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them with much scorn and indignation. He understands the prohibition from blood," of the blood of animals, not of homicide. We are obliged to him for one thing, the assurance he gives us that the Greek manuscripts of his time universally agreed in this clause, “ and from things strangled.” If he had known of any Greek writers or Greek copies of the New Testament, that had favoured his omission, he would not have been quite so angry with the Greeks.
Pacian, bishop of Barcelona, about the year 370, is another writer who omits “ things strangled.” He understands, “ from blood," to mean homicide; and says, that the direction given by the council to abstain from these three crimes; "things sacrificed to idols,” or idolatry; s from blood," or from murder; and “ from fornication ;' is the sum and substance of the whole gospel, or Christian revelation.
The next writer alleged by Mill is Gaudentius, placed by Cave at the year 387. He seems to have read only three things, and understands “blood” of the blood of animals; for he explains it to mean “ things strangled:” or, as • Mill expresseth it, Gaudentius and Eucherius thought this clause added by way of interpretation.
St. Augustine likewise, placed by Cave at the year 396, is alledged upon this occasion by Dr. Mill: and, if the passage in the Speculum be his, he read only three prohibitions ; “ from things sacrificed to idols, from blood, and from fornication.” From this passage it appears, that by many at that time all these prohibitions were understood to be of a moral kind. Their explication of them is idolatry, murder, and fornication, which they therefore thought to be the only three mortal sins. In ' another place, Acts xxi. 25, is cited by Augustine, where “things strangled" are wanting. There is yet another place, where Augustine speaks of this matter, and somewhat largely. Here again is mention made of the interpretation, which some gave of blood, meaning thereby murder; which sense Augustine himself rejects here, as he did before. Thence we learn likewise, that in St. Augustine's time the decree of the council in its ancient sense and interpretation was regarded by very few Christians among the Latins, who thought all wholesome food generally eaten by men, to be lawful; or, that they were under no obligation to observe a distinction of meats.
Beside these writers, Mill refers also to Eucherius of the fifth, and Fulgentius of the sixth century, as favouring the omission of the particular in dispute. But I do not think it needful to go any lower.
Ergo hæc illicita esse estensa sunt gentibus, quæ putabant
a Ut et Gaudentius ac Eucherius, quibus interpretamenti licere: ac per hoc non utique ab homicidio prohibiti sunt, loco additum videtur. Mill. ad Act. xv. 20. cum jubentur a sanguine observare. Sed hoc acceperunt, e Ubi videmus apostolos, eis qui ex gentibus crediderunt, quod Noë a Deo didicerat, ut observarent se a sanguine eden- nulla voluisse onera veteris legis imponere, quantum adtinetdo cum carne. Id. ibid. p. 214. F.
ad corporalis abstinentiam voluptatis ; " nisi ut observarent ab • Visum est enim Sancto Spiritui, et nobis, nullum amplius his tribus, id est, ab eis quæ idolis immolarentur, et a sanimponi vobis pondus, præterquam hæc: Necesse est, ut ab. guine, et a fornicatione." Unde nonnulli putant tria tantum stineatis vos ab idolothytis, et sanguine, et fornicatione; a crimina esse mortalia, idololatriam, et homicidium, et fornicaquibus observantes, bene agetis. Valete. Hæc est Novi tionem; ubi utique et adulterium, et omnis præter uxorem Testamenti tota conclusio. Despectis in multis Spiritus Sanc- concubitus intelligitur: quasi non sint mortifera crimina quætus hæc nobis, capitalis periculi conditione, legavit. Reliqua cumque alia sunt præter hæc tria, quæ a regno Dei separant, peccata meliorum operum compensatione curantur. Hæc vero aut inaniter et fallaciter dictum sit: “Neque fures, neque avari, tria erimina,... ut veneni calix, ut lethalis arundo metuenda neque ebriosi, neque maledici, neque rapaces, regnum Dei