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Again, in the same section, after quoting from Moses, “ Increase and multiply, and replenish the earth," the Greek copy has TAUTA TIGOS toy vios, these things to the Son; but in the old Latin version the clause is wholly omitted ; and certainly there is no want of it, or of the similar clause in the former passage, with respect to the general object of the writer. These, Sir, appear to me pretty evident marks of interpolation.
The passage on which you lay the chief stress is only in the Latin version, that part of the Greek copy to which it corresponds being now lost; and all the other expressions that you note are such as an Unitarian will find no difficulty in accommodating to his principles.
On these accounts your evidence from this epistle of Barnabas will by no means bear the stress that you lay upon it. Can it be thought at all improbable, that if one person interpolated the Greek, another should make as free with the Latin version ? I must, therefore, see other evidence than this from Barnabas, before I can admit that the doctrine of the divinity or pre-existence of Christ was the belief of the apostolic age.
You still argue with the same confidence from the epistle of Clemens Romanus. “ The context,” you now say, determines the coming of Christ, of which he speaks, to be from a pre-existent state, and this you call “ something of great importance in its defence,” as no doubt it would be if it was just: but let us examine it. The whole of the passage, with the small context on which you lay so much stress, is, in your own words, as follows: “He came not,' says Clemens,
in the pomp of pride and arrogance, although he had it in his power, but in humility, as the Holy Spirit spake concerning him.'-To determine what this humility is, Clemens immediately goes on to cite the prophecies which describe the Messiah's low condition. The humility, therefore, of an ordinary condition is that in which it is said the Messiah
The pomp, therefore, of a high condition, is the pomp in which it is said he came not, although he had it in his power so to come. The expressions, therefore, clearly imply, that our Lord, ere he came, had the power to choose in what condition he would be born.”
But, Sir, had you considered the prophecies which Clemens quotes, you would have found them to be not such as describe the circumstances of his birth, but only those of
* Letters, p. 29. (P.) Tracts, p. 118. See supra, p. 54.
his public life and death; the principal of them being Isaiah liii., which he quotes almost at full length. How, then, does this important circumstance help your argument ? It is, on the other hand, certainly favourable to mine, viz. that when Christ was in public life he made no ostentatious display of the extraordinary powers with which he was invested, and preferred a low condition to that of a great prince.
The more ancient reading that you quote of Jerome I also consider as evidently favourable to my interpretation of this passage. He read tauta duvapevos, having all power, which naturally alludes to the great power of which Christ became possessed after the descent of the spirit of God upon him at his baptism.
As to the phrase coming, you must be little at home, as you say, in the language of the Scriptures, or have given little attention to it, not to have perceived that it is a phrase used to express the mission of any prophet, and that it is applied to John the Baptist as well as to Christ, of which the following are examples: Matt. xi. 18, 19: “ John came neither eating nor drinking,” &c.; “ The Son of Man came eating and drinking,” &c.; that is, not locally from heaven, but as the prophets came from God. Christ says of Jolin, (Matt. xxi. 32,) “ John came unto you in the way of righteousness.” John, the evangelist, also says of him, (John i. 7,) “ The same came for a witness,” &c., so that all your descanting upon this passage of Clemens is impertinent.
Admitting that some one circumstance in the prophecies be quotes, rigorously interpreted, should allude to the birth of Christ, (though I see no reason to think so,) you are not authorized to conclude that Clemens attended to that in particular, but to the general scope of the whole, which is evidently descriptive of his public life only.
If, with your boasted knowledge of Greek, you had attended ever so little to the theory of language in general, and the natural use of words, you would have seen that the term God would not, from the beginning, have been used by .way of contradistinction to Christ, if the former could have been predicated of the latter. We say the prince and the king, because the prince is not a king. If he had, we should have had recourse to some other distinction, as that of greater and less, senior and junior, father and son, &c. When, therefore, the apostle Paul said that the church at Corinth was Christ's, and that Christ was God's, (and that manner of distinguishing them is perpetual in the New Testament,) it is evident that he could have no idea of Christ being God, in any proper sense of the word.
In like manner, Clemens, in this passage, calling Christ the sceptre of the majesty of God, sufficiently proves that, in his idea, the sceptre was one thing, and the God whose sceptre it was, another. This, I say, must have been the case when this language was first adopted, though, when principles are once formed, we see by a variety of experience, that any language may be accommodated to them. But an attention to this circumstance will, I doubt not, contribute, with persons of real discernment, to bring us back to the original use of the words, and to the ideas ori. ginally annexed to them. I am persuaded, that even now the constant use of these terms Christ and God, as opposed to each other, has a great effect in preventing those of the common people who read the New Testament more than books of controversy, from being habitually and practically Trinitarians. There will by this means be a much greater difference between God and Christ in their minds than they find in their creeds.
With respect to Ignatius, I would observe, that as you knew the genuineness of his epistles had been controverted, and by men of learning and ability, you certainly ought not from the first to have concealed that circumstance. You say, however, “ I shall appeal to them with the less scruple, forasmuch as the same sincerity which I ascribe to them, and which is quite sufficient for my purpose, is allowed by the learned and the candid Dr. Lardner.-After suggesting, in no very confident language, that'even the smaller epistles may have been tampered with by the Arians, or the Orthodox, or both,' he adds, • I do not affirm that there are in them any considerable corruptions or alterations. If no considerable corruptions or alterations, certainly none respecting a point of such importance as the original nature of Christ.”.
