has himself accumulated. Where certain of the uncials are,—there his verdict is sure also to be.... Anything more unscientific, more unphilosophical, more transparently foolish than such a method, can scarcely be conceived: but it has prevailed for 50 years, and is now at last more hotly than ever advocated by Drs. Westcott and Hort. Only, (to their credit be it recorded,) they have had the sense to perceive that it must needs be recommended by Arguments of some sort, or else it will inevitably fall to pieces the first fine day any one is found to charge it, with the necessary knowledge of the subject, and with sufficient resoluteness of purpose, to make him a formidable foe.

XVI. Their expedient has been as follows.—Aware that the Received or Traditional Greek Text (to quote their own words,) is virtually identical with that used by Chrysostom and other Antiochian Fathers in the latter part of the IVth century:” and fully alive to the fact that it must therefore have been represented by Manuscripts as old as any which are now surviving (Text, p. 547),—they have invented an extraordinary Hypothesis in order to account for its existence:—

They assume that the writings of Origen “establish the prior existence of at least three types of Text:”—the most clearly marked of which, they call the “Western:”—another, less prominent, they designate as “Alexandrian:”—the third holds (they say) a middle or “Neutral” position. (That all this is mere moonshine,—a day-dream and no more,—we shall insist, until some proofs have been produced that the respected Authors are moving amid material forms,—not discoursing with the creations of their own brain.) “The priority of two at least of these three Texts just noticed to the Syrian Text,” they are confident has been established by the eight conflate [pg 272] Syrian Readings which they flatter themselves they have already resolved into their “Western” and “Neutral” elements (Text, p. 547). This, however, is a part of the subject on which we venture to hope that our Readers by this time have formed a tolerably clear opinion for themselves. The ground has been cleared of the flimsy superstructure which these Critics have been 30 years in raising, ever since we blew away (pp. 258-65) the airy foundation on which it rested.

At the end of some confident yet singularly hazy statements concerning the characteristics of “Western” (pp. 120-6), of “Neutral” (126-30), and of “Alexandrian” Readings (130-2), Dr. Hort favours us with the assurance that—

The Syrian Text, to which the order of time now brings us, is the chief monument of a new period of textual history.—(p. 132.)

Now, the three great lines were brought together, and made to contribute to the formation of a new Text different from all.—(p. 133.)

Let it only be carefully remembered that it is of something virtually identical with the Textus Receptus that we are just now reading an imaginary history, and it is presumed that the most careless will be made attentive.

The Syrian Text must in fact be the result of a Recension, ... performed deliberately by Editors, and not merely by Scribes.—(Ibid.)

But why “must” it? Instead of must in fact,” we are disposed to read may—in fiction.” The learned Critic can but mean that, on comparing the Text of Fathers of the IVth century with the Text of cod. b, it becomes to himself self-evident that one of the two has been fabricated. Granted. Then,—Why should not the solitary Codex be the offending party? For what imaginable reason should cod. b,—which comes to us without a character, and which, when tried by [pg 273] the test of primitive Antiquity, stands convicted of universa vitiositas,” (to use Tischendorf's expression);—why (we ask) should codex b be upheld “contra mundum”?... Dr. Hort proceeds—(still speaking of the [imaginary] Syrian Text),—

It was probably initiated by the distracting and inconvenient currency of at least three conflicting Texts in the same region.—(p. 133.)

Well but,—Would it not have been more methodical if “the currency of at least three conflicting Texts in the same region,” had been first demonstrated? or, at least, shown to be a thing probable? Till this “distracting” phenomenon has been to some extent proved to have any existence in fact, what possible “probability” can be claimed for the history of a “Recension,”—which very Recension, up to this point, has not been proved to have ever taken place at all?

Each Text may perhaps have found a Patron in some leading personage or see, and thus have seemed to call for a conciliation of rival claims.—(p. 134.)

Why yes, to be sure,—“each Text [if it existed] may perhaps [or perhaps may not] have found a Patron in some leading personage [as Dr. Hort or Dr. Scrivener in our own days]:” but then, be it remembered, this will only have been possible,—(a) If the Recension ever took place: and—(b) If it was conducted after the extraordinary fashion which prevailed in the Jerusalem Chamber from 1870 to 1881: for which we have the unimpeachable testimony of an eye-witness;722 confirmed by the Chairman of the Revisionist body,—by whom in fact it was deliberately invented.723

But then, since not a shadow of proof is forthcoming that any such Recension as Dr. Hort imagines ever took place at all,—what else but a purely gratuitous exercise of [pg 274] the imaginative faculty is it, that Dr. Hort should proceed further to invent the method which might, or could, or would, or should have been pursued, if it had taken place?