sunt. ... Quid vero faciet contemptor Dei? Quid aget san- possidebunt." [1 Cor. vi, 10.] August. Specul. de Libro Act. guinarius? Quod remedium capiet fornicator? Numquid aut A post. Tom, iii. Bened. placare Dominum desertor ipsius poterit? aut conservare san- De gentibus autem qui crediderunt, nos mandavimus, jaguinem suum, qui fudit alienum? aut redintegrare Dei tem- dicantes, nibil ejusmodi servare illos, “ nisi ut se observent ab plum, qui illud fornicando violavit? . Ista sunt capitalia, fratres, idolis inmolato, et a sanguine, et a fornicatione. Aug. Ep. ista mortalia. Pacian. Paræn. ad pænit. T. iv. p. 315. H. Bibl. 82. 1). 9. Bened. al. Ep. 19. Patr
& Et in actibus apostolorum hoc lege præceptum ab apostoc Et idcirco Beatus Jacobus cum cæteris apostolis decretum lis, ut abstinerent gentes tantum“ a fornicatione, et ab imtale constituit in ecclesiis observandum: “ut abstineatis vos, molatis, et a sanguine;" id est, ne quidquam ederent carnis, inquit, “ ab immolatis, et a sanguine," id est, " a soffocatis.” cujus sanguis non esset effusus. Quod alii non sic intelligunt, Prætermiserunt homicidium, adulterium, et veneficia; quo- sed a sanguine præceptum esse abstinendum, ne quis homiciniam nec nominari ea in ecclesiis oporteret, quæ legibus dio se contaminet. Aug. Con. Faust. lib. xxxii. cap. 13. etiam gentilium punirentur. Prætermiserunt quoque illas h... quis jam hoc Christianus observat, ut turdos vel miomnes minutias observationum legalium, et sola hæc, quæ nutiores aviculas non adtingat, nisi quarum sanguis effusus prædiximus, custodienda sanxerunt; ne vel sacrificatis diabolo est, aut leporem non edat, si manu a cervice percussus, nullo cibis profanemur - immundis, vel ne mortuus (f. “ mortuo"] cruento vulnere occisus est? Et qui forte pauci adhuc tanper viscera suffocatorum animalium sanguine polluamar, vel gere ista formidant, a cæteris irridentur: ita omnium animos vje in immunditiis fornicationum corpora nostra, quæ templa in hac re tenuit illa sententia veritatis, Non quod intrat in os Dei sunt, violemus. Gaudent. de Maccabæis. Tract. xv. Bibl. vestrum, vos coinquinat, sed quod exit; , nullam cibi natyram, Patr. Max. Tom. P. 967. F. G.
quam societas admittit humana, sed quæ iniq committit, peccata condemnans, Id. ibid,
However, we ought not to pass by the one single manuscript on that side the question: it is the famous Cambridge manuscript, which · Mill owns, with Simon, to have been written in the western part of the world by a Latin scribe, and to be interpolated and corrupted to a great degree. "I put in the margin the character which Mr. Wetstein has lately given, in a few words, of this, and some other manuscripts, in his preface to the late edition of Curcellæus's New Testament with various readings. That character will have a good deal of weight with those who are acquainted with the author's exact skill in this part of learning.
I think it may not be amiss for us now to collect the evidence we have had before us, in a few propositions.
(1.) All the Greek writers read this text as we now have it in our Greek copies; and some of those Greek writers are very ancient, having flourished in the second century, or the begin. ning of the third.
(2.) All Christians in general, all over the world, Greeks and Latins, in the second century, and probably in the third likewise, understood the decree of the council at Jerusalem to forbid the eating of the blood of brute animals.
(3.) There is no clear proof, that in any Latin version, or any copies of the New Testament, of the second or third century, the reading of this text was different from ours; for the passages in the version of Irenæus, and in the testimonies of Cyprian are not to be relied upon as genuine. And Tertullian may be reckoned to afford as much evidence for the common reading as against it. Jerom bears witness only for the reading of some Latin copies in his time, without saying that they who wanted this particular were ancient; and the other writers alleged by Mill, who cite the text without “ things strangled,” are likewise of the fourth century, or later. .
