Verse 21. "Little children" - teknia? Beloved children; he concludes with the same affectionate feeling with which he commenced.
"Keep yourselves from idols." - Avoid the idolatry of the heathens; not only have no false gods, but have the true God. Have no idols in your houses, none in your churches, none in your hearts. Have no object of idolatrous worship; no pictures, relics, consecrated tapers, wafers, crosses, &c., by attending to which your minds may be divided, and prevented from worshipping the infinite Spirit in spirit and in truth.
The apostle, says Dr. Macknight cautioned his disciples against going with the heathens into the temple of their idol gods, to eat of their feasts upon the sacrifices they had offered to these gods; and against being present at any act of worship which they paid them; because, by being present, they participated of that worship, as is plain from what St. Paul has written on the subject, 1 Cor. viii. 10, where see the notes.
That is a man's idol or god from which he seeks his happiness; no matter whether it be Jupiter, Juno, Apollo, Minerva, Venus, or Diana; or pleasure, wealth, fame, a fine house, superb furniture, splendid equipage, medals, curiosities, books, titles, human friendships, or any earthly or heavenly thing, God, the supreme good, only excepted. That is a man's idol which prevents him from seeking and finding his ALL in God.
Wiclif ends his epistle thus: My little sones, kepe ye you fro mawmitis, i.e. puppets, dolls, and such like; for thus Wiclif esteemed all images employed in religious worship. They are the dolls of a spurious Christianity, and the drivellings of religion in nonage and dotage.
"Protestants, keep yourselves from such mawmets! Amen." - So be it! So let it be! And so it shall be, God being our helper, for ever and ever! Subscriptions in the VERSIONS:-
The end of the Epistle of the Apostle John. - SYRIAC.
The First Epistle of John the apostle is ended. - SYR. Philoxenian.
Nothing in either the COPTIC or VULGATE.
Continual and eternal praise be to God! - ARABIC.
The end. - AETHIOPIC; In this version the epistle is thus introduced:-
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, one God, the Epistle of John, the son of Zebedee, the evangelist and apostle of our Lord Jesus Christ; may his intercession be with us for ever and ever! Amen.
In the MANUSCRIPTS:-
The First of John. - AB.
The First Epistle of John the evangelist.
The First catholic Epistle of St. John the divine, written from Ephesus.
The Epistle to the Parthians. - See several Latin MSS.
The word amen is wanting in all the best MSS. and in most of the versions.
For other matters relative to the epistle itself see the preface: and for its heavenly doctrine and unction read the text, in the original if you can; if not, in our own excellent translation.
Observations On The Text Of The Three Divine Witnesses.
Accompanied with a plate, containing two very correct fac- similes of 1 John, ver. 7-9, as they stand in the first edition of the New Testament, printed at Complutum, 1514, and in the Codex Montfortii, a manuscript marked G. 97, in the library of Trinity College, Dublin.
panta dokimazete, to kalon katecete. 1 Thess. v. 21.
The seventh verse of the fifth chapter of 1 John, has given rise to more theological disputes than any other portion of the sacred writings.
Advocates and antagonists have arisen in every quarter of the civilized world: but the dispute has been principally confined to the Unitarians of all classes, and those called Orthodox; the former asserting that it is an interpolation, and the latter contending that it is a part of the original text of St. John. It is asserted that (one excepted, which shall be noticed by and by) all the Greek MSS. written before the invention of printing omit the passage in dispute. How the seventh and eighth verses stand in these may be seen in the following view, where the words included between brackets are those which are wanting in the MSS.
"oti treiv eisin oi marturountev ([entw ouranw, o pathr, o logov, kai to agion pneuma? kai outoi oi treiv en eisi. kai treiv eisin oi marturountev en gh" - ) to pneuma, kai to udwr, kai to aima? kai oi treiv eiv to en eisin.