Having however in this way (1) Assumed a “Syrian Recension,”—(2) Invented the cause of it,—and (3) Dreamed the process by which it was carried into execution,—the Critic hastens, more suo, to characterize the historical result in the following terms:—

The qualities which the Authors of the Syrian text seem to have most desired to impress on it are lucidity and completeness. They were evidently anxious to remove all stumbling-blocks out of the way of the ordinary reader, so far as this could be done without recourse to violent measures. They were apparently equally desirous that he should have the benefit of instructive matter contained in all the existing Texts, provided it did not confuse the context or introduce seeming contradictions. New Omissions accordingly are rare, and where they occur are usually found to contribute to apparent simplicity. New Interpolations, on the other hand, are abundant, most of them being due to harmonistic or other assimilation, fortunately capricious and incomplete. Both in matter and in diction the Syrian Text is conspicuously a full Text. It delights in Pronouns, Conjunctions, and Expletives and supplied links of all kinds, as well as in more considerable Additions. As distinguished from the bold vigour of the Western scribes, and the refined scholarship of the Alexandrians, the spirit of its own corrections is at once sensible and feeble. Entirely blameless, on either literary or religious grounds, as regards vulgarized or unworthy diction, yet shewing no marks of either Critical or Spiritual insight, it presents the New Testament in a form smooth and attractive, but appreciably impoverished in sense and force; more fitted for cursory perusal or recitation than for repeated and diligent study.—(pp. 134-5.)

XVII. We forbear to offer any remarks on this. We should be thought uncivil were we to declare our own candid estimate of “the critical and spiritual” perception of the man who could permit himself so to write. We prefer to proceed [pg 275] with our sketch of the Theory, (of the Dream rather,) which is intended to account for the existence of the Traditional Text of the N. T.: only venturing again to submit that surely it would have been high time to discuss the characteristics which “the Authors of the Syrian Text” impressed upon their work, when it had been first established—or at least rendered probable—that the supposed Operators and that the assumed Operation have any existence except in the fertile brain of this distinguished and highly imaginative writer.

XVIII. Now, the first consideration which strikes us as fatal to Dr. Hort's unsupported conjecture concerning the date of the Text he calls “Syrian” or “Antiochian,” is the fact that what he so designates bears a most inconvenient resemblance to the Peschito or ancient Syriac Version; which, like the old Latin, is (by consent of the Critics) generally assigned to the second century of our era. “It is at any rate no stretch of imagination,” (according to Bp. Ellicott,) “to suppose that portions of it might have been in the hands of S. John.” [p. 26.] Accordingly, these Editors assure us that—

the only way of explaining the whole body of facts is to suppose that the Syriac, like the Latin Version, underwent Revision long after its origin; and that our ordinary Syriac MSS. represent not the primitive but the altered Syriac Text.—(p. 136.)

A Revision of the old Syriac Version appears to have taken place 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.—(Text, 552.)

Till recently, the Peschito has been known only in the form which it finally received by an evidently authoritative Revision,a Syriac Vulgate answering to the Latin Vulgate.—(p. 84.)

Historical antecedents render it tolerably certain that the locality of such an authoritative Revision—(which Revision however, be it observed, still rests wholly on unsupported conjecture)—would be either Edessa or Nisibis.—(p. 136.)

[pg 276]

In the meantime, the abominably corrupt document known as “Cureton's Syriac,” is, by another bold hypothesis, assumed to be the only surviving specimen of the unrevised Version, and is henceforth invariably designated by these authors as “the old Syriac;” and referred to, as “syr. vt.,”—(in imitation of the Latin vetus): the venerable Peschito being referred to as the “Vulgate Syriac,”“syr. vg.”

When therefore we find large and peculiar coincidences between the revised Syriac Text and the Text of the Antiochian Fathers of the latter part of the IVth century,—[of which coincidences, (be it remarked in passing,) the obvious explanation is, that the Texts referred to are faithful traditional representations of the inspired autographs;]—and strong indications that the Revision was deliberate and in some way authoritative in both cases,—it becomes natural to suppose that the two operations had some historical connexion.—(pp. 136-7.)

XIX. But how does it happen—(let the question be asked without offence)—that a man of good abilities, bred in a University which is supposed to cultivate especially the Science of exact reasoning, should habitually allow himself in such slipshod writing as this? The very fact of a “Revision” of the Syriac has all to be proved; and until it has been demonstrated, cannot of course be reasoned upon as a fact. Instead of demonstration, we find ourselves invited (1)—To suppose that such a Revision took place: and (2)—To suppose that all our existing Manuscripts represent it. But (as we have said) not a shadow of reason is produced why we should be so complaisant as “to suppose” either the one thing or the other. In the meantime, the accomplished Critic hastens to assure us that there exist “strong indications”—(why are we not shown them?)—that the Revision he speaks of was “deliberate, and in some way authoritative.”

Out of this grows a “natural supposition” that “two [purely imaginary] operations,” “had some historical connexion.” [pg 277] Already therefore has the shadow thickened into a substance. “The Revised Syriac Text” has by this time come to be spoken of as an admitted fact. The process whereby it came into being is even assumed to have been “deliberate and authoritative.” These Editors henceforth style the Peschito the Syriac Vulgate,”—as confidently as Jerome's Revision of the old Latin is styled the Latin Vulgate.” They even assure us that “Cureton's Syriac” “renders the comparatively late and ‘revised’ character of the Syriac Vulgate a matter of certainty (p. 84). The very city in which the latter underwent Revision, can, it seems, be fixed with tolerable certainty (p. 136).... Can Dr. Hort be serious?

