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OF THE CHARACTER AND DESIGN OF THIS WORK.
My education and habits from early youth led me to read and study the Bible, not as a text-book to confirm the articles of a preconceived creed, but as a revelation from God to man, (of His will and purposes, in reference to the origin and designation of His human offspring,) which it was the duty and interest of all the inhabitants of the earth, deeply to study, and earnestly to endeavour to understand; as it concerned their peace and happiness, and the perfection of their being in reference to both worlds.
In my General Preface prefixed to Genesis, I gave a suc-| Bengel, Mill, Wetstein, and Griesbach; actually examining einct account of the Plan 1 pursued in preparing this Work many MSS., either cursorily or not at all examined by them; for the press but as this plan became necessarily extended, illustrating the whole by quotations from ancient anthors, and led to much farther reading, examination, and discus-Rabbinical, Grecian, Roman, and Asiatic; I exceeded my sion, I judge it necessary to give my Readers a general previous design, and brought down the Work to the end of Summary of the whole, that they may be in possession of my the Apocalypse; and passed the whole through the press. mode of proceeding, and be enabled more fully to compre. I should mention here a previous work, (without which hend the reasons why the Work has been so long in passing any man must be ill qualified to undertake the illustration of through the press. the New Testament,) viz. a careful examination of the Septuagint. In this the phraseology of the New Testament is contained, and from this the import of that phraseology is alone to be derived. This I read carefully over to the end of the Book of Psalms, in the edition of Dr. Grabe, from the Coder Alexandrinus; collating it occasionally with editions taken from the Vatican MS., and particularly that printed by Field, at Cambridge, 1665, 18mo. with the Parcnetic Preface of the learned Bishop Pearson. Without this previous work, who did ever yet properly comprehend the idiom and phrase ology of the Greek Testament? New, all these are parts of my labour which common readers cannot conceive; and which none can properly appreciate, as to the pains, diffculty, and time which must be expended, who have not themselves trodden this almost unfrequented path.
When the New Testament was thus prepared and finished at press, I was induced, though with great reluctance, to recommence the Old. I was already nearly worn down by my previous work, connected with other works and duties which I could not omit; and though I had gone through the most important parts of the Sacred Records, yet I could easily resee that I had an ocean of difficulties to wade through in those parts that remained. The Historical Books alone, in their chronology, arrangement of facts, concise and often obscure phraseology, presented not a few :-the books of Solomon, and those of the Major and Minor Prophets, a multitude. Notwithstanding all these, I hope I may say, that having obtained help of God, I am come with some success, to the conclusion; having aimed at nothing throughout the whole but the glory of God, and the good of men.
But still something remains to be said concerning the mo dus operandi, or particular plan of proceeding. In prosecu ting this work I was led to attend, in the first instance, more to words than to things, in order to find their true ideal meaning; together with those different shades of acceptation to which they became subject, either in the circumstances of the speakers and those who were addressed, or in their ap plication to matters which use, peculiarity of place and situation, and the lapse of time, had produced. It was my invari able plan to ascertain first, the literal meaning of every word and phrase; and where there was a spiritual meaning, or reference, to see how it was founded on the literal sense. He who assumes his spiritual meanings first, is never likely to interpret the words of God either to his own credit or to the profit of his readers; but in this track commentator has followed commentator, so that, in many cases, instead of a careful display of God's words and the objects of His providence and mercy, we have tissues of strange doctrines, human creeds, and confessions of faith. As I have said in another place, I speak not against compilations of this kind; but let them be founded on the words of God, first properly understood.
As I proceeded in my work I met with other difficulties. I soon perceived an almost continual reference to the Litera ture, Arts, and Sciences, of the Ancient World, and of the Though my friends in general wished me to go forward Asiatic nations in particular; and was therefore obliged to with the Old Testament; yet, as several of them were appre-make these my particular study, having found a thousand hensive, from the then infirm state of my health, that I might | passages which I could neither illustrate nor explain, without not live long enough to finish the whole, they advised me some general knowledge at least of their jurisprudence, astrostrongly to omit for the present the Old Testament, and begin nomy, architecture, chemistry, chirurgery, medicine, metal with the New. This was in conformity with my own feel. lurgy, pneumatics, &c. with their military tactics, and the ings on the subject; having wished simply to add the four arts and trades (as well ornamental as necessary) which are Gospels and Acts of the Apostles to the five Books of Moses carried on in common life. and the Books of Joshua and Judges; as these two parcels of Divine revelation, carefully illustrated, would give a full view of the origin and final settlement of the church of the Old Covenant, and the commencement and completion of that of the New. And thus I proceeded.