Of all the MSS. yet discovered which contain this epistle, amounting to one hundred and twelve, three only; two of which are of no authority, have the text, viz.:-
1. The Codex Guelpherbytanus G, which is demonstrably a MS. of the seventeenth century; (for it contains the Latin translation of Beza, written by the same hand,) and therefore of no use or importance in sacred criticism.
2. The Codex Ravianus or Berolinensis, which is a forgery, and only a copy of the Greek text in the Complutensian Polyglot, printed in 1514, and so close an imitation of it, that it copies even its typographical errors; hence, and from the similarity of the letters, it appears to have been forged that it might pass for the original MS. from which the Complutensian text was taken. In this MS. some various readings are inserted from the margin of Stevens' edition of 1550.
3. The Codex Montfortii, or Codex Dubliniensis, cited by Erasmus, under the title of Codex Britannicus, in Trinity College, Dublin. This may be said to be the only genuine MS. which contains this text; as no advocate of the sacred doctrine contained in the disputed passage would wish to lay any stress whatever on such evidence as the two preceding ones afford.
Michaelis roundly asserts, vol. iv., page 417, of his Introductory Lectures, that this MS. was written after the year 1500. This, I scruple not to affirm, is a perfectly unguarded assertion, and what no man can prove. ln 1790 I examined this MS. myself, and though I thought it to be comparatively modern, yet I had no doubt that it existed before the invention of printing, and was never written with an intention to deceive. I am rather inclined to think it the work of an unknown bold critic, who formed a text from one or more MSS. in conjunction with the Vulgate, and was by no means sparing of his own conjectural emendations; for it contains many various readings which exist in no other MS. yet discovered. But how far the writer has in any place faithfully copied the text of any ancient MS. is more than can be determined. To give the reader a fair view of this subject, I here subjoin what I hope I may call a perfect fac- simile of the seventh and eighth verses, as they exist in this MS., copied by the accurate hand of the Rev. Dr. Barrett, the present learned librarian of Trinity College.
"FAC-SIMILE of ver. 7-9, From the Codex Montfortii in Trinity College, Dublin. [Omitted" - When I examined the original myself, though I took down a transcript, yet I neglected to take a fac-simile. That no mistake might be made in a matter of so much importance, I got a fac-simile, and after it was engraved, had it collated with the MS. by Dr. Barrett himself, and the plate finished according to his last corrections; so that I hope it may be said every jot and every tittle belonging to the text are here fairly and faithfully represented; nothing being added, and nothing omitted. I have examined this MS. since, and have not been able to detect any inaccuracy in my fac-simile. To it I have annexed a perfect facsimile of the same words, as they stand in the Complutensian Polyglot, which the curious reader will be glad to see associated with the other, as they are properly the only Greek authorities on which the authenticity of the text of the Three Witnesses depends.
"FAC-SIMILE of ver. 7-9, From the Editio Princeps of the Greek Testament, printed at Complutum, in 1514. [Omitted" - It may be necessary to observe, First, That the five first lines of the fac-simile of the text in the Complutensian edition are at the top of the opposite page to that on which the other four lines are found. The alphabetical letters, mingled with the Greek text, are those which refer to the corresponding words in the Latin text, printed in a parallel column in the Complutensian Polyglot, and marked with the same letters to ascertain more easily the corresponding Greek and Latin words, for the benefit, I suppose, of learners. The column containing the Latin text, which is that of the Vulgate, is not introduced here, being quite unnecessary.
Second. The sixth and seventh lines of the fac-simile of the Codex Montfortii belong to the second page of that leaf on which the other five lines are written.
This MS. is-a thick duodecimo, written on paper, without folios. There is an inscription in it in these words, Sum Thomae Clementis, olim fratris Froyhe. On this inscription Dr. Barrett remarks: "It appears Froyhe was a Franciscan; and I find in some blank leaves in the book these words written (by the same hand, in my opinion, that wrote the MS.) insouv maria fragkiskov; by the latter, I understand the founder of that order." If St. Francis d'Assise be here meant, who was the founder of the order of Franciscans, and the inscription be written by the same who wrote the MS., then the MS. could not have been written before the thirteenth century, as St. Francis founded his order in 1206, and died in 1226, and consequently quotes that the MS. could not have been written in the eleventh century, as Mr. Martin of Utrecht, and several others, have imagined.
