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manuscripts, which we produce as evidences for the authenticity of the New Testament, prove nothing. He ought to have cfuoted opposite evidences and manuscripts, disferent from those which existed among the Christians. He ought to have shewn from history, when and where these corruptions were made. Had the doctrines of Christianity been really uncertain, this learned writer, who lived in the latter part of the fourth century, might without much trouble have produced these proofs. But on all these subjects he is perfectly silent; and every thing which he is able to produce, consists entirely in self-formed conclusions and charges, which are as groundless as the principal accusation.—His adversary, Augustine, challenges him to produce this proof, and appeals with perfect confidence to the unanimous testimony of all the teachers, and manuscripts of anti
quity. "What writings (fays he w) can you receive as genuine, if you reject those of the Evangelists and Apostles? We are convinced of the genuineness of the apostolical writings in the fame manner, as we know that the works of Plato, Aristotle, Cicero, or Varro, were derived from those whose names they bear. Who can be so absurd as to reject our Scriptures, for whose genuineness, from the time of the Apostles, the Church has deposed such numerous and concordant testimonies ?"—This very accusation, therefore, of itself proves, that the arguments for the authenticity of the evangelical and apostolical writings are incontrovertible.
w Contra Faustum, Lib. XXXIII. cap. vi. p. 330, 331. edit. Benedictin.
III.—From the Agreement of all
THE manuscripts of the Scriptures of the New Testament, which are still extant, are far more numerous than those of any other book in the world. Above two hundred and fifty have been already collated by critics in their different editions. Of these, it is true, all do not contain the whole of the New Testament: the greater part have only the Gospels; others contain also the Acts and the Epistles of the Apostles; and a very small number the Revelation of St. John*. All these
* Besides these, a great number are preserved in the libraries of Germany, Italy, and other countries, which have not yet been consulted. The most perfect and accurate information concerning the MSS. which have been used in editions of the Greek Test, is to be found in the Prologomena to Mill's and Kiister's edition of the N. T. in the Prologomena to Wetstein's N. T. and ;n Michaelis* Intr. to the N. T. vol. iii. p. 185—361. ef the learned and accurate Mr, MarstVs Translation.
manumanuscripts, which were written in very different parts of the world, and of which some are above twelve hundred years old, give us the books of the New Testament in all ejsential matters perfectly accordant with each other, as any one may easily convince himself by examining the editions published by Mill, Kiifter, Bengel, Wetftein, or Griefbach.—The thirty thousand Various Readings, which are said to be found even in the manuscripts collated by Mill, consist almost entirely in nothing but palpable errors in transcription, or trifling grammatical and verbal differences which by no means make any alteration in the sense of the subject y. Some indeed change the
1 As—Mark iv. 32, instead of, Otai iohe>* it is sown; Otai pvn, ivhen it is grwort up .-—Chap. v. 9, aTtxgiSii Xyvt, he answered, saying j Myu Xvt^i be fays unto him :—or instead of Ho^soitk) Ix9oiti;; instead of I^x)ws; instead of 7Tgoir«v»fi
wgiitHtu j instead of papiraiov, <pagKrai«i j instead of
sense, sense, yet only in passages which relate unimportant historical and geographical circumstances, or other collateral matters z. And the few which make any alteration in things of consequence, do not on that account place us in absolute uncertainty. For either we can discover the true reading by collating the other manuscripts, versions, and quotations found in the works of the ancients*; or, should this not be the case, yet we can even then explain with certainty the doctrine from other passages of the sacred books b.'—These numerous variations,
1 For instance; ya^xfwav, for yspys anvut: f!nbaictfx, for fSvOxnx: or Luke xxiv. 43, the addition, ifxy,, xxt rx ETn^oiTTa i&uxtt avro>; J Acts of the Apost. viii. 39> mtv/jtx xytot ntiaiv im ror ivtsnov
* As 1 Tim. iii. 16 j where we sind the different readings, ©i0; 3;, and 5.
b For instance, Acts of the Apost. xx. 28, some MSS. instead of ©ia have Kugis. Let us suppose that we tould not here make out which is the true reading, yet the matter may be determined from many other passages.