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scripts of the Philoxenian version, which are now at Oxford, and from which Dr. White printed his edition. But I know of no work, in which the subject is so fully discussed as in the Introduction of Michaelis.
For the efforts, which were made in the ninth and following centuries to correct the Latin Vulgate, the above-mentioned work of Hody must be again consulted. And for die merit of those learned Jews, who distinguished themselves in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, must be consulted Wolfii Bibliotheca Hebraa, which was published at Hamburg between 1715 and 1733 in four quarto volumes.
The description, which has been given in this Lecture, has been given, as the subjects occurred, without regard to any other, than chronological order. But from the sixteenth century to the present period, the labours of the learned are so connected in the subjects of their inquiry, that it is necessary to keep that connexion in view: and that connexion would be lost, if the subjects were intermixed. Though chronological order therefore will still be preserved in each single description, the subjects themselves must be described separately.
The subject of the next Lecture will be the Criticism of the Greek Testament.
The Criticism of the Greek Testament is a subject of the very first importance to every Christian: and though a knowledge of the language, in which it was written, is necessary for the exercise of that criticism, yet even without such knowledge some notion may be formed of the efforts of the learned, to place the documents of Christianity on a firm foundation. The importance of this subject must be manifest to every one, who considers, that the criticism of the Greek Testament contains the elements of that analysis, by which we gradually discover the truth of our religion.
To determine the mode of analysis, which is necessary for this purpose, of analysis, which shall bring with it conviction, let us suppose a man of liberal education, of sound understanding, and of serious disposition, who in his religious opinions, for want of proper instruction on that subject, has remained unsettled, but would willingly assent to the truth of Christianity, provided certain propositions, necessary to establish that truth, were clearly explained to him. A man of this description, if a person endeavoured to convince him from the New Testament, would argue in the following manner. "The book, which you laj before me, professes indeed to contain a faithful account of what was done and taught, both by the founder of Christianity, and by others, who assisted in the propagation of it. But you cannot expect, that I should allow its pretensions to be valid, till you have assigned sufficient reasons that they are so; and these reasons involve several propositions, which must be distinctly stated, and distinctly proved. That our attention may not be distracted by discussing different subjects at the same time, let us, in the first instance, confine ourselves to the Epistles, which you ascribe to St. Paul, who, as you assure me, not only became a zealous promoter, from a zealous enemy of Christianity, but was vested even with divine authority for that purpose. On this divine authority you found a set of doctrines, which you require me to receive through the medium of your interpretation, and declare at the same time, that if I do not receive them, the consequences will be the most dreadful, that imagination can conceive. Now I am perfectly willing (the supposed person might continue to say) I am perfectly willing to assent to truths Of such importance; but I must previously know that they are truths, or I have no foundation for my assent. For the present I will wave the question, whether your interpretations be right or wrong; though I am well assured, that something more is requisite to a right understanding of those Epistles, than is possessed by many, who venture to explain them. But whatever be their meaning, you must first convinceme, that St. Paul was the author of them, or you leave them devoid of all religious obligation. And I expect, that your proof be conducted, not with lofty declamation, or deep denunciation against unbelief; but by sober sense, and plain reason. For though I am ready to place implicit confidence in St. Paul, as soon as you have proved, that he was a teacher sent from God; though I am ready to have unbounded faith in divine doctrines, as soon as I know, that they are divine; yet I cannot transfer this unbounded faith to any modern preacher of the Gospel, however great his pretensions, whether from learning, or from sanctity. When you therefore assure me, that St. Paul had a divine commission, and that he wrote the Epistles in question, I expect these assertions, on your part, to be supported by argument: for your authority goes as far as your arguments go, and no further." If the theologian, to whom this supposed person addressed himself, were a man accustomed to biblical investigation, and had sought a basis for his faith, such theologian would reply, " I will undertake to produce arguments, which shall convince any reasonable man, that Paul, the aposde of Jesus Christ, was really the author of the Epistles ascribed to him: and when this point has been established, we have then a foundation, on which our superstructure may rest wilhout danger." But before you undertake this task, the objector may still reply, there are certain preliminaries, which must be settled between us, or we shall never come to any definite conclusion. You must not take the English translation, as the work, which is to be proved authentic; for the term authentic translation is a term without meaning. You may say a correct translation, or a faithful translation; but the term authentic applies only to the original, it applies only to the Greek Epistles, as written, or alleged to be written, by St. Paul himself. Now that the Greek manuscripts of those Epistles very frequently differ, as well from each other, as from the printed editions, is a fact, which it would be useless to deny, and absurd to overlook. Which therefore of the Greek manuscripts, will you take into your hand, when you assert, " these are the Epistles, which proceeded from the pen of St. Paul." This is no easy matter to determine; and yet it must be determined, if the question of authenticity be examined with that precision, which the importance of the subject demands. This supposed conversation will render our present subject familiar to every hearer: it will shew him, where, and what is the key-stone of the arch, which supports the fabric of Christianity.
The first operation, therefore, in respect to the Greek Testament, which must be performed by a theologian, who intends to build his faith on a firm foundation, is to ascertain what copy of the Epistles ascribed to St. Paul, what copy of an Epistle ascribed to any other Apostle, what copy of a Gospel ascribed to this or that Evangelist, has the strongest claim to be received by us, as a true copy of the author's own manuscript; whoever the author, or authors, may really have been, which must be left to future inquiry, or we shall again take for granted the thing to be prov