After having literally translated every word of the New Testament, that last best gift of God to man; comparing the whole with all the ancient Versions, and the most important of the modern; collating all with the Various Readings collerted by Stephens, Courcel, Fell, Gherard of Maestricht,
In the course of all this labour I have also paid particular at tention to those facts mentioned in the Sacred Writings, which have been the subjects of animadversion or ridicule by free-thinkers and infidels of all classes and in all times; and I hope I may say that no such passage is either designedly passed by or superficially considered; that the strongest objections are fairly produced and met;-that all such parts of these Divine writings are, in consequence, exhibited in their own lustre ;--and, that the truth of the doctrine of our salvation has had as many triumphs as it has had attacks from the 3
Conscious that Translators in general must have had a particular creed, in reference to which they would naturally consider every text; and this reference, however honestly intended, might lead them to glosses not always fairly deducible from the original words; I sat down with a heart as free from bias and sectarian feeling as possible, and carefully read over, cautiously weighed, and literally translated, every word, Hebrew and Chaldee, in the Old Testament. And as I saw that it was possible, even while assisted by the best translations and best lexicographers, to mistake the import of a Hebrew term, and considering that the cognate Asiatic languages would be helps of great importance in such an enquiry, I collated every verse, where I was apprehensive of any difficulty, with the Chaldee, Syriac, Arabic, and Persian, and the Ethiopic in the Polyglott Translation, as far as the Sacred Writings are extant in these languages: and I did this with a constant reference to the Various Readings collected by Houbigant, H. Michaelis, Kennicott, and De Rossi, and to the best editions of the Septuagint and Vulgate, which are the earliest translations of the Hebrew Text which have reached our times.
Nor have I been satisfied with these collections of Various Readings; I have examined and collated several ancient Hebrew MSS. which preceding scholars had never seen, with many ancient MSS. of the Vulgate equally unknown to bibli. cal critics. This work required much time and great pains, and necessarily occasioned much delay: and no wonder, when I have often, on my plan, been obliged to employ as much time in visiting many sources and sailing down their streams, in order to ascertain a genuine reading or fix the sense of a disputed verse, as would have been sufficient for some of my contemporaries to pass whole sheets of their work through the press. Had I not followed this method, which to me appeared absolutely necessary, I should have completed my Work, such as it would have been, in less than one half
of the time.
These previous Readings, Collations, and Translations, produced an immense number of Notes and Observations on all parts of the Old Testament; which, by the advice and entreaty of several learned and judicions friends, I was induced to extend in the form of a perpetual comment on every Book in the Bible. This being ultimately revised and completed as far as the Book of Judges, which formed, in my purpose, the boundary of my proceedings on the Hebrew Scriptures, I was induced to commit it to press.
Inspiration of the
sacred writers. rudest and most formidable of its antagonists: and on all such, the chronological department from my own nephew. I have disputed points I humbly hope that the Reader will never laboured alone for nearly twenty-five years previously to the consult these volumes in vain. And if those grand doctrines Work being sent to press; and fifteen years have been which constitute what by some is called orthodoxy; that employed in bringing it through the Press to the public; and prove that God is loving to every man; that from His innate, thus about forty years of my life have been consumed; and infinite, and eternal goodness, He wills and has made provi- from this the Reader will at once perceive, that the Work, sion for the salvation of every human soul, be found to be well or ill executed, has not been done in a careless or prethose which alone have stood the rigid test of all the above cipitate manner: nor have any means within my reach been sifting and examination; it was not because these were neglected to make it in every respect, as far as possible, what sought for beyond all others, and the Scriptures bent in that way the title-page promises,-A HELP TO A BETTER UNDERSTANDin order to favour them; but because these doctrines are es ING OF THE SACRED WRITINGS. sentially contained in, and established by, the ORACLES OF GOD. I may add, that these doctrines, and all those connected with them, (such as the defection and sinfulness of man,-the incarnation and sacrificial death of Christ,-His infinite, unoriginated, and eternal Deity; justification by faith in His blood; and the complete sanctification of the soul by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit,) have not only been shown to be the doctrines of the Sacred Records, but have also been subjected to the strongest test of logical examination; and, in the Notes, are supported by arguments, many of them new, applied in such a way as has not been done before in any similar or the ological work.
