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De Moor V:18: New Testament Testimonies for the Doctrine of the Trinity, Part 5

ε. [The Nicean adversaries of the Arians, being coeval with them, did not intruded it, since they did not make use of this passage, as either variously, or not at all, read by them.] For it was able to happen, that already at that time either the reading of that passage varied greatly, or the same was also missing in many Codices in that age. Apart from the fact that the dispute with Arius was not so much about the Trinity, as about the Deity of the Son. Neither does the neglect of the use of this text create a manifest prejudice against the αὐθεντίαν/authenticity/ authority of the same: for in this way many Fathers, discoursing concerning the Trinity, also omit that most famous text, Matthew 28:19, of the αὐθεντίᾳ/authenticity/authority of which there is no doubt: see MARTIN, Dissertations Critiques, part II, chapters II, III.

ϛ. [Finally, it is demonstrated, etc.] Compare GERHARD’S Disputationem priorem on this passage, § 43, 44, pages 1345-1347.

[What Corruptions…they are read to have introduced.] Thus Artemon,[1]Theodotus Coriarius,[2] and similar heretics, under the name of corrections, are read to have corrupted the Scriptures adverse to themselves, in EUSEBIUS, near the end of book V Historiæ ecclesiasticæ, chapter XXVIII, page 197, Διὰ τοῦτο ταῖς θείαις γραφαῖς ἀφόβως ἐπέβαλον τὰς χεῖρας, λέγοντες αὐτὰς διωρθωκέναι, therefore, they have without fear laid their hands upon the divine books, claiming to restore them. The same EUSEBIUS, Historia ecclesiastica, book IV, chapter XXIII, cites the following things out of DIONYSIUS, bishop of Corinth,[3] who according to SPANHEIM, Historia Ecclesiastica, Century III, chapter X, § 1, column 779, is reported to have already died in the year 178: Ἔτι δὲ ὁ αὐτὸς καὶ περὶ τῶν ἰδίων ἐπιστολῶν ὡς ῥαδιουργηθεισῶν, ταῦτα φησίν. ἐπιστολὰς γὰρ ἀδελφῶν ἀξιωσάντων με γράψαι, ἔγραψα. καὶ ταύτας οἱ τοῦ διαβόλου ἀπόστολοι ζιζανίων γεγέμικαν, ἃ μὲν ἐξαιροῦντες, ἃ δὲ προστιθέντες· οἷς τὸ οὐαὶ κεῖται. οὐ θαυμαστὸν ἄρα εἰ καὶ τῶν κυριακῶν ῥαδιουργῆσαι τινες ἐπιβέβληνται γραφῶν, ὁπότε καὶ ταῖς οὐ τοιαύταις ἐπιβεβλήκασι, The same writer also concerning his own epistles, alleging that they had been mutilated, says these things: With the brethren desiring me to write epistles, I wrote: And these epistles the apostles of the devil have filled with tares, cutting out some things, and adding others; for them a woe is in store: It is not then to be wondered at, if some have attempted to adulterate the Lord’s writings also, since they have made attempts even against lesser writings. And SOCRATES,[4]Historia Ecclesiastica, book VII, chapter XXXII, testifies that from this very catholic Epistle of John certain things were removed by those that were desiring to separate τὴν θεότητα ἀπὸ τοῦ τῆς οἰκονομίας ἀνθρώπου, the divine nature from the man of the economy: hence τινὲς ῥαδιουργήσαντες τὴν ἐπιστολὴν, such mutilating the Epistle: see SPANHEIM, Historia ecclesiastica, Century II, chapter VI, column 648, Century III, chapter III, § 3, column 707; TRIGLAND, Dissertatione on this passage, § 11-15; ITTIG, Dissertatione de Hæresiarchis primi et secundi Seculi, section II, chapter XV, § 4, 5. Concerning the ancient heretics laying violent hands on the Sacred Scripture, compare WALCH’S Miscellanea Sacra, book III, Exercitation VIII, § 7, pages 739, 740.

