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text with no little learning and ability. Upon these passages it was our wish to have made some remarks, and to have laid be-. fore our readers a brief summary, at least, of the state of the arguments on both sides.
But even this, we regret our present space will not permit is to do. This part of the subject, indeed, would of itself afford ample matter for separate discussion, but we must hasten to a close.
In regard to the verbal or literal integrity of the received text, though not essential to the verity of sacred Scripture, and therefore, in itself, of inferior moment, the subject assumes a comparative degree of importance, in consequence of the inroads which have been made upon it by the application of Griesbach's principles of criticism. . Mr. Nolan, therefore, enters on the discussion of this point likewise, and conceiving those pridciples to be totally fallacious, he subjects the passages in question to a fresh examination on other, and, as he deems, sounder principles, derived from the grounds which he had previously laboured to establish. “Laying it down as a principle agreed on, that the best witnesses of the integrity of the sacred text are those which are most ancient, and which deliver a separate testimony," he proceeds in search of such witnesses, and discovers them at once in the Syriac church in the East, and the Latin in the West. “These churches," he remarks, “are of the most remote antiquity as founded by the Apostles; and the versions which they used, whether made in the apostolical age or not, are confessedly more ancient than any with which we are acquainted." Although these versions have probably undergone considerable alterations subsequently, yet this circumstance cannot affect their testimony in the present case, if it can be shown, (which Mr. Nolan undertakes to do that they have been corrected uot by the Byzantine, but by the Palestine text. To this testimony, thus vindicated, he adds, that of two of the most ancient manuscripts, the Vatican in Si. Maithew, and the Alexandrine in the whole of the Gospels, and likewise that of the earlier fathers, as far as they can be relied on, in their express quotations. Mr. Nolan then proceeds to lay down the following rules for determining the verbal accuracy of the text, founded on the testimony of the Greck Vulgate and the old Italick and Syriack versions, in the place of those deduced by Griesbach from the testiinony of the Alexandrine and Western recensions.
“1. When the Palestine text agrees with either the Egyptian or Byzantine, the coincidence can reckon but as the testimony of a single witness; but when the Egyptian and Byzantine texts agree, they con.
* Inquiry, p. 338. VOL. VI.-NO. 12.
firm the reading which they support, by the testimony of ancient and separate witnesses."
“ 2. When the Egyptian and Palestive texts agree, and yet dissent from the text of Byzantium, the consent of the old Italick or Syriack version with the Byzantine Greek, outweighs the testimony of the antecedent witnesses."
“ 3. When the old Italick and Syriack versions agree with the Palestine text, and dissent from the text of Byzantium, the consent of the later Eastern and Western versiops with the Byzantine text, will adequately coufirin a various reading of the Greek Vulgate.”
The reasonableness of these rules Mr. Nolan illustrates by several observations, of which we must limit ourselves to a very brief notice. From the universal influence of the text of Euse sius, which is identical with the Palestine, it follows that there is scarcely any witness from which the latter can receive, or to which it can give support.
“ 1. But as every text and version which we know, was originally formed independently of the text of Byzantium; as none of them (but the Palestine) has subsequently possessed any influence on it, and as it has had no influence on any of them, the concurrence of any (except the Palestine) with this text, must reckon as the testimony of a separate witness. “ 2. When the Egyptian and Palestine texts agree,
their consent can reckon but as the testimony of a single witness; as these texts have had an immediate influen on each other. When opposed, in consent, to the Byzantine, the various readings which are avouched by the different witnesses, thus opposed to each other, are supported by equal authority. The testimony of either the old Italick or Syriack version, if adduced on the side of the Byzautine text, must, of course, turn the scale in its favour.
“3. When the old Italick and Syriack versions agree with the Palestine and Egyptian texts, the concurrence of these witnesses may be merely owing to the influence of Eusebius' edition; their joint evidence can then, of course, reckon but as the testimony of a single witness. The testimony of the later versions, for instance, the Italick or Syriack, when cited on the side of the Byzantine text, will, of course, turn the scale in favour of the latter."
The dissent of the older versions from the vulgar Greek, may be accounted for by the extensive influence of Eusebius' edition; but the consent of the later versions with the same text, can only be accounted for by admitting their agreement with the primitive translation on which they have been formed.
“ 4. With respect to the manuscripts which may be cited in favour of this system, it remains to be observed, that the weight of their testimony
Inquiry, pp. 357-360.
does not depend on the age of the copies, but on their number and coincidence, as witnesses, and the antiquity of the text, which they support by their concurring evidence.”
We must here add one remark of some importance, which Mr. Nolan makes,* in regard to the Syriae version. Its testimony, he observes, cannot be admitted in relation to such passages as affect any point of doctrine or morals, because it was “infected at an early period in the third century with the heresy of Paul of Samosata ; wholly lapsed into Arianism in the fourth; and was finally rent in the fifth into the different sects of Nestorians and Eutychians."
By the application of the foregoing rules, Mr. Nolan proceeds to vindicate all the passages of any importance in the received text, which have been impeached by Griesbach in his corrected edition. It must be observed that the testimony of the primitive Italic and Syriac versions applies principally to passages in the Gospels; the Acts and Epistles of the former version being wholly lost; and those of the latter having been considerably altered at a subsequent period. Still their testimony may, to a considerable extent, be brought to bear on the latter books likewise, hy a simple process of analogy. Having ascertained what Greek manuscripts agree with those versions in the Gospels, in exhibiting the genuine text, these manuscripts may be reasonably appealed to as likely to furnish a consistent testimony in the remaining books of the New Testament. In addition to these witnesses, or in default of them, Mr. Nolan, in a number of instances, brings in the express testimony of one or more of the early fathers, or of the later versions, making due deductions froin the weight of the latter according to circumstances.