In this arduous labour I have had no assistants; not even a single week's help from an amanuensis: no person to look for common places, or refer to an ancient author: to find out the place and transcribe a passage of Greek, Latin, or any other language, which my memory had generally recalled, or to verify a quotation ;-the help excepted which I received in
Thus, through the merciful help of God, my labour in this field terminates; a labour, which were it yet to commence, with the knowledge I now have of its difficulty, and my (in many respects) inadequate means, millions, even of the gold of Ophir, and all the honours that can come from man, could not induce me to undertake. Now that it is finished, I regret not the labour; I have had the testimony of many learned, pious, and judicious friends, relative to the execution and the usefulness of the Work. It has been admitted into the very highest ranks of society, and has lodged in the cottages of the poor. It has been the means of doing good to the simple of heart; and the wise man and the scribe, the learned and the philosopher, according to their own generous acknowledg. ments, have not consulted its pages in vain.
For these, and all His other mercies to the Writer and Reader, may God, the Fountain of all good, be eternally praised! ADAM CLARKE. Eastcott, April 17, 1826.
TO THE FOUR GOSPELS AND ACTS OF THE APOSTLES.
THE Introduction, so long promised, giving an account of the Manuscripts, Versions, &c. referred to in this Work, is at last before my readers; and could not with any propriety, have been published sooner, as the Gospel History could not be considered complete till the Book of the Acts was finished. As the chronology of the New Testament ends with the two years' imprisonment of Paul at Rome, it may be thought less to carry it any farther down: but as there is some reason to believe, that he visited Rome a second time, and suffered Eartyrdom there about A. D. 64 or 65; and as learned men have agreed that the Apocalypse, which completes the canon of the New Testament, was not written till about the year 96; I have thought it necessary to carry down the Chronology through the whole of the first century of the Christian era; that, if I should not have health or life to proceed any farther in this work, that important part should be left in a state of tolerable perfection. I have proceeded on the same plan with the four Gospels, and the Book of the Acts, as I have done with the Pentateuch and the Book of Joshua; and have reason to thank God that he has spared me to go through (in the manner I first proposed) with these two most important parts of that Revelation, which his mercy has granted to man. In the first, (the Pentateuch and the Book of Joshua,) the history of the world and its original inhabitants, and the history of the church, are brought down from the creation, to the final settlement of the Israelites in the Promised Land. In the second, the four Gospels and Book of Acts,) I have deduced the important events of the Christian dispensation from six years before the vulgar era, down to the year 100. This chronology is as rich in the necessary eras, as that which is attached to the Book of Deuteronomy; and has, I hope, left nothing unnoticed that belongs to such a work. The account of MSS., Versions, &c. is necessarily short: I could not proceed farther in
this description, without involving much of that sort of Biblical Criticism which could not be advantageous to general readers. I have, therefore, only introduced what I deemed necessary for a proper understanding of the references to be found in the Commentary itself.
I have purposely avoided the question concerning the au need-thenticity of the Sacred Writings in general. On a thorough conviction, I assume the fact, that they are a Divine record, a revelation from God. This has been so amply proved, that the Christian cause has had a complete triumph. I consider, therefore, the question to be for ever at rest. As to the particular books, scriptures, or scripture facts, to which objections have been made, I have carefully considered them as they occur in their respective places; and I hope, I have fully removed every such objection, and have exhibited the doctrines of the Gospel, and the facts of the evangelical history, in their own certain and steady light: at least, I have carefully laboured to do it, and, like the woman in the Gospel, I have done what I could.
When the great difficulty of my work is considered, no one will suppose that mistakes were avoidable: general consistency and correctness are all that candour can require. I have met with difficulties in every part of my undertaking, such as a commentator only can feel and estimate. On the Acts of the Apostles alone, I have spent many months of almost incessant labour. Difficulties occurred in every page: and I could not proceed till I had made the way plain before me, and left it open to those who might come after. This alone is sufficient to account for the delay in this part; and for any casual mistakes into which I may have fallen: mistakes, if such there be, over which the candid reader will find little difficulty gently to draw the pen of correction: remembering, that it is much more easy to find faults than to mend them.
"L. How this assistance may fitly be explained.