But still more simply, the omission of this text in many Codices was able to have arisen from the mere negligence and defect of attention of the Copyists; since the first and last words of verses 7 and 8 are the same: which MILL prefers, than to think of purposeful Corruption: see MILL’S Dissertationem on this passage, folios 584b, 585a; TRIGLAND’S Dissertationem on this passage, § 16, 17, in which he relates multiple similar examples of omission having arisen from the repetition of the same wordin the same context: add JOHN ERNEST GRABE’S Annotationes ad Bulli Defensionem Fidei Nicænæ, section II, chapter X, § 3, 4, page 139. And eminent Codices that omit this Text also have other notable omissions; see MARTIN, Dissertations Critiques, part II, chapter I.

BENGEL, who in his Apparatu Critico ad Novum Testamentum on this passage, § 21, contends that verse 7 is to be read after verse 8, and in § 24 advises that this Verse is not a Gloss fashioned from an allegorical interpretation of spirit, water, and blood: in § 25 he supplies a new account, which was able to furnish an easy occasion for the omission of this pericope in many Codices of the New Testament, and for the more scanty mention of the same in the Writings of the Fathers, asserting: “It did not happen so much by the carelessness of the scribes, that in a good many of the monuments this verse was omitted, or by the fraud of the Arians, as by the counsel of certain ecclesiastical men.” Now, he finds this Counsel of ecclesiastical Men in the Disciplina Arcani, which cause of the passing over of this saying he reports to have also come into mind for SCHELSTRATE.[5] Among other things he says, “This Disciplina Arcani was introduced in the Second Century: this already at that time…induced many, that from the beginning the Saying be removed from the codices intended only for public reading, which codices overwhelmed the other Greek codices for a brief time…. Casaubon with careful accuracy states, I do not count among the mysteries to be silenced the doctrine of the Most Holy Trinity, of the Incarnation of Jesus Christ, and similar heads of evangelical preaching: without the knowledge of which no one is able to be a Christian: yet it is not to be ignored, that in the handing on of the mystery of the Trinity the Ancients were exceedingly careful that they not rashly speak concerning the grounds of such a mystery in the presence of pagans, or even of Christians yet immature, Exercitationibus XVI ad Annales Baronii, n. 43, where he gathered more things, etc…. Certainly to those that were to be baptized the inner things of Christian doctrine were opened somewhat beforehand, with the Lord’s Prayer: whence Jerome ad Pammachium: The custom among us is of this sort, that, to those that are to be baptized, for forty days we teach the holy and adorable Trinity: and, that those at length approaching the mystery of baptism were wont to receive the doctrine concerning the Deity of Christ, Eusebius teaches in book IX of Demonstrationis Euangelicæ, chapter VI; neither were the other Catechumens spectators of baptism itself. With whom present, the faithful, at least at that time, when recondite Theology was especially thriving…were abstaining from a more open mention of the Holy Trinity…. And so the Greeks removed this passage from the codices intended for public reading (as was also done in the case of the history of the adulteress; see various on the beginning of John 8): whereby it happened, that it was omitted by almost all Greek copyists and interpreters thereafter. For a similar reason (which is especially to be observed) they omitted that confession put forth by the Ethiopian eunuch at his baptism: see various on Acts 8:37. Now, the Africans also preserved that confession, and the Saying of John: although these did not so much urge, as invoke, the Saying, as if by a certain prelude of a stricter reticence, before the persecution of the Vandals had compelled them. When once the saying began to be omitted for this reason, and that, we are one, in John 10 was sometime cited: the catholics cited this, there are three, the Father, etc., less frequently…. From the same Disciplina Arcani, and in imitation of the Greeks, it appears to have happened, that some among the Latins passed over this verse, customarily written and recited by others, both in the codices, and in the solemn Reading…. By this reckoning, when the saying was removed, some that afterwards happened upon that abstained from it, even to cut short Arian abuse, as some Reformers did. The teaching of Arcani is certainly no more inimicable to the honor of the Fathers, than would be the plague of Arians, which the fathers would not have been able not to address with the fault of inaction. This cause of the omission of the Saying has sufficiently wide application to the Greek codices surviving today, as far more ancient than the Alexandrian itself: and the same, with those two prior causes added, easily had this force, that the Saying was unknown to many, doubtful to many, and very nearly perished from those things that are written.”

