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therefore, are the most convincing proof, that the Holy Scriptures have not been altered in any point of doctrine or morality, or other matter of importance; because they are found perfectly concordant in all manuscripts of the originals and of the versions, which have been written and composed in Europe, Asia, and Africa. So far therefore from being hostile to the uncorrupted preservation of the books of our New Testament, (as some enemies of Christianity have asserted from ignorance or wicked motives, and as many Christians have likewise apprehended from groundless fear) these variations asford us, on the contrary, an additional and most convincing proof, that they exist at present, in all essential matters, as they left the hands of their authors.
TV.-g-From the agreement of the old versions, and quotationsfound in the ecclesiastical fathers.
AFTER all, should any one enterfain a doubt concerning the uncorrupted preservation of our books of the New Testament, it must perfectly vanish, if we consider the wonderful agreement of all the old versions, and of all the quotations and extracts found in the ecclesiastical fathers.'— There is still extant a Syriac translation of all the books of the New Testament (the second Epistle of St. Peter, the second and third Epistles of St. John, the Epistle of St. Jude, and the Revelation of St. John, alone excepted), which, in all probability, was made in the sirst century. In the fame period existed in the Western church Latin versions, of which considerable fragments still remain. The Latin transs 2 lation lation of Jerom (which is generally called the Vulgate), the Coptic, different Arabic, the Ethiopic, Armenian, • Persic, and Gothic, versions are indeed in part much more modern, and therefore not considered by critics On the New Testament as of equal consequence'. Yet they prove thus much, that in all communities of Christians, both in the East and West, the same zcritings have ever been regarded as genuine works of the Evangelists and Apostles, which we in the present day sind still unaltered in our New Testament.—If we add to these circumstances, that the ecclesiastical fathers of the sirst centuries have quoted almost every verse of the New Testament, and, in regard to essential points, exactly agreeably to our present text; also, that many of them (for instance, Origen, Chrysostom, Jerom, Augustin,
e Michaelis has given very ample Information concerning these versions in hi* Introduction to the N. T.
Cyril of Alexandria, Theodoret, and Œcumenius,) have left us commentaries either on all, or on individual books of the New Testament, of which the scriptural text exactly coincides with our printed copies,—we must without hesitation confess, that the books which are now extant in our editions of the New Testament are the uncorrupted writings of the Evangelists and Apostles.
The enemies of Christianity notwithstanding, continually pretend that they have been corrupted!—No one indeed, who possesses the least knowledge of the principles of criticism, will readily assert, that the Various Readings are corruptions.—But on this subject we meet with Collins, who appeals to an alteration of the Gospels, which, according to the information of ecclesiastical history, is said to have taken place in the sixth century under the Emperour Anastasius, Victor, s 3 Bishop Bishop of Tunis in Africa, relates in bis Chronicond, that the Emperour Anaftasius, considering that the Gospels were written by illiterate men, ordered them to be improved at Constantinople. This Victor is the only evidence that can be brought forward for this event; for Isidore of Seville relates it merely on his authority. He Jived in Africa; consequently far distant from the scene where the alteration is laid to have taken place. All the other writers make not the least mention of this circumstance: which, without doubt, would have excited bitter and unanimous complaints against ^he Emperour, already an object of general hatred. Moreover, Victor offers pot the shadow of a proof in support of his narration: he names no immediate witnesses on whose authority he relates the story. Now, from a relation so