Inspiration of the Sacred Writers, Various Readings, and account of Manuscripts and Versions, etc. referred to in this work. $1 Concerning the manner in which Di-| excellently on this point. After asserting that | tion on their brain as gives them a deep and vine Inspiration tras granted to the sacred the apostles and evangelists indited these clear idea of that which he intended to make writers.-The manner in which the Divine Scriptures by the assistance of the Holy known unto them: only the impression must Inspiration has been granted to the sacred | Ghost; and that as the immediate succeeding then be made in such a manner and degree, writers, is a question of more than mere cuages did, so we at present securely may, rely and with such circumstances as may make it riosity. As every work of God is done in an upon them as a rule of faith, he proceeds to certain to the inspired person that it derives orderly, rational manner, so must this also: show, from God. Now seeing, when we hear the but we must take heed not to contine him to voice of any one, or receive a letter from him, one particular form, and say, it must be we may be certain from the knowledge we thus and thus, or not at all. God is sovereign "For explication of this divine assistance, have of his voice, or his hand-writing, that it of his own ways; and so does his wondrous let it be considered, is he indeed who speaks or writes to us; we works, that they may be had in everlasting "1. That prophecy is sometimes represented may very well conceive, that God can easily remembrance. As he has spoken at sundry as the word of the Lord, and he is said to speak give such distinctive marks of what he inttines to our fathers and predecessors, by the to the prophet; and suitably to this metaphor, wardly speaks to us, or writes upon the taprophets and other inspired men; so has he some illustration of the assistance of the Holy bles of our hearts, as shall enable us to disdone this in divers manners, ever adapting Spirit may be made from the analogy it bears cern what he imprints upon them, from any the manner to time, place, circumstance, &c. to human conversation; thus, that as we con- impression that shall otherwise be made upon Hence we are not to look for a uniformity in vey our thoughts one to another by such them. the manner of communicating his inspira- words as, by the organs of hearing, make tions, any more than we are to look for iden- such a motion on their brain to whom we tity of time, place, and persons. He has done speak, as gives them an idea of the words we great things: and he has done all things well.utter, and by them of the things which by On the inspiration of the Scriptures them- those words are signified, and so it is, the imselves, I must therefore refer my readers to pression made upon their brain, which doth those who have written professedly on the communicate our thoughts to them: so, when subject; but on the mode of communicating it please God to reveal his will to any person, that inspiration, I beg leave to make a few it seems only necessary that he talk inward extracts from Dr Whitby, who has written ly with them, that is, that he make such a mo
2. Sometimes the prophet is in Scripture styled a seer, and his word, a vision; and then the parallel, or the analogy, runs thus As we see, by virtue of a light reflecting the species of things upon the reting of the eve, and thence deriving a peculiar motion to, and making a distinct impression on, the brain; so may the prophet be supposed to see what God reveals unto him, by a like motion of the Holy Spirit made upon his brain concerning
Inspiration of the
it. And as it is as easy to propose a material,
cite them to indite those things, and should so ance, should exactly give us all that was
"Now though this impression may be suf-
"Secondly. In all their revelations of mysteries, or things which could not otherwise be made known to them, either by natural reason or antecedent revelation, they must be acknowledged to have had them by an immediate suggestion of the Holy Spirit. Hence, "Lastly, from what is thus discoursed, it of these things the apostle says, negatively, may appear, that I contend only for such an that the natural man (who only judges of inspiration, or Divine assistance of the sacred things by his natural reason) cannot know writers of the New Testament, as will assure them, because they are spiritually discerned,' us of the truth of what they wrote, whether 1 Cor. ii. 14. i. e. they being mysteries, can by inspiration of suggestion or direction only be discerned by the revelation of the only; but not for such an inspiration as imSpirit; and positively, that they spake the plies, that even their words were dictated, wisdom of God in a mystery, even the wis- or their phrases suggested to them by the com hid from former ages, which eye hath Holy Ghost: this, in some matters of great not seen, nor ear heard, nor had it entered moment, might be so; St. Paul declaring, into the heart of man to conceive,' 1 Cor. ii. 7. that they spake the things which were given And that because God had revealed these them of God in the words which the Holy things to them by his Spirit,' verse 9. ' they Ghost teacheth,' 1 Cor. 11. 13. if that relate having received the Spirit of God, that they not to what the Holy Ghost had taught them might know the things which are freely out of the Old Testament. But that it was given to us of God,' verse 10. Thus was the not always so, is evident, both from the conmystery of the calling of the Gentiles into an sideration that they were hagiographers, equality of privileges with the believing who are supposed to be left to the use of Jews, made known unto them; for God, by their own words, and from the variety of the revelation, saith St. Paul, made known to style in which they write, and from the soleme the mystery of Christ, which in other cisms, which are sometimes visible in their The ways of prophecy, under the Old ages was not made known, as it is now re-compositions; and more especially from their Testament, seem to be comprehended under vealed to his holy apostles and prophets by own words, which manifestly show that, in these four heads, viz. either the prophets re- the Spirit; that the Gentiles should be fellow-some cases, they had had no such suggestion ceived their revelation in a dream or trance, heirs and of the same body, and partakers of from the Holy Ghost as doth imply, that he or in a vision, or by a voice from heaven, or his promise in Christ, by the Gospel,' Eph. iii. had dictated those words unto them. For by the secret suggestions of the Holy Ghost. 