This is curious indeed. What, then, could Dr. Lardner mean by these epistles having been tampered with by the Arians, the Orthodox, or both .? If they interpolated them at all, it would certainly be to introduce into them passages favourable to their opinions concerning the divinity or preexistence of Christ. How would it be worth their while, as Arians or Orthodox, to interpolate them for any other purpose? If a farmer, hearing of some depredation on his property, committed by foxes, should say, My corn may have been plundered, but as the mischief has been done by foxes; my geese and my poultry are safe ; what would be said of his reasoning? Yet of the same nature is yours in this case.
* Letters, p. 34. (P.) Tracts, p. 124. See supra, pp. 54, 55. † See supra, p. 28.
These foxes have not refrained from their prey in more sacred inclosures than those of Ignatius. Sir Isaac Newton, among others, has clearly proved that the orthodox, as they are commonly called, have, in this way, tampered with the New Testament itself; having made interpolations favourable to the doctrine of the Trinity, especially the famous passage concerning the three that bear record in heaven, in the first epistle of John.* This I should imagine you yourself will acknowledge; † and can you think they would spare the epistles of Ignatius, which were much more in their power?
Jortin says, “ Though the shorter epistles are on many accounts preferable to the larger, yet I will not affirm that they have undergone no alteration at all.” #
For my own part, I scruple not to say, that there never were more evident marks of interpolation in any writings than are to be found in these genuine epistles, as they are called, of Ignatius; though I am willing to allow, on re-considering them, that, exclusive of manifest interpolation, there may be a ground-work of antiquity in them. The famous passage in Josephus, concerning Christ, is not a more evident interpolation than many in these epistles of Ignatius, which you quote with so much confidence.
You yourself may believe that every word now found in these epistles was actually written by Ignatius; but if they have been tampered with, or have undergone alterations, how can you quote them with so much confidence, as if the argument must necessarily have the same weight with all persons ? Nowithstanding this, you say, “ I will, therefore, , still appeal to these epistles as sufficiently sincere to be decisive upon the point in dispute. Nor shall I think myself
• See Vol. IV. p. 316, Note.
+ So far from making such an acknowledgment concerning the passage, Dr. Horsley adduces in his Remarks, as an “argument of its authenticity, that the omission of it breaks the connexion, and wonderfully heightens the obscurity of the apostle's discourse." He adds, “ that even the external evidence of the authenticity of the passage is far less defective than Newton and others have imagined, will be denied, 'I believe, by few who have impartially considered the very able vindication of this celebrated text, which hath lately been given by Mr. Travis, in his Letters to Mr. Gibbon." Tracts, pp. 346, 347. See Vol. IV. p. 316; XIV. pp. 433, 444, Note.
1 “Remarks on Ecclesiastical History," 1751, I. p. 361. (P.) Ś See Vol. IV. p. 488.
obliged to go into the proof of their authenticity, till you have given a satisfactory reply to every part of Bishop Pearson's elaborate defence, a work which I suspect you have not yet looked through.”* And I, Sir, shall save myself that trouble till you shall have replied to every part of Larroque'st answer to this work of Pearson ;f a work which I suspect you have not looked into. I will, however, favour you with a sight of it, if you will gratify me with the perusal of the works of Zwicker, which, by your account, you have carefully read, though I have not yet been able to procure them,
I am, &c.
LETTER III. Of the Nazarenes and Ebionites. Rev. Sir, You still insist upon “the high orthodoxy" of those whom the Christian fathers call “ the proper Nazarenes.” Epiphanius,” you say, “confesses that the Nazarenes held the Catholic doctrine concerning the nature of our Lord;"|| whereas, I have maintained that though, according to him, and some other ancient writers, there was some difference between them and the Ebionites, they still agreed in asserting the proper humanity of Christ. The yuwun which distinguished the Ebionites, you say, was something that they had borrowed, not from the Naswgalos, the Christian Nazarenes, but the Nasareans, a sect of Jews only. “I still abide by my assertion,” you say, “ that the name of Nazarene was never heard of in the church, that is, among Christians themselves,-before the final destruction of Jerusalem by Adrian; when it became the specific name of the Judaizers, who, at that time, separated from the church of Jerusalem and settled in the north of Galilee. The name was taken from the country in which they settled.”**
I am really astonished that you should have the assurance to assert all this, so directly contrary to every thing that appears on the face of ecclesiastical history, and which must
• Letters, p. 34. (P.) Tracts, pp. 124, 125. + Matthew de Larroque, a learned Calvinist, who preached at Charenton, and afterwards at Rouen, where he died in 1684, aged 65.
| Entitled “ Vindiciæ Epist. S. Ignatii contra Dallæum," 4to. Cantab. 1672. Š Letters, p. 38. (P.) Tracts, p. 129. i Letters, p. 38. (P.) Tracts, p. 144.
Letters, p. 41. (P.) Tracts, p. 132. ** Letters, p. 76. (P.) Tracts, pp. 162, 163.