(4.) We see a probable rise and occasion of omitting things strangled," in some Latin copies about that time; I mean the fourth century, or towards the end of it: among the Christians of the western part of the Roman empire, where the Latin tongue chiefly obtained, the decree of the council of Jerusalem ceased to be observed according to its original intent and meaning, and most ancient interpretation. As they no longer observed a distinction of meats, and often eat things strangled without any scruple, some took an unwarrantable liberty with the text, and left that particular out of their copies; that their conduct might not seem to be expressly condemned by a command or advice given by apostles and elders in council assembled. Now also it became a common thing, though not universal, to interpret that particular, “ from blood," as a prohibition of homicide. These two things at least are extremely manifest; that at the end of the fourth century, and the beginning of the fifth, many among the Latin Christians neglected the distinction of meats, and likewise understood that prohibition in the sense, just mentioned. And I think it may be hence collected with probability, that this gave occasion for leaving out “ things strangled” in some copies ; for that clause appeared unsuitable to the general practice, and was a strong objection to a common interpretation of another article in the decree. In the passage, as it stands in the version of Irenæus, and in Cyprian's Testimonies, every thing in the proposal of James, and in the epistle of the council, is of a moral nature. This affords ground for suspicion of an undue liberty taken with the text, tò make it agree with the prevailing sentiments and practices of some Christians of later times. The passage in Cyprian's third book of Testimonies is absolutely unjustifiable in two particulars; “ from idolatries," and s from effusion of blood;" which are readings altogether unsupported by good authorities, and I suppose will not now be defended by any man of sense.
(5.) As for the Cambridge manuscript, it deserves no farther notice here. One single manuscript, and that corrupted and interpolated, can never be equal to many, to all other; no more than one witness, and he a suspected one, ought to be credited against forty others, and
• Certe textus ipse codicis, Græcus pariter ac Latinus, est • Inter Bodleianos codices ille qui Acta apostolorum conLatini scribæ : 'quod ostendit Simonius Hist. Text. Nov. Test. tinet, item Cantabrigiensis, et Claromontanus,.... a librario cap. 30. Mill. Proleg: n. 1271.
Latino scripti, et ad Versionem Italicam corruptam tam inepte Et jam quidem ad ipsius codicis partes accedimus: La- . atque imperite deformati atque depravati sunt, ut risum tipa translationem Italicam exhibet, qualis tum temporis. in- moveant, qui illis locum dignitatemque genuinorum codicum ferpolata ferebatur, ante castigationem Hieronymi: Græca Græcorum conciliare studuerunt. Præfit. in Nov. Test. vero, textum mirifice corruptum, &c. Id. ib. num. 1272. Amstel. 1735. VOL. II.
(6.) I suppose it then to be highly probable, that our present common reading of this text is right; as I believe the first Christians understood it right, when they took it to contain advice to abstain from eating the blood of animals.
2. We are now to take into consideration the addition to our common text: Acts xv. 20, and 29; which is, “ And whatever things ye would not should be done unto you, neither do ye unto others.” Of this I have already taken some notice in “the chapter of Theophilus bishop of Antioch, about the year 181, because Dr. Mill • had mentioned it as a conjecture of his, that that ancient father had referred to this reading in the Acts. But I then intimated, that I thought that conjecture to be entirely without foundation; and I gave some reasons, which I supposed might be satisfactory. I am now more fully confirmed in the same opinion, and think there is not any the least ground to suppose, that Theophilus referred to this additional reading in the Acts. For, first, there is no reason to believe that this prohibition, or precept, call it what you please, was then in any copy of the Acts, as shall be shewn more distinctly by and by. Secondly, allowing this prohibition to have been then in the Acts, yet Theophilus did not refer to it, but råther to some text of the gospels where this equitable rule is spoken of as the doctrine of the prophets;- if indeed Theophilus referred at all to any part of the New Testament, and not solely to the writings of the prophets. And, since the publication of the forecited volume, I have observed that the learned Mr. Wolit; · in his edition of Theophilus, (which I had not then seen) puts in the marginal note upon that passage of his author a reference to Luke vi. 31; which certainly is not improperly done; though I think it altogether as likely that Theophilus referred to Matt. vii. 12, or xxii. 40; if indeed he referred to any text of the New Testament. But, upon the whole, it appears to me somewhat probable, that Theophilus referred to the writings of the prophets themselves, and to them only; and I should think it must appear so to others likewise, who are pleased to read and consider his context.