To the Objection concerning the passing over of this Text in the ancient Eastern Versions, respond ELSNERUS, on this passage, § 66-72; and TRIGLAND, Dissertatione on this passage, § 18-20: and also the the Objection concerning the silence of the Ancient Fathers, the same TRIGLAND just now cited, Dissertatione on this passage, § 21-24. To the Objection against the Canonical authority of this Text, responds GERHARD, Disputatione priori on this passage, § 45-50, pages 1347-1354.

Perhaps it is also able to be adduced in support of the authenticity of this Text, that LUCIAN not obscurely appears to have regard to this in profane sport, in Philopatride,[6]Basil edition, 1619, tome 4, page 468, Κρ. καὶ τίνα ἐπομώσομαί γε; Τρ. ὑψιμέδοντα Θεὸν, μέγαν, ἄμβροτον, οὐρανίωνα, Υἱὸν Πατρὸς, Πνεῦμα ἐκ Πατρὸς ἐκπορευόμενον, ἓν ἐκ τριῶν, καὶ ἐξ ἑνὸς τρία· ταῦτα νόμιζε Ζῆνα, τὸν δὲ ἡγοῦ Θεόν, Critias: By whom then shall I swear to thee? Trephon: By God, reigning on high, great, eternal, and heavenly, the Son of the Father, the Spirit proceeding from the Father, one of three, and of one three. These acknowledge as Zeus, this esteem to be God. Which things were taken partly from John 15:26, partly from 1 John 5:7, not without depravation of this latter text. And, although this Dialogus is found among the spurious writings of Lucian, and it is uncertain whether it proceeded from him; it is believed to have been written to MICYLLUS, the Interpreter in the Argument of this Dialogue, with Trajan already reigning as Cæsar,[7] and so to exhibit a testimony, sought from the enemies’ camp, for this text of John having been read in truth at the beginning of the second Century. Indeed, if we grant to the Most Illustrious JOHANN MATTHIAS GESNER,[8] in his Disputatione de Ætate et Auctore of this Dialogue, found at the end of REITZIUS’[9]newest Edition of Lucian, that the same was written with Julian reigning,[10] even so testimony sufficiently ancient for the genuineness of this text is furnished for us. And GESNER has for more support for his opinion, than MOSES SOLANUS or DU SOUL, who in his Notes on chapter IX of Philopatridis,[11] conjectures that the author of this book lived at least a thousand years after Lucian.

DANIEL HEINSIUS,[12] in his Exercitationibus Sacris, book XX, chapter I, writes on this text: “I do not know why of the ancients not a few passed over this entire comma, unless perhaps the sworn enemies of the truth, which sort have never been wanting, because nowhere is this illustrious doctrine set forth more plainly, more manifestly, could not bear this light, and therefore erased it: whose codices perhaps others expressed in their own, which we have shown was done elsewhere: which, nevertheless, by the divine blessing are convicted by others. Well, therefore, does the Blessed Jerome, whom the learned teach to have read this, which also the ἀκολουθία/sequence sufficiently vindicates. For, after he said, ὅτι τρεῖς εἰσὶν οἱ μαρτυροῦντες ἐν τῷ οὐρανῷ, for there are three that bear record in heaven, follows, καὶ τρεῖς εἰσὶν οἱ μαρτυροῦντες ἐν τῇ γῇ, and there are three that bear witness in earth. But, if we follow the Syriac and others, either a hiatus is admitted, or the ἀκολουθία/sequence, which is especially elegant, is disturbed. To me, those that first used such license in the Sacred Books, that they might remove or change a word without any authority, appear to be true θεόμαχοι/God-fighters.” In the Belgic Confession, article IX, this passage in 1 John 5:7 is also expressly cited as genuine, and most clearly proving the doctrine of the Trinity.[13]

BUDDEUS, in his Isagoge ad Theologiam universam, book II, chapter VIII, § 7, tome 2, pages 1552b-1554, observes that the text of 1 John 5:7 was indeed wanting at first in Luther’s German Version of the Bible, since in translating he had made use of a Greek Edition of the New Testament in which this text was likewise wanting; but that after the death of Luther this saying was rightly inserted into his Version. For, that that is genuine, he adds, learned Men today have evinced with such clear reasons, that those that are unwilling to admit this do nothing other than display their obstinacy and the arrogance of criticism.