In closing his elaborate vindication of the received text, our anthor does not forget the obligation incumbent on its chainpion, to throw his protecting shield over the character of Erasmus, its ultimate parent; in whose behalf he says, perhaps, quite as much as can be said with truth. Nor does he rest satisfied with establishing his own system on a foundation deeply laid in historical facts, and most ingeniously compacted and bound together by complicated chains of reasoning, and a multifarious apparatus of learning-or with carrying it out to its results in the thorough vindication of the integrity of the received text, and authorized version-but he boldly carries the war
Inquiry, pp. 371, 372. + Mr, Nolan cites in his notes, Asseman Biblioth. Orient. tom. I. p. 203, and Ibid. Dissert. de Monophysit. Ø ii. Bib. Orient. tom ii. p. 1, and Liberat. Diac. Breviar. cap. ii. p. 4, ed. Paris, 1675.
into the enemy's country, and after sapping the foundations of Griesbach's system, by subverting his main principles, he makes a final end of his work, by impeaching and destroying the credit of his two chief witnesses, the Alexandrine and Western texts. That these have been corrupted in most of the places where they differ from the Byzantine text, Mr. Nolan not only directly asserts, but he undertakes to trace these corruptions up to their original source in the fanciful opinions of Origen, and of the Marcionite, Valentinian, and other heretics of an early age, and to the controversies arising out of these sources.
This task he pursues in detail, and with great ingenuity and research, through an intricate series of learned investigation, in which, of course, it is impossible for us to enter.
We must now take our leave of Mr. Nolan; but we cannot do so, without first expressing our obligations to him for the instruction we have derived from his valuable work, and our adiniration of the labour talent and learning displayed in it. If in comparing together remote parts of his volume, we have discovered some seemingly contradictory statements, we are disposed to attribute the circumstance, (perhaps unavoidable by the utmost care in a subject of so much intricacy,) rather to an occasional laxity of expression, than to any real contrariety, And, if we are not able to agree with him in every position he has advanced, it would be unjust to deny our assent to the certainty of the main principles which he has so laboriously, and we think successfully, endeavoured to establish. We are fully sensible that we have been able to do him but imperfect justice in the present notice of bis work. While we have made it our endeavour to present to our readers a succinct, yet impartial, and we hope, intelligible analysis of his critical theory, the proofs which he adduces in its support are in general of a nature so circumstantial and detailed, as to make it quite impossible to reduce them within our necessary limits.* For these, we must beg leave to refer to his work, which we do not hesitate to say is indispensable to every scholar, who would form an adequate opinion of the merits of Griesbach's critical system, or his corrected edition of the Greek Testament. Whatever celebrity may have been acquired by the latter, it is not to be denied that iis authority has been more than shaken, if not subverted, by the attacks of Dr. Laurence, and Mr. Nolan; and it is no less certain, that these assailants must be effectually repelled, and the system of the latter, in particular, thoroughly confuted, which we apprehend will be found no easy task, be
* Mr. Nolan's notes alone, containing chiefly the authorities which he cites, 00cupy nearly, if not fully, one half of his thick yolume.
fore the admirers of Griesbach can be permitted, with any show of reason, to claim for his edition the title with which it has been lately, and somewhat boldly, decorated, as the Standard Greek Text. And this brings us back to the point from which we set out..
As we trust that our readers are now able, after all that we have said, to form some opinion of the merits of Griesbach's New Testament, and of the justice of its claim, at present, to the foregoing title, there will be less need for us to use many words in dismissing the publication last mentioned on our list. What good purpose it is designed for, or can be made to answer, we are at a loss to discover, except one, to which we shall presently advert. And, in the view of that, we could have wished that the editor had adopted some method of pointing out to the reader the particular passages in which it differs from the common authorized English version. It would then have enabled every one to discover at a glance the whole amount of Griesbach's alterations of the text, which now are likely to pass unnoticed. We have not gone through the needless labour of examining all those passages throughout; and therefore are not able to say with what degree of fidelity the alterations have been in general incorporated in the English text. Though we have, indeed, noticed occasionally some slight liberties taken with the common version, beyond what the exigency of the case required, of these we do not mean to complain. But we think it necessary to advert to one instance of the kind, of some importance on account of its doctrinal bearing. In the Epistle to the Hebrews, .Chap. i. 8. Griesbach has chosen to change the punctuation, by omitting a comma, though he has not altered a word of the text. On this ground bis Boston editor thinks proper to alter the common version, which reads thus, “ But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is forever and ever," to the following, “ But unto the Son, he saith, God is thy throne forever and ever.” Now to set this matter ir. ils true light, we bave only to make three remarks. 1, The punctuation of the Greek Testament is of no manner of authority, because it was anciently written without any divisions of the kind, or even any spaces between words. Consequently it must be governed by, and not govern, the sense.
2, This passage is a quotation from the Greek version of the Septuagint, Psalm. xliv. 6. (Eng. Bible. Psa. xlv. 6.) But the Septuagint every where uses the nominative, 0805, for the vocative, as in the present instance; and the phrase, “God is thy throne,” &c. is a violent construction, which as Wetstein, himself observes, is unknown in Scripture. 3, The same form, ó ©£05, occurs