Much stress has been laid on the dots over the i and u which frequently appear in this MS. Montfaucon has observed, Palaeographia Graeca, page 33, that such dots were in use a thousand years ago: hence the advocates of the antiquity of the Codex Montfortii have inferred that this MS. must have been written at least in the tenth or eleventh century. But as these are found in modern MSS. (see Palaeog. pages 324, 333,) they are therefore no proof of antiquity. In Michaelis' Introduction, vol. ii., page 286, where he is describing the MSS. of the Greek Testament, he gives the text in question as it is supposed to exist in the Codex Montfortii, in which two dots appear over every iota and upsilon in the whole five lines there introduced; but on comparing this of Michaelis with the fac-simile here produced, the reader will at once perceive that the arrangement is false, and the dotting egregiously inaccurate. Deceived by this false representation, Dr. Marsh, (bishop of Peterborough,) in his notes on the passage, page 754, observes, "that no MS. written in small characters before the twelfth century has these dots. That a MS. written in the twelfth century has these dots sometimes on the iota, but never on the upsilon; but MSS.
written in the fourteenth century have these dots on both letters, but not in all cases. Now as these letters are dotted always in the Codex Montfortianus, but not always in the MSS. of the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, and still less often in those of the twelfth century, we may infer that the Codex Montfortianus is at least as modern as the fifteenth century." On this quotation I beg leave to make a few remarks.
Dr. Marsh says, "that no MS. written in small letters previous to the twelfth century has these dots." This excellent critic has only to consult the Palaeographia Graeca, page 293, in which he will find No. 1, a fac-simile of one of the Colbert MSS. (No. 4954,) written A. D. 1022, where the iota appears thrice dotted; and in No. 2, on the same page, another fac-simile of a MS. written A. D. 1045, the iota is dotted in the word ihsou. Ibid., page 283, (No. 7,) a MS. written in 986, has the iota twice dotted in the word iemenei. Ibid., page 275, (No. 2,) a MS. of the ninth or beginning of the tenth century, has the iota dotted in acaiav? and in No. 3, a specimen of the Codex Regius, (No. 2271,) written A. D. 914, the iota is dotted in qeikhn. Ibid., page 271, (No. 4,) written about 890, the iota is dotted in ierwn? and in Spec. v. in the word poiia. See also Ibid., page 320, No. 3, another of the Colbert MSS. (4111,) written A. D. 1236, where the iota is dotted seven times. All these specimens are taken from MSS. written in small characters, and, as the dates show, (the last excepted,) long before the twelfth century. As to these dots being more frequent in manuscripts of the fifteenth than those of the twelfth, thirteenth, and fourteenth centuries, I cannot say much; it is certain they became more frequent towards the fourteenth century than they were in the twelfth, and yet this was not a general case. In two well-written manuscripts now before me, one of which I suppose to be of the fourteenth century, and the other of the fifteenth, these dots often occur, but they are by no means regular. I have noticed several pages in the oldest manuscript where they occur but once; and in other pages they may be met with ten or twelve times. On the contrary, in the more recent manuscript, whole pages occur without one of them; and where they do occur, they are much less frequent than in the former. So that it rather appears from this evidence; that they began to disappear in the fifteenth century. Dr. Marsh, misled by the specimen in Michaelis, vol. ii. page 286, says: "The letters in question are always dotted in the Codex Montfortianus." By referring to the fac-simile, the reader will be able at once to correct this mistake. The iota in the fac-simile occurs thirty times, and is dotted only in five instances; and the upsilon occurs nineteen times, and is dotted only in seven.