Though Mill had a conjecture that Theophilus referred to this additional reading in the Acts, yet, with his wonted critical skill, he supposed this reading not to be genuine, but an interpolàtion, however ancient; which opinion I shall endeavour to support, except that I do not judge this interpolation to be very ancient, but very modern: nevertheless, that judicious critic has an observation upon this reading, as it stands in Acts xv. 29, which will not hold; for he says that this reading in that place disturbs the sense, and breaks the connection; which indeed it would do, if this rule were there delivered in a preceptive, positive form: but as they who had this reading, put that equitable rule here in negative terms, in the form of a prohibition, the sense is not disturbed; and it might be added after this, as well as after the foregoing particulars; “from which if ye keep yourselves, ye shall do well.”
The authorities for this additional reading are represented by Mill in his notes upon Acts xv. 20 and 29. They consist of eight manuscripts, five of which have this additional clause at v. 20; and three more at v. 29; one version, and three Christian writers. All these authorities, especially the manuscripts, we shall observe particularly; and, as we examine their character and quality, we may possibly see reason to reduce their number.
The first manuscript alleged for this reading is that called Stephens's second manuscript. According to Mill himself, this manuscript d is very much interpolated, especially in the Acts. He thinks this Greek manuscript agrees so much with the Latin vulgate, that he cannot but conclude it to have been corrected, or formed upon that translation, and even a corrupt and faulty copy of that translation. of that translation. This judgment of our Mill
This judgment of our Mill upon this manuscript of Stephens is very observable; but Mr. Whetstein asserts, and proves it to be the same with that called Beza's manuscript, or the manuscript of Cambridge.
The next is Stephens’s tenth manuscript, which' Mill says likewise agrees mightily with the Latin vulgate.
The third is the Cambridge manuscript. We formerly shewed sufficiently what is its character: and are here farther to take notice, that it has been just now observed to be the same with Stephens's second manuscript. Mill therefore, though without knowing it, has twice mentioned one and the same manuscript under different names. a See Vol. i. chap. XX.
tegris fepIXOTAIS satis prolixis, in Actis præsertim apostolorum Vid. Theoph. ad autol. 1. ii. cap. 49. p. 228. Hamburg. interpolato. Mill
. Proleg. 11. 1160. 1724.
• Vid. Proleg. ad Nov. Test. Gr. edit. accuratissimam, cap. d.... quæ haud concordarent cum versione vulgata, et 4. p. 22.... 27.
Mill. Prol, n. 1171. quidem codice ejus corrupto, glossematibusque, et subinde in
b Vid. Mill. ad Act. xv. 20.
The fourth is a Geneva manuscript, of which Mill gives a good character, though he thinks "the scribe to have been careless and ignorant.
The fifth is that called Covel's fourth manuscript, which Mill says is a b modern, or late manuscript.
These are all the manuscripts, which are put by Mill in his notes upon Acts xv. 20, as having this additional reading. At v. 29 some more are mentioned, as having it there.
The first of these, and the sixth in our order, is that which Mill calls Stephens's first manuscript ; by which Mill means the Complutensian edition, as he has himself informed -us. Therefore this is not a manuscript, but a printed copy.