3, 4, 5, 6. chap. i. 9. vi. 19. Col. 1. 26, 27. 11. 2. iv. instance, when St. Paul declares his will or "Now some of the apostles had their vi-3, 4. So they knew the mystery of the recall-purpose to do what he was hindered by the sions, Ist. either by day, as Peter; for an ec- ing of the Jews, Rom. xi. 25, 26. The mystery providence of God from doing; as, when he stacy fell upon him, and he saw the heavens of the resurrection, ie the quality of the says to the Romans, When I go into Spain, opened, and he heard a voice saying unto him, bodies to be raised, and the order of it, with I will come to you,' chap. xv. 21. 'I will come Arise, Peter, kill and eat,' Acts X. 11. And all the other special circumstances mention-by you into Spain,' verse 28. For though he this is called opaua, a vision, verse 17. And ed, 1 Cor. xv. I Thess. iv. and the apostacy of might, after his enlargement, go into the by this, saith he, God taught me to call no the latter times; for the Spirit speaketh ex- west, where St. Clement (Ep. ad Cor. § 6.) man common, or unclean, verse 28. Or by pressly, saith the apostle, that in the latter says he preached. And even into Spain, as night: thus a vision of the night was seen by days men shall depart from the faith,' 1 Tim. Cyril, (Catechis. 17. p. 204. C) Epiphanius, Paul, and a man speaking to him, in the vi. IV. 1. This inspiration of suggestion must (Hær. 27. p. 107. C.) and Theodoret, (in 2 Tim. sion of the night, Acts xvi. 9. 2dly. They had also be allowed to St. John, the author of the iv. 17. and Præfat. in Psalm cxvi.) say he also the Spirit speaking to them; for the Spi- Revelations; for he, speaking only what was did; yet it is certain he did not designedly rit said to Peter, Behold, three men seek represented to him in visions, or by angelical go to Rome, in order to an intended journey thee; arise, therefore, and go with them. discourses, or apparitions, must have that as into Spain; and when he says to the Corinnothing doubting, for I have sent them,' Acts sistance which suggested these ideas to him. thians, I will come to you when I pass X. 20, 21. 3dly. And sometimes they had vi"Thirdly. As for those things which they through Macedonia,' 1 Cor. xvi. 5. and yet sions and revelations of the Lord, either by did know already, either by natural reason, confesses in his second epistle, ? Cor. i. 15, way of rapture to them, 2 Cor. xii. 2 or of needed only such an assistance, or direction for it is not to he thought the Holy Ghost education, or antecedent revelation, they 16, 17. that he did not perform that journey; conversation with them; as when Christ said to St. Paul, My grace is sufficient for thee,' in them, as would secure them from error in should incite him to promise, or even to purverse 9. Here then are three kinds of revela- their reasonings, or in their confirmation of pose, what He knew he would not perform. tion granted to the apostles; but then these their doctrines by passages contained in the This also we learn from all those places in things were mostly occasional, and accidental Old Testament; and, therefore, a continuai which they do express their ignorance, or to them, in respect of their apostolical func-suggestion must be here necessary. And, doubtfulness of that which they are speakindeed, one great work they had upon their ing of; as when St. Paul says, I know not "Only the case of the apostle Paul must hands, both in preaching the Gospel, and whether I baptized any other,' 1 Cor. 1. 16. here admit of an exception; for it being ne. writing these Gospels and epistles, being to And again, Txov napapevw, perhaps I will cessary for an apostle, that is, a witness of convince the unbelieving Jer, or to confirm abide, yea, and winter with you.' 1 Cor. xvi. 6. Christ's resurrection, to have seen the Lord the wavering Jew, or rectify the errors of the And when St. Peter saith, By Sylvanus, a risen from the dead, according to those words, Judaizing Christian, the gift of knowledge of faithful brother, as I suppose, have I written Am I not an apostle? Have I not seen the the Scriptures of the Old Testament was very to you,' 1 Fet. v. 12. for these words plainly Lord? 1 Cor. 1x. 1: 'and for an apostle, not necessary for them, and therefore is deser-show, that, in all these things, they had no of man, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ, the Holy Ghost; and, being so, we have rea- ly, may be gathered from all those places in vedly reckoned among the primary gifts of inspiration, or Divine assistance. This, lastGal. i. 1. to receive his message immediately from the Lord Jesus; Christ speaks thus to son to believe, that either the Holy Ghost sug- which they only do express their hope, and him: I have appeared unto thee for this pur- which they used in these sacred writings to in these words, I hope to see you in my gested to their memory those scriptures that conditionally, of doing this or that; as pose, to make thee a minister, and a witness, convince them; or else presided so over journey,' Rom. xv. 24. I will come unto both of those things which thou hast seen, them, as not to suffer them to make any in-you quickly, if the Lord will,' 1 Cor. iv. 19. and of those things in the which I will appear ferences from them which were not agreea
to mouth, &c. See Num. xii. 7.