But arguments for or against the age of any MS., on account of such dots, are futile in the extreme; as the most ancient MSS. have them not only on the iota and upsilon, but upon several other letters, as may be seen in the Codex Alexandrinus, the Codex Rescriptus, published by Dr. Barrett, and the Codex Bezae; in the latter of which they seem to occur more frequently than they do even in the Codex Montfortii.
On the evidence of these dots, Mr. Martin of Utrecht supposed the Dublin manuscript to be as old as the eleventh century and on the same evidence Dr. Marsh argues, "that it is at least as modern as the fifteenth." Both these judgments are too hastily formed; medio tutissimus ibis is the best counsel in such a case; the manuscript is more likely to have been a production of the thirteenth than of either the eleventh or fifteenth. The former date is as much too high as the latter is too low; the zeal of the critics for and against this controverted text having carried them, in my opinion; much too far on either side.
In comparing the writing of the Codex Montfortii, with the different specimens given by Montfaucon in the Palaeographia Graeca, it appears to approach nearest to that on page 320, No. 4, which was taken from one of the Colbert manuscripts, (No. 845,) written in the year of our Lord 1272, which I am led to think may be nearly about the date of the Codex Montfortii; but on a subject of so much difficulty, where critics of the first rank have been puzzled, I should be sorry to hazard any more than an opinion, which the reader is at liberty to consider either correct or incorrect, as may seem best to his own judgment.
Though a conscientious advocate for the sacred doctrine contained in the disputed text, and which I think expressly enough revealed in several other parts of the sacred writings, I must own the passage in question stands on a most dubious foundation. All the Greek manuscripts (the Codex Montfortii alone excepted) omit the passage; so do all the ancient versions; the Vulgate excepted; but in many of the ancient MSS. even of this version it is wanting. There is one in the British Museum, of the tenth or eleventh century, where it is added by a more recent hand in the margin; for it is wanting in the text. It is also variously written in those manuscripts which retain it. This will appear more plainly by comparing the following extracts taken from four manuscripts of the Vulgate in my own possession:-
1. - Quoniam tres sunt qui testimonium dant in coelo, Pater, Verbum, et Spiritus Sanctus, et hii tres unum sunt. Et tres sunt qui testimonium dant in terra, spiritus, sanguis, et aqua. This is the same with the text in the Complutensian Polyglot, only aqua is placed before sanguis.
2. - Quoniam tres sunt qui testimonium dant in terra, spiritus, aqua, et sanguis, et hii tres unum sunt. Et tres sunt qui testimonium dant in coelo, Pater, Verbum, et Spiritus Sanctus, et hii tres unum sunt.
3. - Quoniam tres sunt qui testimonium dant in coelo, Pater, et Filius, et Spiritus Sanctus, et hii tres unum sunt. Et tres sunt qui testimonium dant in terra, spiritus, aqua, et sanguis.
4. - Quoniam tres sunt qui testimonium dant in terra, spiritus, aqua, et sanguis, et hii tres unum sunt. Et tres sunt qui testimonium dant in coelo, Pater, et Filius, et Spiritus Sanctus, et hii tres unum sunt.
5. - Quoniam tres sunt qui testimonium dant in terra, spiritus, aqua, et sanguis, et tres sunt qui testitnonium perhibent in coelo, Pater, Verbum, et Spiritus Sanctus, et hi tres unum sunt.
This last I took from an ancient manuscript in Marsh's library, St. Patrick's, Dublin.
In what has been denominated the Editio Princeps of the Latin Bible, and supposed to have been printed between 1455 and 1468, the text stands thus: "Quoniam tres sunt qui testimonium dant in coelo, Pater, Verbum, et Spiritus Sanctus, et hii tres unum sunt. Et tres sunt qui testimonium dant in terra. Spiritus, aqua, et sanguis, et tres unum sunt." In the Bible printed by Fradin and Pinard, Paris, 1497, fol., the text is the same with No. 2, only instead of testimonium dant, it reads dant testimonium.