At the end of a series of conjectures, (the foundation of which is the hypothesis of an Antiochian Recension of the Greek,) the learned writer announces that—“The textual elements of each principle document having being thus ascertained, it now becomes possible to determine the Genealogy of a much larger number of individual readings than before (Text, p. 552).—We read and marvel.

So then, in brief, the Theory of Drs. Westcott and Hort is this:—that, somewhere between a.d. 250 and a.d. 350,

(1) The growing diversity and confusion of Greek Texts led to an authoritative Revision at Antioch:—which (2) was then taken as standard for a similar authoritative Revision of the Syriac text:—and (3) was itself at a later time subjected to a second authoritative Revision—this final process having been apparently completed by [a.d.] 350 or thereabouts.—(p. 137.)

XX. Now, instead of insisting that this entire Theory is made up of a series of purely gratuitous assumptions,—destitute alike of attestation and of probability: and that, as a mere effort of the Imagination, it is entitled to no manner of consideration or respect at our hands:—instead of dealing thus with what precedes, we propose to be most kind and [pg 278] accommodating to Dr. Hort. We proceed to accept his Theory in its entirety. We will, with the Reader's permission, assume that all he tells us is historically true: is an authentic narrative of what actually did take place. We shall in the end invite the same Reader to recognize the inevitable consequences of our admission: to which we shall inexorably pin the learned Editors—bind them hand and foot;—of course reserving to ourselves the right of disallowing for ourselves as much of the matter as we please.

Somewhere between a.d. 250 and 350 therefore,—(“it is impossible to say with confidence” [p. 137] what was the actual date, but these Editors evidently incline to the latter half of the IIIrd century, i.e. circa a.d. 275);—we are to believe that the Ecclesiastical heads of the four great Patriarchates of Eastern Christendom,—Alexandria, Antioch, Jerusalem, Constantinople,—had become so troubled at witnessing the prevalence of depraved copies of Holy Scripture in their respective churches, that they resolved by common consent on achieving an authoritative Revision which should henceforth become the standard Text of all the Patriarchates of the East. The same sentiment of distress—(by the hypothesis) penetrated into Syria proper; and the Bishops of Edessa or Nisibis, (“great centres of life and culture to the Churches whose language was Syriac,” [p. 136,]) lent themselves so effectually to the project, that a single fragmentary document is, at the present day, the only vestige remaining of the Text which before had been universally prevalent in the Syriac-speaking Churches of antiquity. “The almost total extinction of Old Syriac MSS., contrasted with the great number of extant Vulgate Syriac MSS.,”—(for it is thus that Dr. Hort habitually exhibits evidence!),—is to be attributed, it seems, to the power and influence of the Authors of the imaginary Syriac Revision. [ibid.] Bp. Ellicott, by [pg 279] the way (an unexceptionable witness), characterizes Cureton's Syriac as singular and sometimes rather wild.” The text, of a very composite nature; sometimes inclining to the shortness and simplicity of the Vatican manuscript, but more commonly presenting the same paraphrastic character of text as the Codex Bezæ.” [p. 42.] (It is, in fact, an utterly depraved and fabricated document.)

We venture to remark in passing that Textual matters must have everywhere reached a very alarming pass indeed to render intelligible the resort to so extraordinary a step as a representative Conference of the “leading Personages or Sees” (p. 134) of Eastern Christendom. The inference is at least inevitable, that men in high place at that time deemed themselves competent to grapple with the problem. Enough was familiarly known about the character and the sources of these corrupt Texts to make it certain that they would be recognizable when produced; and that, when condemned by authority, they would no longer be propagated, and in the end would cease to molest the Church. Thus much, at all events, is legitimately to be inferred from the hypothesis.

XXI. Behold then from every principal Diocese of ancient Christendom, and in the Church's palmiest days, the most famous of the ante-Nicene Fathers repair to Antioch. They go up by authority, and are attended by skilled Ecclesiastics of the highest theological attainment. Bearers are they perforce of a vast number of Copies of the Scriptures: and (by the hypothesis) the latest possible dates of any of these Copies must range between a.d. 250 and 350. But the Delegates of so many ancient Sees will have been supremely careful, before starting on so important and solemn an errand, to make diligent search for the oldest Copies anywhere discoverable: and when they reach the scene of their deliberations, we may be certain that they are able to appeal [pg 280] to not a few codices written within a hundred years of the date of the inspired Autographs themselves. Copies of the Scriptures authenticated as having belonged to the most famous of their predecessors,—and held by them in high repute for the presumed purity of their Texts—will have been freely produced: while, in select receptacles, will have been stowed away—for purposes of comparison and avoidance—specimens of those dreaded Texts whose existence has been the sole cause why (by the hypothesis) this extraordinary concourse of learned Ecclesiastics has taken place.