unto thee,' Acts xxvi. 16. Which words con- ble to the true intent and meaning of them: Lord permit,' I Cor. xvi. 7. I hope in the
"But yet, that which enabled them for the
"And, Ist. I argue for the Divine assistance5
"And hence we may account for the objec tions against this Divine assistance, arising from the seventh of Acts, for, though I have showed in the note on verses 15, 16, that there is no real mistake in the words of the Protomartyr, yet were it granted, that there is an error in his account of the sepulchres of the patriarch, that affects not the authority of St. Luke at all, provided he have exactly related what was then said by St. Stephen, who was not chosen to be a penman of the Holy Scriptures.
Inspiration of the sacred writers.
Various Readings, &c
of the inditers of these sacred records from what they do assert concerning their own writings; and what they say touching the declarations made, the doctrines delivered, and the directions given in them.
ani Christ, the mystery of God the Father,ciency was of God; who, by this ministra. ant of Christ, the commandment and the tion of the Spirit, had made them able minis testimony of God, which is the thing I an, ters of the New Testament, 2 Cor. iii. 5, 6. concerned to make good; and then it highly And thus, says he, that God who commandmust concern all persons, to be mindful of ed the light to shine out of darkness, (and "As for the wnters of the Gospel, St. Luke the commandinents of the apostles of our who illuminated the prophets by shining up. declares he writes his Gospel to Theophilus, Lord and Saviour, 2 Pet. fil. 2 If they had on their imagination and their understandthat he might know the certainty of those no such assurance of the assistance of the ing) hath shined in our hearts, to give the things in which he had been instructed; Holy Spirit, they did grossly impose upon the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in and St. John declares, his Gospel was writ- world, in thus pretending that they preached the face of Jesus Christ,' 2 Cor. iv. 5. In his ten, that they might believe that Jesus was the Gospel by the assistance of the Holy Spi-Epistle to the Ephesians, he declares, that the the Christ, the Son of God:' now, it is plain, rit sent doirn from heaven. If they were mystery of Christ was made known to him that neither Theophilus could be certain of not assured that in those writings they deby inmediate revelation, and not to him only, the truth of what he had been taught by any livered only those docrines which Gol re-but to the rest of the apostles and prophets of writing which was not absolutely certain in quired all men to believe, those precepts he the New Testament; for God, says he, hath itself; nor could others he induced, by what required them to do, they must be very con-made known this revelation to us, the apostles St. John had written, to believe, that Jesus fident in daring to make this the preface to and prophets, by the Spirit,' Eph. iii. 3, 5. And was the Christ, unless they could be certain some of their epistles, Paul, an apostle, ac- hence he speaks to the Corinthians in this that he spake the truth throughout his Gospel. cording to the will and commandment of language, If any man be a propbet, or spiri Now, if we do consider how many things God,' 1 Cor. i. 1. 2 Cor. i. 1. Eph. i. 1. Col. i. 1.tual, let him acknowledge that the things! contained in the beginning of St. Luke's Gos-2 Tini. i. 1. and saying, with so much assur- write unto you are the commandments of The must have by hearsay; and how many ance, If any be a prophet, let him acknow- God,' 1 Cor. xiv. 37. Here, then, the argument you are St. John, deliver as spoken by our Lord and commandments of God,' 1 Cor. xiv. 37. and "They who had a like assistance to that of others; of which we can have no assurance, much more, in declaring to all Christians the prophets under the Old Testament, must after so many years before the writing of this- We are of God; he that knoweth God, write by the direction of the Holy Ghost, for them, on the mere strength of human memo- heareth us; he that is not of God, heareth holy men of old spake as they were moved by ry, so as to ground an article of Divine faith not us; by this we know the spirit of truth the Holy Ghost; and the Scriptures they inupon the very words in which they were de- and the spirit of error,' 1 John iv. 6. For this dited were of Divine inspiration; and their livered; we must be forced to conclude, that, seems equal to what their Master himself said words are cited in the New Testament, as upon this account, we cannot depend upon in the like words, Why do you not believe spoken by the Holy Ghost. But the apostles the very letter and minute circumstances of me? He that is of God heareth the words of had a like assistance, for, in the words now every discourse related by theni; unless, ac- God: you therefore hear them not, because cited, they style themselves apostles and procording to Christ's promise, they hut the as- ye are not of God, John viii. 46, 47. Yea, phets; they challenge a like illummation, or sistance of the Holy Ghost, to bring these they must be false witnesses of God, by sty-shining of God upon their hearts, a like revethings to their remembrance: wherefore this ling human writings the word, the Gospel,lation of their Gospel by the Holy Spirit; and promise is made to them in very general and the command, the testimony, the mind, the they pretend to teach it to others, in words comprehensive terms, viz. the Holy Ghost mystery of God and Christ; and by requiring taught them by the Holy Ghost. In all which shall bring all things to your remembrance, others to receive it, not as the word of man, sayings, they must be guilty of a false testiwhatsoever I have said unto you,' John xiv. but as the word of God, even that word by mony concerning God, and must impose upon which they must be judged at the last day, the church of Christ, if no such assistance of Rom. ii. 16. which again runs as high as the Holy Ghost was imparted to them. those words of Christ, The word that I have spoken shall judge hhn that believes it not at the last day,' John xii. 48.