The reader will observe that in Nos. 2, 4, and 5, the eighth verse is put before the seventh, and that 3 and 4 have filius instead of verbum. But both these readings are united in an ancient English manuscript of my own, which contains the Bible from the beginning of Proverbs to the end of the New Testament, written on thick strong vellum, and evidently prior to most of those copies attributed to Wiclif.
For three ben that geven witnessing in heven the Fadir, the Word or Sone and the Hooly Goost, and these three ben oon. And three ben that geven witnessing in erthe, the Spirit, Water, and Blood, and these three ben oon.
As many suppose the Complutensian editors must have had a manuscript or manuscripts which contained this disputed passage, I judge it necessary to add the note which they subjoin at the bottom of the page, by which (though nothing is clearly expressed) it appears they either had such a manuscript, or wished to have it thought they had such. However, the note is curious, and shows us how this disputed passage was read in the most approved manuscripts of the Vulgate extant in the thirteenth century, when St. Thomas Aquinas wrote, from whom this note is taken. The following is the whole note literatim:- "Sanctus Thomas in oppositione secunde Decretalis de suma Trinitate et fide Catholica, tractans istum passum contra Abbatem Joachim, ut tres sunt qui testimonium dant in celo, Pater, Verbum, et Spiritus Sanctus; dicet ad literam verba sequentia. Et ad insinuandam unitatem trium personarum subditur. Et hii tres unum sunt. Quodquidem dicitur propter essentie Unitatem. Sed hoc Joachim perverse trahere volens ad unitatem charitatis et consensus, inducebat consequentem auctoritatem. Nam subditur ibidem: et tres sunt qui testimonium dant in terra, S. Spiritus: Aqua; et sanguis. Et in quibusdam libris additur: et hii tres unum sunt. Sed hoc in veris exemplaribus non habetur: sed dicitur esse appossitum ab hereticis arrianis ad pervertendum intellectem sanum auctoritatis premisse de unitate essentie trium personarum. Hec beatus Thomas ubi supra." If the Complutensian editors translated the passage into Greek from the Vulgate, it is strange they made no mention of it in this place, where they had so fair an opportunity while speaking so very pointedly on the doctrine in question and forming a note for the occasion, which is indeed the only theological note in the whole volume. It is again worthy of note that, when these editors found an important various reading in any of their Greek manuscripts, they noted it in the margin: an example occurs 1 Cor. xiii. 3, and another, ibid. xvi.; why was it then that they took no notice of so important an omission as the text of the three witnesses, if they really had no manuscript in which it was contained? Did they intend to deceive the reader, and could they possibly imagine that the knavery could never be detected? If they designed to deceive, they took the most effectual way to conceal the fraud, as it is supposed they destroyed the manuscripts from which they printed their text; for the story of their being sold in 1749 to a rocket-maker (see Michaelis, vol. ii., page 440) is every way so exceptionable and unlike the truth, that I really wonder there should be found any person who would seriously give it credit. The substance of this story, as given by Michaelis, is as follows: "Professor Moldenhawer, who was in Spain in 1784, went to Alcala on purpose to discover these MSS., but was informed that a very illiterate librarian, about thirty-five years before, who wanted room for some new books, sold the ancient vellum MSS. as useless parchments, to one Toryo who dealt in fireworks, as materials for making rockets." It is farther added that "Martinez, a man of learning, heard of it soon after they were sold, and hastened to save these treasures from destruction; but it was too late, for they were already destroyed, except a few scattered leaves which are now in the library." On the whole of this account, it is natural to ask the following questions: Is it likely that the management of so important a trust should be in the hands of a person so ignorant that he could not know a Hebrew or Greek MS. from a piece of useless parchment? Could such a person be intrusted to make a purchase of new books for the library, for which he wanted room? or if they were purchased by the trustees of the library, is it likely they would leave the classification and arrangement of these to such a Goth as this librarian is said to be? Would such a librarian, or indeed any other, be permitted to dispose of any part of the library which he might deem useless? If Mr. Martinez heard of it soon after they were sold, and hastened to rescue them, is it likely that almost the whole should have been converted into rockets before he got to the place, when we are informed they were so many as to cost originally 4, 000 aurei; and that even the price which the librarian sold them for was so considerable, that it had to be paid at two different installments? Was it possible that in so short a time the rocket-maker could have already consumed the whole? The whole account is so improbable that I cannot help saying, Credat Judaeus Apella; non ego.