The next, or seventh, is Laud's second. It agrees mightily with that in the Vatican, as
d Mill says.
The last, and eighth, is the Seidelian manuscript, mentioned by Kuster, supposed to be about seven hundred years old, or written in the tenth century.
These are all the manuscripts said to have this additional clause. As placed in Mill's New Testament, they appear to be eight in number; but are really six only; Stephens's second manuscript being the same with that at Cambridge; and Stephens's first manuscript, as is it called, being no manuscript, but a printed copy.
The only version that has - this reading is the Ethiopic, a very inaccurate version, as some think, and of little value; by some others, however, it is judged not to be contemptible: I may not stay to examine its merit particularly; I therefore refer to divers learned writers upon this head, who may be consulted by such as have leisure. I shall only observe, that it very seldom can be reasonable to follow one single version, where it differs from all others, especially when that version has no evidences of early antiquity, neither internal nor external, but what are very doubtful and uncertain.
* The Christian writers mentioned by Mill are, St. Irenæus, St. Cyprian, and Rabanus in the ninth century; for as for Theophilus, bishop of Antioch, Mill does not place him with these three. That learned critic mentioned it only as a conjecture, that possibly Theophilus might refer to this reading in the Acts. But I have already shewn that conjecture to be without foundation; because, even allowing this clause to have been then in the copies of the Acts of the apostles, there is no reason to think Theophilus referred to this text, but rather to some text in the gospels, if he refers to any place at all of the New Testament; and likewise because there is no reason to suppose that this clause was then in the Acts, as we have now shewn in part, and proceed to shew still farther.
The only Christian writers, then, who favour this reading are the three above mentioned: but by Irenæus we are to understand only his Latin interpreter, whose age we do not certainly know; and possibly that translation has been interpolated in some places since it was first made. Nor are we by St. Cyprian to understand St. Cyprian himself, but the interpolator of his third book of Testimonies, whose age we do not know, but possibly he lived as late as Rabanus, or since.
The very few, and those late quotations of this place in the Acts, according to this reading, shew it to be an interpolation, and that it never was in many copies of that book of scripture, and those only late copies.
Beside that we do not find this reading in the most ancient writers, nor in any one Greek writer whatever, there is positive evidence as to divers of the most ancient Christian writers, both Greek and Latin, that they had not this clause in their copies. This appears from their citations of the whole decree of the council at Jerusalem, together with the last farewell
, or the concluding words of the decree of the apostles and elders, or for some remarks made by those writers upon the decree. I mean Clement of Alexandria, who has twice cited this text; Tertullian, Ambro siaster, Pacian, Gaudentius, Augustine. I have above cited their passages very much at length, in considering that particular, “ things strangled,” that every one might perceive as much.
Το those passages therefore, transcribed at the bottom of the page, I refer such as are pleased to examine them: and to those writers might be added Jerom. This shews, that in the fourth, as a Ib. n. 1500, 1501. • Manu recenti. ib. n. 1487. 2, 3, et ejusd. Hist. Æthiop. lib. iii. cap. 4. Ri. Simon. Hist. d Ibid. n. 1439.
Crit. des Vers. du Novi Test. Ch. xvii. p, 193, &c, Mill. + Vid. Kusteri Præf. in Mill. Nov. Test. p. 8. fin.
Proleg. num. 1188. 1189. Beausobre et Lenfant Préf. généVid. Scalig..de Emendation. Temp. 1. 7. p. 682. Walton rale sur le Nov. Test. page 213. Proleg. xv. p. 97. &c. Ludolf Præf. in Lexicon Æthiop. p.
<]b. n. 1159.
well as more early centuries, this clause was wanting in most, and those the best, if not in all copies.