3dly. These sacred records, which were indited to be a standing rule of faith to Christians throughout all ages of the world, the Gospel contained in these Scriptures being made known to all nations for the obedience of faith,' Rom vi. 26. they must in all things propounded in them, to our faith, contain a di vine testimony, or a revelation of the will of God. For as human faith depends upon the testimony of man, so divine faith is that which depends upon the testimony of God. And as obedience to men consists in doing the will of men, so our obedience to God consists in conformity to the will of God. Again, if we must all be judged by this law of liber
The whole of Dr. Whitby's important General Preface, from which the above is extracted, is well worth the attention of the reader.
And then there being nothing considerable in St. Mark, which is not also in St. Matthew or St. Luke, or both, the certainty of all that is contained in them, must make us also certain of the truth of what St. Mark delivers in his Gospel. Moreover, the word spoken "2lly. They who, when they indited these and indited by them, is styled the word of writings, were assisted by the Holy Ghost, God: men, saith the apostle, could not be the Spirit of truth, indited these records by lieve the Gospel, unless they heard it preach- Divine assistance; for the things God spake ed to them: nor could they hear it preached, to his servants the prophets, are styled the unless some were commissioned to preach things which I commanded, ev яvevpari pov, the Gospel for faith comes by hearing, and by my Spirit, Zach. i. 6. but the apostles were bearing by the word of God,' Rom. x. 14, 15, thus assisted; this they in terms, or by just 16, 17. And, for this cause,' says he, thank consequence, assert. For St. Peter says of we God without ceasing, because, when ye them all, in general, that they preached the received the word of God, which ye heard of Gospel by the Holy Ghost sent down from us, ye received it not as the word of men, but heaven,' I Pet. L. 12. And is not this as much as it is in truth, the word of God,' I Thess. as he said of the prophets of the Old Testa- James ii. 12. if Christ at the last day will ii. 13. I am made a minister of Christ,' saith ment, when he declares they spoke as they judge the secrets of men's hearts according he, according to the dispensation of God, were moved by the Holy Ghost? 2 Pet. i. 1. to the Gospel of St. Paul, Rom. ii. 16. ‘If he which is given to me to fulfil, (i e fully to St. Paul asserts, in the same general expres- will come in flaming fire, taking vengeance preach) the word of God.' Coloss. i. 25. 2. It sion, that those great things belonging to the of all that obey not his Gospel,' then must is called the commandment of God; for my Gospel, which neither eye had seen, nor ear this Gospel, and this law of liberty, be a rule Gospel,' says St. Paul, and the preaching of had heard, nor heart was able to conceive,' of faith until Christ's second coming; for, Jesus Christ, is made manifest, and, accord- God had revealed to them by the Spirit, 1 Cor.upon that account alone, can men be bound ing to the commandment of the everlasting i. 10. that they had received not the spirit under this dreadful penalty, to yield obediGod, made known unto you for the obedience of the world, but the Spirit which is of God, ence to it, and be judged by it." of faith,' Rom. xiv. 25, 26. which faith is al that they might know the things which were ways built on a divine testimony. And, freely given to Christians of God; and that again, 'If any man be a prophet, or spiritual, these things they taught, not in the words let him acknowledge that the things I write which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the unto you are the commandments of the Lord. Holy Ghost teacheth, comparing spiritual § II. Of Various Readings in the Scrip1 Cor. xiv. 37. 3. It is declared to be the things with spiritual, verses 12, 12. In which tures, and the Sources whence they sprung. wisdom of God, 1 Cor. i. 24. For, we preach place the very design of the apostle is to Before I proceed to give an account of the Christ to you that are called, both Jews and prove, against the Greek philosophers, how principal Manuscripts, Ancient Versions, and Greeks, the power of God, and the wisdom of unreasonable it was to reject the Gospel, be Ecclesiastical Writers, frequently referred to God; we speak the wisdom of God in a mys cause it came not in the way of demonstrain this work, it may be necessary to say a lit tery, even that wisdom which God has re- tion to human reason, but by way of revelatle on the Various Readings of the Old and vealed to us by his Spirit,' 1 Cor. il. 7. 