It is more likely the manuscripts were destroyed at first, or that they are still kept secret, to prevent the forgery (if it be one) of the text of the three witnesses from being detected; or the librarian already mentioned may have converted them to his own use. If they were not destroyed by the Complutensian editors, I should not be surprised if the same manuscripts should come to light in some other part of the world, if not in the Alcala library itself.
It is worthy of remark that Luther never admitted the text of the three witnesses into any of the editions of his translation; it is true it was afterwards added, but never during his lifetime. On this Professor Michaelis makes the following observation: "It is uncandid in the extreme for one Protestant to condemn another for rejecting ver. 7, since it was rejected by the author of our Reformation." Any conscientious Trinitarian may innocently hesitate to receive the feebly supporting evidence of this disputed text, in confirmation of a doctrine which he finds it his duty and interest to receive on the unequivocal testimony of various other passages in the book of Gad.
Professor Griesbach, who does not appear to be an enemy to the doctrine, and who has carefully and critically examined all the evidences and arguments, pro and con, has given up the text as utterly defenceless, and thinks that to plead for its authenticity is dangerous. "For if," says he, "a few dubious, suspicious, and modern evidences, with such weak arguments as are usually adduced, are sufficient to demonstrate the authenticity of a reading, then there remains no longer any criterion by which the spurious may be distinguished from the genuine; and consequently the whole text of the New Testament is unascertained and dubious." Much stress has been laid on Bengel's defense of this text: Michaelis has considered the strength of his arguments in a candid and satisfactory manner.
"The ancient writers which Bengel has produced in favour of 1 John v. 7, are all Latin writers, for he acknowledges that no Greek father has ever quoted it. Now, if no objection could be made to Bengel's witnesses, and the most ancient Latin fathers had quoted in express terms the whole of the controverted passage, their quotations would prove nothing more than that the passage stood in their manuscripts of the Latin version, and therefore that the Latin version contained it in a very early age. But it will appear upon examination that their evidence is very unsatisfactory. The evidence of Tertullian, the oldest Latin writer who has been quoted in favour of ver. 7, is contained in the following passage of his treatise against Praxeas, book i. , chap. xxv Ita connexus Patris in Filio et Filii in Paracleto, tres efficit cohaerentes, alterum ex altero; qui tres unum sunt, non unus; quomodo dictum est: Ego et Pater unum sumus. Hence it is inferred, that because tres unum sunt stand at present in the Latin version, ver. 7, these words stood there likewise in the time of Tertullian, and that Tertullian borrowed them from the Latin version. But this inference is wholly without foundation; for Tertullian does not produce these words as a quotation, and the bare circumstance of his using the expression tres unum sunt will not prove that he found that expression in the Bible. On the contrary, it is evident, from what immediately follows, that chap. v. 7 was not contained in the Latin version when Tertullian wrote. For, in proof of this assertion, qui tres unum sunt, he immediately adds, quomodo dictum est: Ego et Pater unum sumus, which is a quotation from St. John's gospel, John x. 30. Now as this quotation relates only to the Father and the Son, and not to the Holy Ghost, surely Tertullian would not have proved the unity of the Trinity from this passage, if ver. 7, which is much more to the purpose, had then been contained in any Latin manuscript with which he was acquainted. At any rate, the mere use of the words tres unum sunt affords no argument in favour of the controverted passage; and if any inference is to be deduced from their agreement with our present copies of the Latin version in 1 John v. 7; it is this: that the person who afterwards fabricated this passage retained an expression which had been sanctioned by the authority of Tertullian. So much for the evidence of this Latin father, the only writer of the second century to whom appeal has been made.