[1] Artemon (flourished c. 230) was the leader of an Adoptionist sect in Rome, and was a forerunner of Paul of Samosata. [2] Theodotus of Byzantium (flourished late second century) was an Adoptionist. [3] Dionysius was serving as Bishop of Corinth circa 170 AD. [4] Socrates of Constantinople, sometimes called Socrates Scholasticus (born c. 380), was an historian from Constantinople who wrote Historia Ecclesiastica. [5] Emmanuel Schelstrate (1649-1692) was a Belgic Roman Catholic historian and theologian. He served as an assistant librarian of the Vatican Library. [6] Lucian of Samosata (c. 120-c. 180) was a trained rhetorician, particularly skilled in satire. His Passing of Peregrinus is one of the earliest pagan evaluation of Christianity. The Philopatris is generally thought to be spurious. [7] Emperor Trajan reigned from 98 to 117. [8] Johann Matthias Gesner (1691-1761) was a German classicist and educator. [9] Johann Friedrich Reitz (1695-1778) was a German historian and philologist. [10] The Emperor Julian reigned from 355 to 363. [11] Moses Solanus (1665-c. 1735) was a French classical scholar. He planned an edition of Lucian, but it never came to fruition. [12] Daniel Heinsius (1580-1655) was an eminent Dutch scholar. He edited many Greek and Latin classical works, distinguished himself for his poetic talents, and contributed to the Elzevir edition of the Greek New Testament. [13]Belgic Confession, articles IX: “All this we know, as well from the testimonies of Holy Writ as from their operations, and chiefly by those we feel in ourselves. The testimonies of the Holy Scriptures, that teach us to believe this Holy Trinity, are written in many places of the Old Testament, which are not so necessary to enumerate as to choose them out with discretion and judgment. In Genesis 1:26, 27, God saith: Let us make man in our image, after our likeness, etc. So God created man in His own image, male and female created He them. And Genesis 3:22: Behold, the man is become as one of us. From this saying, Let us make man in our image, it appears that there are more persons than one in the Godhead; and when He saith God created, He signifies the unity. It is true He doth not say how many persons there are, but that which appears to us somewhat obscure in the Old Testament is very plain in the New. For when our Lord was baptized in Jordan, the voice of the Father was heard, saying, This is My beloved Son: the Son was seen in the water, and the Holy Ghost appeared in the shape of a dove. This form is also instituted by Christ in the baptism of all believers. Baptize all nations, in the name of the Father and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. In the Gospel of Luke the angel Gabriel thus addressed Mary, the mother of our Lord: The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee, therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God. Likewise, The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost be with you. And, There are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost, and these three are one. In all which places we are fully taught that there are three persons in one only divine essence. And although this doctrine far surpasses all human understanding, nevertheless we now believe it by of the Word of God, but expect hereafter to enjoy the perfect knowledge and benefit thereof in heaven. Moreover we must observe the particular offices and operations of these three persons towards us. The Father is called our Creator by His power; the Son is our Savior and Redeemer by His blood; the Holy Ghost is our Sanctifier by His dwelling in our hearts. This doctrine of the Holy Trinity hath always been defended and maintained by the true Church, since the times of the apostles to this very day, against the Jews, Mohammedans, and some false Christians and heretics, as Marcion, Manes, Praxeas, Sabellius, Samosatenus, Arius, and such like, who have been justly condemned by the orthodox fathers. Therefore, in this point, we do willingly receive the three creeds, namely, that of the Apostles, of Nice, and of Athanasius; likewise that which, conformable thereunto, is agreed upon by the ancient fathers.”

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Dr. Dilday
Dr. Dilday
Apr 13, 2021

De Moor's series on 1 John 5:7: Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3.

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