10. tion from God; and so required faith, as of New Testaments in general, and the manner 4. It is the Testimony of God, for I came not necessity it must do, since it contained such in which they originated; as several of my to you,' saith he, in excellency of speech de- things concerning the design of Christ's salu- readers may not have had the opportunity of claring to you the testimony. 1 Cor. if. 1. tary passion, his resurrection, ascension, and acquainting themselves with that branch of 5. It is the Gospel of God; for St. Paul styles a future judgment at the general resurrec Biblical criticism, in which this subject is himself the minister of Jesus Christ to the tion, which no natural man could know by particularly discussed. Gentiles, ministering the Gospel of God to the utmost improvement of his human reathem, Rom. xv. 16. We preach,' says he, son; and such discoveries of the counsel of the Gospel of God freely.' 2 Cor. xi. 7. We God, concerning man's justification, which were bold to preach to you the Gospel of God; depended upon his good pleasure; which we were willing to have imparted to you, not was known only to that Holy Spirit which the Gospel of God only, but also our own searcheth all things, even the deep things of lives,' 1 Thess. ii. 2, 8. 9. even the glorious Gol. I, is this Spirit, says he, that we have Gospel of the blessed Gol committed to my received, and by this Spirit hath God revealed trust, 1 Tim. i. 10. 6. It is the Gospel of these things unto us, and we accordingly do Christ; for I came,' says he 'to Troas, to teach them to the world, not in the words preach Christ's Gospel,' 2 Cor. it. 12. We which human wisdom teacheth, but arhich sent Timotheus, our fellow-labourer in the the Holy Ghost teacheth, comparing the reve Gospel of Christ,' 1 Thess. iii. 2. 7. It is the lations made to us by the Spirit, with the remystery of his will, Eph. i. 9. "The mystery velations made to the prophets in the Old Into the discussion of this question I cannot of God the Father, and of Christ.' Col. ii. 2. Testament, by the same Spirit; and finding minutely enter: it is not the province of a The mind of Christ, made known to the that the revelations made to us do far exceed Commentator. But lest it should be supposed apostles,' I Cor. ii. 16. And the word of what was discovered to them; for, what the that I wished to elude it, I would simply ob Christ which must dwell richly in believers,' eye of those prophets had not seen in vision, serve, 1. That before the invention of printCol. ill. 16. or their ear heard in dreams, nor can the ing, the whole of the Sacred Writings, both "Now, certainly, it cannot rationally be heart of man conceive, without a revelation, of the Old and New Testaments, must have conceived, that the apostles should be igno even these things hath God revealed to us by existed either in MS. or by Oral Tradition. rant of that assistance by which they were his Spirit. Thus did they speak the word of 2. If they existed originally by Oral Tradi enabled to indite these records; if then they Gol in demonstration of the Spirit; whence tion, they must have been, at one time or were assured of that assistance of the Holy he declares, that if any man despise their tes- other, reduced from that into a MS. or written Spirit, which they challenged, then must the timony or instructions, he despised not man form. 3. As these records were considered of Gospel, which they both preached and indi- only, but God also, who had given them his general importance, being a revelation from ted, be received as the rord of God and Spirit, 1 Thess. iv. 8. they being not sufficient God to man, concerning his salvation, manuChrist, the mind of Chris', the Gospel of God for this work of themselves, but their suffi-scripts would be multiplied, as the people in
By a Various Reading, I mean a word existing either in the Ancient Versions, or in Ancient MSS, or in both, different from the word in the commonly received and printed text, whether of the Old or the New Testament. The sources whence these are derived, are those ancient Versions and MSS. the chief of which are enumerated and described in the following lists.
But, it may be asked, of what authority are these Versions and Manuscripts? And why appeal to them from, and sometimes against, the commonly received text?