There is one thing more, which may deserve to be mentioned here: I do not perceive that this clause is found at Acts xxi. 25. in any manuscript copy of that book, or in any version, or writer whatever. This is an argument, that neither was it originally in Acts xv. 20. and 29: for if it had been originally in both those places, it would have appeared here likewise,
I think, then, that there is not any reason to suppose this precept, or prohibition, to have been originally put in their epistle by the apostles and elders assembled at Jerusalem : but, on the other hand, there is very good evidence, that it is an interpolation, probably inserted some time near the end of the fourth century, or afterwards, by some Latin Christian, in order to render the whole decree of the council agreeable to the sentiments and practices that prevailed in the age and place in which he lived; for the few manuscripts that have this reading are of small weight against the much greater number that want it. One version, corrupt too and inaccurate, as it seems, is of no authority against all others. The Christian writers that have followed this reading are so few, that they scarce deserve to be mentioned ; especially considering, that the only one of them whose name we know is Rabanus, of the ninth century; for who was Irenæus's interpreter, and when he lived, and who was the interpolator of Cyprian's Testimonies, and when he lived, are things altogether uncertain and unknown.
I conclude, then, that the present readings of Acts xv. 20. and 29. in our ordinary copies of the New Testament are the true and genuine original readings: or, to be a little more particular and distinct, in proportion to the evidence of things, I reckon it highly probable, that the clause, ” and from things strangled,” was originally in the decree; and certain that, according to the most ancient interpretation of the decree, it was understood by all Christians in general to forbid eating the blood of brute animals. As for the additional article, which we have just now considered, it is plainly an interpolation ; and, unless there be some other evidence for it, which I am unacquainted with, I do not see how it can be received as a part of the apostolical decree by any Christian critic, who is duly concerned for the integrity and purity of the sacred scriptures.
I have insisted thus long upon the reading of this portion of scripture, not only because Mill himself had pronounced a wrong judgment upon it in his Prolegomena, as I conceive, but because there is an agreement to the like purpose in * Curcellæus, for leaving out the clause of “ things strangled.” And I am apprehensive that unless we retain the true reading of this place, for the main part at least, we shall not rightly understand it; nor shall we, unless we have the true sense and design of this decree, maintain, as we'ought to do, the dignity of the apostolical character and commission. Finally, the misunderstanding of this decree must be to the prejudice of the Christian revelation itself, in the esteem of many. Having now, as I hope, settled the true reading of the determination of the apostles and
the point in controversy at that time, I wish I were likewise able to explain that determination to the satisfaction of the scrupulous and the judicious : but such a performance, even supposing that ability, would require a longer digression than could be allowed of in this place; for which reason that attempt must be deferred.
V. We are in the next place to consider St. Cyprian's testimony to the epistles of the apostle Paul.
1. . According to what the blessed apostle writes in his epistle to the Romans ; “ Every one • shall give an account of himself: therefore let us not judge one another:" ch. xiv. 12. 13.
2. He quotes the latter part of the first chapter of the epistle to the Romans very agreeably to the reading we saw formerly in Clement of Rome, ver. 32. “ Who," says he, “ when * they knew the righteousness of God, did not consider, that they who do such things are worthy of death ; nor only they who commit them, but they also who consent to them that do them.” The meaning of the text, according to this reading, is, that not only they who actually commit the sins before-mentioned, are liable to punishment, but they also who approve of, and consent
i Vid. Curcellæi Diatr. de Esu sanguinis inter Christianos. c See Vol. i. p. 296.
d Sed et hoc idem Paulus apostolus scribit et dicit :. : qui i Secundum quod beatus apostolus Paulus in epistola sua cum justitiam Dei cognovissent, non intellexerunt, quoniam ad Romanos scribit et dicit; Unusquisque nostrům pro se ra- qui talia agunt, morte sunt digni : non tantum qui faciunt ea, tionem dabit; non ergo nos invicem judicemus. Cypr. Ep. sed et qui consentiunt eis qui hæc agunt. Ep. 67. al. 08. p. 175. 69. al. 70. p. 188.