"Of the Latin fathers who lived in the third century, Cyprian alone has been produced as evidence in favour of ver. 7. From the writings of Cyprian two passages have been quoted as proofs that ver. 7 was contained in his manuscript of the Latin version. The one is from his epistle to Jubaianus; where Cyprian writes thus: Si baptizari quis apud haereticum potuit, utique et remissam consecutus est, et sanctificatus est, et templum Dei factus est; quaero cujus Dei? Si Creatoris; non potuit; qui in eum non credidit: si Christi, non hujus potest fieri templum, qui negat, Deum Christum: si Spiritus Sancti, cum tres unum sint, quomodo Spiritus Sanctus placatus esse ei potest, qui aut Patris aut Filit inimicus est? Here it must be observed, that the words cum tres unum sint, though inserted in the later editions of Cyprian's works, are not contained in that edition which was published by Erasmus; and even if they were genuine, they will prove nothing more than the same words just quoted from Tertullian. The other passage, which is much more to the purpose; is in Cyprian's treatise, Deuteronomy Ecclesiae Unitate, where Cyprian writes thus: Dicit Dominus: Ego et Pater unum sumus; et iterum de Patre et Filio, et Spiritu Sancto, scriptum est: Et tres unum sunt. Now, admitting that the words et tres unum sunt were quoted by Cyprian from ver. 7, I seriously ask every impartial judge whether a passage found in no ancient Greek manuscript, quoted by no Greek father, and contained in no other ancient version than the Latin, (and not in all copies of this,) is therefore to be pronounced genuine; merely because one Latin father of the three first centuries, who was bishop of Carthage, where the Latin version only was used, and where Greek was unknown, has quoted it? Under these circumstances, should we conclude that the passage stood originally in the Greek autograph of St. John? Certainly not; for the only inference which could be deduced from Cyprian's quotation would be this, that the passage had been introduced into the Latin version so early as the third century.
"The preceding answer is sufficient to invalidate Cyprian's authority in establishing the authenticity of ver. 7, on the supposition that Cyprian really quoted it; but that he did so is more than any man can prove. The words tres unum sunt are contained not only in the seventh, but also in the eighth verse, which is a part of the ancient and genuine test of St. John; and therefore it is at least possible that Cyprian took them not from the seventh, but from the eighth verse. It is true that he says these words are written of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost; whereas tres unum sunt, in the eighth verse, relates only to the spirit, the water, and the blood. But it must be observed that the Latin fathers interpreted spiritus, aquas et sanguis, not literally, but mystically; and some of them really understood by these words, Pater, Filius, et Spiritus Sanctus, taking aqua in the sense of Pater, sanguis in the sense of Filius, and spiritus in the sense of Spiritus Sanctus.
"This is expressly asserted by Eucherius in his Questiones N. T. difficiliores; for after having quoted ver. 8, thus: Tria sunt, quae testimonium perhibent, aqua, sanguis, et spiritus, he adds, soon after, plures tamen hic ipsam interpretatione mystica intelligere Trinitatem; aqua Patrem, sanguine Christum, spiritu Spiritum Sanctum manifestante. But if Cyprian really thought that aqua, sanguis, et spiritus, ver. 8, denoted Pater, Filius, et Spiritus Sanctus, he might say of tres unum sunt, ver. 8, that it was written, de Patre, et Filio, et Spiritu Sancto. And that he actually did so, that he quoted not ver. 7, but understood 1 John v. 8, mystically, appears from the following passage of Facundus, who lived in the neighbourhood of Carthage, and consequently used the same